A metal umlaut is a diacritic that is sometimes used gratuitously or decoratively over letters in the names of hard rock or heavy metal bands—for example those of Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Motörhead, The Accüsed and Mötley Crüe.
A diacritic – also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent – is a glyph added to a letter or basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek διακριτικός, from διακρίνω. Diacritic is primarily an adjective, though sometimes used as a noun, whereas diacritical is only ever an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ), are often called accents. Diacritical marks may appear above or below a letter, or in some other position such as within the letter or between two letters.
Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid 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. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
In German orthography the umlaut version of a vowel is pronounced differently from the normal vowel; the letters u and ü represent distinct vowels, as do o and ö as well as a and ä . In some other languages it's used to show differences in usual pronunciation: e.g., Spanish bilingüe ('bilingual') is pronounced [bi.ˈliŋ.gue] instead of [bi.ˈliŋ.ge] ; Catalan països ('countries') is [pə.ˈi.zus] instead of [ˈpəi.zus] ; Welsh copïo ('to copy') is [kɔ.ˈpiː.ɔ] , not [ˈkɔp.jɔ] in this form of usage it is called the dieresis.
German orthography is the orthography used in writing the German language, which is largely phonemic. However, it shows many instances of spellings that are historic or analogous to other spellings rather than phonemic. The pronunciation of almost every word can be derived from its spelling once the spelling rules are known, but the opposite is not generally the case.
The Germanic umlaut is a type of linguistic umlaut in which a back vowel changes to the associated front vowel (fronting) or a front vowel becomes closer to (raising) when the following syllable contains, , or. It took place separately in various Germanic languages starting around AD 450 or 500 and affected all of the early languages except Gothic. An example of the resulting vowel alternation is the English plural foot ~ feet.
Ü, is a character that typically represents a close front rounded vowel. It is classified as a separate letter in several extended Latin alphabets, but as the letter U with an umlaut/diaeresis in others such as Catalan, French, Galician, German, Occitan and Spanish. Although not a part of their alphabet, it also appears in languages such as Swedish when retained in foreign names and words, and Swedish spells said letter and sound in domestic words solely as Y. A small number of Dutch words also use this as a diaeresis.
Among English speakers, the use of umlaut marks and other diacritics with a blackletter typeface is a form of foreign branding intended to give a band's logo a Teutonic quality—connoting stereotypes of boldness and brutality presumably associated with Germanic and Nordic cultures. Its use has also been attributed to a desire for a "gothic horror" feel.The metal umlaut is not generally intended to affect the pronunciation of the band's name.
Blackletter, also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from approximately 1150 until the 17th century. It continued to be used for the Danish language until 1875, and for German, Estonian and Latvian until the 20th century. Fraktur is a notable script of this type, and sometimes the entire group of blackletter faces is incorrectly referred to as Fraktur. Blackletter is sometimes referred to as Old English, but it is not to be confused with the Old English language, which predates blackletter by many centuries and was written in the insular script or in Futhorc.
In typography, a typeface is a set of one or more fonts each composed of glyphs that share common design features. Each font of a typeface has a specific weight, style, condensation, width, slant, italicization, ornamentation, and designer or foundry. For example, "ITC Garamond Bold Condensed Italic" means the bold, condensed-width, italic version of ITC Garamond. It is a different font from "ITC Garamond Condensed Italic" and "ITC Garamond Bold Condensed", but all are fonts within the same typeface, "ITC Garamond". ITC Garamond is a different typeface from "Adobe Garamond" or "Monotype Garamond". There are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly.
Foreign branding is an advertising and marketing term describing the use of foreign or foreign-sounding brand names for companies, products, and services. When the actual country of origin may not be beneficial, companies tend to use a foreign branding strategy, trying to make customers believe that the company and/or its products originate from a more favourable country than they actually do.
The first gratuitous use of the umlaut in the name of a hard rock or metal band appears to have been by Blue Öyster Cult, in 1970. Blue Öyster Cult's website states it was added by guitarist and keyboardist Allen Lanier,but rock critic Richard Meltzer claims to have suggested it to their producer and manager Sandy Pearlman just after Pearlman came up with the name: "I said, 'How about an umlaut over the O?' Metal had a Wagnerian aspect anyway."
Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band formed on Long Island, New York in 1967, perhaps best known for the singles "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' for You", and "Godzilla." Blue Öyster Cult has sold more than 24 million records worldwide, including 7 million in the United States alone. The band's music videos, especially "Burnin' for You," received heavy rotation on MTV when the music television network premiered in 1981, cementing the band's contribution to the development and success of the music video in modern popular culture.
Allen Glover Lanier was an American musician who played keyboards and rhythm guitar. He was an original member of Blue Öyster Cult. He resided in Manhattan.
Richard Meltzer is a rock critic, performer, and writer. He is considered by some rock historians to be the first to write real analysis of rock and roll and is credited with inventing "rock criticism".
Speakers of languages which use an umlaut to designate a pronunciation change may understand the intended effect, but perceive the result differently. When Mötley Crüe visited Germany, singer Vince Neil said the band couldn't figure out why "the crowds were chanting, Mutley Cruh! Mutley Cruh!"
Vincent Neil Wharton is an American musician. He is best known as the lead vocalist of heavy metal band Mötley Crüe which he co-founded in 1981, but he has also released three albums as a solo artist. He is known for his turbulent personal life which has led to multiple arrests and convictions, including one for vehicular manslaughter.
These decorative umlauts have been parodied in film and fiction; in an interview about the mockumentary film This Is Spın̈al Tap , fictional rocker David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) says, "It's like a pair of eyes. You're looking at the umlaut, and it's looking at you."The heavy metal parody band Gwar parodied the use of metal umlauts in a lyric insert included with its first record, stylizing the song names with gratuitous diacritics. In 1997, the satirical newspaper The Onion published an article titled "Ünited Stätes Toughens Image With Umlauts."
A mockumentary or docucomedy is a type of movie or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary.
This Is Spinal Tap is a 1984 American mockumentary film directed and co-written by Rob Reiner. It stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer as members of the fictional British heavy metal band Spinal Tap, and Reiner as Marty Di Bergi, a documentary filmmaker who follows them on their American tour. The film satirizes the behavior and musical pretensions of rock bands and the hagiographic tendencies of rock documentaries such as Gimme Shelter (1970), The Song Remains the Same (1976), and The Last Waltz (1978). Most of its dialogue was improvised and dozens of hours were filmed.
David Ivor St. Hubbins is a fictional character in the mockumentary film This Is Spinal Tap (1984). In the film, he is the lead singer and co-lead guitarist of the mock rock band Spinal Tap. David is played by actor Michael McKean, who improvised the role through the whole film. McKean writes in his introduction to This Is Spinal Tap: The Official Guide, "When I am called upon to generate copy about the mostly fictional entity called Spinal Tap, I usually do so in the mostly fictional character of David St. Hubbins."
Mötley Crüe is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, lead singer Vince Neil, and lead guitarist Mick Mars. Mötley Crüe has sold 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. They have also achieved seven platinum or multi-platinum certifications, nine Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, twenty-two Top 40 mainstream rock hits, and six Top 20 pop singles. The band had experienced several short term lineup changes in the 1990s and 2000s that included vocalist John Corabi and drummers Randy Castillo and Samantha Maloney, both of whom filled in for Lee during his split from the band from 1999 to 2004.
Speed metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) roots. It is described by AllMusic as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" music.
Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Quebec. The band's current line-up consists of Denis "Snake" Bélanger (vocals), Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain (guitar), Dominic "Rocky" Laroche (bass) and Michel "Away" Langevin (drums). Their musical style has changed several times since the band's origin in the early 1980s. Starting out as a speed metal band, Voivod have added a mix of progressive metal and thrash metal to create their own unique metal style, and they are credited as one of the "big four" Canadian thrash metal bands, along with Sacrifice, Razor, and Annihilator.
Monsters of Rock was an annual hard rock and heavy metal music festival held in Castle Donington, England from 1980 to 1996, taking place every year except 1989 and 1993. It later branched into other locations such as the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Robert Jens Rock is a Canadian musician, sound engineer, and record producer, best known for producing rock bands and music artists such as Metallica, the Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, the Cult, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, 311, Our Lady Peace, Bryan Adams, the Offspring, Michael Bublé, Black Veil Brides, David Lee Roth, and Ron Sexsmith.
Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta is a book written by Chuck Klosterman, first published by Scribner in 2001. It is a history of heavy metal music, with a particular emphasis on the glam metal that flourished during Klosterman's formative years in the mid-to-late 1980s, through its demise in the early 1990s, and potential rebirth in the late 1990s. It was awarded the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for criticism in 2002.
Generation Swine is the seventh studio album by the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, released on June 24, 1997. The album marks the return of lead singer Vince Neil following his last appearance on 1989's Dr. Feelgood and the last to feature drummer Tommy Lee until the 2008 album Saints of Los Angeles. It is also the band's last album to be released on Elektra Records.
John Corabi is an American hard rock singer and guitarist. He was the frontman of The Scream during 1989. He was also the frontman of Mötley Crüe between 1994 and 1996 during original frontman Vince Neil's hiatus from the band.
Greatest Hits is the second compilation album by American heavy metal band, Mötley Crüe. It was released on November 14, 1998 on Mötley/Hip-O.
"Looks That Kill" is a song by American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. It was released in 1983, on the group's second album Shout at the Devil.
"N̈", or "n̈" is a grapheme from several minor extended Latin alphabets, the letter N with a diaeresis mark.
Damnocracy was a heavy metal supergroup formed on, and for, the VH1 TV show Supergroup in 2006.
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is a 2005 documentary film directed by Sam Dunn with Scot McFadyen and Jessica Wise. The film follows 31-year-old Dunn, a Canadian anthropologist, who has been a heavy metal fan since the age of 12. Dunn sets out across the world to uncover the various opinions on heavy metal music, including its origins, culture, controversy, and the reasons it is loved by so many people. The film made its debut at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released as a two-disc special edition DVD in the US on 19 September 2006.
Kill Cheerleader was a rock band whose members formed in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mainly influenced by punk rock and heavy metal acts such as The Stooges, early era Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Iron Maiden, the Ramones, Girlschool, Joan Jett and Neil Young, they had crafted their own unique, sleazy style of rock 'n' roll, once being described as "a derailed train hitting a Baptist Church". Lemmy from Motörhead described Kill Cheerleader as the "greatest rock n' roll band since Guns N' Roses."
This is a timeline documenting the events of heavy metal in the year 1981.
"If I Die Tomorrow" is a song by the American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe released on their 2005 compilation album Red, White & Crüe. The song was one of the new songs recorded by Mötley Crüe for the album and the single charted at number 4 on the Mainstream rock charts. It is the first single since "Beauty", to feature drummer Tommy Lee.
"Live Wire" is the debut single by the American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. It was released on their 1981 debut album Too Fast for Love.
Biker metal is a fusion genre that combines elements of punk rock, heavy metal, rock and roll and blues, that was pioneered in the late-1970s to early-1980s in England and the United States, by Motörhead, Plasmatics, Anti-Nowhere League and Girlschool.
Some groups, for example Blue Öyster Cult and Motörhead, added gratuitous umlauts to their names to conjure up a more generic gothic horror, a practice that continued into the 1980s with Mötley Crüe and others.