Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday's Playlist: New Wave Of British Heavy Metal

In last week's Playlist we featured Britpop, so this week we figured we'd stay in Albion but go back a little further in time. Needless to say, this Friday's Playlist needs to be played LOUD.

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (or NWOBHM for short) was a musical movement born in the late seventies in England (obviously...) and spearheaded by bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon. Influenced by Thin Lizzy, Motörhead, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and Wishbone Ash but also by prog-rockers like Yes and boogie-rockers like Foghat, the movement was more of a scene than a musical genre. In fact, as far as the music goes, it was all over the map: from the pure Metal sound of early Iron Maiden to the slicker, more pop-oriented hooks of Def Leppard and the heavier, doomier riffs of Witchfinder General, NWOBHM was a very diverse sub-genre.

Some of the bands have gone on to great commercial success: Def Leppard became a mainstream success with their Mutt Lange-produced late eighties records and Iron Maiden remains one of the most successful Heavy Metal touring operations. Saxon has never stopped treading second division waters and has enjoyed a late-career resurrection in the past decade, releasing a slew of quality records reminiscent of their early-eighties heyday. Others haven't been so lucky: despite being hugely influential on bands like Metallica and Megadeth, Diamond Head has struggled to remain relevant and most of their releases are unworthy of the legend of their seminal Am I Evil? record. Tygers Of Pan Tang fizzled out quickly but reformed in the late nineties to much indifference.

But for a few years the NWOBHM was a fresh, vibrant movement that provided Metal fans with all  their necessary thrills and paved the way for the Thrash Metal invasion of the eighties. Enjoy this short playlist, share, and comment!

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