Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Wave of British Heavy Metal 101: Hell Bent for Leather

Much of the 80's is remembered for the synth pop of Duran Duran, Haircut 100 et al, New Wave music that has given that decade the worst reputation in musical history.

There was another new wave, however, devoid of wedge haircuts and white shirts with their top button done up, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM)

In the 70's bands like Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath had picked up from Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer, making heavy metal one of the most powerful forces in rock. By the 80's they were almost defunct, overshadowed by Punk and Disco, along with prog rock, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

The New Wave of Heavy Metal rose from the steel mills and working class towns of England; it was rough, macho and gothic.

Motorhead was a blend of 70's heavy metal and punk, serving as a precursor for the speed metal that was to come

Judas Priest, fronted by the leather-clad (and gay) Rob Halford balanced the melodic and meacing to great effect

Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast is iconic and they showed their progressive chops with Powerslave (1984).

These three bands were probably the best known but there were literally thousands producing records at the time, some printing only ten copies of records, in a nation-wide backlash against the New Romantics

Rock Revival's Top Five NWBHM

1. Judas Priest: Hell Bent for Leather

2. Iron Maiden: Aces High

3. Saxon: Man and Machine

4. Motorhead: Ace of Spades

5. Diamond Head: It's Electric

Image: Courtesy Columbia

1 comment:

rock_of_ages said...

Hmmm... I don't know how you can do a nwobhm post and not mention Trespass, Jaguar, White Spirit, Heavy Pettin or Def Leppard to name but a few. Fortunately though your timing is good!! Keep an eye on this week for a few posts about this fine period for British rock and metal - including an interview with one of the survivors!