Metal Bands

Evolution of Heavy Metal

To start, it helps to understand that the origins of Metal Bands came from Rock and Roll that evolved from the

Blues and Psychedelic sounds prominent in the sixties. As it took a heavier turn with the use of

distortion and power chords, there came the sound known as Hard Rock, perpetuated most

significantly by Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple who were verging on something yet to be defined.

But as bands like Black Sabbath emerged with groundbreaking new albums such as their 1970

record Paranoid, it became obvious that the roots in blues that other Rock bands stuck to were

being shed, replacing the ‘swing’ aspect with a ‘headbanger’ vibe, and where riffs used to center

around chord progressions, they could now be described as stand­alone melodies.

Other influences shaping the new sound were progressive rock

bands like Jethro Tull, and horror movie soundtracks like those of Boris Karloff’s films. Following

with the theme of darkness and horror, another aspect that drew the divide between Rock and

Heavy Metal was the difference in lyrical content. In contrast to the romantic notions, peace-
promoting lines and happy sentiments that were the norm for rock music in the era, Heavy Metal

explored the serious side of reality, life beyond individual desires, mortality, and was heavily

influenced by the work of occult writers such as Dennis Wheatley.

As the genre became its own through the seventies, the lines

between Hard Rock and Metal continued to be blurred (Van Halen, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron

Maiden, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Budgie, Kiss, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy), but by 1978 the

movement of pure Metal could be confirmed, and subgenres began to emerge.

Of course, the sound was not the only thing that made the Metal

scene. Beginning with the introduction of leather and studs by Judas Priest, Metal fashion quickly

became essential to being accepted as part of the Metal world. Coming out from the Los

Angeles/Sunset Strip scene in the late seventies and into the eighties, so­called “hair bands” known

for their personal style – men with long, teased and aqua­netted locks, tight jeans and leather, and a

penchant for eyeliner – were the face of Glam Metal as the focus for some bands (Motley Crue,

Poison, Ratt, Quiet Riot) transitioned to a “glamorous” lifestyle to be emulated by the fans.

Simultaneously evolving was the Speed Metal sound, which

focused primarily on melody and technical excellence, demonstrated by bands such as Anthrax,

Anvil and Pantera. Quickly borne from this sound was Speed Metal’s close relative, Thrash Metal.

By 1981 the “Big Four” bands – Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax – pioneered the Thrash

Metal front in complete contrast and perhaps as a reaction to the conventionality of the Glam

Metal scene. Speed Metal and Thrash Metal took elements from the New Wave of British Heavy

Metal and hardcore punk, focusing heavily on speed, aggression, and social issues such as

reproach for “The Establishment.”

Stemming from Thrash Metal, the 1980s also saw the

beginnings of Black Metal, Death Metal, and Grindcore. More of an underground variety, Black

Metal, beginning with bands like Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, and Celtic Frost, differed in its

use of shrieking vocals and unconventional song structures that presented extremely dark subject

matter such as Satanism. Similarly misanthropic, bands like Venom, Slayer, Possessed and Death

which identified as Death Metal bands also used highly distorted guitars, tremolo picking and blast

beat drumming, but replaced the shrieking vocals of Black Metal with deep growling. With vocals

that range between the two extremities of shrieking and growling, Grindcore took on more

elements of the Hardcore Punk, Industrial, and Noise Music that was coming out of Great Britain.

Its lyrics ranged from provocative to gory, and also addressed social and political concerns.

Despite the significant followings of these subgenres, those

long­standing bands which were most closely related to the origins of Heavy Metal – Ozzy

Osbourne, Metallica, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Pantera – continued to dominate the scene through

the late eighties and into the 1990s.

In the early 1990s, yet another metal sound was emerging – the

1993 release of Korn’s debut album signified the beginnings of Nu­Metal, a fusion of Thrash Metal

and Alternative Metal with a more urban persuasion using elements of Hip­hop and Industrial.

Other bands like Deftones, Staind, Limp Bizkit, and Slipknot followed in the same vein and Nu-
metal gathered the masses through the late nineties and early 2000s. However, as quickly as it

erupted, the mainstream popularity of nu­metal declined and a shift back toward traditional heavy

metal and alternative metal occurred.

Today fans exist for all subgenres described so far, and there

are so many more – Metalcore, Power Metal, Industrial Metal, Progressive Metal, Pop Metal, Folk

Metal, Goth Metal, the list goes on. The fact is, since its inception Heavy Metal has proven to be

an enduring and complicated beast – and through many more evolutions to be sure, will continue

to thrive with legions of hardcore fans, young and old.

Chrome is a Virginia Beach, Virginia based Heavy Metal band

with an extensive catalog of 8­string metal. Chrome has been rocking since 2000 and continues to

release hard hitting metal albums! To check out their music and find out more information, go to­