Image via http://hornsuprocks.blogspot.com/
Today the discussion is all about NWOBHM. That acronym stands for New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.
I mentioned yesterday that NWOBHM is technically Trad Metal but that it deserves its own post. NWOBHM is especially important because it heavily influenced Thrash Metal. Metallica covered a lot of NWOBHM bands early in their career and loudly promoted those bands in the scene.
NWOBHM was more of a movement than subgenre. It served as a bit of a backlash against bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the late 1970s. Those bands had pioneered the metal sound but all had been heavily blues influenced. NWOBHM shunned the blues and brought in some elements of punk. This gave a much more aggressive sound and a faster tempo. There is of course, the obligatory power chord and the lightning fast solos. Thus, the difference musically.
The NWOBHM bands looked different too. As the blog title suggests, there was lots of denim and leather. These were working class kids who didn't have a lot of money. They couldn't buy fancy clothes, not that they wanted to. They were also rebelling against the flamboyant stage costumes of rock stars, feeling that the obsession with image had led to a lower quality in music. That, and that those rock stars just didn't look "tough" enough. NWOBHM defined the classic heavy metal wardrobe with leather jackets, jeans, chains and studs.
My pick to best represent the NWOBHM is Saxon. They had the tough image, songs about drinking, fighting and riding motorcycles. Saxon is ridiculously underrated and are pretty much a cult act here in the U.S. You have to be really metal to know Saxon.
Spandex and a bullet belt!
Seriously, I love Biff Byford's shirt.
Saxon formed in 1976 in, duh, England with the original lineup of: Biff Byford/Vocals, Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver/Guitars, Steve "Dobby" Dawson/Bass and David Ward/Drums. Saxon has had their share of lineup changes as well and even a legal fight over the ownership of the band name.
They have had a brilliant career at home and some sweet progress here in the U.S. Saxon were one band from the scene to have some pretty good early success. They were signed to a record deal in 1979 and by 1980 they had appeared at the very first Monsters of Rock show and had two hit singles. Saxon was pretty damned prolific in a short period of time, filled with relentless touring. By the end of 1981, they released their fourth album.
This, was a pretty big deal for metal because it spawned what was essentially an anthem for metal fans.
I speak of the title track, Denim and Leather.
That song is pretty indicative of what you're gonna get from Saxon. Good, classic metal.
I was inspired by that song so I have my Denim and Leather manicure for you.
Denim and Leather...and a studded bracelet
Index and ring fingers: Sally Hansen Salon Effect in Skinny Jeans
All others three coats Ulta Let Your Garter Down
Back to Saxon. The band has not stopped. They've continued to record and tour in spite of the glam scene siphoning off their audience in the 1980s or declining interest in metal in the 1990s. Persevering has paid off. They continue to have great success in the UK and much of Europe. Saxon keeps being re-discovered and their music shared. They are metal legends and we are lucky to have them.
Saxon circa 2011
image via http://www.saxon747.com/
Some more Saxon for your pleasure:
Princess of the Night - Seriously, it's about a locomotive. But the riffing is killer.
Just look up Saxon and enjoy.
I know I did not feature Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. Frankly, you should know them if you're any kind of metal fan and I really wanted to focus on a band that I feel has been overlooked. That's my reasoning anyway.
Other NWOBHM bands:
Angel Witch - Love them
Girlschool - Super rad
Grim Reaper - They will rock you to hell and then see you in hell
Sweet Savage - They are part of the DP/BS family tree
Def Leppard - No, really. It was before they went in a more commercial direction
Venom - I will be discussing them further, they are very important to Black Metal
Thanks once again for joining me. I'll be back again tomorrow to discuss Glam Metal/Hair Metal, whatever you like to call it. Never Surrender!