23 February 2019

50 Years Of Heavy Metal: Introduction

In 1969, a group of four young musicians in Birmingham were feeling disconnected from the hippy dream. Tony Iommi, Terrance “Geezer” Butler, John “Ozzy” Osbourne and Bill Ward ended up writing a song that sounded nothing like any music up until that point. That band, and song, was Black Sabbath; the song is widely considered to be the starting point for heavy metal. Even now, fifty years later it still sounds like, in the words of Rob Halford, “the most evil song ever written”. Sure, there were elements of heavy metal around beforehand- Blue Cheer being an oft cited band- but ask Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or most other metal bands and they’ll all say the same. Black Sabbath gave birth to heavy metal.

This year, 2019, is fifty years since that song was written, and it’s safe to say Midlands Metalheads would not exist without it. As such, when press officer Stephanie Ingram contacted the reviews department about doing a retrospective of the last fifty year, I was kicking myself for not having thought of it myself. So over the next fifty days, myself, Steph, joint head of reviews David Steed, reviewer Amy Lawrence, DJ Simon “Skid” Kidd and photographer Jack Kirsop, will be working year by year through the albums that made heavy metal the wonderful, multifaceted genre it is today. From the albums that influenced the future of metal in the 70s, to the boom of hair metal and the beginning of extreme metal in the 80s, the low end grooves of nu metal in the 90s to the breakdowns of metalcore in the 00s, all the way up to the present day, we’ll be covering as much as we possibly can. We also have Midlands Metalheads’ DJs playing music in conjunction with our coverage, with Glyn Sheppard playing Black Sabbath’s self title debut in full tomorrow to kick us off. Keep an eye on the DJs’ playlists coming up to see what’s coming up.

This is the first time Midlands Metalheads has undertaken a project like this and it’s exciting for all involved, but we know we can’t talk about everything. That’s where you come in. Let us know on social media your memories of each year, which albums you would have picked, anything and everything about the history of heavy metal. Tomorrow we start things off in 1970, where Steph will take us through Black Sabbath’s self-titled album, and another less discussed album renowned for its early distorted sound. Until then raise the horns, stick on your favourite album and bang your head. Here’s to another fifty years.

Read about 1970 here.