August 7, 2006

Metal Mark - Question for You!

Driving home today I had my usual Classic Rock station on and they played songs by Quiet Riot and The Scorpions and it made me ask this question:

WHAT DEFINES A BAND AS HEAVY METAL? What are some examples of heavy metal bands?
I've seen some of these bands referred to as Heavy Metal, what do you think?

Led Zeppelin
Van Halen
The Doors

So I am going to an exper, the author of Heavy Metal Time Machine, for his opinion.
Please feel free to add your two cents worth too.

Here is a Timeline of Heavy Metal I found on Wikipedia


José Carlos Santos said...

hi there! first of all, i've just visited your three blogs and i must say i've really enjoyed them. it's also interesting that i read your gone but not forgotten blog on the day i've posted something about the ramones. congratulations on your writing are in order. :)

about the current post, probably because i'm into freak extreme metal, i wouldn't really fit any of those into heavy metal as such (with the probable exception of led zeppelin) in a strict musical sense, even if they all played a part into the shaping of several metal sub-genres.

on the other hand, looking at it from the attitude point of view, which is the main thing in metal, they would all fit quite nicely. :)

David Amulet said...

I'll wait for Metal Mark to weigh in before I spout off, except to say that I think metal is often too widely defined and many supposedly "metal" bands are really just "hard rock."

-- david

Metal Mark said...

Actually I am going to talk about labels to some extent on my blog this week so this leads into that topic. I think there is hard rock and there is metal and they are different, I often put both types on my blog because I enjoy both. I think all of the bands you listed above are more hard rock then metal. However many hard rock bands like Kiss, AC/DC, Queen have been major influences on metal bands like Accept, Anthrax and many more. I am personally not big on labels, but I use them because it seems to help people understand a little better what style of music a band is. I think the seperation between hard rock and heavy metal is that hard rock has more in common with pop. It tends to be catchier and lighter in tone like Van Halen, Kiss and Led Zeppelin. I think heavy metal is well, uh heavier of course and doesn't concentrate as much on being accesible. I think Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Dio are good examples of solid metal bands. Labels can get confusing because you also have bands like the Scorpions who have some very solid metal songs, but they do lighter songs that fall more into the hard rock category. I don't know if this made things clearer or not for you.

Mike said...

I agree with both statements by Mark and David. I feel that all the bands Layla listed are rock, not metal.

Smoking Christian said...

First, my qualifications: I've known a lot of music freaks in my day. But, nobody yet has seen a music collection as gigantic as mine. I play no instrument. But, I'm quite the listener!

Secondly, I can add nothing to what Metal Mark said. All I can say is that I've always loved "Hard Rock" and I don't think I own a "Metal" band's work. I believe the first hard rock song ever was "7&7 Is" by the band "LOVE." I'm sure you already are aware that the composer of said breakthrough music, ARTHUR LEE, died a couple of days ago. There was a wonderful tribute written by John Densmore (Doors Drummer) in the Los Angeles Times yesterday to him. You really should read that thing.

All I can say is that I need to send you one of my patented "Metal Detectors." It takes out all of the guesswork. I believe I own every group on your list. I was listening to the Scorpions when most people were still singing along with Grand Funk Railroad. You can wave my patented Metal Detector wand all over a Scorpions' album, it will not go off.

Now, back to my hole for a week of LOVE. If you don't own any, please get "Forever Changes." You will not be disappointed. When I first got married to my lovely wife who is 9 years younger than I, I took her through a week of listening to LOVE. She was shocked that she had never heard them before. She said "they started everything! And I never heard of them!" And she pretty much hates all 5 million of my CDs. She especially hates my loving tribute to Frank Zappa collection!

fred charles said...

Led Zeppelin
Van Halen
The Doors

I really don't consider any of these bands to be Heavy Metal. I would say that they are more hard rock. Rush may be considered borderline metal but I would lump them in more with progressive rock.

Here is a good way to decide if something is metal. Listen to a song and ask yourself this question, Does it Rock? or does it Destroy? If it destroys, then you are most likely dealing with metal ;)

Nice blog, btw...

Layla said...

Wow, Guys, Thank you! Mark - that was perfect!

And to the new readers - Please come back! I will try to post more often :)

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Hi, I'll chime in a tad. I do write for eight magazines and cover mostly metal and punk. If I'm an expert, Metal Mark has my number in certain spots of the genre which always gives us great leads to talk about.

I can say that coming from the eighties scene and now covering today's metal scene, the division lines and subgenres have gotten far more difficult to clarify one type of metal from another. It helps to submerge yourself into it, but there's everything from power metal to black metal to death metal to prog metal to math metal to metalcore to hardcore to grindcore to symphonic metal to Gothic metal and a billion subtle disseminations between. It's weird how one band can be said to be power metal but with a few variances outside of the norm of traditional NWOBHM theories, they suddenly become Nordic metal or whatever the flavor-of-the-week label comes from us so-called critics, lol...

Your posit here is interesting, Layla, because most fans, much less journalists, would classify all of those as hard rock, while Kiss certainly went the direct metal route later after taking off the makeup; after all, Revenge is a pure heavy metal album as is Creatures of the Night.

When you talk about Rush, you get into prog more so than metal and hard rock. Okay, so "Tom Sawyer" is a direct heavy rock song, and a lot of Rush's more recent albums are less intricate and more rock-driven, but the classic Rush albums are most certainly progressive rock masterpieces that both metalheads and classic rock heads are into.

I could blather on awhile, but that's my brief two cents.

David Amulet said...

Mark and Ray say it better than I could. I'll tip my hat to them.

-- david

David Amulet said...

... but I will post on a related note. I sent this as a comment to Metal Mark's question on the utility of the term "hair metal," and I think it's related enough to post here for some of the folks who don't visit Mark (YET--what are you thinking?).

A term that my local cable provider uses for the 24-hour music channel for the oft-labeled "hair metal" music is "arena rock."

First, here's why I don't like the phrase:

1. Many bands play in arenas and are considered rock, even crap like Nickelback, yet aren't what I would put in this category.

2. Many great bands in this category never got popular enough to play in arenas.

3. In the 1980s, I remember "arena rock" being used as a near synonym for "corporate rock" to describe bands like Journey. And Journey is by no means in the category we're trying to label.

But part of me really likes using "arena rock" for these bands;

1. Unlike "hair metal," it doesn't include the term "metal," which some "arena rock" bands cross over into but whcih most do not.

2. Nobody better characterizes or takes advantage of the arena environment than these bands. Fun music, slutty girls flashing the band (and, often, the crowd), anthems with cheesy choruses ... these things are what the arena show is all about. KISS kicked it off, and bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Ratt, Poison, and the Crue made the arenas shake.

So I leave this where most of us have left "hair metal:" undecided. But I think I like it better than "hair metal."

-- david

Jeff said...

Ohhh the genre issue. I think Metal Mark really hit it on the head though, with the difference between heavy metal and hard rock.

Ralph said...

ok, I guess I'll weigh in on this issue. Hard rock vs. Heavy Metal. I'm just a fan, not an expert like HM me groups like led zep, black Sabbath, Deep Purple. are hard Rock Where as groups like Saxon,Priest, or anybody with studded wristbands are what I consider metal. Let the flamming begin! Peace!

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