Hard History

Part II

Then came metal's sister music, punk, to save the rock scene from an untimely demise. A slew of new bands that could barely play their instruments and protested about fascism, their governments, and basically everyday life, were to take the spotlight with their raucous stage antics and their three-chord songs imbued with righteous fury. Influenced by the first punk outings of Iggy and the Stooges, the MC5, and the glittery New York Dolls during the 60's and early 70's, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Clash, the Damned, Siouxsie and the Banshees; and relatively more obscure bands, such as Pagans, the Dead Boys, the UK Subs, the Misfits, Crass, the Exploited, the gloomy Amebix, and the Plasmatics were to storm upon the world. Punk's greatest contributions to the punk/heavy metal scene were probably the widespread practice of slamdancing, the renaissance of energetic music, and the wide propagation of protests against the wrongdoings of society (an echo of Black Sabbath themes, included in songs such as "Children of the Grave" and "War Pigs").

Perhaps the three most important bands of punk were Iggy and the Stooges, the Ramones, and the Sex Pistols. The first was Iggy Pop's band. The band members were nothing short of amazing in their live shows, which were so energetic, that according to Iggy Pop himself, they would only last ten to fifteen minutes, consisting basically of Iggy's wild antics and screaming over a power trio's furious songs. Then was the Ramones, the New York band with songs that were amazingly reckless for their time and laid the foundations on which bands such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana would grow. Finally was the greatest (in popularity) punk rock band of all times: The Sex Pistols. Its origin was rather curious: An art project by Malcom McClaren that sought to destroy everything that had come before in rock n' roll. The band managed to create some good punk rock in the process, with everything from political protest ("God Save the Queen") to hooky songs ("Sub-Mission"). However, the band destroyed itself during its American tour, with bassist Sid Vicious killing his girlfriend Nancy Spunge and then committing suicide while drugged; this turned Vicious into punk's infamous martyr and began the end for punk rock, which would remain underground for the most part until the Nineties.

While punk was taking over strongly among the youth, another raw and aggressive band would begin making an impact: Motorhead. Motorhead would signify the beginning of what is known today as thrash/speed/power metal, which would in turn originate death metal. The band's first release, On Parole (1976) would only hint at the power unleashed in later albums released during the late 70's and early 80's, such as Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, and No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith, which offered some truly pedal-to-the-metal songs. Furthermore, Motorhead surprisingly attracted not only the metal crowd, but also many fiery punk fans, therefore marking the beginning of a union that would eventually result in the creation of hardcore.

Hard History Part III