The Book Of Heavy Metal

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**What is considered heavy metal music?** Heavy metal is traditionally characterized by **loud distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, dense bass-and-drum sound, and vigorous vocals**. Heavy metal subgenres variously emphasize, alter, or omit one or more of these attributes. The term “metal” is **believed to have come from the hippie movement, when “heavy” meant deep or serious**. Metal music revolves around a few key components: heavily distorted guitar riffs and chords, powerful drumming, extra low-range bass notes, and aggressive or throaty vocals. It’s a question that will probably rage for all eternity, something that even the immortals can’t agree on who the hell invented heavy metal music? Was it [The Beatles](https://www.rockarchive.com/artists/b/beatles-the "The Beatles") with their mass murder-inspiring “Helter Skelter”? Was it [Jimi Hendrix](https://www.rockarchive.com/artists/j/jimi-hendrix "Jimi Hendrix") with his distorted, feedback guitar frenzies? Was it [The Kinks](https://www.rockarchive.com/artists/k/kinks-the "The Kinks") with their power chord classic “You Really Got Me”? Or [The Who](https://www.rockarchive.com/artists/w/who-the "The Who")? Or [Cream](https://www.rockarchive.com/artists/c/cream "Cream")? Or was it an earlier era? All these and more are contenders and like most music genre genealogy it’s up for fierce, fist-wielding debate, preferably late at night, terribly drunk while sitting in the pub. And it’s also the topic of a new video essay ‘Who invented metal?’ by music journalist and YouTuber Noah Lefevre (aka Polyphonic). As Lefevre notes, as a genre, heavy metal is both loved and vilified and has spawned a number of subgenres. But it’s also a staple of modern music, as recognizable as country, electronic music, rock, pop, and all the rest. **What was the first metal song?** And that was Blue Cheer who, in 1968, released a cover of “**Summertime Blues**”, a cover which Lefevre calls “deep, dark, and loud” noting that “to this day many people consider \[the track\] as the first real heavy metal song.” He then goes on to note that one of the standout traits of the track is “how deep it is, sitting


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