Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heavy Metal Oral Presentation

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Heavy Metal is a genre of music that can be described as a hard-driving form of rock and roll, generally based on catchy, repetitive riffs (or musical figures). These provide the foundation for the lead instruments in a heavy metal band, whether they are guitars, keyboards, samples, vocals or drums.

Heavy metal is not just a genre of music. For many people around the world it is a way of life; for some it has shaped their life from their teens to their fifties. Heavy Metal has provided a prevailing fashion statement. The long hair, the leather jackets, the spikes, the tattoos, the piercings, these can all be attributed to the rockers of the heavy metal world. This is the image that heavy metal portrays and inclines their fans to follow suit.

Heavy Metal is said to have had gained its roots in the mid `60s, with bands such as The Kinks and The Who releasing hits such as You Really Got Me and My Generation that proved to be the start of a new style of music. This era was to be the dawn of a musical revolution, with bands such as Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience all rising to fame and fortune. These were some of the major bands that were turning rock heavier, as no one had come up with the term heavy metal yet. It quickly gained influence on the youth of those times, who were getting tired of the stagnant Summer of Love hippie scene.

As heavier rock continued to grow in popularity, many other bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Free and Led Zeppelin spawned and hardened their sound. By 17, Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath were the kings of heavy rock. These bands are regarded as some of the most influential bands ever to be involved in popular music. They had a technical prowess and passion unseen before, which turned their songs into the hardest music around during those times.

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Some of the bands in Britain that caught the wave in the rise of what was soon be labelled heavy metal, included Iron Maiden, Budgie, Stray, Judas Priest, Motorhead and, fresh out of Australia, AC/DC. These bands were instrumental in the development of what we know see as heavy metal. These were the first bands to combine the hard, riffy music and kickass rhythms with the image; for example - the hair, the studs, the leather, the tatts and the fearsome live shows.

Former Animals bass player Chas Chandler was interviewed as manager of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 16. In discussing the origin of the phrase, Heavy Metal, he said, was a term originated in a New York Times article

reviewing a Jimi Hendrix performance. Chandler said the author called

the Hendrix Experience listening to heavy metal falling from the

sky. A 60s band, Steppenwolf, also claim some ownership of the phrase because of their lyric heavy metal thunder in their 168 hit Born to be Wild.

No one truly knows who came up with it first but it certainly stuck and perfectly described the music that by now had gone one stage further than just hard rock.

By the late `70s, heavy rock was dying. The big heavy bands were digging their own graves with drug addictions and ever-changing band line-ups. The only well-known bands to survive this sticky patch were Queen and Judas Priest.

Just when rock looked like fading away, punk arrived and eventually saved heavy metal with its brief but influential stay. Punk exploded on to two scenes simultaneously - Britain and the US - and took the attention away from the dying heavy rock scene. Punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Ramones protested against governments and fascism. Punks brief time in the spotlight allowed heavy rock bands to re-think and re-group. Punk flared, then died almost as quickly as it had arrived, but it had left its own mark on metal.

The re-emergence of bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead propelled heavy rock back into favour and it was at this time that the most recognisable heavy band in the world today unleashed their fast, aggressive music on to the world, Metallica.

America was responsible for the bombardment of new glamour metal in the 180s. Bands such as Bon Jovi, who were the second-most successful metal band ever, Motley Crue, Van Halen and British band Def Leppard came to the fore. These bands commercialised metal, making it perfect for MTV, which had arrived to wield its own influence on the development of popular music and culture. It became an era of flashy sex symbols; and millions upon millions of metal albums sold around the world. Like most music genres, it became too repetitive but it was still popular enough to bring in a new generation of metal fans who were too young to remember the Zeppelins and Purples.

Heavy Metal was to find another source of inspiration in GunsnRoses, who combined bluesy guitar licks and Axel Roses hanging-on-to-dear-life vocals to create a new sound of metal, even if it did sound at times like the old sound of Zeppelin.

By the late `80s, bands such as Metallica, Megadeath, Pantera and Slayer started producing multiple-riffing and snarling vocals, and a wide use of double-bass-pedals in drumming to produce music that was totally uncompromising and ferocious. This raw kind of music was the catalyst in the creation a new wave of heavy metal, death metal. This style of music was never destined to make it commercially but remains influential. It had a strong following; kids who loved the sound of guitars tuned as low as possible and the flat-out speeds. Double pedaling almost became a rule for drummers, and singers just screamed and growled out words that most people were unable to be understood. Bands such as Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse and Children of Bodom are some bands popular within the Death Metal genre.

The `0s produced bands more recognisable to our ears than those of the `60s, `70s or `80s. Grunge bands such as Nirvana popped up, appealing to Generation X teenagers with their depressed lyrics and sense of reality. Bands such as Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden kept the heavy metal style alive in the early `0s, while Red Hot Chili Peppers introduced funk metal to the world and their song Under the Bridge is one of the most played songs on radio ever.

As the `0s wore on, metal was again becoming more and more worn out, although the politically driven Rage Against The Machine made people listen with hard-hitting lyrics and highly experimental guitar. In the mid-`0s, another metal hybrid, known as nu-metal, was pioneered by The Deftones and Korn. Nu-metal is characterised by distorted riffs with a rap-like style of singing. This style of music has progressed through into the 1st century, with bands such as Disturbed, P.O.D and Korn still leading the way in heavy metal.

Heavy Metal has undergone many changes over the course of its history. It has branched off into many different waves and styles and provided generations of music lovers with some great riffs and powerful singing. Who is to say it will not continue to grow as years go on?

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