Heavy metal has gone through so many phases in it’s forty-year existence that just saying “heavy metal” isn’t enough to specify what you’re talking about; there’s thrash metal, speed metal, glam metal, industrial metal, death metal, black metal and so on. But, the first heavy metal sub-genre to gain popularity after the initial crop of bands (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest) was the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The NWOBHM started in the late ’70s and the bands incorporated elements of punk (which was taking Britain by storm at the time) and played harder and faster than their predecessors, with less blues influences and a lyrical focus on mythology, occultism and fantasy. All this came together to create a tougher sound with crunching power chords and lightening-fast guitar solos.
Key bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal were Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon and Motorhead. Another key, but less recognized act in the movement was Diamond Head. While Diamond Head never achieved the level of success that was reached by some of their peers, they would prove to be a major influence on the thrash metal scene of the late 80’s. Metallica covered a number of their tunes and bands like Megadeth and Anthrax have both cited the band as a key influence in their sound. Read the rest of this entry »