Portal:Heavy metal

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The Heavy Metal Portal

Slayer at the Fields of Rock, in 2007.

Heavy metal (often referred to as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and 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, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are often associated with masculinity, aggression and machismo.

The first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath attracted large audiences, though they were often derided by critics, 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 and Saxon followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as "metalheads" or "headbangers".

During the 1980s, glam metal became a commercial force with groups like Mötley Crüe and Poison. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, while other styles of the most extreme subgenres of metal like death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s, popular styles such as groove metal, which blends extreme metal with hardcore punk, and nu metal, which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop, have further expanded the definition of the genre.

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Reign in Blood is the third studio album and major label debut by the American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on October 7, 1986, the album was the band's first collaboration with record producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. Reign in Blood was very well received by both critics and fans, and was responsible for bringing Slayer to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. Kerrang! magazine described the record as "the heaviest album of all time", and a breakthrough in thrash metal.

Reign in Blood's release was delayed because of concerns regarding its graphic artwork and lyrical subject matter. The opening track, "Angel of Death", references Josef Mengele and details acts committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, which provoked allegations of Nazism. However, the band stated numerous times they do not condone Nazism, and are merely interested in the subject. The album was Slayer's first to enter the Billboard 200; the release peaked at number 94, and in 1992 was awarded a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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