Metal Evolution Episode 4:the Nwobhm

The fourth episode of the exciting series “Metal Evolution” analyses the rise and impact of the New Wave of British Metal Heavy Metal on the evolution of metal. The fourth episode of ‘Metal Evolution’ is dedicated to one of the most exciting and influential periods in the history of hard rock and metal,the period between late seventies and mid-eighties,when a the movement known as ‘The New Wave of British Heavy Metal’(NWOBHM)emerged and reached its climax.Canadian anthropologist and heavy metal fan Sam Dunn explores this fascinating period by interviewing some of the most
representative musicians of that time and journalists that help him form an accurate picture of how the NWOBHM rose to fame and of its impact on other types of metal that emerged in the eighties. From the beginning we find out that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal emerged in a period in which the initial hard and heavy bands were going through hard times and punk was the big thing in British rock in the latter part of the seventies.Sam Dunn wants to find out if there’s any connection between punk and the NWOBHM and the answers he gets are generally negative;Steve Harris,the bassist of Iron Maiden,clearly states that he hated punk and had nothing to do with it,while other musicians admit that there may be certain influences,but very small,and punk and metal fans simply didn’t fit in the same place at that time.Interviews with musicians from Diamond Head,Tygers of Pan Tang,Raven and Saxon help the viewers relive those exciting years in which heavy metal was practically reinvented,becoming more powerful,more aggressive,faster,but also melodic. It is obvious that the most prominent representative of the movement is Iron Maiden,and the apparition of their first album,’Killers’ in 1980,is the one most important moments in the evolution of the genre.Steve Harris evokes the amazing moments he and his band mates they lived when they went to a large pub in which metal fans in London used to gather and enjoy their favorite music,and everyone was headbanging to their song’Prowler’,without knowing that the band was there.It was one of the first signs that the NWOBHM was growing at a fast pace.Another defining moment presented in the documentay is the Reading festival in the same year,in

which many fans who came to see older bands like Whitesnake were introduced to the new and exciting sounds of heavy metal,but the moment in which the NWOBHM became appreciated worldwide was the replacement of Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno with Bruce Dickinson,whose higher vocal range and theatrical stage presence brought Iron Maiden instant success from the very first album with Dickinson as singer,’The Number of the Beast’(1982). Another big band which was considered initially a member of the NWOBHM is Def Leppard,although lead singer Joe Elliott distances himself from the movement claiming that the band’s goal was from the very beginning to become as influential in the US as their illustrious British predecessors,like Beatles,The Rolling Stones,Pink Flod or Led Zeppelin,and they certainly managed to reach their goals by achieving huge success with ‘Pyromania’(1983).As Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen says when interviewed by Sam Dunn,’Pyromania was an album in which AC/DC met Queen’,the perfect blend between hard rock and pop which turned Def Leppard into a hugely popular bands in the eighties.Even if some people consider that Def Leppard betrayed the hard rock movement in favor of mainstream recognition,the importance of this band for British metal is undeniable. Finally,like other types of rock music that were popular for a while ,the glory days of the NWOBHM were over,much of its decline being provoked by the rise of the glam metal movement in the USA in the eighties;helped by MTV and by a new look that unfortunately was more important than the music itself,glam metal was the big thing in the latter part of the eighties.However,that was also the time when a new type of music,illustrated in the documentary by Metallica’s cover of ‘Am I evil?’,a song by Diamond Head,would take heavy metal to a new level,creating a faster and more aggressive style of music entitled thrash metal,that would also lead to other genres,but one thing is certain:the influence that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal exerted on the new types of metal invented later on was immense,and for this reason I think that the NWOBHM was truly a turning point in the history of metal. Related Article: http://expertscolumn.com/content/metal-evolution-episode-5glam-metal


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