Infobox Music genre
name = Speed metal
color = white
bgcolor = #BB0022
stylistic_origins = NWOBHM and
punk rock[cite web|url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:782|publisher= Allmusic|title=Speed Metal.|accessdate=2008-06-07]
cultural_origins = Late 1970s Britain,
United States, Canada, Germany
Electric guitar- Bass - Drums - Vocals
popularity = Moderate in late 1970s, more popular in early to mid 1980s, mostly low since then.
Thrash metal Power metal Neo-classical metal
United States- Germany
Speed metal is a sub-genre of
heavy metal musicoriginating in the late 1970s and early 1980s that was the direct musical progenitor of thrash metal. [cite web | title=Speed metal rock history | work=www.silver-dragon-records.com | url=http://www.silver-dragon-records.com/speed_metal.htm | accessdate=December 14 | accessyear=2006] When speed metal first emerged as a genre, it increased the tempos that had been used by early heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, while retaining their melodic approaches. Many elements of speed metal are rooted in the music of UK's NWOBHM bands while fusing their stylistic approach with the music of 1970's punk rock[Allmusic [http://wm05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:782 Speed Metal] Accessed December 12, 2007] [ What is Speed Metal? [http://music.download.com/2001-8680_32-0.html Download.com] Accessed December 12, 2007] .
The term speed metal has been broken down and specified with other terms under heavy metal (typically
thrash metal, power metal, and to a lesser extent, black metal) and is often succeeded by such terms when an artist's sound or style is specifically defined [cite web | title=History of Power Metal | work=www.geocities.com | url=http://www.geocities.com/yngwie308/powermetal.html | accessdate=December 14 | accessyear=2006.] . The term 'speed metal' was also used in a very broad sense by some glam metaland NWOBHM groups during the 1980s. Many Japanese bands from the 1980s to the present can also be described as speed metal, largely due to the success of X Japan.
The exact origin of speed metal is difficult to pinpoint. However, many consider the earliest speed metal song to be Deep Purple's "
Highway Star" from their 1972 album "Machine Head". [ GuitarRX [http://www.guitarrx.com/doc/Highway_Star.htm Highway Star and Speed Metal] Accessed December 12, 2007] "Highway Star" introduced the single-note riffing at fast tempos and the complex guitar and keyboard solos (performed by Ritchie Blackmoreand Jon Lordrespectively) borrowed from progressive rockof the 1970s, but heavily influenced by classical music. These features commonly went on to be associated with more modern metal genres, but at the time, were typical of speed metal. Another early example of speed metal is Queen's " Stone Cold Crazy" from their 1974 album " Sheer Heart Attack". The song was extremely quick-paced for the rock & rollgenre and among the fastest Queen ever played. Other than the fast tempo of the song, Brian May's staccato riffs and Roger Taylor's jackhammer drums are similar to later metal styles. It would later be covered by Metallica.
There were earlier efforts with a similar style including
Led Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown, and also Deep Purple's "Speed King" from their 1970 album "In Rock" and "Fireball" from their 1971 album "Fireball".Fact|date=September 2007.
The first major use of the term speed metal, however, dates to the late 1970s radio show on KROQ in Los Angeles. The show was hosted by former-Runaways member Ann Boleyn, and featured the fast-paced sounds of Judas Priest, Rush, and Deep Purple. The show was known as Speed Metal at Midnight.
Evolution of the genre
Judas Priestnever released a full speed metal album in their career until the 1990s, many of their early albums contained speed metal songs.Fact|date=September 2007 One example is the song "Dissident Aggressor" from their 1977 album "Sin after Sin", which showcased the use of double bass drumming, the song was covered by thrash metal band Slayeron their album South of Heaven. "Exciter" from their 1978 album " Stained Class" is also considered seminal, as it was the earliest example of constant double bass drumming throughout the song, as opposed to the seminal but limited use on "Dissident Aggressor". The version preformed on the live album Unleashed in the Eastwas even faster. These songs had tremendous impact on the speed metal explosion in the 1980s.Fact|date=March 2008 Motörheadadded primitive speed metal elements to their brand of heavy metal since their inception in mid-1970s, heavily influenced by punk, later quickly evolving and developing their characteristic speed metal style with classic releases such as 1979 album "Overkill" and yet another one, "Ace of Spades", released the following year. Eponymous song "Overkill" from the former is among the first examples of steady and fast double bass drumtracks used in a metal song, with technique soon becoming common for diverse metal genres.Fact|date=September 2007
Newer bands also began to emerge on the scene. The
NWOBHMmovement had reached its zenith at this stage and many bands embraced speed metal, notably Venom, who built on Motorhead's style to achieve a raw, harsh atmosphere. NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maidenand Raven produced a number of speed metal songs as well, such as "Aces High" and "Invaders" by the former.Fact|date=September 2007
The German heavy metal band
Acceptalso introduced speed metal elements into their sound at the start of the decade. The song "Fast as a Shark" on their 1982 album " Restless and Wild" is an example of Accept's speed metal ideas, and is also notable for the extreme speed (for the time) of it's double bass drumming and for its heavy palm muted riffing. Accept's influence on the German heavy metal scene was unquestionably huge.Fact|date=January 2008 Bands such as Running Wild, Grave Digger, Helloween, Rage and Paradox built upon the fast tempos of Accept to form the foundations of German speed metal.
Bands who would later develop into thrash originally had their music deeply rooted in speed metal.
Slayer’s debut album " Show No Mercy", Metallica's debut album " Kill 'Em All", Anthrax’s debut album " Fistful of Metal", Megadeth's debut album " Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!" and Overkill’s debut album " Feel the Fire", as well as many other early albums by thrash metal bands, contained speed metal elements (inspired by the NWOBHM) that were combined with archetypical thrash metal riffs. These bands would eventually allow thrash motifs to dominate their music resulting in the thrash metal explosion of the mid 80s.
However, several bands concentrated on refining their speed metal sound instead of veering in this new musical direction. Notable examples include
Agent Steeland Exciter, two bands who, at the time, chose to remain speed metal.
In the 2000s, speed metal is much less popular than in the 1980s. The most notable speed metal bands are those who have continued to produce speed metal to this day, and more modern bands who draw most of their influence from Judas Priest’s "Painkiller" album. Notable modern bands that play speed metal are Gamma Ray, releasing the album "Power Plant" in 1999,
Stormwarrior, Iron Savior, Rage, Agent Steel, Cage, Temple of Bloodand Primal Fear. As speed metal was the vanguard for what would eventually become power metaland thrash metal, significant overlap between genres is often encountered in bands that are said to be rooted predominantly in speed metal. This sometimes leads to confounding views with respect to the genre. The most common mistake is using the terms "speed metal" and "thrash metal" interchangeably.
List of speed metal bands
* [http://wm05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:782 Speed metal] at
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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