Metal School


Staff member
After reading:

Black Sabbath - Liked some of the songs, like war pigs, paranoid and the one about the jet fighters
Deep Purple - Who? (I have heard of them)
Rush - Who?
Led Zeppelin - They are great, but I'm not that big of a fan
ZZ Top - Have 'Tush' but not heard anything else...
Budgie - Who?
Queen - Who? Kidding! They are AWESOME.
Iron Maiden - Also awesome, but not keen on the new album.
Ynqwie J. Malmsteen - Have one track but I seriously want to get more.

late in this ( ) thread, it occurs to me that we older metalheads may not be doing the best job of passing along the history of our preferred music to the youngbloods, especially those who came to the genre alone and without guidance.

I laid down some basic background info on Black Sab, Rush, Deep Purple, and Budgie in posts #167 & #169 in that thread, but I know that's not an exhaustive list of important foundational bands.

So, Old-School Metalheads, lay down the knowlege for your younger bretheren- who should every metalhead know and respect for their contributions to the genre, if not actually enjoy, and some of their key tunes.

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Staff member
How are you on Motorhead? And did you know that Lemmy (bass, vox) and Fast Eddie Clark (guitars) both had other bands of note?

(Namely Hawkwind and Fastway, respectively.)


First Post
Dannyalcatraz said:
So, Old-School Metalheads, lay down the knowlege for your younger bretheren- who should every metalhead know and respect for their contributions to the genre, if not actually enjoy, and some of their key tunes.
As a 'youngblood', at 19, I can attest that I know absolutely nothing about 'old skool' metal. Nope, nothing whatsoever.

I got my first taste of metal (as it were) via Limp Bizkit... I am thankfully much more mature in my musical selection now then compared with that drivel, but up until about a year and a half ago, I stuck mainly with nu metal bit. Slipknot, Mudvayne, Korn, Marilyn Manson, etc. And while these bands still hold some major favourites, I'm no longer so jaded. I don't have a big hate-on for anything that isn't nu metal anymore.

Now, I love everything from the bubbly power metal of Blind Guardian to the raw, razor-edged black metal band Nargaroth to the brutal viking sound-scape of Amon Amarth to the bouncy groove metal of Machine Head to the... well, you get the point. I *LOVE* metal!

But, I still know crap about Black Sabbath, the big-daddy of metal. Ironic, I suppose.

So, Mista Danny A., I'm more then willing to hear whatcha got to say :)



Staff member
Well, Ny, you follow the linky, you'll see what I had to say about post-Ozzy Black Sab & some other bands.

Black Sab with Ozzy is a bit different. Their early work usually had a more dirge-like pace, currently popular with some of the darker modern bands. While later incarnations of the band never abandoned that style, they did do more uptempo songs than during the Ozzy era. They dabbled in all kinds of supernatural imagery (The Wizard, N.I.B), drugs (Sweet Leaf), Sci Fi (Into the Void), and even straight-up folksy instrumentals (Laguna Sunrise). According to a recent interview concerning their latest release, were it not for Geezer Butler, Sab would have had much less powerful lyrics- Ozzy usualy didn't know jack-all about the lyrics he was singing.

Because of Tony Iommi's disabilities, you're not going to hear a lot of lightning-like solos, but his solos' chord structures with occasional flares always seem to be a good fit with the song.
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Motorhead = Ace of Spades. Sorry but that's all I know! What are they like?

Of the ones I mentioned before (Hand of doom, Iron man, Never Say Die, Johnny Blade, I won't cry for you), which are w/ Ozzy and w/o Ozzy?


Staff member
Ferret, all of the Sab tunes you mentioned are w/Ozzy.

Motorhead is kind of like a heavier, punkier version of AC/DC, or a metall-er version of the the sense that they have a sound and they stick to in, and if you've heard one of their songs, you've got a solid feel for everything else they've written. IOW, if you liked Ace of Spades, you'd also like Bomber, Orgasmatron, Killed by Death, Stone Dead Forever, and so many other tunes.


Staff member
KISS is the band that probably bridges the gap between hard rock & metal more than any other band of the 1970s. Some of their stuff wouldn't feel out of place on a Sabbath album, others sound like Van Halen- its not an accident that they're one of the bands cited by many of the glam/hairmetal bands of the 1980s as a major influence.

Dannyalcatraz said:
KISS is the band that probably bridges the gap between hard rock & metal more than any other band of the 1970s. Some of their stuff wouldn't feel out of place on a Sabbath album, others sound like Van Halen- its not an accident that they're one of the bands cited by many of the glam/hairmetal bands of the 1980s as a major influence.
And what a great segue - my next lesson is going to be "Alice Cooper and KISS, Spawning the Genre."



Okay kiddies, Thunderfoot is not my name due to some sort of strange dwarven character I played, it was handed down as my street name because of my feet (Duh) as I played double bass - yes I am a drummer. So sit back and take notes, you may want to grab a soda/beer/blood and possibly something that will clog your arteries, I hear live bat is good.

Let's start with the very basics, some vocabulary -

"Heavy Metal" was coined in the song Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf. The song intended to point the phrasing to motorcycles, but some how got applied to the heavy rock sound (for at the time it WAS heavy) of the song and started a new wave of music in Britain and America.

"Wearing the Leather(s)" - Rob Halford of Judas Priest is the first known metalhead to wear leather. At the time his homosexuality was buried and known only to a few close associates, in the male homosexual scene, bondage was all the rage in the mid to late 70s. When Halford began to wear his bondage gear on stage, the look took off, accompanied by their breakout hit Hell Bent For Leather, a fashion movement was formed.

"Hard Rock" - The more melodic younger brother of Heavy Metal. Hard rock was the original term coined for the eventual 'heavy rock' movement. Hard rock is any music with loud distorted guitars, big drums, heavy flat line bass, but a more melodic spin on the music to include keyboards, light distintive vocals and harmoized guitar parts. There are several genres within or related to hard rock such as Arena Rock, Hair Metal, Pop Metal and Progressive Pop (qv below). Artists that have fallen into this category over the years include but are not limited to: Aerosmith, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Asia, Boston, Cream, Foghat, GTR, Journey, KISS, Queen, Rush, Styx, Triumph, Van Halen, Vixen, Whitesnake, Yes, Zebra

"Arena Rock" - Hard Rock style popular between the late 70s and mid 80s, so named because the stage shows were so large they could only be performed in arenas. Concerts usually included extended guitar solos, drum solos, keyboard solos and even bass solos. Often times the crowd is encouraged to sing along and pyrotechnical and laser displays are the norm. Alice Cooper and KISS set the bar high with their early theatrical shows so many groups later had to come up with new and inovative ways to draw in the crowds. The best arenas show artists as reviewed in a ton of resources included (but are not limited to) AC/DC, Foreigner, Journey, Motley Crew, Rush, Scorpions, Styx, Triumph, Van Halen, and ZZ Top.

"Hair Metal/Pop Metal" - As Heavy Metal progressed through the 80s the later period saw a reprise of the 70s glam rock style invade the leather look of Britian. If leather was homo-erotic than wearing ladies lingere was even more so. Began in American in the New York club scene by veteran rockers Twisted Sister, Dee Snyder is quoted as saying, "our wives and girlfirends would do our make-up and hair and we would shop for clothing in the 'oh my god I'm fat' ladies departments." The look and sound was orginally fresh and cutting edge, but by the downfall of metal to the grunge era of the 90s, the 'Pop Metal" tag, where bands were engineered by producers and image consultants, started to water down and over use the 'power ballad'. Bands include (you know the rest): Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Dokken, Guns n' Roses, Kix, Motley Crew, Poison, Quiet Riot, Stryper, Trixter, Vixen, and Warrant.

"Progressive Pop/Rock/Metal" - This group of music is the most hard to define, while the hard edge is there, the musicianship of the individual players often times presses the very envelope of known music. Often times a band in this category will achieve commercial success with a single song or series of songs gaining new 'fans' only to have those same 'fans' disappear when they play their other selections. The lyrics are often deep in meaning, touching on political and social aspects that popular music shies away from. Groups that live here are: Black Sabbath (with Ronnie James Dio), Cream, Dream Theater, Emerson Lake and Palmer (Powell) or ELP, Kansas, Kings X, Rainbow (with Ronnie James Dio), Rush, Yngwie Malmsteen, Frank Zappa and Zebra.

"Death Metal/Black Metal" - Music form originating in the mid 80s as a result of the constant right wing protest groups touting Satanic influence of Heavy Metal music. Originally this music was musically no different than 'traditional' metal but used more minor keys and dimished chord progressions, as the style progressed the vocals became less pronounced and more of a 'growl' than a true metal 'scream'. Bands are not limited to the following: Black Angel, Corrosion of Conformity, Deth, Embalmed, GWAR, King Diamond, Rancid, Slayer, Voivod, and Witchblade.

"Speed Metal/Thrash" Speed metal was all about the speed baby, it wasn't enough to be loud and hard, you had to push 250 beats per minute (bpm). The music was noted by its all out assualt on the eardrums by 68th note guitar licks, quadruple triplets on the drums and a steady 'dubba-dubba" stroked on the bass. vocals ranged from audible to mindless gibberish sometimes melodically sang and other times just yelled and squalled. Thrash was the fusing of this new speed mentality with eneregy of punk infusing it with odd times, sudden breaks and other farsical but musically appealing techniques. Bands of note include: Anthrax, Megadeath, The Misfits, Motorhead, and the granddaddies of the genre Metallica (Please note that this was before the And Justice For ALL album when they became "ALTERNNICA.")

"Christian Metal" - the musical answer to the 'death metal' scene. Infused with positive lyrics and a message of salvation, this alternative to doom and gloom was looked upon by the 'true metal' community as a moronic step-child, however, just as metal asked to keep an open mind, further listening reveals many of these groups were quite talented. The "CM" tag actually spanned all of the known accepted forms of metal described above so you could literally find the positive equivallent to anything you may find aurally pleasing. Bands are listed with appropriate style behind name in parenths: Angelica (Progressive.Pop), Bloodgood (Hard Rock), Bride (Hard Rock/Arena), Holy Soldier (Hair/Arena), Jet Circus (Arena/Progressive), Mana (Hard Rock/Arena), Shout (Arena), Stryper (Hair/Pop/Arena), Tourniquet (Speed/Thrash), Throne (White/Black/), and Xalt (Arena/Pop)

That's enough for now. Next time we'll go over history Alice Cooper and KISS.
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METAL SCHOOL - CHAPTER 1 - Alice Cooper and KISS: Spawing the Genre

From its inception, Rock n' Roll encompassed anything that wasn't another style of music, for instance Elvis, The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Beatles, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix were all Rock n' Roll, even though today they would be Oldies, Mowtown, and Classic. It wasn't until the late 60s or early 70s that designations began to find their way into the music venacular. While heavy rock had been around for quite some time, heavily influenced by the drug infused 60s art rock scene. Jimi Hendrix is a fine example of a Blues/Rock guitarist that paved the way for Heavy Metal. While songs like Purple Haze and All Along the Watchtower are renown for their heavily distorted guitar solos and in your face music, other Hendrix selections like Little Wing were decidely more Blues inspired and mellow.

As noted earlier in the "Vocab/Prolgue" section, Heavy Metal was first coined in the late 60s by Steppenwolf for motorcycles and somehow was attached to the music, therefor it should come as no surprise that many bikers began to espouse the 'Heavy' sound of Rock n' Roll. Concerts that were more about raucous and rougher life tended to have the more heavy sound and therefore drew the biker crowd. This tended to give the image of the 'average' heavy rock listener as long-haired, unshaven, unkempt, tattooed and having a general disregard for authority and order. During the rebellious holdovers from the 60s that were only old enough to remember and yet not participate this was a great chance to thumb their nose at the emerging 'Disco' scene.

A young man from Detroit, Michigan come Phoenix, Arizona named Vincent Furnier - the year was 1968 and the Nazz a local band from Phoenix was traveling to Hollyweird and hitting the clubs. The band's manager said they should get out of the 'run of the mill rut' they were in and do something different. There are countless tales of how he arrived at the name Alice Cooper, some involve Ouija boards, others a reference to a ghost, and others, because it just sounded good, whatever the reason, the pre-glam man dressed in mascara that took the stage at the Cheetah Club certainly made a splash in the papers.

By 1970 the band relocated to Alice's hometown of Detroit and things began to change forever, where on the west coast, fans raised peace signs, Detroit rockers raised fists and 'other appendages'. It was here that Alice is quoted as saying, "We drove the stake through the heart of the hippie movement." The shows generated buzz because no two shows were exactly the same, oh sure the music was, but they used whatever they could find in the hotel as props, fire extinguishers, bed sheets, towels, furniture, etc. In Toronto a momentous occasion happened later that year, mistakenly believing that chickens could fly (later aped by the 70s TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati") Alice released a live chicken on stage. As it flopped around Alice , still believing it could fly, thought it had been dazed by the lights and picked up the flailing bird and arched it into the crowd. It went about ten rows back where it was then set upon by rabid fans and torn apart, the next day the papers screamed "Male Rock Singer Bites Head Off Chicken and Drinks Its Blood." Later Ozzy Osbourne would try to duplicate this feat with a live dove and (accidentally) with a live bat.

The sick stage show that Alice is known for pretty much evolved from this one incident, "The sicker the fans are the sicker the stage show becomes.", he has been noted as saying. Still lacking a producer for their music a young assistant from Toronto's Nebula-9 studios was assigned to go look at the band in order "to shut their manager up". The assistant, Bob Erzin, not only liked the group, he want the shot at producing them, it was he that pulled the group apart and then put them together again, to include the polished stage show for which the group became known. Each night Alice would 'sin' on stage only to be punished by dying at the end of the show, of course to be resurrected in time for the encore.

Meanwhile a couple of teachers from New York with a fascination for Japanese Kabuki theater were hatching a plan to launch into stardom. While performing as "Wicked Lester" alongside other such glam rockers as the New York Dolls, it was evident that the show was over for glam and that rock was going to move on without them. In 1972 Chiam Witz and Paul Eisen, formerly of Wicked Lester, recruited Peter Crisscola from an ad he posted in the Rolling Stone and dropped an ad in the New York Village Voice and snagged Paul Frehley to round out their new foursome. Cueing on Alice Cooper's shock the audience into submission tactics, they decided to outfit themselves in Kabuki makeup and adopt onstage personae in order to both function in normal life without having to explain why they were doing what they were doing and in order to give the air of mystery to their shows (this would later become the major selling point of the band, who were they and what do they REALLY look like). They called themselves KISS.

Though the music was good and it was nicely produced for the time, it wasn't until their ALIVE! album hit the shelves did the band begin to see commercial success. The live performance sounded so much better than the studio recordings because it was like the groups image on stage, bigger, badder and more terrifying. Now armed with commercial success they were able to play larger arenas, book larger recording studios and play with better toys. The image quickly outgrew the music and no one could escape the marketing genius of Chiam Witz (Gene Simmons). Toys, clocks, posters, T-shirts, pillowcases, sheets, coloring books, model cars and a comic book (made with vials of the band member's blood mixed in the red ink) soon came to a store near you; KISS was no longer a band, they were an enterprise.

Of course with fame comes controversy and as Gene said, with controversy comes larger pay checks. KISS became the poster child of every anti-rock group in America, Knights In Satan's Service was supposedly the acronym for the name of the band, "The Demon" make-up (Gene) was based on a real Japanese demonic mythological creature, and other falsehoods soon had parents up in arms and kids paying more and more money to join the KISS Army. Then the really big time hit, TV. The recently released neo-Disco song "I was Made For Loving You" began eating up the charts and went triple platinum in no time, a TV appearance on "American Bandstand" proved that not only could they hold an audience on-stage, but also on screen, the reception was quite warm and the stars aligned for the made for TV movie "KISS Meets the Phantom of The Park". Unfortunately, none of the group could act, and the breaks were directly applied. However the damage had been done, a nation of future metalheads had been given the bite of doom.

Alice Cooper and KISS set the bar high for all rock band to follow, not just the Heavy Metal acts, but their HM legions took notes and went for the gusto, not only on stage, but in the studio.
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Victoria Rules
If you want to know everything there is to know about metal from its inception until about 1993, there's a book called Riff Kills Man! by Martin Popoff that reviews every metal album he and his buddies could find...about 900 of 'em, if memory serves. You'll find plenty to disagree with in the specific reviews...and a lot to agree with, as well...but as a way of knowing what's out there and how it all fits together, the book's a marvel.

I'm not sure if it's in print any more, but if you ever see it, *buy it*! :)



Staff member
I don't have that one (I've heard it's good, though), but I have a couple of books called Masters of Metal and The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal (or some such). The first is about the size of a comic book trade paperback, the latter is a massive softcover coffee-table book.

I'll have to dig them out to tell you more.


Don't forget the influence of Punk Rock. Punk thrived in the late seventies to early eighties and seemed to get merged into the Speed metal genre. A lot of old music is seen as cross-over now. Heck, Motorhead ain't metal, it's just good old rock and roll. Like the Ramones.

I'll add two comments to this and back away and let TF and DA finish it up.

It seems that it used to be that Metal back in the eighties had a social message. This may be the punk influence, but going back and listenign to my old Metallica, Anthrax, Pantera and other bands of the day, many of the songs had very powerful social messages. Homelessness, Corruption, Drug addiction, Suicide. Many of the newer songs I hear just don't have that meaning to them. Of course it may be those aren't played on the radio and I don't hear them.

Secondly. The classic rock station in town, you know the one that plays the Beatles, The Stones and Led Zepplin at least 6 times an hour, every hour. The have added Metallica to their play list :eek: Damn I'm getting old.

PS How about some love for Henry Rollins! He may not be metal, but he sure is hard, and Black Flag was a very influential band.


Staff member
The line between Punk and Metal is almost as blurry these days as the line between hard rock and Metal. Just like KISS bridged the latter gap, Motorhead bridged the former. They were the metal band that punks liked and respected, and the punk band that was metal enough for the headbangers and bikers to listen to.

Henry Rollins' body of work includes a lot of stuff that, with some slightly more pyrotechnic guitar work, would have made classic metal tunes.

As for message? I don't know- there was a lot of it, but there were still plenty of bands that played old-fashioned metal. Deep Purple had reunited. Judas Priest still ruled arenas around the world. Sabbath, Ozzy, AC/DC and their younger emulators were headlining massive tours and festivals.

Glam was on the rise, and not all of it was bad. However, when it overwhelmed the airwaves, GnR & The Cult popped up to remind everyone what (mainstream) rock was supposed to be about.

And lets be honest, The Four Horsemen- Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Metal Church did include some messages in their work...but more often than not, it was still, lyrically, a lot of the same stupid but fun stuff the other bands were doing.


First Post
You didn't, and this leads into a great subject, Thrash subgenres
East Coast Thrash:
These bands have a much greater punk and NYHC influence. Anthrax and Overkill are the banner bands of this genres. The lyrics are more likely to be social and political, its a little faster, too. If you like this kind of thing than plenty of more "thrashy" NYHC will appeal to you. I recommend Visions of Disorder and Toxic Narcotic for starters.
Crossover Thrash
Crossover Thrash is the bridge between punk and metal. A major band in this was Stormtroopers of Death(S.O.D.)
This "supergroup" of Scott Ian and Charlie Benante from Anthrax, Dan Lilker from the grind band Brutal Truth and the East Coast thrash outfit Nuclear Assault, and Billy Milano made up the group. Speak English or Die was a kick in the ass for crossover and is most noted for the song Milk, which is one of the first blast beats put out on a record.
Notable Crossover thrash bands:
Carnivore/Type O Negative, Suicidal Tendencies, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles/D.R.I., Cryptic Slaughter, Agnostic Front, Rigor Mortis, Discharge, Sacrilege.
West Coast/L.A./Bay Area thrash
Most successful form of thrash. Classical guitar influences, distorted bass and guitars with palm muting, blast beating and double bass use. Falsetto and singers with higher voices than other thrash metal subgenres are also typical for this.
Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Vio-Lence, Exodus, Death Angel, Forbidden
Up next, Teutonic Thrash, the decline of thrash, and the birth of American/Floridian Death Metal.
Oh, and I'm 20.

Hey! Quit skippin ahead. ;)

I'll hit this soon as the punk movement was hardly more than a blip on the musical radar (socially, however, is a different story), but just to tide you over:
Punk as a movement was about social disorder and anarachy, by the time it died in the mid-late 70s (or more aptly described, cloned and re-animated) anarchy was no longer a viable solution (The promised music and social interation section.) Thrash took punk energy and fused it with speed metal, well, speed and then took that punk social commentary and gave it a message that was more suited for changing social climate of the 80s.

Hope this sates your appetites. :)


First Post
We can't leave out the proto-metal bands such as Led Zeppelin who took the blues and cranked it all the way up. Cream can also be placed in the pre-metal days. In America, bands like the MC5 ordered us to kick out the jams, and Steppenwolf took us on a magic carpet ride.

The term "Heavy Metal" can be first traced to William S. Burrough's novel, "The Soft Machine", with a character named Uranian Willy, the Heavy Metal Kid. His next novel, in 1964, "Nova Express" uses the term "heavy metal" as a metaphor for addictive drugs. The term first appeared in music in Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild", and hard rock never looked back.
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Staff member
Just so we don't forget them, BRING ON THE LADIES!

The first woman to really belt out hard rock type vocals was none other than Janice Joplin.

Heart's Ann & Nancy Williams followed in the 1970-80's.

Then you started seeing women really get into the game: Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Doro Pesch (of Warlock/Doro fame), and, of course, Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics/WOW fame).

And the hypershred talents of one Jennifer Batten.

Without these women and many more, you wouldn't have Kittie and other hard rockin' women today.

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