Heavy metal (often referred to simply as metal) is a genre of music that was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and in the United States. With roots in blues-rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, and emphatic beats. Allmusic states that "of all rock & roll's myriad forms, heavy metal is the most extreme in terms of volume, machismo, and theatricality."
Early heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple attracted large audiences, though they were often critically reviled, a status common throughout the history of the genre. In the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal had attracted a worldwide following of fans known as "metalheads" or "headbangers."
In the 1980s, glam metal became a major commercial force with groups like Mötley Crüe and Poison to name a few, as well as many other bands, such as Cinderella, Europe and Britny Fox to name a few more. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, while other styles like death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s, popular styles such as nu metal, which often incorporates elements of funk and hip hop; and metalcore, which blends extreme metal with hardcore punk, have further expanded the definition of the genre.
Shred Guitar is closely related but takes the guitar to another level beyond this genre of music. Great gains in picking speed have been demonstrated in recent years from many musicians contributing their music via Youtube, mainly. This style of playing is at the frontline in new guitar trends.
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- Heavy metal genres: Black metal, Death metal, Doom metal, Extreme metal, Folk metal, Glam metal, Gothic metal, Groove metal, Industrial metal, Medieval metal, Melodic death metal, Neo-Classical metal, Nu metal, Post-metal, Power metal, Progressive metal, Rap metal, Sludge metal, Speed metal, Stoner metal, Symphonic metal, Thrash metal, Viking metal