The definition of 'heavy metal' is often a contentious issue and in this lively and accessible text Andrew Cope presents a refreshing re-evaluation of the rules that define heavy metal as a musical genre. Cope begins with an interrogation of why, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Birmingham provided the ideal location for the evolution and early development of heavy metal and hard rock. The author considers how the influence of the London and Liverpool music scenes merged with the unique cultural climate, industry and often desolated sites of post-war Birmingham to contribute significantly to the development of two unique forms of music: heavy metal and hard rock. The author explores these two forms through an extensive examination of key tracks from the first six albums of both Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, in which musical, visual and lyrical aspects of each band are carefully compared and contrasted in order to highlight the distinctive innovations of those early recordings. In conclusion, a number of case studies are presented that illustrate how the unique synthesis of elements established by Black Sabbath have been perpetuated and developed through the work of such bands as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Machine Head, Nightwish, Arch Enemy and Cradle of Filth. As a consequence, the importance of heavy metal as a genre of music was firmly established, and its longevity assured.
'For many years popular music studies has been dominated by texts which fail to address the unique combination of musical sounds, timbres and structures that distinguishes heavy metal from hard rock. Black Sabbath and the Rise of Heavy Metal Music fills that gap and offers researchers and students alike the opportunity to explore and enjoy an engaging musical investigation into the birth and development of the heavy metal sound. ... This is an exciting book and one which will open up new avenues of investigation for researchers and students alike. It is warmly recommended.' From the Foreword by Sheila Whiteley, Emeritus Professor at Salford University, UK, author of The Space Between the Notes: Rock and Counterculture (1992) and Too Much Too Young: Popular Music, Age and Gender (2005) ’This fine book puts Black Sabbath’s massive influence on the genre into musical perspective, as well as historical perspective... not only the best book ever written on the influence of Black Sabbath in Heavy Metal, but a fine, intelligent study of the genre as a whole.’ live4metal.org 'Cope's book is on heavy metal as music and as such it is an important contribution to a field which has previously been mostly studied through subcultural readings.' Popular Music