In the era of the classical composers, you had to go to a theatre or a public place to hear music. It wasn’t something which was portable or sellable or something transmitted into the homes of people.
With our advancements in technology, we got radio. But apart from playing music inside the studio and having it beemed live, there still wasn’t a way to capture/record music properly. The invention of electricity, the magnetic tape and vinyl phonographs between 1900 and 1950’s made it all possible, and all of this came to fruition in the 60’s and a whole new recording business was formed.
And we got Rock and Roll, which was basically an extension of the Blues and this lead to what would become Heavy Metal.
Heavy Metal, came at a time when society was still disciplined to believe in their religious leaders and their government elected officials. And Metal questioned these beliefs and highlighted the divides between the haves and have nots.
The biggest Christian band ever “Black Sabbath” was labelled as satanic because they sang about mental illness, the sweet leaf, the white stuff that leaves you snow-blind, the nuclear arms race that condemns all of the children to the grave and they used the realms of infinite space as a form of escapism. But their biggest crime was to question authority and when authority is questioned, authorities need to make someone as the bad guy and themselves as the good guy.
And this opposition to heavy metal has continued throughout its history. And on occasions, heavy metal even opposed itself and did itself no favours, like the black metal movement in Norway, the Church burnings, the stabbings amongst certain groups. But despite all of this, metal has kept its fan base, all of those misfits and outcasts, who actually came from blue collared middle class suburban families who gave their kids enough freedom to explore and find themselves.
And metal music brought forth a certain musicianship that other artists and genres didn’t have. But the biggest impact that heavy metal music made on music is the album cover art.
If you don’t believe me, check out the covers of artists before heavy metal and hard rock captured the zeitgeist.
No one can forget the iconic Iron Maiden album covers.
But if you even go back to the 70’s and the first Black Sabbath album, with its scary matte cover of a pale lady standing in a field in front of a house that looks scary and compare that to covers that other artists produced that year, you’ll understand what I mean.
Artists (painters and graphic designers) suddenly had a new way to get paid as rock and metal artists called upon their services. Then other genres started to call up these artists.
As a metalhead, I feel it’s pulse and I live its lifestyle every single day of my life. When I need to talk to someone I do, when I need to say no, I do, when I need to kick back, I do. And when I want to appreciate art I will pull out a cover and enjoy it.