Metal is one of the main genres of rock music, which itself divides into numerous subgenres. Musically, the most typical characteristic of metal is its “heavy” sound and the use of distorted electric guitars. A typical metal band will have one or two electric guitars (often a solo and a rhythm guitar), a bass, vocals, and drums.
Metal, or heavy metal, as it was known earlier, was created by British bands at the end of the 1960s. Most notable of these were Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, whose influence can still be heard in numerous new metal bands all over the world. Each of the groups brought about something entirely unheard of musically speaking. Black Sabbath introduced an exceptionally heavy sound, which was a combination of blues-based riffs and chords, often played slowly, which creates a sense of doom. Nowadays, there is a genre of metal called ‘doom’, which is directly influenced by Black Sabbath. Generally, Black Sabbath can be considered the heaviest of the early metal bands.
Led Zeppelin had a lighter, bluesier sound, with influences from epic stories, folk music and the Lord of the Rings. Deep Purple had a singer with an operatic voice and extremely fast and complicated songs. All of these elements influenced numerous followers all over the world.
In the 1970s, heavy metal had rooted itself to the US as well, with long-lasting consequences. In the eighties, the US originated the next significant genres of heavy metal; glam rock and trash metal. At the moment, glam rock has been temporarily forgotten, and its most considerable influence by far was perhaps indirect. It became so extreme, with its made-up pretty boys dressed in spandex singing pop melodies, that the inevitable counter-reaction took place in the form of grunge.
Trash metal is the most surprising subgenre of all, because, against all expectations, it gave rise to some of the most popular and biggest rock bands in the world. Metallica started out as a fast-playing, straightforward trash metal band, but in the 1990s, metal truly became mainstream with the help of their huge, worldwide success.
So why listen to metal? In our times fraught with mental health issues, it is common to seek livi medical advice for depression or anxiety. But if you need something to calm yourself down, metal might to be just the thing. Even though metal often gets a bad rap, seen as the music of aggressive headbangers kicking each other in a mosh pit, research shows that it actually makes you calmer.
Another study shows that metal inspires joy, contrary to what one would imagine looking at tattooed metalheads clad in black. So, next time you feel anxious, turn on the metal channel on your radio (and up the volume), and enjoy the joyous calm which follows. Perhaps that will do the trick!