The Creation of Heavy Metal Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Heavy metal music has its roots in the hard rock and blues rock of the 1960s and 1970s. The genre emerged in the early 1970s with bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Since then, heavy metal has continued to evolve, with subgenres like death metal, thrash metal, and black metal becoming increasingly popular.

If you’re a fan of heavy metal music, then this blog is for you. Here you’ll find articles on the history of the genre

The Early Days of Heavy Metal

The Pioneers of Heavy Metal

In the early days of heavy metal, a handful of bands began to emerge that would lay the foundation for what the genre would eventually become. These bands were characterized by their hard-hitting sound, which was heavier and more aggressive than anything that had been heard before. They also incorporated elements of blues and rock music, which made their sound even more unique.

One of the earliest and most influential heavy metal bands was Black Sabbath, who formed in Birmingham, England in 1968. Sabbath’s sound was defined by its heavy riffs and dark lyrics, which often dealt with subjects like evil, death, and addiction. The band’s debut album, Black Sabbath (1970), is widely considered to be one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time.

Another early heavy metal band was Deep Purple, who formed in Hertfordshire, England in 1968. Deep Purple’s sound was heavier and more blues-based than Black Sabbath’s, but they still incorporated some of the same dark themes in their lyrics. The band’s most popular album, Machine Head (1972), is often cited as a major influence on the development of heavy metal music.

Other early heavy metal bands include Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. These bands would go on to become some of the most successful and influential groups in the history of heavy metal music.

The First Wave of Heavy Metal

While there are many bands that can lay claim to being the first heavy metal band, there is one band in particular that is most often cited as being the pioneers of the genre: Black Sabbath. Formed in 1968 in Birmingham, England, Sabbath quickly began to develop a following with their dark and heavy sound. Songs like “Black Sabbath” and “Evil Woman” gave listeners a taste of what would become heavy metal music.

With the release of their 1971 album Master of Reality, Sabbath further solidified their place as the leaders of the heavy metal movement. This album featured more experimental and progressive elements than their previous releases, and is often cited as one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time.

Other bands began to emerge during this time period that would also help shape the sound of heavy metal music. Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple were two such bands that helped to pioneer the sound of metal with their own unique styles.

The first wave of heavy metal came to an end with the advent of punk rock in the late 1970s. Punk rockers rejected the excesses and self-indulgence of metal bands, preferring a more stripped down sound. This would lead to a decrease in popularity for metal bands during this time period.

The New Wave of Heavy Metal

In the 1970s, a new form of music was created that would change the face of music forever. This new genre of music was called heavy metal. Heavy metal music is a type of rock music that is characterized by its aggressive, distorted sound and its often violent lyrics.

The Second Wave of Heavy Metal

The Second Wave of Heavy Metal was a musical movement that originated in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Running parallel to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the Second Wave was characterized by a more aggressive sound and lyrical themes.

The Second Wave is often credited with having revitalized Heavy Metal music after a period of decline in the late 1970s. Bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, and Venom helped to popularize the genre and pave the way for future generations of Metal musicians.

The Third Wave of Heavy Metal

The 1990s saw the rise of a new wave of heavy metal bands, known as the third wave of heavy metal. This wave was led by bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, and Pantera. These bands brought heavy metal to a new level of popularity, with their aggressive sound and raw energy.

The Modern Era of Heavy Metal

Though the first signs of heavy metal can be traced back to the late 1960s, the genre really came into its own in the 1970s with bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. These bands set the stage for the modern era of heavy metal, which began in the 1980s. In the 1980s, metal music became more mainstream with the help of bands like Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.

The Fourth Wave of Heavy Metal

The fourth wave of heavy metal began in the early 2010s and is characterized by a renewed interest in early heavy metal music. This wave is also sometimes referred to as the “new Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal” or ” NWOTHM “.

This wave of heavy metal was ushered in by a number of bands from different countries who had a common love for the sounds of bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath. These bands began to put their own spin on the classic sounds of heavy metal, creating a new sound that would eventually come to be known as NWOTHM.

Some of the most notable bands associated with this wave include Evil Scarecrow (UK), Enforcer (Sweden), sitanoutside with Pilecap (Australia), White Wizzard (USA), Skull Fist (Canada), Cauldron (Canada), Enslaved (Norway), and Wolfheart (Finland).

The Fifth Wave of Heavy Metal

Also known as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM), the fifth wave of heavy metal began in the early 1990s and peaked in the 2000s. Often seen as a reaction to the grunge movement, which took metal out of the mainstream in the early ‘90s, this wave was characterized by a return to metal’s roots with an emphasis on speed, technicality and melody. Some of the most popular bands to come out of this wave include Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Pantera.

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