Sunday, June 17, 2012

Metal: a Conundrum?

Heavy Metal Music Wallpaper 2

Metal: a Conundrum?

What is it about metal that creates so many die hard fans? Besides the rebellion factor of the music being so different from one's parent's music or the folk music of the 60's, for me it's all about the sound. For others it might be the look, and granted sexy long haired musicians are a sight to see, but the black leather and denim attire, the punkish styles, the anarchic bent, is a small part of what metal means to many. Documentaries, notably "A Headbanger's Journey" have done an excellent job of exploring the meaning of metal and its roots, so this is just a personal observation from a metal fan.

Metal is all about the guitar, in my mind, referring to the strings and amplified sound that at times can scream, cry like a baby, wah wah wah or whisper sweet nothings in one's ears. The slower heavy beat drags me in with an irresistible urge to nod the head in time to the rhythm.

I don't believe acoustic guitar can ever be metal, although metal guitarists do acoustic versions of their songs, I've never known a purely acoustic band considered metal, have you?

To be a drummer in a metal band seems like it would be a lowly position, it certainly isn't about you. The drums keep the beat, they are background sound to the metal focus. No one is there to see the drummer, right? However, there are famous metal drummers just like in any other genre, and as much argument over who is good versus bad.

Just when we think we know what metal is about, guitars & distortion, we are thrown a curveball in sub-genres like death metal which seems to be more about the growl than the guitar, or speed metal, whose pace is set by the racing double drumming.

In a rock band, or a blues band, it's about the band or the sound as a whole, with each instrument as necessary to the music as any other, and each member gets to shine. With some exceptions like Jimi Hendrix, all about that lead guitar, a forerunner of metal music, the transition from blues to rock to metal that slowly transpired to create the metal genres we now celebrate.

Many of the early metal bands, such as Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, used theatricality to pose as evil death and devil worshippers that they now admit were false impressions used for their art, not a philosophy they actually believed or practiced. Yet their pose actually inspired other groups to focus on the practice of satanism and similar activities, notably the Finnish Black metal bands, for the most part metal has zero to do with the devil or any religion or lack of same.

For me, and most, metal is about the music, always has been and always will be. We are diehards, and we aren't going anywhere any time soon.

Metal Music Definition, From Wiki:
Heavy metal (often referred to simply as metal) is a genre of rock music[1] that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and in the United States.[2] 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.[3]

The first heavy metal bands, such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, eventually attracted large audiences, though many were critically reviled (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;[4][5] 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 Metallica, Megadeth, 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.

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