Music

The Polishing of Metal
Part 9 - Dictionary Of Heavy Metal Terminology

By Derek McDonald

This section is not complete!!!

ALBUM:
See CD and LP.

ALTERNATIVE:
NOT a genre of Heavy Metal, but its offspring which merge Metal, Punk and Pop into a neat little package using 3 chord sound. This type of music is often blamed for being conformist, new style pop, fake punk or just plain boring. A few bands were innovative at the start but it quickly lost favor. Examples: Pearl Jam, Green Day, Tragically Hip.

BLACK METAL:
The merging of Thrash with Death. This applies to all bands who use the occult, black magic or Satan as their prime source of reference. Many early performers used 1970's SATANIC METAL and early 1980's NWOBHM as influences but did it poorly.

CD:
Compact Disc recording. Flat, silver disc with microscopic pits creating shaded areas which an optical 'laser' beam will reflect light to. A sensor sends signals to an amplifier to produce music.

CHRISTIAN METAL:
The opposite of BLACK METAL. As the name implies, these bands promote the messages of Christianity through their lyrics. They are too often characterized by high pitched vocals, predictable arrangements and a commercial sound. Despite their Christian preaching, the Christian churches still denounce them.

CLASSICAL:
Most bands originating in the late 1960's and 1970's. Heavy experimentation and wild style changes between albums were the norm. Solid rock beats and simple lyrics were the norm. Examples: Motorhead, AC/DC, WASP.

COMPILATION:
A recording which contains a collage of bands and/or songs.

CROSSOVER:
Any band which merges two or more musical styles. The theory states that this idea will double your audience as it will appeal to all genres being incorporated. Practice is another matter. Often bands perform Crossover pieces not by design.

DEATH:
An extreme form of Thrash. A sub-set of Thrash characterized by deep growling vocals and heavy bass guitars. Lyrics often dealing with death, carnage and horror. Examples: Death, Emperor, Carcass.

DEATH-METAL:
See DEATH.

DEBUT:
First.

DEMO:
Demonstration recording made for devout fans and the ears of record companies. Usually bands will make several of these before getting signed. Demos aren't usually needed after a contract is inked.

ELECTRONIC ROCK:
The first experiments with merging electronics with rock music. Would be used as an example to support the later incarnation called INDUSTRIAL METAL.

EP:
Extended Play. A recording which is halfway between a Single and an LP.

GRIND:
See GRINDCORE and THRASH.

GRINDCORE:
See THRASH.

GRUNGE:
A style which came into popularity in the early 1990's. Utilizing only 3 chords. A new merging of punk with Metal. Often dispensing with many of the stage antics and "frills" and using a more street like appearance of ripped clothing and depressing songs. Examples: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins.

HARDCORE:
A sub-Genre of Thrash. The merging of Punk with Thrash-Metal. Usually characterized by fast, growling vocals, powerful bass guitars and fast drumming (usually out of step with the song). Almost always performed badly.

HARD-ROCK:
See CLASSICAL.

HEAVY METAL:
A blanket, and some say now obsolete, name which covers most items covered in this article. Originally it was applied to segments of the Hard Rock genre that specialized in long, often complex compositions and displayed a high level of music dexterity. The artists concentrated on albums rather than singles. 'Heavy' as an adjective defines the sentiments of the musicians involved…that is it is to be taken seriously. The term 'Heavy Metal' is originally biker slang for Motorcycle. The genre got its first popular following from the biker crowd. Now 'Heavy Metal' or just 'Metal' describes most forms of hard rock music produced today. 'Metal" is the only remaining stronghold of the traditional values of Rock-n-Roll.

INDUSTRIAL:
A movement in the 1990's which merged Heavy Metal with computer electronic sounds. This extreme form of Thrash tends to be monotonous and involves simple lyrics, constant drum beat with electronically aided white noise. Often reminiscent of Dance music. Examples: Fear Factory, White Zombie.

LP:
Long Play recording. Usually refers to a 33-1/3 12" vinyl recording containing many songs.

METAL:
See HEAVY METAL.

NWOBHM:
New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Name of the sub-genre which started in England during the late 1970's and early 1980's characterized by harmonized and majestic guitar riffs backed by a thunderous bass. Majestic imagery with a fast almost punk-style beat. Bass guitar follows drums and powerful use of rhythm guitars, especially as solo items is utilized. Examples: Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard.

POP METAL:
The merging of the commercial concerns of pop music with the aggressiveness of Metal. Such groups will produce sub-four minute blasts of melodic tunes, often ballads, with infectious chorus and economical guitar use.

POSER:
Name dubbed to anyone who follows Heavy Metal because it is popular but does not truly understand or believe in its ideals.

POWER:
See THRASH.

PROGRESSIVE:
Not recognized as a sub-genre. Used to describe a type of sound which utilizes long songs with melodic voice and guitar playing. Often experimental. Stems back to the "pro Rock" movement of the 1970's. Examples: QueensRyche, Psyco Drama, Dream Theater.

PROMO:
A recording made simply to promote a band. Many are often sold cheap or given away.

SATANIC METAL:
See Black Metal.

SINGLE:
A recording containing only a small number of songs (usually less than 3).

THRASH:
A genre of Heavy Metal originating from NWOBHM and the experimental work done by Motorhead and Venom. It is usually characterized by low almost growling vocals, powerful guitar riffs and fast drumming (often out of step with the song). It is possible to perform Thrash correctly, but moist bands fall short of this goal. Lyrics often deal with violence and anger. Rarely do relationship or political issues enter. Examples: Infernal Majesty, Slayer, Metallica.

UNDERGROUND:
Anything which is happening without the intervention of large corporations and out of sight of the regular population.

UNSIGNED:
Any band who does not posses a record contract.

WHITE METAL:
See CHRISTIAN METAL.

This document is under © Copyright 1997 by Derek McDonald.
Use only with permission.