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SAXON & Heavy Metal

News - Saxon Archives

Heavy metal(often referred to simply as metal) developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States. It was during the start of the seventies era when Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson toured the pubs and clubs in the North of England as Son Of A Bitch (SOB). Early heavy music like the SOB influence cultured its roots in blues rock and sixties psychedelic rock influences.

The style of the raw rock genre soon progressed into the new heavy metal and developed a thick, massive over-driven sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The theme introduced into Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles were focused generally on masculine attitude and atire and machismo.

The first heavy metal style bands included Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Saxon and Deep Purplewho all attracted large festivalsized audiences. They were often critically reviled with much negative publicity, a status common throughout the history of the Heavy Metal genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur the 'Metal evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rocksensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed, and in their own style, SonOfaBitch were climbing the ranks around the North of England gaining a sizeable notoriety from fans and Record companies both on home ground and abroad.

It was innevitible then, that during the latter part of 1970, SOB were snatched up and signed to French record label Carrere Records, and with their first tour of America in the can, the band were persuaded by their highly influential USA distributors to change their name to SAXONin the so called interest of Public Acceptability.

Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden and Saxonfollowed in a similar vein. Before the end of the

decade, heavy metal had attracted a worldwide following of fans known as metalheads or headbangers.

In the 1980s, glam metal became a major commercial force with groups like Mötley Crüeand Poison. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, while other styles like death metal and black metalremain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s, popular styles such as nu metal, which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop; and metalcore, which blends extreme metal with hardcore punk, have further expanded the definition of the genre.

The Son of a Bitch to SAXON metamorphosis in 1979 helped SAXON to become one of the first important bands to straddle the punk/metal divide. With the explosion of punk in 1977, others followed. British music papers such as the NME and Soundstook notice, with Sounds writer Geoff Barton christening the movement the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Historically, NWOBHM bands include Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Def Leppard, to mention but a few, all reenergized laying the foundations of the the new heavy metal genre.

In 1980, the NWOBHMbroke into the mainstream, as albums by Iron Maiden and Saxon, as well as Motorhead, reached the British top 10. Though less commercially successful, other NWOBHM bands such as Venom and Diamond Headwould have a significant influence on metal's development. In 1981, Motorhead became the first of this new breed of metal bands to top the UK charts with No Sleep 'til Hammersmith.

Source extracts: Wikipedia

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