Hard History

Part III

While punk was shaking the foundations of rock n' roll, heavy metal came back with Judas Priest, the Scorpions, Accept, and the short-lived New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). The highly important British invasion brought with itself bands like the acclaimed Diamond Head, Def Leppard, Holocaust, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Samson, Tygers of Pan Tang, Venom, Raven, and Sweet Savage, of which only Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard were to survive. Judas Priest would popularize the leather, studs, and spikes apparel that would characterize metal for years to come; the veteran Scorpions would increase its string of brilliant releases, such as Virgin Killer, Lovedrive, and Blackout, which featured the band's taste for both ballads and heavy songs; and Accept would demonstrate its solid musicianship and proto-power metal drive through classic albums like Breaker and Restless and Wild.

Meanwhile, Iron Maiden brought back the mystic imagery of heavy metal while pounding out some of the heaviest riffs of its time in albums like Killers, Piece of Mind and Powerslave. The band was to remain the heaviest to rule the arena hard-rock circuit for years until the advent of Metallica. And while Maiden pounded out harmonized and majestic guitar riffs backed by a thunderous bass (a combination commonly known as classic metal, not to be confused with the pioneering genre), Venom would truly begin the thrash metal genre with classic albums like Welcome to Hell and Black Metal, in which it also laid the grounds for what would turn out to be death and black metal later on. Originally a band meant as a tongue-in-cheek project named Oberon, Venom was to become the most intense band of its time and would inspire, along with Motorhead, Judas Priest's Stained Class and Riot's distinguishable and energetic musical outbursts, young bands such as Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, and Mantas (which would later become Death) to start making their own brand of fast, aggressive music.

The NWOBHM, however, was to be more than just a short-lived movement of exciting heavy metal revival in Great Britain. It became a revitalized hotbed of youthful exuberance, unbridled creativity, and a point of inspiration and reference for the way heavy metal was to evolve throughout much of the Eighties. With the driving riff-based metal of bands like Jaguar set up against the quirkiness of Witchfynde, the originality of Legend, the timeless quality of Diamond Head, the energy of Angel Witch, or the doom-laden crunch of Witchfinder General, it signified what heavy metal stood for, and guaranteed its continual evolution.

Hard History Part III Page 2