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The Globalization of Metal


revolead

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Thought you guys might like to read this. It's an essay I wrote for journalism class on globalization.

 

The Globalization of Metal

 

Its January 2001, and summer concerts are at their peak. Two-hundred and fifty thousand fans crowd a large concert park in Rio de Janeiro, all of them paying homage to one of the greatest heavy metal bands to ever exist, Iron Maiden. Not everyone attending the event speaks English, but every last person in the venue is caught up in the choruses, chanting Your time will come. The massive sell out crowd and global TV audience of millions lends hint to the reality of metal music as a global phenomenon. No longer is it a 1970s high-gain British rock sound or a dark, lurid sound of ambiguity; now, metal is everywhere, and almost everyone, whether a fan or not, can name at least one of the musical genres many tunes.

 

Metal had roots in the electrified blues of Britain, which included such artists and Jimi Hendrix and Cream, as well as in the progressive rock movement, which developed during the late 1960s in both America and Europe. From its roots, heavy metal has always been a global culture, initially attracting young audiences with its graphic depictions of death and mystery and its intense and heavy guitar riffs. The first metal band is widely debated, but many will concede to narrow the origin to British heavy rockers Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. These bands helped to pilot the genre and served as influences for the next decade, including the paradigm gods of metal, Metallica. The genre of metal found its roots in Britain, but it quickly gained global popularity as the music of the 1970s began its quick trek across the Atlantic Ocean, with Black Sabbaths album Black Sabbath debuting in America only four months after its release in the United Kingdom. The globalization of metal had begun.

 

Soon after the proto-metal bands hit the charts, bands with an extremely different approach to metal hit the music scene. Melodic metal, as it is now known, included bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Their lyrics still echoed death, mystery, and Armageddon, but the genre had expanded to a wider audience, since more people could relate to the new sound of power chords and consonance. Soon, other countries began to jump onto the metal bandwagon, and perhaps no better example of this globalization exists than that of the Scorpions, debuting in 1972 with the album Lonesome Crow. The Eurometal invasion hit America with full force. Band members of the Scorpions were all German, but the lyrics were all in English, testament of how the genre had taken the world by storm. For the first time, metal was not just an American and British invention but a worldwide phenomenon.

 

The influence of European music continued in the 1980s when the shred era hit America, bringing about the neoclassical revolution, which was characterized by high-speed guitar playing and a strong resurgence of interest in classical music. Bach and Mozart became hip again, and metal guitarists quickly found themselves exploring new ways to play faster and with more flash. However, the genre quickly grew tiresome, and for many in the music field, the shred era is now viewed with great abhorrence.

 

As the 1980s drew to a close, the short attention span of the MTV audience demanded change. The youth were tired of the flash, long hair, and technical guitar riffs that the 1980s were all about. The genre realized it was losing popularity, and by 1991, when Nirvana released Nevermind, many considered metal music dead. Metal bands that were once so popular were finding themselves making less and less complex music that dealt with a new audience, one that demanded lyrics they could relate to. The only way to survive was to offer the world something new. Metallica lost its heavy, palm-muted, high-gain sound and produced what many of its fans consider to be the last true Metallica album, The Black Album. Guns N Roses found themselves experimenting with a lower-gain, country-like sound.

 

While this new experimentation to attempt to remain popular occurred, many of the metal bands refused to give up their original sound, and as a result, they sacrificed radio play. They still had a following from diehard fans, but by the mid-1990s, the globalization of metal was quickly turning into the Americanization of metal with the advent of nü-metal and hip hop. The genre had fully devoted itself to appealing to current audiences, becoming less concerned with impressive musicianship and unique sound, eventually depreciating into the genre known as hard rock. The audiences wanted lyrics and sounds they could relate to. Hip hop influences pressed hard into the genre, giving way to bands like Rage Against the Machine, Papa Roach, and Limp Bizkit. By 1999, it appeared metal, in its original form was dead.

 

In the midst of a dark time in the world of metal, their existed a few small flames which could fuel metal into the inferno it had once been. Dream Theater, a progressive metal band, helped keep the metal dream alive, giving devoted fans great music album after album. In 1999, Iron Maiden reformed with all the original members to produce their best album in fifteen years. Both of these groups drew influences from all over the world, including Middle Eastern and Slavic melodies, classical composers, jazz, blues, and country. It was a widespread success as audiences tired of the simplicity hard rock and nü-metal. Soon, all kinds of dormant bands began to produce new albums and world tours once again became prominent. Names like Hyde Park (England), Budokan (Japan), Rio (Brazil), and Madison Square Garden (New York) began to fill live album covers once again. Metal was once again becoming a global genre.

 

Perhaps the best lesson to learn with metal is the sort of global camaraderie built through it. Metal fans look out for each other in mosh pits at concerts, and despite the media painting metal heads as aggressive abominations of society, the truth is, they are a family. No matter if a fan prays religiously to Iron Maiden or to Judas Priest, a rivalry often compared to belief in Christ or Allah, they can always connect. There are no specific criteria to belong to become a metal head, except loving metal itself. Nobody is excluded from the camaraderie based on age, gender, creed, race, or nationality. One can observe it in the Iron Maiden DVD, Rock in Rio, in which 250,000 fans who all speak different languages and come from different nationalities unite under the music they love. They express their love for the medium by crowd surfing through thousands, head banging for minutes on end, and screaming the lyrics they know and love. This expression of a global culture creates a sensibility in which differing political and religious ideologies are set aside, something we, as citizens of the world, can all take as example.

 

Often, when the term globalization is mentioned by media critics and theorists, it is viewed with negative connotations, quickly followed with implicitly derogatory terms such as Americanization, cultural imperialism, and new colonialism. But for music, especially metal, globalization has brought nothing but success and a blend of cultures that exists in few other media. No specific cultures music is forced into another, and when it is introduced, musicians look to it for improvisation and inspiration. Metal music is no different. It started off as a relatively global genre, grew to a worldwide phenomenon, became temporarily lost in the demands of a youth market, and came back full circle to its internationality and sensibility. It truly is an example to us all of how something everyone loves can take away differences and insecurities. Metal music is globalization at its finest.

___________________________________________________________

 

 

Bibliography

 

Guns N Roses. Use Your Illusion I. Guns N Roses. Los Angeles: Geffen, 1991.

Hetfield, James, and Ulrich, Lars, and Hammett, Kirk, and Newsted, Jason. The Black Album. Metallica. New York: Elektra, 1991.

Iron Maiden. Rock in Rio. Iron Maiden. New York: Columbia, 2002.

LaBrie, James, and Myung, John, and Petrucci, John, and Portnoy, Mike, and Rudess, Jordan. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Dream Theater. New York: Elektra, 2002

Lonesome Crow. The Scorpions. http://www.the-scorpions.com/english/. (accessed November 9, 2004).

Mock Him Productions. The History of Heavy Metal Music. Historical View of Metal. http://www.anus.com/metal/about/history.html. (accessed November 9, 2004).

Papa Roach. Infest. Papa Roach. Dreamworks: Beverly Hills, 2000.

Siegler, Joe. Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath Online. http://www.black-sabbath.com/discog/blacksabbath.html. (accessed November 9, 2004).

Shut up and play.
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Originally posted by P.McGinnis:

nice, Rev.

 

kind of surprised you didn't mention some of the legal stuff in the 80's - like when judas priest got sued for that suicide in nevada. i know you were young, but that was a BIG deal back then.

 

anyway, good work, thanks for sharing!

i remember seeing a documentary on that paticular story. there was alot more involved than a judas priest song. the boys involved were not exactly headed down a path that was innocent. it was a sad story and blaming a band was sadder.

can you say DRUGS?

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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

Originally posted by P.McGinnis:

nice, Rev.

 

kind of surprised you didn't mention some of the legal stuff in the 80's - like when judas priest got sued for that suicide in nevada. i know you were young, but that was a BIG deal back then.

 

anyway, good work, thanks for sharing!

i remember seeing a documentary on that paticular story. there was alot more involved than a judas priest song. the boys involved were not exactly headed down a path that was innocent. it was a sad story and blaming a band was sadder.

can you say DRUGS?

I think I still have a public tv documentary somewhere on VHS tape. Something called POV, with the case name creatively used in the title of the episode. Yeah, it was sad. It really comes down to one's upbringing.

 

I know many intelligent folks that love metal. Most of us that love metal aren't screwed up folks. :)

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Metal's dead. Unfortunately. It was killed by a million fans that all started a million bands that couldn't find an original idea if it hit 'em in the head. :mad:

And I'm the most metal mofo you'll ever meet. I just don't listen to much of it lately, but I'm a metal encyclopedia. Got a whole wall full of CD's that people always say, "Man, I've never heard of any of this shit."

Ask me a question, I need to put some of this knowledge to work! :D

 

Let me put it this way, I drove to a Napalm Death show last night listening to Charles Earland on the way down. :freak:

I'm sportin' a kick ass new Napalm tee, too. :cool:

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I have good reason to believe that more people have off'ed themselves after listening to traditional country than metal.

 

Now...as to whether it was in response to the themes in the songs, or having to listen to some frilly skirt clad wench's yodeling...you be the judge.

How can we fight ignorance and apathy?

Who knows! Who cares!

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stranger,

Ask me a question, I need to put some of this knowledge to work!
I used to be anti-metal. After almost three years on this forum, I'm reconsidering. I think the problem is the not-so-original crap that followed the *pioneers*.

 

I just heard (last night, car radio on the way home from work) "Rock & Roll All Night" (by KISS? I thought I hated them?) and really dig it (and have for a long time). Is that *Metal*?

 

What early albums do you recommend?

 

Could you give a brief history of the genre?

 

Thanks for any metal-help :cool:

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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Originally posted by Dave da Dude:

stranger,

Ask me a question, I need to put some of this knowledge to work!
I used to be anti-metal. After almost three years on this forum, I'm reconsidering. I think the problem is the not-so-original crap that followed the *pioneers*.

 

I just heard (last night, car radio on the way home from work) "Rock & Roll All Night" (by KISS? I thought I hated them?) and really dig it (and have for a long time). Is that *Metal*?

 

What early albums do you recommend?

 

Could you give a brief history of the genre?

 

Thanks for any metal-help :cool:

Dave, kiss is plain old rock and roll. nothing wrong with that. thier early albums are great rock and roll albums, i don't care what anyone thinks about the makeup etc, it is good old rock and roll with some guts. every arguement against Kiss should be used against all other bands that did 3 chord rock songs.

as for metal there are so many "styles". some of it is really dated lyric wise.

what kinds of bands and music do you really love and hate? this will give me more ideas for directing you to some "metal" artists that you will like.

one note..

early Judas priest is very cool, and you definately need to own the old AC/DC albums as well as early VH. these are not metal but they are still great.

i am a BIG fan of Megadeth. they didn't put out one bad album, Risk and Cryptic Writings took them down a slightly different path but the new album is A1. get yourself "The System Has Failed".

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Most of the best progressive metal seems to be coming out of Scandanavia thes days, though the name prepended to metal may differ, this is metal that ain't metal lite.

 

I think Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are a little bit cheesy myself (though I like bits and pices form different songs, and the players are good enough). I pretty much jump from early Sabbath to early Metallica for my retro stuff, and skip most of the hair metal as well (might as well just listen to Spinal Tap's BREAK LIKE THE WIND and hear it done right), and then head stright for the "mathy" and heavy Scanda schtuff.

.
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Hey Rev - good essay! Sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it. :(

 

Dave - I would suggest old Judas Priest ("Sad Wings of Destiny", "Stained Class" or "British Steel") or old Scorpions ("Animal Magnetism") as good jumping off points for you. Also Blue Oyster Cult's "Some Enchanted Evening" album might be worth a listen.

May all your thoughts be random!

- Neil

www.McFaddenArts.com

www.MikesGarageRocks.com

 

 

 

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Here's an interesting band from Montreal, Canada. Very legendary guys:

 

http://www.voivod.net/discography/89/89.gif

Their best album, IMO. Unlike a lot of other bands, they delve into a lot of science fiction themes, and mix it up with socoipolitical lyrics. The guitarist, Denis D'Amour (PIGGY), mixes fragments of chords like 6ths, diminished 5ths, open strings, and 11ths, alongside the classic power chords. It gives the band a fuller sound, as he's the only guitarist.

 

The bassist employs some distortion, which also helps to fill out the band's sound.

 

If you like sci-fi movie themes, you'll probably love Voivod.

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Originally posted by Dr. Taz:

Here's an interesting band from Montreal, Canada. Very legendary guys:

 

http://www.voivod.net/discography/89/89.gif

Their best album, IMO. Unlike a lot of other bands, they delve into a lot of science fiction themes, and mix it up with socoipolitical lyrics. The guitarist, Denis D'Amour (PIGGY), mixes fragments of chords like 6ths, diminished 5ths, open strings, and 11ths, alongside the classic power chords. It gives the band a fuller sound, as he's the only guitarist.

 

The bassist employs some distortion, which also helps to fill out the band's sound.

 

If you like sci-fi movie themes, you'll probably love Voivod.

I agree on the best album call; There drummer, Away, is also one of the best. They recently got back together with their original singer, Blacky and Metallica bassist Jason Newstand. Their newish (last year) self-titled LP was excellent.

 

i saw them play with High on Fire, and they were excellent. Piggy used a kid's toy raygun like a slide; it also activated the pickeups when he pulled the trigger (you can do the same trick with a remote control).

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I'm sorry, but I can't stand metal, just as I can't stand Rap (OK, maybe metal is a little better than Rap). I have nothing against metal, it just ain't my thang. I am just into the mellow stuff.

 

Not really on topic, just my contribution :thu:

The forumite formerly known as Cooper.

 

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

 

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will finally know peace." Jimi Hendrix

 

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." Jimi Hendrix

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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

Originally posted by Dave da Dude:

stranger,

Ask me a question, I need to put some of this knowledge to work!
I used to be anti-metal. After almost three years on this forum, I'm reconsidering. I think the problem is the not-so-original crap that followed the *pioneers*.

 

I just heard (last night, car radio on the way home from work) "Rock & Roll All Night" (by KISS? I thought I hated them?) and really dig it (and have for a long time). Is that *Metal*?

 

What early albums do you recommend?

 

Could you give a brief history of the genre?

 

Thanks for any metal-help :cool:

Dave, kiss is plain old rock and roll. nothing wrong with that. thier early albums are great rock and roll albums, i don't care what anyone thinks about the makeup etc, it is good old rock and roll with some guts. every arguement against Kiss should be used against all other bands that did 3 chord rock songs.

as for metal there are so many "styles". some of it is really dated lyric wise.

what kinds of bands and music do you really love and hate? this will give me more ideas for directing you to some "metal" artists that you will like.

one note..

early Judas priest is very cool, and you definately need to own the old AC/DC albums as well as early VH. these are not metal but they are still great.

i am a BIG fan of Megadeth. they didn't put out one bad album, Risk and Cryptic Writings took them down a slightly different path but the new album is A1. get yourself "The System Has Failed".

I keep hearing that Judas Priest is cool. I'm goin' have to try 'em. I have "AC/DC Live" and love it (TNT, Highway to Hell, Hells Bells, Back in Black, many other great ones; not a loser in the bunch). Besides AC/DC, I like ZZ Top, Cream, Stones, CCR and some Aerosmith, among others. I also like "Dirty Laundry" by Nazereth, loved the ???? cover of (1800's) "Whiskey Jug". Can't think of any others right now. My wife is rushing me out to pick up Mexican, BUT I'm having my left-over special seafood chowder w/ scallops, copy-crab, clams, oysters, garlic, Texas Pete and sherry :D I think I'll finish it :P
Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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So why not actually embrace a new decade or three if you are going to embrace a new genre (actually practically a set of genres, the way it has spun off subgenres). Or at least get into the eighties with some fine instrumental metal (no stupid lyrics about some dumb ass blood drinking gonifs to endure - just oodles of guitar) such as VERTICAL INVADER, on Metal Blade. Metal Blade was a small indie enthusiast label that managed to find a lot of good stuff of that period and get it out there for guitar fans.
.
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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

you will probably do good to get British Steel by Judas Priest, and the others mentioned above. and you can't go wrong with all the old AC/DC albums.

do you have the new box set of ZZ top?

Billy Gibbons is my all time fave Les Paul slinger.

British Steel huh? Is Judas Priest a British band?

 

I don't have the new ZZ Top Box Set, but the "Best of ZZ Top" is pretty good (.. Love .., La Grange, Pearl Necklace, Head's in Mississippi, Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Tube Snake Boggiem, Las Vegas [i like it :freak: ], Nationwide, and a bunch of other good 'uns). I'm going to try and branch out before I expand any (previously) unknown (to me) group.

 

NMcGuitar,

Also Blue Oyster Cult's
I liked them when they were new :D

 

old Scorpions ("Animal Magnetism")

I've got the Scorpions "?????" album (w/ Rock You Like a Hurricane), love it.

 

greenboy,

... just oodles of guitar) such as VERTICAL INVADER, on Metal Blade. Metal Blade was a small indie enthusiast label that managed to find a lot of good stuff of that period and get it out there for guitar fans.
Now there's some new names (for me at least).

 

Pantera? Been there, done that. I wasn't that impressed :confused: Just my 2¢ though.

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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