The significance of 1980.

Fri, 16/12/2016 - 16:35

Why 1980? Well, I've been thinking about this particular year in Metal history and even though Priest presented the world with the first album that could be called fully formed, pure Metal two years earlier in a little masterpiece known as Stained Class, I think 1980 was when Metal really became an actual genre with it's own clear identity, both musically with the likes of the debuts from Maiden, Angel Witch, and Diamond Head, two classics from Saxon, Sabbath's amazing reinvention with Heaven and Hell and the continuing rise of Ronnie James Dio who, as far as I know, started throwing up the sign of the horns around the time Heaven and Hell was released, and with other aspects like dress/fashion/appearance. I just think this was the year Metal finally transformed into a fully fledged genre after a decade of evolution. What do you all think?

Season of Mist USA's picture

Just gotta add that Ace of Spades was also released in 1980.

Joel's picture

Oh yeah, of course. Also the Metal for Muthas compilation at the beginning of the year. Baphomet!

Vectrex's picture

I think a lot of what makes metal was defined in the 80's thats why those years are so important. Not just from a musical point of view but also the whole attitude.

Joel's picture

Of course, but I look at 1980 as being especially important because I think that particular year is when Metal really blossomed into a full blown genre beyond just a couple or several albums. You're right though. Metal was an innovating machine (regardless of style) from the very beginning of the 80s all throughout the rest of that decade.

Antonio's picture

Interesting food for thought; to me 1980 means the AC/DC 's reaction to the loss of Bon Scott: Back In Black, best hard rock selling of all time so far.

BlackMetalPete's picture

1980 was the year I got into metal. We had a radio station at the high school I was going to and I was a D.J. there. Was a punk rocker at the begining of the year but this new NWOBHM movement really captured my attention and I became a METAL fan after hearing Iron Maiden,Saxon,Raven and of of course the greatest NWOBHM ever to grace the earth ANGELWITCH. Been a metal guy ever since.

Joel's picture

Very cool story Pete! Your love of Angel Witch is well documented. Their self-titled debut is certainly one of the best of the best, along with Strong Arm of the Law and Killers.

RavenEffect's picture

The 70's were the Hard Rock years. Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Rainbow, these bands were considered Heavy Metal. On today's standards they are Hard Rock. Undoubtly influential but yet, Hard Rock. Many say that the line between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal is very thin but I find it easy to make the distinction: It all started with British Steel. It was probably the first PURELY Heavy Metal album, there was a will to remove all the blues-y chops and just go full mode on something completely new and in-your-face. Rapid Fire is Speed Metal before speed metal exists and yes, I know Motorhead was already around for a bunch of years but they were on their own thing not giving a shit if people labeled them Punk, Metal or just plain Rock and Roll. Priest took the flag of Heavy Metal and waved it around the world.

I don't think the year 1980 was necessarily more important than 81 or 82, but it was the turn of a new atitude. 7 years later, metal was heavier, faster, grittier and we even had glimpses of Death Metal on the horizon. who would've tought.

Vectrex's picture

Death and Possessed first demos came out in 84'. they were already full fleshed Death Metal if you ask me.
And let's not forget Bathory, Venom, Bulldozer and Piledriver which invented Black Metal in 84'. So 7 years is a bit of a stretch here.


You could also add Celtic Frost as inventor to a more heavy sound than NWOBHM, they do not fit in a metal genre in general.

As i write this post i realize how much of an awesome time the 80's were for metal. You had ANYTHING. From NWBOHM to Death, Black, Thrash, Speed....everything great was invented or on the height of it's genre (especially true heavy metal and nwobhm)

judascrust's picture

Not like I was around to experience the development of this music firsthand BUT a lot of 70s "hard rock/heavy metal" had a lot of other styles incorporated; blues, jazz, psychadelic, folk etc... around 1980 like you say - I'm sure the nwobhm had a lot to do with this - lots of bands started trimming the fat, getting rid of the extra baggage and focusing more on those straight up heavy riffs that we associate with heavy metal today

Joel's picture

I also think that a lot of it had to do with the fact that bands like Priest, Maiden, and Angel Witch replaced the Blues influence with Neoclassical influence. The latter is a perfect fit for Metal.

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