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Judas Priest Performing
Judas Priest Performing



(See also Heavy Metal entry!)

Metal is a genre of rock music that started in the 1960s and 70s, with the invention of the electric guitar. It was strongly influenced by the blues influenced rock bands of the 60s, like The Rolling Stones. Metal is characterized by its thick, large sound, using amplified distorted guitars.

Metal was started by Black Sabbath - who started in 1968. They were the first to write scary, heavy music, and others soon followed. Some of the early metal bands from the 70s were Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden. Thrash metal followed in the 80s wth bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. The 80s was also the birth of Motley Crue, and Glam Metal.

Since the mid 90s, Nu Metal has dominated the metal scene, with bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Bullet for My Valentine and Killswitch Engage. Lots of other metal styles have been created, such as; Death metal, Black Metal, Power Metal, Speed Metal and Progressive Metal, though these are the less mainstream sub-genres of metal.


Metal generally has heavily distorted guitars, strong bass in bass guitar and drums, and harsh singing.

Lyrical Themes

Metal's lyrical themes are often sex, violence and the occult. Themes do differ between styles for example, a lot of Thrash Metal songs talked of death and aggresion, whilst Power Metal commonly has fantastical themes. Many metal songs have used political issues as themes, for instance Black Sabbath's song "War Pigs", and Iron Maiden's song "2 Minutes To Midnight".



The 60s was the birth of blues influenced rock bands like The Rolling Stones. Also in this era where The Kinks, The Who, and Jeff Beck, who started experimenting with feedback.


The 70s was where metal really started to kick off. It was the birth of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.


In the 80s Punk Rock had started and so had the NWOBHM. The bands Iron Maiden, Metallica and Motorhead started in this decade. This was also the time when Ozzy Osbourne started performing with Rhandy Rhoades.

Related GMC Lessons

Thrash Metal Lesson

Death Metal Riffing

See also