|Cultural origins||Late 1970s and early 1980s, Europe and North America|
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.
Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal and visual transgression".
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.
The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.
"It is usually considered less abrasive and more melodic than thrash metal, showing less influence from hardcore punk. However, speed metal is usually faster and more aggressive than traditional heavy metal, also showing more inclination to virtuoso soloing and featuring short instrumental passages between couplets. Speed metal songs frequently make use of highly expressive vocals, but are usually less likely to employ 'harsh' vocals than thrash metal songs."
One of the key influences on the development of speed metal was the new wave of British heavy metal, or NWOBHM. This was a heavy metal movement that started in the late 1970s, in Britain, and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. NWOBHM bands toned down the blues influences of earlier acts, incorporated elements of punk, increased the tempo, and adopted a "tougher" sound, taking a harder approach to its music.
It was an era directed almost exclusively at heavy metal fans and is considered to be a major foundation stone for the extreme metal genres.
The NWOBHM came to dominate the heavy metal scene of the early-mid-1980s. It was musically characterized by fast upbeat tempo songs, power chords, fast guitar solos and melodic, soaring vocals. Groups such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom, Saxon and Motörhead as well as many lesser-known ones, became part of the canon that influenced American bands that formed in the early eighties.
Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-eight albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.
Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. The band has sold over 50 million copies of their albums to date. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status.
Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1978 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982)—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. Venom's second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of the extreme metal subgenre of black metal.
Motörhead is often credited as the first band to play speed metal.Some of speed metal's earlier influences include Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave", Budgie's "Breadfan" and Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" (the latter two were eventually covered by the thrash metal band Metallica), as well as certain Deep Purple songs such as "Speed King", "Fireball" and "Highway Star". The latter was called "early speed metal" by Robb Reiner of speed metal band Anvil.
Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.
"Children of the Grave" is a song by Black Sabbath from their 1971 album Master of Reality. The song lyrically continues with the same anti-war themes brought on by "War Pigs" and "Electric Funeral" from Paranoid, adding in Geezer Butler's pacifist ideals of non-violent civil disobedience. Two previously unreleased versions of this song are released on the deluxe edition of Master of Reality. The first is a version with alternate lyrics, the second an instrumental version.
Budgie are a Welsh rock band from Cardiff. They are described by author Garry Sharpe-Young as one of the earliest heavy metal bands and a seminal influence to many acts of that scene, with fast, heavy rock being played as early as 1971. The band has been noted as "among the heaviest metal of its day".
The origin song for the genre was aptly named "Speed King" by Deep Purple. Recording on the song started in 1969 making it nearly a full decade ahead of the musical style being recognized. The song is not only very fast and technical but was also extremely loud creating noticeable distortion in the recording process. The title song for the bands next album, "Fireball", is a further refinement of the band's influence with drummer Ian Paice's use of the double bass. The way the double bass is played in "Fireball" - up tempo "four on the floor" - becomes a mainstay in many Heavy, Speed and Thrash Metal songs in the years to come. This is the only Deep Purple song that employs the double bass and video from the band shows them actually bring out the second bass as needed to play the song. While speedy, technical playing did not dominate Deep Purple's music, they clearly were the inventors of rock that was fast, technical and loud. Those characteristics would become the hallmarks of Speed Metal. Given the name of the origin song - Speed King - they also probably played a role in the genre's naming. At the very least they acknowledged what they were doing which was a radical departure from all prior rock music.
"Speed King" is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple, from their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock.
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.
"Fireball" is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple, from the album of the same name. It was Deep Purple's second single release in 1971, and peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles chart. It is one of several songs based on Ian Gillan's real life experiences: "She was a complete mystery to me. This is another tale of unrequited love", he explained.
Black Sabbath are a British heavy metal band from Birmingham, England, and are often cited as one of the grandfathers of the genre. Though usually known for playing a fairly slow, sludgy tempo, "After Forever" is a very up-tempo song with a much faster pace than other songs in their catalogue. Still in certain other songs such as "Electric Funeral", "Into the Void" and "Under the Sun (Every Day Comes and Goes)" there is a section in the middle of the song that shifts away from the core music and plays a much faster pace than in the rest of the song, then returns to the original melody. There are those who believe that their song "Symptom of the Universe" from their 1975 release Sabotage album is the first true example of a speed metal song.
Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band, also formed in Birmingham, England. They often played faster than most rock groups of the time and brought a more "metallic" sound to the guitars. Some songs, such as 1978's "Exciter", were groundbreaking for their sheer ferocity and speed; few, if any, bands exempting Motörhead, played with the same tempo.[ citation needed ]
Exciter (who took their name from the aforementioned Judas Priest song) is a Canadian speed metal band from Ottawa, Ontario, which was formed in 1978. They are widely considered to be one of the first speed metal bands and a seminal influence of the thrash metal genre. Anvil are another Canadian speed metal band, from Toronto, Ontario, who also formed in 1978. To date, the band has released sixteen studio albums, and has been cited as having influenced many notable thrash metal groups, including Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth. Annihilator is a Canadian speed/thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Jeff Waters. They are the highest selling heavy metal group in Canadian history, having sold 2 million records worldwide.
Accept is a German heavy metal band which played an important role in the development of speed and thrash metal, being part of the German heavy metal scene, which emerged in the early to mid-1980s. Of particular importance was their 1982 track "Fast as a Shark".
Speed metal eventually evolved into thrash metal.Although many tend to equate the two subgenres, others argue that there is a distinct difference between them. In his book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal , Ian Christe states that "...thrash metal relies more on long, wrenching rhythmic breaks, while speed metal... is a cleaner and more musically intricate subcategory, still loyal to the dueling melodies of classic metal." However, on the very next page, Christe calls speed metal a "subset of thrash metal" and argues that "There was little intrinsic difference between speed metal and thrash metal. With the sudden boom of fast, raging bands, however, it sometimes helped to distinguish between the throbbing, rhythm-heavy thrash metal and something a bit cleaner and more melodic--dubbed speed metal."
Speed metal's sound varied between various regional scenes. European bands leaned towards the sound of bands like Venom and Motörhead. Japanese bands had a more melodic sound that resembled power metal. North American bands had a faster, more aggressive sound that would later influence the thrash metal movement.
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.
Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.
Power metal is a subgenre of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional heavy metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a faster, lighter, and more uplifting sound, in contrast with the heaviness and dissonance prevalent for example in extreme metal. Power metal bands usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses, thus creating a theatrical, dramatic and emotionally "powerful" sound. The term was first used in the middle of the 1980s and refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a later more widespread and popular style based in Europe, South America and Japan, with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.
Alternative metal is a rock music fusion genre that infuses heavy metal with influences from alternative rock and other genres not normally associated with metal. Alternative metal bands are often characterized by heavily downtuned, mid-paced guitar riffs, a mixture of accessible melodic vocals and harsh vocals and sometimes unconventional sounds within other heavy metal styles. The term has been in use since the 1980s, although it came into prominence in the 1990s.
Possessed is an American death metal band, originally formed in 1983. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, they are often called the first band in the death metal genre.
A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.
Heavy metal fashion is the style of dress, body modification, make-up, hairstyle, and so on, taken on by fans of heavy metal, or, as they are often called, metalheads or headbangers. While the style has changed from the 1970s to the 2010s, certain key elements have remained constant, such as black clothes, long hair and leather jackets. In the 1980s, some bands began wearing spandex. Other attire includes denim or leather vests or jackets with band patches and logos, t-shirts with band names, and spiked wristbands.
Sin After Sin is the third studio album by English heavy metal group Judas Priest, released in 1977. It was remastered in 2001 with two bonus tracks added.
Groove metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music. Music journalists and fans have used groove metal to describe Pantera, Exhorder and Machine Head. At its core, groove metal takes the intensity and sonic qualities of thrash metal and plays them at mid-tempo, with most bands making only occasional forays into fast tempo.
Jaguar are an English heavy metal band, formed in Bristol, England, in December 1979. They had moderate success throughout Europe and Asia in the early 1980s, during the heyday of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.
Screaming is an extended vocal technique that is mostly popular in "aggressive" music genres such as heavy metal, punk rock, and noise music. In heavy metal, the related death growl vocal technique is also popular. Intensity, pitch and other characteristics vary between different genres and different vocalists.
Crossover thrash is a fusion genre of thrash metal and hardcore punk. The genre lies on a continuum between heavy metal and hardcore punk. Other genres on the same continuum, such as metalcore and grindcore, may overlap with crossover thrash.
Australian thrash metal is a regional scene of thrash metal music that originated during the late 1980s.
Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal is a 2004 book by Ian Christe, documenting the history of heavy metal music and its origins.
Sintax is a thrash metal & heavy metal band formed in Jerusalem, Israel in 2010 as the band Shworchtsechaye disbanded. Sintax is considered a super group in the Israeli metal scene. The band has had many lineups throughout its inception as well as many variations in its style and musical approach fluctuating from punk, crossover and metal core influence into a heavy metal, NWOBHM, thrash and death metal sound, due to lineup change.
Heavy metal drumming is a style of rock music drum kit playing that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock drum playing, heavy metal drummers play with emphatic beats, and overall loudness using an aggressive performing style. Heavy metal drumming is traditionally characterized by emphatic rhythms and dense bass guitar-and-drum sound. The essence of metal drumming is creating a loud, constant beat for the band using the "trifecta of speed, power, and precision".