Welcome to the second episode of Heavy Metal Evolution! This week, we’re focusing on the music itself. We’ll be exploring the different subgenres of metal, how they’ve evolved over the years, and some of the key bands and albums that have shaped the genre. So strap in and get ready for a ride through the history of heavy metal!
Heavy Metal Evolution: Episode 2 – The Music is the second episode in a three-part documentary series about the history of heavy metal. In this episode, host Sam Dunn explores the origins of metal music and how it has evolved over the years. He interviews some of metal’s biggest stars, including Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. Dunn also looks at how metal has influenced other genres of music, such as punk and hip hop.
The Music of the 80s
The 80s were a time of change for music. This was the decade when metal really began to take off and evolve into the various subgenres we know today. The 80s saw the birth of speed metal, thrash metal, and death metal, as well as the more commercially popular hair metal. This was also the decade when metal began to take on a more aggressive sound. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the music of the 80s and how it helped shape the metal we know and love today.
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a new wave of British heavy metal music emerged. Bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Motörhead played faster, heavier music than had been previously popular. This new style of music became known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or simply NWOBHM.
The NWOBHM was a direct response to the popularity of bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. These bands had pioneered heavy metal in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but by the end of the decade, they were already starting to sound outdated. In contrast, NWOBHM bands sounded fresh and exciting. They took heavy metal in a new direction, one that would ultimately lead to the development of thrash metal and other extreme subgenres.
NWOBHM bands were incredibly influential, not just on subsequent heavy metal bands, but on the entire rock music scene. The energy and excitement of their music was infectious, and it inspired many other musicians to push the boundaries of their own genres. The NWOBHM is widely regarded as one of the most important movements in rock history.
Thrash metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that emerged in the early 1980s. Thrash metal is characterized by its aggressive, fast-paced sound and its use of power chords. Power chords are chords that consist of only the root note and the fifth. Thrash metal bands often use double kick drums and palm muting to create a thick, heavy sound.
The origin of thrash metal is often traced back to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a movement that began in the late 1970s. NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were influential on the development of thrash metal. American bands such as Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth were also important in the genre’s development.
The first thrash metal band is often considered to be Venom, whose 1982 album Black Metal is considered a seminal release in the genre. Other important early thrash bands include Exodus, Tankard, Sodom, Kreator, Destruction, and Slayer. In the mid-1980s, thrash metal began to gain popularity in North America, with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax leading the way. The Big Four of Thrash Metal are often considered to be Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax.
The thrash metal scene continued to grow in popularity throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Important releases during this time period include Sepultura’s Beneath the Remains (1989), Death’s Human (1991), Testament’s The Ritual (1992), Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power (1992), Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes (1994), and Sepultura’s Roots (1996). In 2001, nu-metal band Linkin Park released their debut album Hybrid Theory which contained elements of thrash metal; despite this, the band is not typically considered a thrash band.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in thrash metal with newer bands such as Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, Bonded by Blood, Warbringer, Evile , Vektor , Havok , Exmortus , Power Trip ,and Fury creating new music in the genre.
The Music of the 90s
In the early 1990s, the music of the decade was characterized by a return to traditionalism, with a focus on melody and songcraft. This was in contrast to the previous decade’s focus on experimentalism, synth-pop, and disco.
Nu metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music that emerged in the late 1990s. It is characterized by the use of aggressive, distorted guitars, drum machines, and electronic influences. Nu metal bands often have rap or hip hop influences, and some have been known to incorporate elements of alternative rock and grunge.
The genre was first established by bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit, who attained mainstream success in the early 2000s. nu metal has continued to evolve since then, with new bands emerging in the 2010s such as Bring Me the Horizon and Of Mice & Men.
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1980s. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat percussion, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. Its themes are often dark and violent.
Death metal arose during the same period as thrash metal, but death metal bands rejected the theatrics of earlier bands such as Iron Maiden and Kiss. Death metal vocals are typically guttural growls or high-pitched screams. One characteristic of death metal is complex drum patterns with frequent double kick drumming and blast beats influenced by hardcore punk.
Another characteristic is breakdowns—short sections of a song during which a sample groove is played at a very slow tempo to build tension. Blast beating is common in death metal drumming. While instruments are mostly down-tuned to create a heavier sound globally across all instruments, guitar solos often make use of up-tuning for effect. Death metal also makes extensive use of guitar pinch harmonics to emphasise notes played on the lower string registers for increased heaviness.
In the original death metal scene in Florida during the mid-late 1980s—which included bands such as Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary—the sound was defined by Scott Burns’ atmospheric guttural vocals which backed up low chord riffing played onDowney’s custom 7-string guitars by tremolo picking.low
The Music of the 2000s
The early 2000s were a time of great change in the heavy metal world. Nu metal had taken the world by storm, and bands were experimenting with new sounds and styles. This was also a time when the Internet began to have a major impact on the music industry. Let’s take a look at the heavy metal music of the early 2000s.
Metalcore is a subgenre of heavy metal that combines elements of hardcore punk with heavy metal. It was popularized in the early 2000s by bands such as Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, and All That Remains. Metalcore features heavy guitar riffs, breakdowns, and screamed vocals.
Deathcore is a subgenre of metalcore that emerged in the early 2000s. It is an amalgamation of metalcore and death metal, with the former usually providing the music’s structure, and the latter providing extreme brutality. Blast beats, metal hardcore break downs, and metal influenced riffing are all common traits of deathcore.
The earliest examples of deathcore can be found in the work of bands such as Integrity, Dead Hearts, and Buried Alive. These bands blended the influences of hardcore punk and death metal to create a sound that was both heavy and aggressive. As the 2000s progressed, more and more bands began to experiment with this sound, expanding on it in new and interesting ways.
Some notable deathcore bands include Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Carnifex, Despised Icon, Bleeding Through, The Red Chord, All Shall Perish, Job for a Cowboy, Oceano, Thy Art is Murder, Fit for an Autopsy, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Architects UK
Now that you know the basics of the evolution of heavy metal music, you can start to explore the genre in more depth. There are endless possibilities when it comes to heavy metal music, and new bands are always emerging with their own unique take on the style. So dive in and start exploring this ever-evolving genre of music!
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