Definition: Heavy metal
Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that
developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States.
With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed
a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos,
emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are
often associated with masculinity, aggression, and machismo.
The first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath attracted
large audiences, though they were often derided by critics, a status common throughout
the history of the genre. During the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre's
evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a
punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of
British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in a similar vein. Before
the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as "metalheads" or "headbangers".