HISTORY Heavy Metal (often referred to as Metal) developed in the late 1960’s early 70’s. In the late 1980’s the genre was reabsorbed by new genre’s and by the early 90’s the majority of Heavy Metal had evolved into other rock genre’s like hard rock, grunge, gothic rock , thrash metal and many more. TIMELINE- Some of the most important historical events that made Heavy Metal 1968- ‘Born to be Wild’ was released and is said to be the first Heavy metal song. 1975- Heavy Metal began to influence British music. 1980- ‘Iron Maiden’ was released by a British Heavy Metal band . 1983- May 29 a festival for Heavy Metal was named the biggest Heavy Metal event which helped promote the genre. From then on Heavy Metal was promoted across different country’s and began to influence UK bands such as ‘Metallica’ 1999 The Dutch Heavy Metal fan club ‘Heavy Metal Maniacs’ release a complication album with Bands from Holland From then on Heavy Metal has become huge with teenagers and young adults across many countries.
CONVENTIONS Heavy Metal is traditionally characterised by loud distorted guitars and wild hair styles which make them stand out and show the nature of the music they produce. The music video’s are traditionally Performance videos’ which are focusing on their instruments, the music also involves sinister themes Such as Black Sabbaths ‘Heaven and Hell’. One example is Led Zeppelin doing various performances. Their music video’s focus on the instrument. This excites the audience rather than sells the artist and the meaning behind the music. This also sells the music itself and the instruments used. One band that challenges the conventions is Metallica. In one of their videos the hair is neat and their make-up is simple/natural. They also challenge the convention as their video is performance and narrative. LED ZEPPELIN METALLICA
TARGET AUDIENCE The target audience of Heavy Metal is usually early teens (13/14) up to 30 and usually doesn’t exceed 30. This is because of the nature of the music and the year the music became popular. Heavy metal is targeted at Young and old teen skateboarders who are mainly male. They play this music at the skate parks with friends. The use of heavy Metal combined with this sport triggers adrenaline which is perhaps why this is the biggest target audience.
LED ZEPPELIN Key song: Black Dog Led Zeppelin are an English rock band the formed in 1968. The band consists of Jimmy Page (guitarist), Robert Plant (singer), John Bonham (Drummer) and John Paul Jones (bassist). The bands original name was The Yardbirds, which consisted of Paul Samwell-Smith and bassist, Jeff beck as guitarist who left the band in 1966. After new additions to the band and departures the Band was forced to change their name. The group then became Led Zeppelin which became official on the 14th October 1968. After this change the band was named one of the biggest bands in the world and became a popular Heavy Metal band although most of their music was done in acoustic. After Bonhams death due to drug abuse in 1980 the band decided to break up as they felt they could not continue. Post – break up the group tried some more singers for the band but none worked out. In January 2009 jimmy page’s Manager declared that the band was completely over and done with as no others singers worked out. Led Zeppelin has been described as one of the most influential bands in Rock music genre. They have sold 200-300 million records worldwide.
BLACK SABBATH The band was formed in Birmingham 1969 with well-known lead singer OzzyOsbourne. The band began ‘Polka Tulk Blues band’ and ‘Earth’ before becoming ‘Black Sabbath’ .The band progressed from Blues rock to heavy metal giving them a new image and target audience. They are usually mentioned with Led Zeppelin and influential bands of that time. The band has produced well-known Albums and songs such as ‘Heaven and Hell’ which is the title trackt to the ninth album ‘Heaven and Hell’ and have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
AC/DC AC/DC are a Hard rock Australian band formed in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm young (originally from Glasgow). They are considered pioneers of heavy Metal. The name AC/DC came about when the brothers older sister ,Margaret saw the initials on a sewing machine. The initials stand for Alternating current/Direct Current. The band thought this best described their high energy performances. In 1976 the band was relocated to England and after Lead singer Bon Scott the bands future was in jeopardy however, after a while they decided to continue. After this the band got back on their feet and began producing quality music with albums such as ‘Stiff upper lip’ (2000) and in 2003 The band was introduced to the rock hall of fame. As of 2010 AC/DC have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.
DEEP PURPLE Deep purple are an English rock band formed in 1968. With over 100 million albums sold worldwide they are also considered pioneers along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. They were in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘loudest pop group’. The band had a break through from 1968-1970 with the single ‘Hush’ taken from ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ which reached number 4 on the US billboard charts. After many changes in members of the band broke up in 1976 but were revived in the 90’s by the arrival of Steve Morse. From then the band has been successful in continuing in the Rock genre and are still successful to this day.
IRON MAIDEN Iron Maiden is an English rock band formed in 1975 by bassist and song writer Steve Harris. The band is considered to be one of the most successful Heavy Metal bands in history and have sold over 85 million records worldwide with the least support from television or radio. The Bands name was chosen by Harris after he saw the movie adaptation of the novel ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’. In 1980 the release of ‘Iron Maiden’ came 4th in the UK charts and was the beginning of the bands reign of fame. The band remained successful with little band member changes and in 2006 ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ was released. This contained themes of War and religion making it a popular album. Since then Iron Maiden continue to influence other Heavy Metal bands such as ‘Metallica’ who’s drummer Lars Ulrich said "Iron Maiden have been the blueprint for everything that we have ever wanted to do. I have always had an incredible amount of respect and admiration for them.”
THE DAY THAT NEVER COMES-METALLICA ‘The Day That Never Comes’ is a good example of a typical Heavy Metal music video. The video is a performance video which can be interpreted through the many shots of instruments used. I think this appeals to the target audience because the instruments are used to excite the target audience and promote the music. The target audience of teen boy skateboarders suits this because they use the music to gain adrenaline to fuel their sport. The narrative in this video reaches out to other audiences and send s a message out which is a topic particularly important to the band.
IRON MAIDEN- IRON MAIDEN This is also a performance video. Although many Heavy Metal bands focus on live performances rather than music videos, this shows the same conventions as other Heavy metal songs. The importance is the music which is used to attract the target audience. The long hair and dark costume follow the typical idea that Heavy metal bands use dark and sinister icons and themes in their music.
SOUTH OF HEAVEN-SLAYER South of heaven does the same as Iron maiden and shows their music video as a stage performance which gives the same effect and excites the audience. The title of the song is a good example of the type of music Heavy Metal promotes. The title is evidently insensitive to religion and has that same sinister idea and theme.
HANGAR18-MEGADETH This challenges the conventions of a Heavy Metal music video as it is a narrative and performance video. This will interest the audience as well as having the same ‘excited’ effect on the audience. This also responds to the more sadistic side of heavy metal with twisted and unusual themes and ideas.
HIGWAY TO HELL-AC/DC This is again a performance video. This is shown right from the beginning through the shots of the instruments and the band performing. I believe the excitement of the instruments distracts the target audience making them more interested in the music rather than the meaning of the lyrics. This would be appealing to the skater boy target audience.
OVERALL Through my researched I have developed a greater knowledge about Heavy Metal music. I have learnt about the themes and ideas used in Heavy Metal songs and videos. Some of the key themes are religion (the rebellion against it), subversion and the idea of something weird happening and Zombies and mythical and evil creatures. This genre also attracts a certain type of teenager (skater boy) and acts as part of the life style. I have also learnt about the lifestyle of Bands and members. One popular theme in the band life is drugs and alcoholism leading to many deaths of Band members. The trend of repeatedly changing band members also runs strongly through the genre. The history behind Heavy Metal goes back to the 60’s with groups such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The genre is still succeeding and becoming more popular as time goes on.