The Roots of Heavy Metal

At about the same time that Iggy Pop and The Stooges tore onto the stage in the late 60s with their uproarious early punk, heavy metal was also emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the rock world.

Heavy metal, or just “metal” boomed in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. With its huge sounds, amp distortion, mind-bending guitar solos, crashing drum sets and intense aggression, metal was never for the faint of heart.

First through the gates into the metal scene were bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Like all the forerunners in the wider world of rock, these pioneers copped a lot of flack from critics and naysayers. They were often looked on with bewilderment and disgust from the establishment, but that only added fuel to their fires.

Soon other bands were emerging to take this sub genre even further. The infamous Judas Priest stripped away the influence of earlier rock and just went straight to the hard stuff. Iron Maiden and other ‘headbanger’ groups soon appeared. The transformation continued, as these metalheads grew their hair to wild lengths, dressed in black and chains, but was stayed the same was the time honoured tradition of violent, virulent music.

Metal has undergone many iterations since it first burst onto the scene. Like most of the other genres, it became commercialised in the 80s and 90s, with band like Mötley Crüe and Poison taking some of the sharper edges off the sound.

Soon groups like Metallica, Slipknot and Megadeth were household names, with teenages in the first throes of rebellion looking to these musicians for leadership in a world they perceived as soft. Despite the fact that ‘metal’ as a genre of rock has softened and sometimes become indistinguishable from other types of music now, its history is long and checkered and one all rockers can be proud of.