Combine the classic power trio with distorted amps and a really loud singer, and what do you get?
But just what is heavy metal? How can Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Motley Crue, and your average death metal band all be of the same genre?
Metal is, in all its forms, FUCKING LOUD!!! It is in your face, brutal, macho in way that welcomes aggressive females to get their alpha chick on. It is an angry genre of music that, in a beautiful paradox, is also a orgy of hedonism and joy. Having a bad day? Plug in the earbuds, cue up Motorhead, and crank thy iPod up to 11.
It is Spinal Tap and yet it is Page and Plant blaring “Kashmir” in competition with an Arabic orchestra. It is the angry rant of youth against the establishment, and yet it is also one of the many voices of that most conservative of American pastimes, NASCAR. Yeah. NASCAR.
Heavy metal is three distorted chords on a Gibson or a Strat. It is Jimmy Pages mad, pagan-fueled genius over Robert Plant wailing, at the same time, pleas for peace and harmony along with an invitation for as many women as possible to debauch themselves. It is Lemy, the Brit who makes most Hell’s Angels look like pussies, growling about the “Ace of Spades.” It is Dave Mustaine of Megadeth plowing through a heroin haze to remind you that the world is a dark, dark place despite the chemical insulation. It is Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted and Rob Trujillo of Metallica deciding that the bass is another lead guitar in ways you were too scared to imagine.
It’s Lita Ford screaming in your ear about what she’s going to do to you, ripping your throat out as she does it to you, and having you lusting after her for leaving you bleeding on the floor. It’s Motley Crue saying we’re all gonna die, so why not party on the way down.
Heavy metal does not use keyboards. Ever. Except when it does. Then they go to 11. Everything metal goes to 11.
Heavy metal is a magnificent cannibal. It’s eats rock and roll. It ate psychedelia. It ate prog. It ate the blues. It ate punk.
Heavy metal is sex for the mind. And it’s great to have on during sex. Heavy metal is sex.
And like the act of sex, even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty fucking good.