The following is an introduction to an upcoming series of articles entitled “The History Of Heavy Metal. These articles will be tagged as “Heavy Metal History“.

Rob Halford of Judas Priest

Introduced as an “anti popular-culture” as well as being “against counter-culture movements”, Heavy Metal comes as a slap on the face to the “free world”. As opposed to Pop culture’s dominance in the global music scene, and those who have rejected it morally (counter-culture movements), Heavy Metal has always been associated with promoting the dark side of humanity, and depicting what is “real” rather than the lies that we have been fed.

While Pop culture was busy being realistic and immoral with its representation of the “American Dream”, promoting a sexy and glamorous lifestyle, and Counterculture opposing pop culture’s morals, Heavy Metal came on its own, as a unique and unrelated movement to any of its predecessors. It usually attracted young adolescents who rejected parental guidance, and free thinkers. This genre did not go by any of the approaches of other movements, it was in fact, always against pop culture, and even against the careless, free lifestyles of the LSD led movements of hippies and flower bullshit. Heavy Metal has never tried to fix things or put things straight, it has instead chosen to depict subjective and more frightening views of the world.

Early Metal bands had emerged as an opposition to the Capitalistic led world of war and money making machines.  It hoped to convey a frightening view of the reality, contrary to the medias reality and the lies that the world population has always been fed. This, of course, could be summarized in one line: “the battle for good against evil” which was a double edged sword, resulting in the labeling of Heavy Metal as the evil kind of music.

It is safe to say that Heavy Metal was inspired by the Nihilistic views of Friedrich Nietzsche, which focus on what “really is”, rather than what “should be”. His views also state that the world is in fact, not fine and that we are not living in a paradise, instead, we are living in a prison where we cannot see the bars. Thus, Heavy Metal emerged to fight and walk against the streams of social limits and go against the tides of Capitalism. Unfortunately, however, as it results, Heavy Metal groups fell into the trap which they had originally opposed, and became mainstream in the early 80s, selling millions of records and promoting “sex, drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, which we will discuss in details, later on.

Metal music emerged after the Western “New World Order” was introduced in early 80s, during the height era of Western civilization. This “World Order” used the media to its advantage to vilify the image of the “evils” of the previous generation, attacking political regimes such as fascism and socialism. Yet, despite these views, they have also openly attacked previous “peace movements” which lived by pacifist views and believed in equal human rights, later gaining massive popularity and becoming the face of counterculture. This movement was founded in the 1950s by Allen Freed who had attempted to promote rock music as an opposition against the many socialist and fascist “enemies of the state”, and wanted to become the voice against the Vietnamese war by showing the real face of superpowers driven by their economic needs and true agenda.

Led Zeppelin

So far, it seems that Metal music and counterculture have the same message; well that’s where we start digging deeper as to why the metal movement emerged. As Black Sabbath puts it: “…as the war machines keep turning…” the failure of the counterculture in its attempt to stop the war making machines, the Metal Movement emerged out of the darkness, in a morbid state of mind, to show that peace and love will not stop the wrongness, and that they are just the weaknesses of the human kind. They do not really stop anything. The world is still gloomy and our fate still uncertain. But Heavy Metal did not stop there! It continued its attacks on pop culture and counterculture, and ventured into new territories of attack – RELIGION. Being the first time where religion is attacked in music earned Heavy Metal’s fame as “satanic” or “Satan’s music” managing to turn the whole society against the genre and the people supporting it.

Doro Pesch

  • Metal: The Music

Music is art, no arguing about that! Usually, there is a concept and idea behind the artwork, and the same applies to music. Except for popular culture music which is mainly driven by materialism and converting free minds into purchasing oriented sheep.

Metal music has a more complex side to its story, for it has also introduced symbolism to its concept art and managed to portray the various political messages through the use of ancient imagery and symbolism inspired by ancient civilizations and fictional stories. However, the messages remained true and as realistic as ever “…to shed the light on the true demons of the world.” Metal has played on emotions too, from heroic epic stories and achievements, to socio-political stories. It has done so in such an intelligent manner and was able to combine all that it could use in the soul purpose of delivering its straight forward message. However, through its excessive use of dark imagery, it has managed to deteriorate its image gravely. And while Metal kept evolving over 3o years, most  musical elements remained the same, thus proving that it is a consistent genre of music that evolves but keeps true to its roots.

Black Sabbath

Musically, Metal differs from all genres mainly because this kind of music revolves around a clear structure, and uses a number of techniques and attributes that can be simple yet complicated. This allows the composer to convey the message he wants according to the style and genre of metal being played. Jazz, for example, emphasizes a more flexible version of Rock music, allowing more improvisation to take place, while rock uses a more simple verse-chorus-verse structure. Metal on the other hand, sheds the light on a more progressive and melodic structure style that evolves in the same way as Classical and Baroque music does, with each piece utilizing different kinds of techniques, yet remaining true to its melodic progression.

Metal music, with  its use of power chords, harmonic chord shape, and melodic composition, takes the listener on a journey of aesthetic variation leading to an ultimate Utopic state of mind, which gives ultimate joy and power.

Inspired by “History of Heavy Metal” – Mock Him productions