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Oxford Music Dictionary definitions of metal


Oxford Music Dictionary definitions of metal
December 04, 2008, 08:00:50 AM
Death metal.

See Thrash metal.

Thrash metal.

A term often used in the 1980s to distinguish a faster, heavily distorted kind of Heavy metal from the more melodic and popular styles. Speed metal developed in the San Francisco Bay area as an underground, alternative style of heavy metal around 1981; its main pioneers were Metallica, Megadeth and, in New York, Anthrax. When speed metal bands began incorporating more punk influences, such as a growling vocal style and sarcastic or critical lyrics, the style was called thrash metal, reflecting a thrashing quality of motion in music and dance; other respected practitioners were Testament, Exodus, and Possessed. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal at the turn of the 1980s was an important influence on thrash musicians, but their most important ancestor was the British band Motörhead, which had played for both metal and punk audiences in the 1970s. However, thrash metal’s emphasis on instrumental virtuosity – particularly fast guitar solos and the precise ensemble execution of complex song structures – made it distinctly different from punk and hardcore. Thrash bands often used unusual metres, too, as well as sudden tempo and style changes.

A closely related style was death metal, which shared thrash metal’s extremely distorted electric guitar and fast riffs but focussed in its lyrics and stage shows on death, religion, and gruesome theatricality. Slayer, from Los Angeles, the Brazilian group Sepultura, and Denmark’s Mercyful Fate were among the most successful bands of this type. Thrash, speed, death and other modifiers served during the 1980s to distinguish underground styles from the more popular heavy metal of performers such as Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard. In the early 1990s, the popularity of mainstream heavy metal declined, while thrash bands (Metallica in particular) achieved great popularity. This development, along with generic fusions and realignments, made terms such as thrash less often used after that time; the sounds of thrash redefined heavy metal.

 - Robert Walser

J. Obrecht: Masters of Heavy Metal (New York, 1984)

D. Weinstein: Heavy Metal: a Cultural Sociology (New York, 1991)

C. Crocker: Metallica: the Frayed Ends of Metal (New York, 1993)

M. Hale: Headbangers: the Worldwide MegaBook of Heavy Metal Bands (Ann Arbor, 1993)

R. Walser: Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (Hanover, NH, 1993)

re-education required.

Re: Oxford Music Dictionary definitions of metal
December 04, 2008, 08:04:35 AM
less misinformation than i would've guessed, but still pretty bad. the identification of Mercyful Fate as a death metal band was especially good


Re: Oxford Music Dictionary definitions of metal
December 04, 2008, 04:15:33 PM
The closest I've heard a classical music buff come to describing metal accurately was when he was comparing listening to Lizst's Totentanz to the kind of music "you'd hear in a 'thrash pit'". He went on to describe Lizst as shallow, exploitative dreck.

Re: Oxford Music Dictionary definitions of metal
December 04, 2008, 04:48:07 PM
From the Oxford English Dictionary online,
death metal n. a form of heavy metal music characterized by lyrics preoccupied with suffering, destruction, and death, and often a deep, growling vocal style.

Re: Oxford Music Dictionary definitions of metal
December 04, 2008, 05:37:57 PM
It's mostly accurate and is probably the only definition that differentiates thrash and speed metal. Essentially the only thing they got wrong was the death metal parts. The brevity of the mention of death metal is probably that they don't consider it a significant enough movement to include.