Britain is the birthplace of heavy metal as it was for many other noteworthy genres of music. Characterized by highly distorted sound, strong riffs, extended solos, and just plain old loudness, metal holds its roots in blues and acid rock. Having in mind the fact that there are almost 50 years of history to cover, it is difficult to name only a handful of bands that have made the greatest impact or that are worth our attention the most. Nonetheless, here is an examination of the three most important bands from this genre that are definitely worth the time.
One cannot talk about metal without mentioning the legendary Metallica. Even their name is a telling sign of what they are all about. The two original founding members, James Hetfield as the vocalist/guitarist and Lars Ulrich at the drums, are still going strong, with the addition of Robert Trujillo at the bass and Kirk Hammett as the lead guitarist.
Over the years, the band has covered a wide array of different genres and tried themselves with different material. They have played everything from heavy and thrash metal to ballads. Even though they have been influenced by many genres and subgenres, they have managed to find their own voice and to spread their own message. Some of their most memorable pieces are: “Enter Sandman”, “St. Anger”, and “Master of Puppets”.
Coming from Arlington, Texas, Pantera was a heavy metal band originally formed by two brothers in 1981 – the drummer Vinnie Paul and the lead guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott. They were joined by Terry Glaze as the lead singer. Even though they started off as a glam metal band, they were in search of a heavier and dirtier sound, so they also replaced their lead singer with Phil Anselmo in 1986. Two years later, they released their first album with the new line-up, called “Power Metal”.
The first album was followed by heavier and heavier sound until the album from the year 1994 called “Far Beyond Driven” reached the first place on the Billboard 200. In 2003, the band was dismantled following many internal disagreements among members. Any hope for a reunion was nonexistent because Dimebag suffered a premature death at the hands of a fan who shot and killed him during one performance. Nonetheless, their most notable songs and performances still live among their fans.
Coming back to the roots of metal, there is one band that is most probably on the list of every metal fan. And, of course, there can be no catalog of top metal bands without at least one British one. Iron Maiden was created in 1975 by the chief songwriter and bass player, Steve Harris in Leyton, East London.
After changing their line-up many times, the band went on to release some of the most successful and popular heavy metal songs and albums. Their discography is one of the most prolific ones – they have 38 albums under their belts and they have sold over 100 million of them worldwide. Their most notable albums include: “Fear of the Dark”, “The Number of the Beast”, and “Killers”. And they are still going strong.