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Friday, April 22, 2016

BigScott62's "What Is Heavy Metal?" Project.....

This is intended as a fun project, the original idea stemming from an article in Creem magazine long ago, in
about 1980-81...
Obviously metal has changed in that time, and we'll adjust for that, and I wish I had a scan of the original article, it was great...anyway, I DO remember the 11 tracks that the Creem article spelled out as being "true" heavy metal, and also a comment or two they may have made as to certain performers, both legit and poser.....

So what the fuck IS "heavy metal"? Well, it's louder than most regular" hard rock", NOT necessarily
"faster" usually is nearly devoid of humor, although there can be exceptions....mostly, though, (and we are talking about "good" heavy metal, not "just" heavy metal"), you listen, and it either gives you "that" feeling or it doesn't.......pretty piss poor definition, but maybe I can make it more clear by discussing a few acts who did not have a track make the compilation, and we will discuss why. If I insult someone dear to you, well, life
can be cruel I guess.........remember, NONE of the acts I am about to discuss here (albeit breifly) are going to have a single track on the, there will be some (to you probably) be some VERY surprising things that DO make the comp, but please keep a sense of humor about this whole thing......after all, after what I have been through of late, whether or not Aerosmith does or does not qualify as quality heavy metal is not REALLY relevant in the overall scheme of things....this is about having some fun.

and thus said, let us begin with

AEROSMITH-Don't feel them as a heavy metal band.......good hard rock singles band, no question, but
then so were, say, the Stones, the Who, Alice Cooper, and others.....I can't think of a SINGLE Aerosmith song I would consider "heavy".....their BEST song (by FAR to me) was "SOS (Too Bad)", which is a tremendous hard rock song and about as "heavy" as something by BTO.

AC-DC-Well, post Bon Scott, they suck, so let's leave that as the Bon Scott era, their material was SILL a bit "same-ish" and lacking in variety to seriously qualify here, with honestly considerably less-than-
great songs pretty song (imo): "Riff Raff" by a long shot.

BLACK SABBATH-OK, here is a legit contender....their droning sound was both heavy and original, and their ultra-serious lyrical matter was such to the point of being comedy......however, let me challenge: what is the GREAT, HEAVY Black Sabbath song? Something on the first album? maybe, but not leaping to mind. "Paranoid" or "War Pigs"? just not THAT about "Wheels of Confusion" or "Supernaut" from "Volume 4"? Arguable, but at the end of the day, I think, metal? yes, great metal? no........slightly.

BLUE OYSTER CULT-Actually TOO GOOD to be placed here. The flawless technologically-informed metal on their first three perfect albums is way too complex, the lyrics too brilliant and challenging (humorous as well), and AFTER those three albums, they not only weren't "heavy" but they SUCKED, sorry, ESPECIALLY the over-rated and overplayed "Godzilla"

CLUTCH-Close, actually, but a more-stoner vibe to me.....a "What is Stoner Rock?" project......I'll keep it
in mind......

DEEP PURPLE-Not really, ALMOST (not quite) in an elevated category, ala BOC......"Smoke on the Water" and "Highway Star" both SUCK........"Rat Bat Blue", "Return of The Rat", and several others just miss the comp actually.......they were a good band for a while, maybe not quite as heavy as some may remember, though.


FOGHAT-Well, other than maybe "Honey Hush", everything they subjected us too pretty much sucked, and "Honey Hush" ain't THAT great.

GRAND FUNK RAILROAD-Again, you can't SUCK and be considered for this comp.

HEART-Some good heavy songs, ("Barracuda"), but too few of them and WAY too much slop-pop crap

HENDRIX-Much like BOC, simply TOO GOOD and BROAD to be relegated here.....some Hendrix ("I
don't Live Today", ie) is essential listening to understand latter-day metal, but I think it would be an insult to Hendrix to place him on this list.

JUDAS PRIEST-Stupid clothes and about 3/4 of a CD's worth of good material does not a great metal band make......"most of "Stained Class" is great and heavy, most of the rest, well, ISN'T.......

KISS- A clown act that wasn't even heavy....stupider than Nugent, even, and far more unlistenable....what the FUCK is so "heavy" here? Oh, that's right......NOTHING......

LED ZEPPELIN-HERE we are going to explode a myth.....Led Zeppelin was a great great band......a great METAL band? not even CLOSE. What the fuck is so "Heavy?" most of the first album? OK.....half of the second? OK........a third of the 4th? sure......after that not so much........perhaps in the BOC/Hendrix class, maybe to diverse and challenging to place here.

MOTORHEAD-Heavy enough, but also something of a self-parody (Motorhead basically wrote the same song about 3000 times)......I love Motorhead, and there should maybe be some special category for them, I have no clue as to what that might be.

MOUNTAIN-Close, no cigar......"Mississippi Queen" is WAY TOO overplayed, and the rest of their shit is
not exactly QUITE of the quality to which I refer.

MOTLEY CRUE-Please, GOD, please, next......

TED NUGENT-Oh, God......WAY to goofy and stupid, and an overrated shredder to boot.......many praise "Double Live Gonzo", I may as a comedy album for high school kids........

NAZARETH-Please....they only had one LISTENABLE song "Razzamanazz", (which, in fairness, I DID consider for the comp), and having one of the worst vocalists in rock history (Dan McCafferty) certainly doesn't help

NEW YORK DOLLS-Don't laugh, they are close, I mean in a category with the Velvet Underground, Stooges, and MC5, all of whom DO make the comp......The Dolls could have heavied it up a bit should they have desired, never really did (except arguably on "Frankenstien")......with only 2 albums (both classics, given), just can't see it, but essential stuff nonetheless



THE RUNAWAYS-Closer than you think......Lita Ford was a hell of a metal strummer (see "School Days" or "Can't Catch Me")....thought about including one of these on the the end, not nearly enough good material

REO SPEEDWAGON-Please, please


SLAYER-Though they do not make the comp, I will give you this one

UFO-Generic as possible, one great song, "Lights Out", and WHY OH WHY if you insisted on (good idea) covering a song by Love, WHY WHY WHY "Alone Again Or" (HORRIBLE idea and cover) rather than "August" which could have been amazing, maybe....

VAN HALEN-Similar, I'd say, to Aerosmith.......hard rock singles, also a much too sillly.

OK, I'm sure I forgot a bunch of em.......but you get he idea. NOW, here are the two discs of this fab ass
compilation......there are going to be some artists here that surprise you, and I AM NOT saying that for example, Love was a great metal band.....BUT "August" from Love is one of the greatest of metal songs.....


01 THE VELVET UNDERGROUND-"Sister Ray"-OK, argue with THIS........nearly twenty minutes of sonic assault, tripped out lyrics, a tour-de force......should be heard on RECORD as the digital version is one of the absolute worst EVER, there are sheets of guitar which simply DISAPPEAR on CD.

02 THE MC5-"Looking at You"-The Five could have had any number of their crash and burn stuff here (actually, see disc 2), but this is the best of the best.......maybe the heaviest three minutes on record. Amazing

03 LOVE-"August"-A lesser known track from the album "Four Sail", not kidding, Frank Fayad (who?) contributes some amazing guitar noise, and Arthur Lee's drug addled lyrics are perfect.

04 THE YARDBIRDS-"Stroll On"-A "Train Kept-a Rollin'" rewrite and an amazing one.......if you've never heard this I DARE you to tell me it doesn't cut the original to ribbons.

05 THE MOVE-"Hello Susie"-Very imaginative, loud, noisy, lyrical.......a great, great track......while we certainly wouldn't think of the Move as a great metal band, they will also check in on Disc 2.

06 RORY GALLAGHER-"Laundromat"-Oh, fuck yes, "Laundromat".....that tight riff, those vocals, those
lyrics ("What do you think of that? I'm sleepin down at the laudromat")......tremendous song from an underappreciated hard rocker

07 MOTT THE HOOPLE-"Thunderbuck Ram"-From the "Mad Shadows" album, this was as  heavy as Mott ever got, mostly, they gave us brilliant hard rock singles and albums......all things considered, though, it can't get MUCH heavier than this

08 BLUE CHEER-"Doctor Please"-From "Vinncibus Eruptum".....what can I say? Can you DARE argue this? if so, HOW? Also, drugged out lyrics (see also "August") ALWAYS help

09 THE STOOGES-"Gimme Some Skin"-The Stooges could turn the amps up as well as ANYONE, and this (to me) is their heaviest effort out of a LOT of contenders

10 GOLDEN EARRING-"Radar Love"-To quote the original Creem article,"you don't think I know how silly this looks on here? Point is, THIS is the kind of stuff that made me (the writer at the time) pretend that I was playing air-guitar in front of my bedroom mirror......hard to imagine that years from now, someone is going to be writing about jerking off in front of the mirror to something off the fourth Rush album".....well put.

11 THE VELVET UNDERGROUND-"European Son"-The second Velvets track closes out disc one and the original Creem 11........the Velvets could have had twenty more songs here, and are perhaps, the "heaviest" band ever


01 THE MC5-"Sister Ann"-Another "Sister" leads off disc 2......never understood that ending with all those horns and shit but the heavy guitar part is a masterpiece.

02 BUDGIE-"Breadfan"-you either know Budgie or you don't, this is them at their very heaviest and best

03 IRON MAIDEN-"Back in the Village"- Surprised? Well, Iron Maiden were a GREAT metal band, overall, and this to me is their best (lots more too).......also the second loudest live band I ever heard (after Motorhead)), and those amazing stage props were the stuff of legend.

04 THE MOVE-"Brontosaurus"-ANOTHER fantastically hard rocking song from the Move. No more for me to say, really.....

05 THE EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND-"Don't Even Know Which Day It Is"-from their self titled classic, if unfamiliar these guys are ripe for MUCH further investigation.....this heavy number isn't even the BEST song on the album (that would be the brain-bending "House of Turnabout").

06 DAVID JOHANSEN-"Cool Metro"-from his first solo LP, with some help from Joe Perry of all people, this was heavier than anything the dolls ever cooked up.

07 THE DICTATORS-"The Minnesota Strip"- From "Bloodbrothers", great, snarling song about picking up
teenage prostitutes.......what could possibly be better than THAT?

08 THE DEAD BOYS-"Sonic Reducer"-our second consecutive punk/metal hybrid classic, and both TRULY belong here.......

09 BLACK PEARL-"Forget It"-somewhat lesser known (I did a full post on them long ago),  but a heavy tune......three lead guitars (hear em?)......comped occasionaly on various 60's comps.

10 PINK FAIRIES-"Do It"-From "Never Never Land", one of about 6-8 Fairies tracks that could have
made the cut, all three of their early discs are essential listening

11 SOUNDGARDEN-"Superunknown"-And a surprise entry to close it up, Soundgarden was a fine metal band for a while, "Outshined" or a few others could be here as well

So now ya know, as they say...........argue, ridicule, mock, whatever..........I'll get the discs put together, you play them loud and make the ultimate determination.


  1. D1


    1. thank you for this comp---you have...interesting opinions on the subject to be sure. Several things on here I haven't heard and I look forward to checking out. This blog is so very good.

  2. Replies
    1. No doubt, actually the first thing I trimmed

    2. nice list, thank you

      here is my very short list of the neglected

      Beatles - Helter Skelter

      Uriah Heep - Gypsy

      Atomic Rooster - Death Walks Behind You

      Hairy Chapter - It Must Be An Officer's Daughter

      Diamond Head - Lighting to the Nations/Am I Evil

      And Dude!!! you forgot the Ultimate Heavy Metal God!!!

      Sammy Hagar - Heavy Metal Thunder

    3. Love that whole atomic rooster album, but to me doesn't belong here....the Beatles tune is an arguable and creative choice....and, for my cash, Sammy Hagar never recorded a note worth hearing....jmo

  3. Kidding about Hagar, but isn't Heavy Metal basically music aimed at and geared towards 14 year old boys? Kinda hard not to include(Dio, Ozzy, Scorpions, ACDC, Van Halen, and Hair Metal) & some cheese. Your list is mostly outstanding, Heavy Proto Punk. I'm not arguing or debating, it's all a fine line. and Thanks for the shares.


  4. Imo if a band has too many blues influences it can't be heavy metal. So Led Zeppelin is definitely out. AC/DC claims to be a blues-based band and anyone who's a shredder knows that if you play Angus Young's solos slow, they are indeed blues solos (I agree 100% about "Riff Raff", it was by far their best tune). Usually with heavy metal you have some kind of classical influence going on with either the guitar or keyboards.. so Deep Purple is kinda within the genre, and a lot of metal bands owe a lot to them. But sometimes it's just the bludgeoning riffs played at a very loud volume (while not too bluesy) that scream "Metal!!!!" BLUE CHEER's "Vincebus Eruptum" could be considered the first well-known album of the genre... there were some earlier tracks like "Blackout of Gretely" by GONN (1966) that had the quality. Velvet Underground? No way they were metal or even proto-, they were more about the droning avant-garde sound that would later develop into Krautrock. It's always interesting to hear people's takes on this subject, as it's a "not set in stone" topic.

  5. Whoever put this comp together & wrote the comments for it is absolutely clueless about Heavy Metal. Period.

    1. see what I mean about 14 year old boys? and Heavy Metal is 100% blues based period. Find me something harder than Led Zeppelin - Communication Breakdown in 1969, its not Blue Cheer. I am going to rock out to some Judy Collins or some Phil Collins or some shit

    2. I disagree that it's A HUNDRED percent blues based, but generally speaking I'd agree....I wouldn't call the velvet blouse based, for certain and to me it gets no more heavy metal than "sister ray"

  6. Anyone who thinks Love is more heavy metal than Black Sabbath took the wrong step years ago !

    Interesting choices tho, thanx.

    1. Jesus Christ, read it.....I SAID Love was not a metal band, however, "August" sure is metal