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Second Coming The Resurgence of Heavy Metal in popular music

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Title: Second Coming The Resurgence of Heavy Metal in popular music


1
Second ComingThe Resurgence of Heavy Metal in
popular music
2
IntroductionThe Resurgence of Heavy Metal in
popular music

Heavy Metal music has endured a long and
turbulent history. From its introduction nearly
four decades ago, to its popularity explosion in
the 1980s, heavy metal music has been met with
constant criticism and scrutiny. Violent crimes,
suicide, drug use, and deviant sexual behavior
were all used as reasons by parents and the
government to target and eliminate this genre of
music. As the grunge movement exploded in the
late 80s and early 90s heavy metal music saw a
large decline in popularity. The sold-out stadium
tours were all but memories to the majority of
bands that once thrived in the genre. Since then,
numerous bands have begun to rekindle the heavy
metal flame. For the first time in over a decade,
heavy metal has seen resurgence into popular
music. Due to its increasingly complex social and
political issues, metal speaks to a large and
growing audience. The diversity of sub-genres in
heavy metal music also allows many people to find
their niche within the culture. Metal also has a
close-knit social community of dedicated fans who
keep the genre thriving. While it may not rise to
meet its popularity of the 80s this resurgence
proves the genre is alive and well, as metal
bands continue to gain new fans and a new respect
in the music industry.

Heavy Metal (noun) 2- a type of highly amplified
harsh-sounding rock music with a strong beat.


-Oxford English
Dictionary
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3
Social and Political DialogueThe Resurgence of
Heavy Metal in popular music
Heavy metal artists and their lyrical content
have been subject to a large amount of negative
criticism. The 1980s saw numerous lawsuits
targeted at heavy metal artists lyrics. In 1896,
the parents of 19 year-old John McCollum sued
Ozzy Osbourne over his lyrics to the song,
Suicide Solution claiming he was listening to
the song when he committed suicide (NY Times
1986). Judas Priest front man Rob Halford faced a
similar lawsuit in 1990 after two teenage fans
committed suicide. While both lawsuits were
eventually tossed out, the worldwide coverage
cast a shadow over the heavy metal community.
Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource
Centers set out to stop heavy metal music and its
content. The work of the PMRC led to the parental
warning labels still used today on album covers.
While some controversy still exists, the New Wave
of American heavy metal has become more socially
conscious. Numerous recent songs and even entire
albums have been created as a form of social
protest. Lamb of Gods last two albums have
become increasingly political often criticizing
foreign policy and President George W. Bush.
Similar focuses shine through in Megadeths most
recent release United Abominations. Machine
Heads The Blackening boasts lyrics such as,
The say that freedom isnt free/Its paid with
the lives of sons and families/Cause the blood is
their new currency/And oil pumps the heart of
money.
Politically Charged Lyrics Machine Head Clenc
hing the Fists of Dissent Trivium Declaration
Megadeth United Abominations Lamb Of God N
ow Youve Got Something to die for
NEXT
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4
Social and Political DialogueThe Resurgence of
Heavy Metal in popular music
Other bands such as Cattle Decapitation, made up
of strict vegetarians, create songs opposing the
meat industry and animal cruelty. More than
three decades after Black Sabbath conjured images
of the dark arts, heavy metal is growing up. The
genre is increasingly incorporating social and
political messages into its dense power chords
(msnbc.com 2006). With government approval
ratings the lowest they have been in recent
years, and with the war on terror, many things
about metal music are easy to relate to for many
people. Avid Metal fan and anthropologist Sam
Dunn says heavy metal is, Becoming global and
its becoming a tool for social and political
commentary (AP 2006). When asked about metals
increasing popularity, Lamb of God drummer Chris
Adler says, I totally understand what people are
talking about, but its certainly not a change
towards the mainstream, I think the mainstream
has come to us! We are continuing to write very
heavy music and I think the landscape of todays
culture is a little more open to it (Imhotep.com
2007). The subjects brought up in metal music and
the power of the music itself creates one of the
strongest forms of musical protest there is.
Metal not only pleases those listening more for
the music, but can also gain appreciation from
those who want to hear a message, or pay closer
attention to lyrics in songs. These
characteristics make heavy metal a genre that can
be appreciated by numerous people with various
points of view.

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5
DiversityThe Resurgence of Heavy Metal in
popular music
The mid-90s ushered in a group of bands
introducing an edgier, hard rock sound. Groups
like Korn, Disturbed, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit
all had unique sounds that hit a chord with a
large audience. This genre called nu-metal
became a staple on rock radio stations and even
garnered the attention of MTV, who had all but
abandoned rock music for the more popular hip-hop
genre. These bands created number-one albums, set
off on sold out arena tours, and brought the hard
rock sound back to a mainstream audience. While
the nu-metal movement thrived, an underground
heavy metal scene existed in many cities. While
the hard rock sound spoke to many people, another
group of people wanted something more. Metal
fans often reject the mainstream hard rock that
is labeled metal because they do not feel it is
as musically worth while (Purcell 2003).
Slayers Kerry King states, Watch when people
are tired of Disturbed and tired of Godsmack they
start looking for the next level of intensity.
Theyre gonna come right down Slayer Boulevard,
or bands like us. You evolve as a listener and
your taste for intense music intensifies. Bands
such as Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall
blended classic metal riffs with the aggressive
breakdowns of American hardcore music. While many
shunned heavy metal music due to the screaming,
indiscernible vocals, these bands offered both
the aggressive style of vocals seen in previous
metal bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, and
Metallica, and blended them with a more melodic
singing style. The introduction of clean vocals
with the same intensity of heavy metal music
gained the approval of many metal fans, as well
as more main-stream oriented rock listeners.
Last Word describe why they play metal and what
attracts people to the sound.
Different Genres Black, Power, Thrash, Pop, Gla
m, Progressive, speed, stoner, Folk, Doom, Death,
Metalcore, industrial, Christian, New Wave of
American heavy metal, and many many more.
Next
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6
DiversityThe Resurgence of Heavy Metal in
popular music
As these bands began to gain radio play, interest
was once again created in the heavy metal genre.
As people became aware of these leaders in the
new wave of American heavy metal, they also were
introduced to the dozens of subgenres metal has
to offer. From thrash, doom, death, folk, speed,
grind, classical, and glam metal, just to name a
few, there are numerous sounds certain to please
a wide range of people. Many metal bands are
heavily influenced by classical music,
incorporating classical song structures and other
symphonic elements into their music. Heavy metal
guitarists like all other innovative musicians,
create new sounds by drawing on the power of the
old, fusing their semiotic resources into
compelling new combinations (Walser 1993). Other
bands have crossed genres like Anthrax and Public
Enemys song Bring the Noise or the Pantera
side project Rebel Meets Rebel infusing the
southern metal of Pantera with the country vocals
of David Allen Coe. Heavy metal now denotes a
variety of musical discourses, social practices,
and cultural meanings, all of which revolve
around concepts, images, and experiences of
powerall of these aspects of power provoke
strong reactions from those outside heavy metal
(Walser 1993). These kinds of reactions are still
scene today. In late 2007, Walt Disney owned
venues began cancelling metal concerts across the
country. Bands such as Machine Head and Cradle of
Filth were banned from playing at these venues
due to their inflammatory lyrics and undesirable
fans. While heavy metal is not for everyone, its
diversity is only helping the genre grow larger.

Listen how Classical Music influences Modern
Heavy Metal
Mozart And Children Of Bodom
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7
Social Communities The Resurgence of Heavy Metal
in popular music
Metal musics popularity is also rising due to a
highly devoted fan base. The 1980s provided an
explosion of heavy metal fans doing anything and
everything they could to keep the genre alive and
growing. Fan zines were created and traded on a
global scale, as well as tape trading. Fans
often connected at shows and created their own
community. Commercial hard rock groups develop a
local network of fans through face-to-face
interaction. Because the underground is so much
smaller, a much more integrated national culture
is possible. At these events, relationships begin
through face to face meetings, and bands touring
nationally are able to meet with audiences from
across the country (Berger 1999). The
underground mentioned by Berger has now become
the mainstream new wave of American heavy metal.
Bands such as Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God,
Shadows Fall, and All That Remains have now
become leaders in the new wave while dozens of
less known bands continue to tour constantly and
self promote to meet new people and get their
music out there. Jason Netherton, bass player for
the band Misery Index says, It becomes mainly a
word of mouth effort channeled through
underground communication networks. Respect comes
afterward if you have something special about
your sound (Purcell 2003). This has become
easier and easier for bands to do with networking
sites such as MySpace and PureVolume.


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8
Social Communities The Resurgence of Heavy Metal
in popular music
Up-and-comers Job for a Cowboy gained a lot of
attention without even releasing a CD. Singer
Johnny Davy says, MySpace has let bands gain
popularity worldwide without even having to tour
(Senft 2007) Social networking sites like
MySpace, provide bands with a free site to place
music on, gain friends or fans of the band,
comment on songs, photos, and interact with the
band and other fans. Like any scene, it begins on
the local level. Unsigned bands often play shows
with other bands in the same area, building
connections and gaining new fans along the way.
These networking sites allow bands to keep in
touch with each other as well as any friends and
fans they meet in their community. With so many
promotion tools available and with the hard work
of both bands and fans within the genre, heavy
metal is becoming one of the fastest growing
genres in the music industry.
Listen to Last Word describe a local show
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Click here to see how Myspace creates online
social communities for both bands and fans to
interact with one another

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9
Social Communities The Resurgence of Heavy Metal
in popular music
Bands Myspace pages can be personalized and
serve many purposes. These social networking
sites allow fans to listen to artists songs, view
pictures, videos, tour dates, and access
merchandise sites.


Fans can view and interact with other fans of the
band, and the musicians themselves, all for free.
http//myspace.com/chimaira
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