Traditional heavy metal has stylistic origins Rock, psychedelic rock, blues rock and hard rock. It's cultural origins date back to the Late 1960s United Kingdom and United States, with typical instruments being Electric guitar, Bass guitar, Drums and Vocals. It gained mainstream popularity Worldwide, mostly in 1968-1991. Traditional heavy metal, also known as classic metal or simply heavy metal, is the seminal genre of heavy metal music before the genre "evolved and splintered into many different styles and subgenres."
Heavy metal (often referred to simply as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and in the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are generally associated with masculinity and machismo.
The first heavy metal bands, such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Blue Cheer eventually attracted large audiences, though many were critically reviled at the time (with the notable exception of Led Zeppelin), a status common throughout the history of the genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as "metalheads" or "headbangers".
In the 1980s, glam metal became a major commercial force with groups like Mötley Crüe and Poison. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, while other styles like death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s, popular styles such as nu metal, which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop; and metalcore, which blends extreme metal with hardcore punk, have further expanded the definition of the genre.
Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording, and unconventional song structures.
During the 1980s, several thrash metal bands formed a prototype for black metal. This so-called "first wave" included bands such as Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. A "second wave" arose in the early 1990s, spearheaded by Norwegian bands such as Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal and Emperor. The music of the early Norwegian black metal scene became a distinct genre.
Initially considered a synonym for "Satanic metal", black metal has often been met with hostility from mainstream culture, mainly due to the misanthropic and anti-Christian standpoint of many artists. Moreover, several of the genre's pioneers have been linked with church burnings and murder. For these reasons and others, black metal is usually seen as an underground form of music. Additionally some have been linked to neo-Nazism, however most black metal fans and most prominent black metal musicians reject Nazi ideology and oppose its influence on the black metal subculture.
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, minor keys or atonality, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes.
Building from the musical structure of thrash metal and early black metal, death metal emerged during the mid 1980s. Metal acts such as Slayer, Kreator, Celtic Frost, and Venom were very important influences to the crafting of the genre. Possessed and Death, along with bands such as Obituary, Carcass, Deicide and Morbid Angel are often considered pioneers of the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, death metal gained more media attention as popular genre niche record labels like Combat, Earache and Roadrunner began to sign death metal bands at a rapid rate. Since then, death metal has diversified, spawning a variety of subgenres.
Doom metal is an extreme form of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal with songs such as "Black Sabbath", "Electric Funeral" and "Into the Void". During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England (Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General), the United States (Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Trouble) and Sweden (Candlemass, Count Raven) defined doom metal as a distinct genre.
Glam metal (also known as hair metal and often used synonymously with pop metal) is a subgenre of hard rock and heavy metal. It combines elements of these genres with punk rock, adding catchy hooks and guitar riffs, while borrowing from the aesthetic of 1970s glam rock.
It arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene, pioneered by bands such as Kix, Night Ranger, Mötley Crüe and Quiet Riot. It was popular throughout the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, bringing to prominence bands including Poison, Cinderella and Bon Jovi.
The genre rapidly lost mainstream interest from 1991 to 1993 with the rise of grunge and the release of albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind, but it has enjoyed revivals since the beginning of the new millennium with the Swedish sleaze metal movement and the retro styling of bands including The Darkness and Steel Panther.
Gothic metal or goth metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music that combines the heaviness of doom metal with the dark melancholy of gothic rock. The music of gothic metal is diverse with bands known to adopt the gothic approach to different styles of heavy metal music. The genre originated during the early 1990s in Europe originally as an outgrowth of death/doom, a fusion of death metal and doom metal. Lyrics are generally melodramatic and mournful with inspiration from gothic fiction as well as personal experiences.
Pioneers of gothic metal (although the bands themselves never claim the title of gothic-metal) include Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema, all from the north of England. Other pioneers from the first half of the 1990s include Type O Negative from the United States, Tiamat from Sweden, and The Gathering from the Netherlands. Norwegian band Theatre of Tragedy developed the "beauty and the beast" aesthetic of combining aggressive male vocals with clean female vocals, a contrast that has since been adopted by many gothic metal groups. During the mid-1990s, Moonspell, Theatres des Vampires and Cradle of Filth brought the gothic approach to black metal. By the end of the decade, a symphonic metal variant of gothic metal had been developed by Tristania and Within Temptation.
In the 21st century, gothic metal has moved towards the mainstream in Europe, particularly in Finland where groups such as Entwine, HIM, Lullacry and Poisonblack have released hit singles or chart-topping albums. In the US, however, only a few bands such as HIM, Lacuna Coil, Evanescence and Cradle of Filth have found commercial success.
Groove metal (sometimes called post-thrash metal or post-thrash) is a subgenre of heavy metal. It is often used to describe Pantera and Exhorder. At its core, groove metal takes the intensity and sonic qualities of thrash metal and plays it at a mid-tempo, with most bands making only occasional forays into fast tempo.
Pantera's Cowboys from Hell album from 1990 was described as "groundbreaking" and "blueprint-defining" for the groove metal genre. Ian Christe credits Sepultura's Chaos A.D. and Pantera for creating the death metal-derived music of groove metal influencing later groups in the genre during the 1990s. Groove metal bands have incorporated thrash metal, hardcore punk, and industrial music. Tommy Victor of Prong claims that the attitude of groove metal came from Bad Brains.
Power metal is a style of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a more uplifting sound, in contrast to the heaviness and dissonance prevalent in styles such as doom metal and death metal. The term was first used in the middle of the 80s and refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a later more widespread and popular style based in Europe (especially Germany, Finland, Italy, Scandinavia), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil) and Japan, with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.
Speed metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and hardcore punk roots. It is described by Allmusic as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" music.
Motörhead is often credited as the first band to invent/play speed metal. Some of speed metal's earlier influences include Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave", Deep Purple's "Fireball" and Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" (which was eventually covered by the thrash metal band Metallica), from their 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack, and Deep Purple's song "Highway Star", from their album Machine Head. The latter was called 'early speed metal' by Robb Reiner of speed metal band Anvil. Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown", first released in January 1969, could also be said to be an early template for speed metal as mentioned in Mac Randall's.
Speed metal eventually evolved into thrash metal. Although many tend to equate the two subgenres, others argue that there is a distinct difference between them. In his book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, Ian Christe states that "...thrash metal relies more on long, wrenching rhythmic breaks, while speed metal... is a cleaner and more musically intricate subcategory, still loyal to the dueling melodies of classic metal."
Stoner Rock or Stoner Metal
Stoner rock or stoner metal is a subgenre of heavy metal, combining elements of psychedelic rock, blues rock, traditional heavy metal and doom metal. Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo and features a bass-heavy sound, melodic vocals, and 'retro' production. The genre emerged during the early 1990s and was pioneered foremost by the Californian bands Kyuss and Sleep.
Due to the similarities between stoner and sludge metal, there is often a crossover between the two genres. This hybrid has traits of both styles, but generally avoids stoner metal's positive atmosphere and its usage of psychedelia. Bands such as Bongzilla, Weedeater, High on Fire and Electric Wizard have been reported to fuse both styles.
Thrash metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is characterized usually by its fast tempo and aggression. Songs of the genre typically use fast percussive and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. Lyrics of thrash metal songs often deal with social issues, often using direct and denunciatory language, an approach which partially overlaps with the hardcore genre. The "Big Four" bands of thrash metal are Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax who simultaneously created and popularized the genre in the early 1980s.
Some common characteristics of thrash metal are fast guitar riffs with aggressive picking styles and lightning fast solos. Drums in thrash metal songs feature the extensive use of the snare drum and double bass drumming .
The origins of thrash metal are generally traced to the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a number of bands began incorporating the sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, creating a new genre and developing into a separate movement from punk rock and hardcore. This genre is more aggressive compared to its relative, speed metal, and can be seen in part to be a reaction to the lighter, more widely acceptable sounds and themes of glam metal.