“What is this that stands before me?" Fifty years ago when rock and roll turned seriously dark, heavy, and metallic

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/12/what-is-this-that-stands-be.html

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Just when I was about to make a smart remark about dating the first crack in an important cultural riff^H^H^H^H :crazy_face: rift. :thinking:

Interesting that they cite Holst’s Mars movement as a direct influence. :+1:

I’m always pleased when the best musicians know their history…

I suppose we have Bill and Ted to thank for an exploration of what might happen if an orchestral-era composer got their hands on modern electric instruments… :smile: …and let’s not forget the original heavy metal instrument, the cathedral organ. … and Bach, so much material for modern guitar riffs … :guitar:

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I do remember that. I was in grade 8 and we played that album in my friends basement a lot.

My mom was not impressed.

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Paranoid was another classic of theirs. But metal already existed before Black Sabbath; Led Zeppelin was already there, and even the Beatles dabbled in it.

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Set your ears upon this…

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let’s not forget Paganini, the Hendrix of his day!

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Paranoid is the far better and more polished album than their debut.

But then again for most bands the 2nd or 3rd album usually ends up as their most iconic. By then the bands usually gets better at recording and developing their own songwriting/playing style.

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Paranoid was the first album I ever bought.

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Something about “riffage” is just so hypnotic when you get your first electric guitar, and those early Sabbath records are the best examples of riffage; crank up the distortion and play some barre chords or just parallel fifths on the low strings and songs like “Iron Man” just come out naturally. The whole “chugging away on the low E string” became the most cliched metal sound, but it’s so damned fun.

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IIRC, Lou Reed on “Sister Ray:” “If that’s not heavy metal, I don’t know what is.” Lester Bangs described songs from the first Velvets album as (again IIRC) a “whiplash version of heavy metal,” but I never heard it that way. But a case could be made for some of White Light/White Heat.

More “proto-metal” I guess, but I think “Interstellar Overdrive” predates all of these, and The Who Sell Out was recorded right after that…

Also, I’d place most of The Man Who Sold the World (recorded a few months after Black Sabbath) very much in the heavy metal bucket.

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The War Pigs reaction video is the first of these types of videos I’ve seen.

Alas, I did not film myself watching it.

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There have been some allegations that Black Sabbath borrowed some of their branding from Coven.

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I remember that song getting a lot of airplay, but never once did I ever hear the name of the band mentioned on the radio. More puritanical idiocy, I guess. I’ve never even heard of the band until today.

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You were out to get it, then (and not the other way round).

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I had not heard that song before, but learned about it and the band here:

It shows why Coven faded, they got black listed because unlike other groups which played with Witchcraft they were like, “Oh yeah, we totally do witchcraft.”

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:metal:

Long live rock’n’roll.

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I remember seeing some documentary on heavy metal where they were asking assorted famous musicians “who was the first heavy metal band?” Some interesting answers: MC5, Blue Cheer, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Stooges-- I think what we currently think of as heavy metal basically starts with Sabbath and Zeppelin: ominous loud riffs, changing tempos, lyrics involving good/evil, the supernatural and mythology.

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Sound opinion did an awesome overview of the birth of Heavy Metal: https://www.soundopinions.org/show/144/

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Does that rhyme with Oven?

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