As inflexible enthusiasts, we like to complain about it, but we’re also secretly proud of it. The tirelessly proliferating subculture of heavy metal is the most documented underdog movement in popular music. A lot has happened since the advent of pain-breaking guitar music with its accompanying screams, more than forty years ago. And he was very quiet on the radio and in pop magazines and cultural supplements. And at festivals and better-prepared pop stages, night after night was full of punk and then post-punk, new wave, synthpop, and ska.
Interest in the genre has remained minimal, despite the unstoppable march through music culture. Reference works and assemblies are still scarce, although music journalist Robert Hajsma brought the beautiful set in 2014. Dutch steel Outside, with active work from the early years. But today’s heavy metal, divided into a thousand subspecies, also has life force. The religious community, from young to old, has spread all over the world, from Indonesia to Iraq, Brazil and Angola.
wall of contempt
The early chiefs who cautiously advanced from the smaller village centers to the urban areas had to break through the wall of contempt. Citizens, of course, have nothing to do with that neck rug, that devil’s-branded T-shirt and those crazy leggings. But the pop connoisseur with a fine taste and a nose in the wind also preferred to see the hard rock boys (in the early years mostly boys) leave the pop scene as quickly as possible, full throttle on that Kreidler.
Where did this aversion come from, wondering two beautiful books that appeared almost simultaneously. And why did heavy metal develop into the most enduring artistic and lifestyle movement in music history? Wasn’t an aversion to good society also the driving force behind the genre, and did blues music flourish precisely because of disdain?
In any case, the new counterculture produced groundbreaking music from the late 1970s, by Dutch and Belgian bands with fighting names such as Killer, Hammerhawk, Warhead and Danger. Authors AHJ Dautzenberg and Vincent Loozen bring these bands, who had to build the genre from the ground up, together on a wonderful double album. And in a companion book rich in illustrations, they give the most important prehistoric players, from bands to boys (and thankfully also more and more girls) behind the scenes, for example, the magazine Earthquakewhich will fight for the species to mature in Holland.
That magazine’s editor-in-chief, Metal Mike for nearly half a century, explains that he started his magazine simply because there was nothing else available. While the British first wave of innovative metal has already begun to cross the road. “The first edition was five hundred copies, hand-printed and stapled.” Metal Mike brought the magazines to record car shops, from Satisfaction in Heerlen to De Put in Leeuwarden. His magazine has grown into a glossy musician with a circulation of 28 thousand copies.
He also decided to organize a concert, which also went almost carelessly in the early years and in the manner prescribed by the punk. do it yourself-road. Metal Mike called Metallica’s drummer and asked if his band would like to play at Aardschokdag, a festival in honor of rock music. “Then Metallica came. I sent money for the trip and then they flew to Holland. The hotel trouble was unnecessary: Metallica is stuck with Metal Mike.
space for adventure
This is how metal flourished in Holland, with cottage industry and citizen initiatives. The music became more complex: the metal wanted aggressive punk, but with more virtuosity on the guitar. Guitarist Arjen Lucassen performed his first miracles with his band Bodine and Vengeance. But in the big cities, there was hardly a stage willing to book it. So Lucasson and his colleagues turned to smaller municipalities. “In the countryside there was more room for adventure, the public was not yet spoiled and was open to new things.” Let Randstad settle on that.
Fans often had to awaken the beast themselves; The pop infrastructure left metal for metal, believing the misery would end. A sweet story about two children from the Flemish village of Uihoven who organize Iron Maiden parties between the dryers of a hair salon called Lady Fashion. The hairdresser turned out to be a kind of amateur pilgrimage site: concert tickets and buttons were sold at the box office. And of course the essential hair products for mineral heads.
the book denim and leather Written by British music writer Michael Hahn, on the emergence of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM), tells an almost identical creation story. Hann lets club owners and band members have their say and shows that the still widely used genre name NWOBHM can come up when a true pop journalist finally comes to a musical evening.
In 1979, writer Jeff Barton of pop and rock magazine worked sounds To join the London musical scene Music Machine, where fledgling bands Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Samson were brought together by an enthusiastic promoter. Barton did what he had decided to do: approach the new metal bands very critically. He believed that the Angel Witch played too fast, and made him “comatose”.
But he was also fascinated, especially by the smoke, the light, the cardboard, and the fireworks that Samson let splash off the stage. “You have to see this show to believe it,” Barton wrote. His magazine decided to unpack his report, and the editor-in-chief placed a raucous introduction above it: “If you want blood (and flash bombs, dry ice, and petticoat scraps) you’ve got it: the new wave of British heavy metal.
Metal characters were thrilled to finally get some serious attention, happily took up the term, and the genre has taken off all over the world. It was later revealed that Jeff Barton had definitely gone for the ax: in 1981 he founded Metal magazine Kerang The reference, which is still around and was even the best-selling British weekly music of the 2000s. We are proud of that too.
AHJ Dautzenberg and Vincent Loozen: Crash! Worry! Whoops! – New wave of Lowland Metal Low (book and double album). Re / Excelsior 72 pages €39.99 (with LP). ★★★★☆
Michael Hahn: Denim and Leather – The Rise and Fall of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. policeman; 462 pages about 23.40 euros. ★★★★☆