Introduction Metal is a very different subject to do a history of as it’s not linear and tends to branch off in many different directions at once. Taking this in to account what follows the major landmarks of metal and the events and bands that shaped it, in roughly the order they happened.

Creation Of Metal If one event could be said to spark off the genre of metal in my mind it’s a murder. In December 1969 Meredith Hunter was killed by a group of hells angels at Altamont speedway, California. This single event killed of the alternative idealism of the 60s and paved the way for something darker to be introduced into music. This was the era of the dinosaur metal bands. Led Zeppelin, perhaps the most well known band of this era, created the blueprint for heavy metal, based on foundations built by The Who, The Yardbirds, Vanilla Fudge and Blue Cheer. However the first band to forge metal into a whole new genre was Black Sabbath. From Aston Birmingham, Black Sabbath included the famous singer Ozzy Osborne. Black Sabbath made a powerful dent in the music world and directly inspired the first mass rising of metal bands. This was the creation of heavy metal.

N.W.O.B.H.M In England during the late 70s and early 80s the scene known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (N.W.O.B.H.M) was born. This movement produced a wealth of groups, inspired by their predecessors. The N.W.O.B.H.M. made superstars of its leaders Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon and made fifteen minute hero’s of lesser known bands such as Tygers of Pan Tang, Praying Mantis and Girl. The scene is short lived and while some of the bands churn out amazing metal even today, most of the bands retreated to where they came from and the N.W.O.B.H.M died.

Out of the ashes of the N.W.O.B.H.M however, came a whole host of bands ready to take metal to new extremes and new directions. Speed Metal One of the most important bands of the N.W.O.B.H.M was Motorhead. They pushed metal to new limits using speed and technical skill that had not been seen before. This newfound speed and raw power was christened speed metal due to obvious reasons.

Motorhead paved the first step for other bands to step up and take metal to new extremes. Black Metal One band to answer Motorheads call was Venom. Venom like Black Sabbath, Motorhead and so many others before then were definatly not a conformist band. Arriving late in the N.W.O.B.H.M, they took the now traditional heavy metal and forged and twisted it to something dark. The band utilised lyrics that portrayed the darker side of life and thus Black Metal was born.

1st Wave Of Thrash Developing on the raw intensity of Venom and their predecessors, new bands emerged to further progress the extreme metal scene. The big four starting off in the speed metal scene, started to push technically and brutality past the established boundaries. They created songs that were not only fast, but long and complex. through the early and mid 80`s, thrash metal was a massive success with the big four rocketed to fame. Music tastes changed however and thrash lost its momentum (although there was a second wave of thrash) and sadly, its bands either changed to softer styles or disappeared all together.

Grindcore Stepping in to fill the void that thrash left, bands like Napalm Death (the fathers of grindcore) and Godflesh emerged. Rejecting all attempts at melodies and subtlety, grindcore was born. First seen in the mid 80s, grindcore was the first of many genres to use the "cookie monster" vocal style and also utilised a wall of noise approach to music.

To Be Continued…