Heavy metal, or simply metal, is a musical genre that was born in the late sixties and early seventies in the United Kingdom and also in the United States, whose origins come from blues rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock. It is mainly characterized by its strong and distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, the bass and drum sounds are denser than usual and the voice is generally high-pitched or guttural.
Until today there is no precise consensus that defines which was the first heavy metal band, some mention Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, while others leave that seat exclusively to Black Sabbath.
At that same time, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many bands emerged that, although they did not have the media impact of those mentioned above, were also a great contribution to the birth of the genre such as Blue Cheer, Blue Öyster Cult , Sir Lord Baltimore, Budgie, UFO and Wishbone Ash, Subsequently, groups such as Scorpions, Rainbow, Judas Priest (the latter introduced the combination of the double bass drum with fast rhythms in sixteenth notes of bass and guitar, and eliminated the last influences of blues) and Motörhead (who included some elements of punk rock, giving it a new emphasis on aggressiveness and speed).
In the second half of the seventies and at the height of punk, the New Wave of British heavy metal (commonly abbreviated as NWOBHM) emerged, led by Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard and of which the highly influential ex post Diamond Head were part. or Venom, which gave a new value to the genre, resulting in the birth of a subsequent subculture on both sides of the Atlantic (the NWOBHM notably influencing the emergence of new American bands such as Manowar, Savatage or Queensrÿche at the end of that decade).
With the arrival of the eighties the first metal subgenres began to appear; On the one hand, glam metal (headed by bands like Europe, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, W.A.S.P., Whitesnake or Mötley Crue) that led the sales and music charts of the main markets and, on the other, extreme metal that came from the scene underground. Thrash metal led by the so-called American Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax) emerged with wide popularity from the latter, and with significant repercussions in Germany (bands such as Kreator, Sodom, Destruction or Tankard emerged).
However, in the following decade, this commercial success declined due to the rise of new alternative sounds not typical of metal, although in continental Europe, Japan and Latin America they continued to be popular and subgenres such as power metal experienced their boom (highlighting bands such as Helloween, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius or Rhapsody), in the same way that other new subgenres emerged and resisted commercially on a global level, such as groove (Pantera). At the end of that decade, even more extreme genres emerged, such as death metal and black metal, which had a boom in the early 1990s.
When the new millennium arrived, there were already an infinity of subgenres, each one with specific characteristics and with influences from other styles such as classical music, industrial music, funk and rap, for example, which have broadened the definition of metal until reaching present. In turn, its popularity has increased in recent years, mainly in Europe, the United States, Latin America and Japan. Metal music has a more favorable acceptance in the Nordic countries than in other regions due to the social and political openness in these regions, especially Finland has often been called the Promised Land of Heavy Metal, because today there are more than 50 metal bands per 100,000 population, more than any other nation in the world