According to Jim Farber at the NY Daily News, heavy metal turned 40 yesterday. He’s got a point, since on June 1, Black Sabbath’s first album was released in the United States (It had come out on February 13 in the UK). There were definitely some other bands and songs that set the stage for the genre (Zeppelin, for one), but Sabbath were the first to fully embrace the dark side. While his article about this milestone is a little on the scholarly side, it’s also a nice defense of the genre, essentially stating that it’s got a lot more validity that it’s given credit for:
It’s stupid, it’s sexist, and it might even be Satanic.
That trilogy of ignorant views has obscured the true achievements – and the sonic rarity – of heavy metal from the start.
Isn’t it about time we shot them all in the head once and for all?
Quick answer, yes. And while some in the mainstream media would prefer to dismiss metal or besmirch the people that listen to it (yeah dude, we’re talking about you), it’s good to see metal both given context and defended by Farber. He goes on to state that infamous music critic Lester Bangs termed the phrase “Heavy Metal” (taking it from a line in Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”), and that Deep Purple came in a close second, with In Rock coming out in July. He also says Judas Priest were the first band to really embrace the tag. Definitely check the article out, and feel free to proudly raise your horns to a genre that’s likely old enough to be your dad.