|Cultural origins||Late 1960s to early 1970s, England and United States|
|Typical instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, drums|
Occult rock (also known as doom rockor witch rock) is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the late 1960s to early 1970s, pioneered by bands such as Coven and Black Widow. The genre is influenced by hard rock, proto-metal, psychedelic rock, progressive rock and blues, as well as commonly incorporating lyrics referencing the occult. Despite the common perception, it has been noted that occult rock is not inherently gloomy nor dark, however many bands have ventured down that path.
The genre has been described as being influenced by hard rock,proto-metal, psychedelic rock, progressive rock and blues, as well as commonly incorporating lyrics referencing the occult, however is not inherently gloomy nor dark. AXS noted that Tony Iommi's doom rock style of riffing defined the genre of heavy metal.
Occult rock emerged in the 1960s with groups such as Jacula, Black Widowand, most notably, Coven. Iron Butterfly's 1968 track "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was very influential to the development of occult rock's sound. Coven released their debut album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls in 1969, which preceded later occult rock groups such as the debut album by Black Widow, titled Sacrifice . Blue Öyster Cult released their debut album Blue Öyster Cult in 1972, which had significant influence on later bands such as Ghost. Due to the association with the occult, around the time of the Manson Family murders, many occult rock albums were halted from distribution, which only helped increase the public's fear of the music. When Black Sabbath first released their eponymous debut album in 1970, Rolling Stone's Lester Bangs described it as "England's answer to Coven". Early occult rock bands such as Coven, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Hawkwind and Blue Öyster Cult are considered by some critics to be extremely influential on the development of heavy metal music, or more specifically, styles such as stoner metal, doom metal and sludge metal. In article for the BBC, John Doran described Judas Priest's British Steel as the missing link between the doom rock of Black Sabbath and extreme metal styles, like thrash metal, death metal and black metal. In 1976, Blue Öyster Cult released their fourth studio album Agents of Fortune ; the album's first released single, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The imagery of occult rock bands was eventually revived, with the rise of New wave of British heavy metal bands such as Venom, Satan and Hell.
Beginning in the 2000s, occult rock experienced a revival, with a sound reminiscent of the style of the 1970s, including bands such as Ghost, Luciferian Light Orchestra, The Devil's Blood, Witch Mountain, Orchid and Blood Ceremony.Ghost's third and fourth albums reached numbers 8 and 3, respectively, on the Billboard 200. In 2007, occult rock bands Coven and Black Widow reformed and toured with many bands that they helped influence. Prog Magazine described the revival as encompassing a myriad of styles, including post-rock, psych-prog and progressive rock, as well as a distinct number of bands possessing female vocalists. Kadavar are considered by some critics to be one of the bands spearheading the German occult rock scene, despite them rejecting the label themselves. Kadavar's third studio album "Berlin" reached number 21 on the Billboard Heatseekers albums charts in 2015, which was five places higher than their previous effort.
Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band formed in Stony Brook, New York, in 1967, best known for the singles "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' for You", "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", and "Godzilla." They have sold 25 million records worldwide, including seven 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.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent in the United States. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, heavy metal bands developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and loudness. The lyrics and performances are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal. During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England, the United States and Sweden defined doom metal as a distinct genre.
Blue Öyster Cult is the eponymous debut studio album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on January 16, 1972 by Columbia Records. The album featured songs such as "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", "Stairway to the Stars", and "Then Came the Last Days of May", all of which the band still plays regularly during its concerts. Despite positive reviews, the album failed to chart for some time before finally cracking the Billboard 200 chart on May 20, 1972, peaking at No. 172. Blue Öyster Cult toured with artists such as The Byrds, Alice Cooper and the Mahavishnu Orchestra to support the album.
Fire of Unknown Origin is the eighth album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released in June 1981. It was produced by Martin Birch.
Cultösaurus Erectus is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on June 14, 1980. Following an experiment with a more-polished sound on the album Mirrors, this recording marked a return to the band's earlier, heavier sound. It also represents the band's first collaboration with British producer Martin Birch, who would also produce the band's following album Fire of Unknown Origin a year later.
Extraterrestrial Live is the third live album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, and was released in 1982. It primarily documents the band's 1981 tour in support of Fire of Unknown Origin, but also includes two tracks recorded in 1980, during the Black and Blue tour with Black Sabbath. Midway through the 1981 tour, the band fired drummer and founding member Albert Bouchard, replacing him with roadie Rick Downey.
Coven is an American rock band with occult lyrics formed in the late 1960s. They had a top 40 hit in 1971 with the song "One Tin Soldier", the theme song of the movie Billy Jack.
This is a timeline documenting the formative events in heavy metal music before 1970.
Death SS is an Italian heavy metal band.
"Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" is the debut single by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult from their eponymous debut album Blue Öyster Cult. Despite not charting, it has become a staple at concerts, and is regarded as one of their most famous songs. Its demo is credited with getting the band signed with Columbia Records. Lead vocals were performed by their drummer, Albert Bouchard.
Black and Blue is a live video by hard rock bands Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult filmed during their 1980 co-headlining tour of the United States, known as the "Black and Blue Tour". The film was originally released to theaters in 1981 as a concert film. It was later released on VHS, Betamax and laserdisc video format, but has not been officially released on DVD.
Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls is the debut studio album by the American rock band Coven. Released in 1969, it was unusual in that it dealt with overtly occult and satanic themes and was removed from the market soon after its release due to controversy, particularly as it coincided with the hysteria surrounding the Manson family and rampant media speculation about occult influences on the American counterculture. Despite its brief initial release, it remains a classic of its genre, and in some ways set groundbreaking trends for later rock bands. This album marked the first appearance in music of the sign of the horns, inverted crosses, and the phrase "Hail Satan". Today, these are characteristics of the occult and heavy metal genres. According to rock journalist Lester Bangs, "in England lie unskilled laborers like Black Sabbath, which was hyped as a rockin' ritual celebration of the Satanic mass, something like England's answer to Coven". As a further coincidence, Coven's bass guitarist and co-writer is credited as "Oz Osborne", and the opening track is "Black Sabbath".
Stoner rock, also known as stoner metal or stoner doom, is a rock music fusion genre that combines elements of heavy metal and/or doom metal with psychedelic rock and acid rock. The name references cannabis consumption. The term desert rock is often used interchangeably with the term "stoner rock" to describe this genre; however, not all stoner rock bands would fall under the descriptor of "desert rock". Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo and features a heavily distorted, groove-laden bass-heavy sound, melodic vocals, and "retro" production. The genre emerged during the early 1990s and was pioneered foremost by Monster Magnet and the California bands Fu Manchu, Kyuss and Sleep.
The Heaven & Hell Tour was the ninth world concert tour by Black Sabbath between April 1980 and February 1981 to promote their 1980 studio album, Heaven and Hell. The tour marked the band's first live shows with vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who replaced original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne the previous year; drummer Vinny Appice, who replaced original drummer Bill Ward in the middle of the tour's North American leg after Ward suddenly left the band due to personal issues; and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, who played keyboards on the Heaven and Hell album and accompanied the band on this tour as a sideman. For a portion of the North American tour, which was popularly known as the "Black and Blue Tour", Black Sabbath co-headlined with Blue Öyster Cult, with whom they shared a manager, Sandy Pearlman. The arrangement reportedly set attendance records but caused friction between the two bands as well as between Black Sabbath and Pearlman.
Kadavar are a German rock band from Berlin, founded in 2010. Their retro style, incorporating psychedelic rock and stoner rock, has been compared to bands of the 1970s hard rock/heavy metal era such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Kadavar currently consists of guitarist/lead vocalist Christoph "Lupus" Lindemann, drummer Christoph "Tiger" Bartelt and bassist Simon "Dragon" Bouteloup.
Wucan are a rock band from Dresden, Germany. The band were formed in 2011 and have released an EP and two studio albums to date. Francis Tobolsky, Tim George and Patrik Dröge are the founding members of the band and have remained in the line-up since. Leo Vaessen is the current drummer after several other drummers left the band.
Lucifer is a multinational heavy metal band formed in Berlin in 2014 by frontwoman Johanna Sadonis. Following several member changes, vocalist Sadonis remains the only constant member, with the current line-up featuring drummer Nicke Andersson, guitarists Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund, and bassist Harald Göthblad. Currently based out of Stockholm, the members are Swedish with the exception of the German Sadonis.
Necros Christos is a German death doom band from Berlin. The band was founded in 2001 and is under contract to Ván Records. The group has released three studio albums.