It’s been a month, my little fuckers. Time for Metal Shop class. I’m Mr. Gray. Before I jump into it, I want to address something that bugs me. I don’t want this column to feel like it’s just taking ideas from Ian Christe’s Bloody Roots. I never planned this to be a history lesson, and I don’t intend to keep it that way. I’ve already got my next lesson planned. Yes, even though this one has taken a while. Shut up. Now with all of that said, and without further ado, my current ramblings.
Today’s class is hosted in the Old School; some might call it THE Old School. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noted that Iron Maiden has a new album out. This made me think about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Christ, we’ve had a decent amount of activity from some of the biggest bands of that era in the past few years. Maiden’s Sunjutsu, Saxon dropped Inspirations earlier this year, a couple of years ago we got Diamond Head’s The Coffin Train, and of course, 2018s Firepower from Judas FUCKING Priest! God damn, what an awesome album. Of course there are live albums sprinkled throughout all of this as well.
Any discussion of early British heavy metal will inevitably come around to Sabbath and Zeppelin. I will say that yes, they belong in the grander discussion, but the New Wave was just a hair after their time. Realistically speaking, Zeppelin led the more bluesy school of metal, while Sabbath led the doomy school, with Priest combining the two and moving everything forward into the New Wave.
Now here’s the twist: all of this is extremely subjective. You can go to any number of different sources and see Sabbath in the New Wave, or as one of the earliest innovators. You can find lists that don’t even place Zeppelin in the metal category. Priest can just be called straight up power metal. I mean shit, the first Grammy for heavy metal went to JETHRO GOD DAMN TULL!
The Brits have one of the longest standing claims to heavy metal music. Birmingham was a hotbed for loud hard music in the late 60s, and that heavy sound eventually came to be what we know today as heavy metal. Oh, punk rock broke off from the same stuff as well. Punk and metal ended up back together in the early 80s to give us thrash metal. Birmingham is historically an industrial powerhouse, and is still heavily represented by the Labour Party. So NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF!
Huge shoutout to legendary BBC DJ John Peel as well. Without him spinning punk and heavy metal records over national airwaves, the scene would probably look a lot different. I’m not saying we wouldn’t have metal, but I absolutely believe that it wouldn’t have progressed as fast as it has, nor spread as quickly.
Anyway, there are three songs that I’m currently jamming to. Two of those songs are in your homework, and one will be involved in our next class. The first song is Bratva by Slaughter to Prevail. Outside of metal, I listen to a lot of electronic-based music, so this song’s blending in of those elements really jives with me. Second up is… sigh… Hunter’s Moon by Ghost. Look, anyone who knows me is aware of my lack of enthusiasm for Ghost. They aren’t bad by any means. It stems from my first time hearing/seeing them. It’s not what I expected out of a band that looks like that. I figured it would be super heavy. It’s like when you eat something expecting one flavor, and get something different. It’s initially jarring, but eventually it’s fine. That’s Ghost for me in a nutshell. Anyway, this song is good.
That’s all for now. Throw horns, air drum, and growl responsibly. Until next time, I’m Mr. Gray. Class dismissed.