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Portal:Heavy metal

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The Heavy Metal Portal

Slayer at the Fields of Rock, in 2007.

Heavy metal (often referred to as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are often associated with masculinity, aggression and machismo.

The first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath attracted large audiences, though they were often derided by critics, a status common throughout the history of the genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the new wave of British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as "metalheads" or "headbangers".

During the 1980s, glam metal became a commercial force with groups like Mötley Crüe and Poison. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, while other styles of the most extreme subgenres of metal like death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s, popular styles such as groove metal, which blends extreme metal with hardcore punk, and nu metal, which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop, have further expanded the definition of the genre.

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Nightwish in 2005. From left to right: Marco Hietala, Tuomas Holopainen, Tarja Turunen, Jukka Nevalainen and Emppu Vuorinen.
Nightwish is a Finnish symphonic power metal musical group, formed in 1996 in the town of Kitee, in northern Finland. Nightwish is considered one of the bands responsible for the development and rise in popularity of symphonic metal at the end of the 1990s, and the creation of the symphonic power metal genre, basically symphonic metal with parts of power metal even though a female lead singer is used (male singer being typical for power metal).

Although the band has been prominent in their home country since the release of their first single, "The Carpenter" (1997) and debut album Angels Fall First, they did not achieve worldwide fame until the release of the albums Oceanborn and Wishmaster, which were released in 1998 and 2000 respectively. Their 2004 album, Once, led to Nightwish video clips being shown on MTV in the United States and inclusion of their music in U.S. movie soundtracks. Their biggest U.S. hit single, "Wish I Had an Angel" (2004), made it onto two U.S. film soundtracks as a means to promote their North American tour.

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Credit: Greg Waterman
John Dolmayan of System of a Down at Ozzfest 2005.

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