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Heavy Metal Music: History And Misconceptions

1455 words - 6 pages

Heavy Metal Music: History and Misconceptions
Heavy metal music has been a source of social controversy since its early beginnings. It started out as a new age form of rock. Heavy metal brought a new look and sound to rock. The early heavy metal musicians decided to tune their guitars down, increase the tempo, play guitars and drums faster, and get a more grungy sound. The musicians also decided to wear tight, ripped, black clothing, chains, spikes, and combat boots. Most people did as anyone would expect them to do when faced with something fairly new, they found it strange and looked down on it. Much of society did not actually delve into heavy metal to find out what it is truly all about, and made assumptions that were untrue. Heavy metal music had an interesting beginning and has been the victim of many misconceptions.
Heavy metal found its origins in the United States and England in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The first band deemed a "heavy metal band" was the California group Blue Cheer. They brought a new sound and stage persona to the music scene. They also performed outrageous stage acts. They were seen as the model for later heavy metal bands. They wore black, leather jackets, along with crazy guitar solos. (Reesman, Bryan)
The name "heavy metal" comes from a song by Steppenwolf. In their song "Born to Be Wild," where they say the term "heavy metal thunder." Since then people coined the music style of these bands as "heavy metal." Bands of that day that fell under that category were bands such as Metallica, Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Blue Cheer, etc. All of those bands had the same stage personas and musical styles. Metallica especially showcased what heavy metal music was. They used extremely fast tempos, and rapid drumming. They also wrote songs about dark subject matter. One of Metallica's hit songs "One," spoke about a soldier who had been almost mortally wounded from a landmine in a war. This was a side of the subject of war that many had not taken in their lyrical choice. (Reesman, Bryan)
Some early metal bands performed crazy, unseen acts on stage that really made society start to have misconceptions about the genre. For instance, the band Black Sabbath usually had live bats at their concerts. At one of these concerts, lead singer Ozzy Osborne caught one of the bats and bit the head off of it while it was still alive and threw it into the crowd. The media, already having a mostly negative outlook on heavy metal, use this repulsive act as ammo to their "Heavy Metal is Evil," campaign.
Since the beginning of the heavy metal genre, many different subgenres have branched off from it. Some of which include black metal, thrash metal, grind core, death metal, and liquid metal. Each of these brings their own unique sound to metal, while keeping the same basic precedents set by the first metal bands. Black metal is a more heavy, dark sounding metal. They use different vocal techniques such as deep growls and pig squeals in their...

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