Heavy Metal vs Hard Rock
‘’Metal’’ is a word that defines one of most fragmented and extreme genres of rock music. The term comes from ‘’Heavy Metal’’, one of the most famous expressions in the pop culture. It has been said that writer William Burroughs coined the term from the chemistry world, meanwhile it’s large the number of bands and journalists that keep bragging about whom was the first to be associated with the genre.
The most concrete fact is that the first band to use the expression ‘’ Heavy Metal’’ was Steppenwolf in the classic track ‘’Born to be wild’’ from the movie Easy Rider.
During the 70’s, Heavy Metal was a label for many hard rock bands, all of them influenced by the electric blues from groups as such: The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, YardBirds, Deep Purple, Cream and Blue Cheer… However the FATHER of Heavy Metal will always be Black Sabbath: when their first record came out they brought along with it the metallic heavy sound and darkness that we all know from some bands nowadays.
The first time metal started to be understood and decoded was during the ‘’New Wave of British Heavy Metal’’ bands as such Iron Maiden and Motorhead established a more characteristic sound – heavy, virtuous and fast – for this genre.
After Black Sabbath, Iron maiden is probably the most important, influential and famous band in the history of Heavy Metal. Formed in London, England, in 1975 by bass player Steve Harris, having 100 million albums sold worldwide and receiving the Ivor Novello Award in 2000.
This band’s work has affected several other bands in heavy metal, power metal and speed metal. They are mentioned as the biggest influence for bands as Slayer, Angra and Umphrey’s McGee.
The band’s mascot is a skeleton named Eddie, he appears at every single album cover and so at the shows, always giving the dark touch to the concerts. Eddie was created by Derek Riggs and also stared his own game, called Ed Hunter.
His name comes from an old British joke about a boy with no limbs, just a head. The band had this great mask of a head that would be positioned under the drum set the whole show, squirting blood (red ink) out of his nostrils and getting the drummer all dirty. The mask was baptized ‘Eddie, the head’ and turned out being the band’s mascot.
Iron Maiden has released until now 13 studio albums, 2 ‘best of’ and 5 live albums (one of the most famous was recorded in Rock in Rio 3). The band’s lyrics consist basically in myths, legends, books and movies, as The Wicker Man, The Prisoner, Flight of Icarus, Where Eagles Dare, Rime of the Ancient Mariner – based on Samuel Coleridge’s poem and To Tame a Land – from the science fiction series from Frank Hebert.
They don’t seem to be worried about when they are going to retire, still gathering more fans from all ages all over the world. Up the Irons!
Meanwhile, on the other side of England, moulded during the punk rock ebullition scene, the Motorhead followed its on path building a bridge between heavy metal and punk – arising in the late’s 60’s – creating a new sub genre in rock music. It was heavy and fast. Lemmy’s raspy voice and his distorted bass were in perfect harmony with Eddie Clarke’s guitar and Phil ‘Philty Animal’ Taylor, in that which, is considered the band’s classic formation. Writing songs that were short, aggressive and violent (mostly about booze, drugs and girls) they become known, specially with the albums Overkill and Bomber (from 1979) and Ace os Spades (1980).
Motorhead influenced a bunch of new artists with its crazy music recipe, and prepared the audience ears – literally, being the loudest band in the world by Guinness book – for the new metal generation in the 80’s, just like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and also Sepultura, that even recorded an Orgasmatron cover (1986). Curiously, Motorhead has never reached the same success level as some of the bands that they have inspired, although always enjoyed the cult status in heavy rock scene – being admired around punks and headbangers. In 40 years, the band has released some great albums like 1916 (1991), Sacrifice (1995) and more recently, Bad Magic (2015).
Thenceforth, metal has fragmented into many faces: power metal, black metal, doom metal, death metal, black metal, thrash metal, hair metal and so on. The style flirted with mainstream in a lot of different forms during the years – from American ‘hair’ bands in the 80s to Sepultura’s world domination in the 90s. In the end they all fed one another for the genre and there is no denial in that.