Speed metal history through sound

by Jon Wild
May 28, 2013 –

cliff_burton-metallicaHere at the DMU, one of our goals is chronicling the history of metal, from its dual origins in hard rock & classical music up to its current form of diverse genres. The Heavy Metal FAQ is the definitive tome of metal knowledge; however, one of the best time-tested methods for communicating this information is simply through listening.

Last month, Australian radio program Burning Bitumen presented a 2 hour long aural history of speed metal, from its humble beginnings in ’70s hard rock, to the ’80s NWOBHM, up to the current state of speed metal which attempts to amalgamate the influences of the past while still striving to innovate.

For those who are new to the genre, those who would rather experience sound than read about it, or those who just want to listen to a couple hours of solid metal; this is an excellent place to begin.

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3 comments

  • CC

    The term Thrash was originally used to refer to hardcore bands by Maximum Rock n’ Roll and Thrasher Mag back in 1982. There is printed proof that the this term originally belonged to Punk music not Metal but, is there any written proof that the term Speed Metal was used to describe the new subgenre Metallica, Slayer, Exodus were pioneering? I haven’t found it yet!
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    Nowdays, Speed Metal is a term used to describe the heavy metal styles that are typical of bands like early Blind Guardian, Helloween, Scanner, early Agent Steel, that to me is really Power Metal.
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    Most people that were listening to this music back in the day will easily agree that once upon a time Speed Metal was the name used for the subgenre, but an old video on Youtube shows that Metallica used the word Thrash to describe their type of metal.
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    Prozak suggests that Power Metal is a style rather than a subgenre, a late 80s hybrid of Speed Metal and radio friendly Heavy Metal. I agree, but I’d go even further and propose that Power Metal was formed as early as 1984 (full albums) and it was Heavy Metal played with the strumming techniques of Speed Metal.
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    The same people who happen to be pretty much “the rest of the world” will use the term speed metal to refer to Power Metal and Thrash to refer to Speed Metal. There is consensus on the actual genres and styles but not on the names used for them. What do you guys think?

  • hblaze66

    When most people think of power metal they think of the cheesy stuff like Rhapsody, Dragonforce and later Blind Guardian. Naturally they want to differentiate these from the bands you mentioned.