Heavy Metal’s Lasting Legacy

Welcome to Trouble the Skull.com! Where we celebrate the legacy and ongoing power of Heavy Metal music.

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The Skull by Trouble

Heavy Metal a Lasting Legacy

Heavy Metal is an awesomely diverse genre of music. While some may dub any form of loud music as “heavy metal,” in reality heavy metal can be divided into a number of subcategories. Each category evolved out of its own unique history and has made a unique musical contribution to the legacy of this powerful music genre. Examples of these subgenres include doom, thrash, power, death, black, nu-metal, folk, grind core and more. Heavy Metal is based on the blues, using similar pentatonic scales. However, it is the forceful rhythm and distorted electric guitar that defines the sound. Lead heavy metal vocalists vary from low rumbles to screaming wails. Like Hip Hop, heavy metal music can also be said to represent a culture and way of life and world view.

Heavy Metal History

Heavy Metal was first used as a musical label in the 1960s. The phrase showed up in the lyrics of the Steppenwolf hit penned by Mars Bonfire, “Born to Be Wild.” Other acts had already begun to make music with a hard, rough and aggressive style, markedly different from classic rock. In general heavy metal music is loud, intense and, some would say combative, style of rock and roll. Blues and classic rock eventually gave way (signified by a new aggression in the music of bands like the Kinks) to electrical distortion and amplified guitars and power chords like those of Led Zeppelin. It came of age in the 1970s under Ozzy Osboune’s Black Sabbath. The Birmingham, England band of four brought working class grit to amplified guitar chords. It emerged fully grown in the 1980s with hugely successful and popular acts like Guns ‘n’ Roses and Metallica.
From metal music emerged a number of subgenres such as death metal and doom. As it evolved, the genre became defined by shattering vocal leads, hard hitting guitar, on stage fireworks, relentless beats and sexualized, dark style.

Heavy Metal in Pop Culture

Heavy metal has often been the target of censorship and often, controversy. Because of its influence on pop culture and fashion, it represented youth of the 80s and 70s and their resistance to the status quo. Because the music is purposely antagonistic, some would argue that listening to heavy metal could cause depression and anti-social tendencies. Others say the music attracts youth who were already disturbed.
Some link the violence to specific subgenres like the extremely-fast paced Thrash style. Regardless of its controversial history and status, the heavy metal genre of music has had a lasting impact on U.S. pop culture. On the other hand, others see the music as a harmless outlet for stress and aggression that might otherwise build up.

The Global Influence of Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal grew hand in hand with music television age and music videos (originating with cable station MTV). Combined with the millions poured into its promotion on air and in concerts, the industry relied on the market for its success. This success translated beyond the U.S. and into other cultures. So many heavy metal genres and subgenres exist that please fans of differing musical sensibilities. Whether someone likes Doom music or any other variant of heavy metal, most will find something they like. Heavy metal has spread across the world. For example, the 1980’s Japanese Heavy Metal music scene features numerous fantastic bands and some of the best globally.

The Future of Heavy Metal

New forms of heavy metal are on the horizon. This includes new blends of Doom style old school classic Heavy Metal, such as the trio The Gates of Slumber from Indianapolis. Even if bands that mimic Black Sabbath continue to appear, repeating all those great classic tunes and riffs still is relevant. Bands like Devil continue to play dark and groovy 70’s-oriented Heavy Metal, enhanced by “riffs made of whisky, wood and wild women” as the band describes itself.

Heavy metal evolved out of blues and rock and roll. The intense, pounding rhythms, powerfully amped screaming guitars and lead vocalist provide a release for millions of fans worldwide, needing a musical escape. It has often been the target of censorship and controversy, as this powerful musical style encompasses a wide selection of loud and more aggressive, pounding, intense music not for the faint of heart. Heavy metal is an amazing style of music. Bands continue to sell out concerts. Music downloads and CD sales continue to be massive, even without much television video these days. Heavy metal has proved to be a continuing vital force in music today.

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