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Heavy Rock or Metal (often
referred to simply as metal) is a genre of rock music that
developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the
United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock
and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal
developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly
amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and
overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are
generally associated with masculinity and machismo.
The first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath,
Deep Purple and Queen attracted large audiences, though they
were often critically reviled, a status common throughout the
history of the genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur
the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence;
Motorhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing
emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal
such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end
of the decade, heavy metal had attracted a worldwide following
of fans known as "Metalheads" or "Head bangers".
In the 1980s, glam metal became a major commercial force with
groups like 'Motley Crue' and '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 metal remain subculture 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.
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