3 Hoirs of Heavy Metal Music

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the three sub-genres of heavy metal music – thrash metal, death metal, and black metal – and how they’ve each evolved over the years.

The Birth of Heavy Metal

In the late 1960s, a new type of music emerged from the United Kingdom and United States that would go on to change the face of rock and roll forever. This new type of music was heavier, louder, and faster than anything that had come before it, and it would come to be known as heavy metal.

The first heavy metal bands

The first heavy metal bands began surfacing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These bands were influenced by the aggressive sound of the earlier rock music and developed their own hard-hitting, distorted sound. The first heavy metal bands were led by Black Sabbath, who are considered to be the pioneers of the genre. Other early metal bands include Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Queen. These bands laid the foundation for the future of heavy metal music.

The first heavy metal albums

While there are many contenders for the title of first heavy metal album, there are three albums in particular that are often cited as being influential in the development of the genre. These albums are Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album, Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album, and Deep Purple’s In Rock.

Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album was released in early 1970 and is widely considered to be one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time. The dark and gloomy tone of the album, coupled with the band’s use of distorted guitars and Ozzy Osbourne’s piercing vocals, set the stage for what would become known as heavy metal music.

Led Zeppelin’s debut album was released a few months after Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut. While Led Zeppelin’s sound was not as dark or ominous as Black Sabbath’s, their use of distorted guitars and Robert Plant’ s powerful vocals helped to solidify the sound of heavy metal music.

Deep Purple’ s In Rock was released in mid-1970 and is often cited as being one of the heaviest albums ever made. The band made use of distorted guitars, furious drumming, and screaming vocals to create a sound that would pave the way for future generations of heavy metal bands.

The Rise of Heavy Metal

The first heavy metal band is generally considered to be Black Sabbath, who formed in 1968. They were quickly followed by other bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Yes. These bands became extremely popular in the 1970s with their hard-hitting sound and rebellious lyrics.

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) emerged. This was a period of growth for heavy metal, with hundreds of new bands springing up all over the country. The sound of NWOBHM was marked by its aggressive, fast-paced style and its raw, unpolished production. This gritty sound would go on to influence the development of thrash metal in the 1980s.

One of the most important aspects of NWOBHM was its DIY ethic. Bands were self-reliant, funding their own recordings and touring on a shoestring budget. This helped to create a close-knit community of metalheads who were passionate about the music and devoted to supporting their favorite bands.

The NWOBHM movement gave rise to some of heavy metal’s most iconic bands, including Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motörhead. These bands would go on to have a profound impact on the evolution of metal, paving the way for future generations of headbangers.

The American Heavy Metal Scene

The American heavy metal scene began to take shape in the early 1980s with bands like Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. These bands combined the speed and aggression of punk rock with the power and technical proficiency of traditional heavy metal. The resulting sound was both heavier and faster than anything that had come before, and it quickly caught on with metal fans around the world.

In the 1990s, American heavy metal underwent a major resurgence thanks to the popularity of so-called “nu metal” bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit. These bands blended heaviness with hip-hop-inspired rhythms and attitude, resulting in a sound that was both fresh and familiar. Nu metal quickly became one of the most popular genres in the world, and its influence can still be heard in the music of today’s biggest metal bands.

The Legacy of Heavy Metal

Heavy metal today

Though it has been criticized for being too loud, heavy metal music has remained popular since it first emerged in the late 1960s. Today, there are many different subgenres of heavy metal, each with its own distinctive sound. Some of the most popular subgenres include thrash metal, death metal, and black metal.

Despite its reputation for being aggressive and sometimes violent, many heavy metal fans appreciate the music for its intensity and complexity. Heavy metal bands often use distorted guitars and fast-paced drums to create a dense, powerful sound. Some fans enjoy the way the music makes them feel — powerful and invulnerable.

For some people, heavy metal is more than just music — it’s a way of life. Heavy metal culture includes a dress code (usually all black), hair style (long and straight), and even a form of body art known as tattooing. Many heavy metal fans are extremely loyal to the bands they love and will go to great lengths to show their support.

Though it may never be mainstream, heavy metal music continues to be popular among fans all over the world.

The influence of heavy metal

Few musical genres have had as much of an impact on popular culture as heavy metal. Emerging in the 1970s, metal has since influenced everything from fashion to film. It has also spawned subgenres like black metal, death metal, and nu metal. But what is it about metal that has made it so popular?

There are a few factors that contribute to metal’s popularity. First, metal is a very diverse genre, with subgenres that appeal to different audiences. Second, metal is often seen as a “rebellious” genre of music, which appeals to many young people. Finally, metal musicians are often extremely talented, which makes them popular with musicians and music fans alike.

Despite its popularity, heavy metal has not always been well-received by the mainstream media. In the early days of the genre, metal was often associated with Satanism and other dark subjects. This led to considerable negative attention from religious groups and other moral crusaders. However, in recent years heavy metal has become more accepted by the mainstream, due in part to its increasing popularity with younger generations.

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