Regarding Heavy Metal and the Blues
I've been a longtime fan of this site. While the site may not be the most aurally or visually
stimulating site, it more than makes up for it in intelligent well thought out writing and honest
well-reasoned opinions. While I may not agree with all of the opinions, I can always appreciate
the reasoning behind them. One thing I haven't been able to comprehend is Baeleron's hatred
of what he terms "bluesy" music. While I understand not liking the newer,
alternative sounding Metallica, I don't see how it sounds "bluesy". I'll be honest,
I like more than just heavy metal. I like orchestral classical music, blues, classic rock, and
heavy metal. Before you try to condemn me let me explain. I appreciate the lush, full musical
landscapes an orchestra can create. I like blues because of the emotion and the real life
experience behind the music and the way the guitar seems to talk to you. Have you ever
tried to truly experience the songs of the classic blues-men or the work of the more recent
ones such as Stevie Ray Vaughan? He is in my opinion the greatest guitarist ever.
His playing sounded like an outpouring of his soul. If anyone ever became one with his
instrument it was him. It was a very sad day for me when I found out that he had died.
Now for classic rock (hold the snickering until I'm done.) I mean the hard rock that started out
as an electrified British take on American blues that had it's start in the mid-60s, became
hugely popular during the 70s, and for all intents and purposes died by the early 80s because
of the commercial saturation caused by corporate greed. During this time classic rock became
very diverse and subgenred. Gee sounds familiar, doesn't it? Look at some of the music considered
to be classic rock: the southern rock of the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly
Hatchet, .38 Special, and Night Ranger. The progressive rock of Yes, Rush, Emerson, Lake
& Palmer, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and Pink Floyd. The boogie blues of Savoy Brown,
Foghat, and the early Doobie Brothers. While I could go on with subgenres and groups that fit
within them, I think I've made my point and I'm sure you've heard the groups I could list.
And even (drum roll please...) heavy metal evolved from classic (heavy electric blues) rock.
The seminal heavy metal group and the first one to have the term affixed to it, Black Sabbath,
showed its blues heritage on its albums. Songs like the 'Wizard' and 'N.I.B.' among others
have obviously identifiable blues elements.
I could go on with groups that preceded and followed Black Sabbath with origins in the late 60s
to early 70s that have had the heavy metal tag affixed to them that had blues elements show up
in songs. I could list them but I sure you know which ones I mean. While there were
cookie-cutter groups that explicitly made music for the intent of mass consumption
and were obvious rip-offs of previous groups during this time, it wasn't just the hedonistic,
corporate music machine that has only been represented. There were many groups that had
a definite musical vision, stayed true to their goals, achieved critical acclaim, and sold many
albums. And as you know heavy metal went through a similar cycle.
Now as far as music of the 80s and 90s is concerned, I don't like punk, synth pop, new wave,
R&B, rap, alternative, modern rock or strains of "hard rock" that incorporate
these genres into them and which misinformed people refer to as heavy metal. I also don't
always like everything that could be rightfully considered metal, such as death/doom metal.
What I don't like is the wannabe demonic growl vocals that end cookie monster mumbling.
I can deal with extreme vocals, like King Diamond, Udo Dirkschneider, Rob Halford,
Brian Johnson, Michael Kiske, Hansi Kursch, and Chuck Billy. I tried listening to Cradle Of Filth,
but no matter how hard I try I cannot reconcile it; I don't like death/doom metal. The vocals
are just too irritating, especially when they're mumbled. I'll admit there are songs by Slayer
I actually like. They happen to be the slower ones where I can actually understand what Arya
is singing, such as 'South of Heaven', 'Seasons in the Abyss', and 'Deadskin Mask'.
I like Iron Maiden for reasons similar to what written on this site: their progressive leanings;
deep, conceptual minded lyrics that make me draw upon my knowledge of history or literature;
long, drawn out, multiple movement instrumental sections; flawless musicianship that is able
to maintain power and aggression; and the other indefinable quality that just clicks
inside you when you listen to it. These are also the reasons why I like the groups on the
other bands page as well as
the likes of Savatage, Dream Theater, Hammerfall, Stratovarius, Manowar, Jag Panzer,
Olympia, Einerjer, and Gamma Ray. But then again I like other artists such as Deep
Purple, Rainbow, the Scorpions, UFO, MSG, Guns N' Roses, Corrosion Of Conformity,
Yngwie Malmsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Satriani, Motorhead, and yes even the dreaded
Black Crowes. I'll admit that while some of them don't have anything even closely approaching
intelligent lyrics, I don't need to have brain-busting lyrics to appreciate guitar heroics and
great songs. These are just some of my thoughts on music and what the draw for me is in
music, especially power/progressive metal. Feel free to e-mail any responses to me.
9th March 2000
[Back to Index]