Imagine, if you will, being surrounded by millions of people, waiting in anticipation for the band to come on. You can’t breathe because the people are being squeezed into you by their neighbors. You are sweating, trying to catch every bit of oxygen you can from the air, while others are jumping up and down, hitting you as they wait for the band. Finally, the band comes on stage and you are excited, and they start with: (play music here). This, is what heavy metal music is all about. I have been listening to heavy metal music since I was an infant.
My first CD was Metallica’s Master of Puppets CD that my dad let me have. I have researched many heavy metal bands as the years have gone by. I know what you are thinking, what does heavy metal music have to do with me? Well, metal music is all around you. You can walk down the street and hear someone’s radio playing it. You can hear it in some rap songs, like; “Bring the Noize” by Public Enemy with Anthrax, and “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy who took the intro of “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne, and put a beat over it.
You can even hear it in country music from Cross Canadian Ragweed as they took a solo by heavy metal guitarist Dimebag Darrell and put it in their song, “Dimebag.” Heavy metal music is one of the most copied genres of music out there. Today I am going to tell you about what heavy metal really is, the beginning of heavy metal, and the impact that heavy metal has had on today’s society.
First, what is heavy metal music? Dee Snider, the spokesman of all that is heavy metal, defines metal as, “Drum-pounding-, bass-booming-, guitar-distorted-, and singer-belting-music.” That is the worldwide definition of heavy metal. Heavy metal brings together three genres of music, blues, psychedelic rock, and classical music.
Early bands included keyboards, or organs, into their music, but recent bands have gone away from using the keyboard. Heavy metal usually, but not always, contains a single formula. A drummer, a bassist, a rhythm guitarist, a lead guitarist, and a singer, who may or may not play some kind of instrument. With this formula, it is obvious that their music is purely based on the instruments. A heavy metal drummer uses a larger drum setup than most other rock genres.
The singer of the heavy metal band is very important, equally important as the guitarists. The singers can have a large vocal range, like that of Ronnie James Dio of the band Rainbow, or they can be mellow like that of James Hetfield of Metallica. The guitarists’ high distortion is the key to metal music.
This gives it the heavy metal “sound.” Also, unlike many other genres of rock, the bassist is important to the band. It is not uncommon to hear a bassist throw in his/her own solo into the song. As a whole, the band uses very high volume. The louder the music, the better. Now that you know what heavy metal is, I will tell you about the beginning of it.
The start of metal can be very confusing. For instance, Deena Weinstein, in her book, Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture, credited Black Sabbath with the start of heavy metal, but this is not entirely true. Carlos M. Pozo, in his book Caucasion Power Blues, wrote, “Blue Cheer’s cover of “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochrane, is the first heavy metal song.” “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly is another one of the earliest heavy metal songs.
Then, in 1969, came Black Sabbath. At about the same time as Sabbath, another big metal band emerged. This band went by the name of Led Zeppelin. Even though these two bands did not start heavy metal, they brought it to the public. Sabbath and Zeppelin are two of the most popular rock, let alone heavy metal, bands of all time. They faced much criticism at first, but as more people hated them, others started loving them.
These people were the “rebels”, the ones that did not want to listen to their parents because it was their lives, not their parents’. Because of these “rebels,” heavy metal’s popularity has grown drastically over the years. Regardless of what their parents said, they continued buying heavy metal albums, sometimes they even bought more than usual, in spite of their parents. This sparked rise of heavy metal in later years. That is how heavy metal began, now it is time to learn about the impact it has had on society.
Heavy metal has had a drastic impact on society today. According to Encyclopedia Metallica, which is an online website that displays news about Metallica, “All Metallica albums are banned in Jordan because newspapers called them “satanists” and “devil-worshipers.” People were listening to Metallica and destroying things around town, so they had to ban Metallica. During the ’80s, parents disliked the heavy metal music so much, they decided to try to get some kind of warning on the albums. This resulted in the Parental Advisory sticker on every explicit CD you see today.
This is not the only impact that heavy metal music has had. In 1990, heavy metal band, Judas Priest, were sued because the parents of James Vance, and Ray Belknap believed that Priest’s music contained subliminal messages that forced these two men to commit suicide. It was found that these two men were highly suicidal before finding Judas Priest, therefore, Priest were found innocent.
This is, yet, another situation where the parents dislike heavy metal so much, that they blame the bands for the death of their children. Sadly, this is a recurring action taken by the parents that will not stop until the hate of heavy metal music is gone, which will not happen any time soon. This is the impact that heavy metal has had on society.
Heavy metal music has been alive since the ’60s. Even though Black Sabbath are credited with being the first worldwide popular heavy metal band, they did not start it. Heavy metal has become quite popular since it began, and has changed society from day one. So, today you learned what heavy metal music is, about the beginning of heavy metal, and it’s impact on society. So, I leave you with a quote from AC/DC, “For those about to rock, we salute you!”
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