NWoBHM

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The NWOBHM was a movement which gained media recognition in the late 1970s, achieved international attention by the early 1980s, and gave way to a snowball effect which has led to the development of many different styles, and the hugely increased popularity and diversity of heavy metal music.

Heavy metal music, unlike many other music genres, has evolved and matured over many decades, proving itself to be more than a simple fashion statement. The NWOBHM represented a sudden explosion of interest in the music and experimentation within the field, which was echoed across the Atlantic a few years later in the development of Thrash Metal and its various offspring.

The way in which it arose echoes the garage band and underground music phenomenon of the 1960s, with a striking feature being that bands were usually derived from fans of the music. This created a very protective culture, in which bands strove to develop their own sounds and styles to make them stand out from the rapidly expanding pack.

This in turn bred a tendency towards a technical proficiency of a rather flamboyant nature, echoing and sometimes imitating Progressive Rock bands, who had been somewhat stifled by the explosion of punk rock earlier in the 1970s.

It has been often cited that The NWOBHM drew its energy from the preceding wave of punk rock and, due to the open nature of the music, in some cases this is true. But Heavy Metal had always had a level of driving energy, right from the early hard rock pioneers such as Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and the Scorpions through to the heavier Glam Rock acts such as Slade and The Sweet. This energy seemed to culminate in the music of Judas Priest, who were undoubtedly the most important musical influence on the NWoBHM.

What did arise from punk was the whole DIY aspect - the fact that anyone with any level of musical ability could form a band, record a demo and distribute it themselves among friends and fans, and this aspect was core to the way in which the NWoBHM grew and disseminated around the world. Metallica famously would listen to these demo tapes and decide to create their own, despite the fact that Lars Ulrich was yet to set up his drum kit, let alone play it.

Some bands, such as Diamond Head and Def Leppard even went as far as to set up their own record label in order to release their material (Happy Face and Bludgeon Riffola respectively). Many bands signed to small independent labels, and labels such as Neat records sprang up specifically to promote Heavy Metal music. A number of compilations appeared, such as "Lead Weight", "New Electric Warriors" and "Metal for Muthas".

Spearleaders for the movement, Iron Maiden, recorded a live set at the Sound House before signing to major label EMI, and were thus in the fortunate position of being able to have the EMI promotion machine available to promote their innovative and highly influential brand of metal at just the right time (Maiden had actually been in existence for at least 3 years before the NWoBHM). Def Leppard quickly got signed by Vertigo, Diamond Head were disastrously signed by MCA, and Sheffield-based Saxon signed to French disco label Carrere!

Despite often scathing critical backlash, the music was heavily promoted by the likes of Sounds journalist Gary Barton, who is credited with coining the term New Wave of Heavy Metal, Rock DJ Neal Kay, who played recordings of new acts extensively at London's Sound House, and Radio 1 DJ Tommy Vance. Magazines dedicated to the music, such as Metal Forces and Kerrang! sprang up, and later, Vance began to include a section called Rock Wars, dedicated to unsigned acts in his Friday night Rock Show.

But while the major label acts were crucial in the musics continued development and dissemination, it was the smaller acts, often acts with only one or two demos under their belts, that made the music what it was, and ensured that, while the signed acts either went on to international stardom or disintegrated completely, the music itself continued to evolve at an ever-increasing pace.

As for the musical style itsef, contrary to popular opinion, many early NWoBHM bands would incorporate 12-bar blues in their rhythm parts, and the minor pentatonic scale in lead guitar solos. This can make it hard to distinguish the music from Hard Rock, which is essentially blues rock played through high-gain amplifiers.

The bands that really stand out from this time are the bands that broke away from the hard rock traditions, modelling their compositions on structures with extended intros, outros and instrumental breaks, usually featuring extensive guitar solos.

But it was not just about how complex the music could be; Beacuse of it's origins, there was a strong emphasis on crowd involvement, and many bands wrote anthemic songs with strong, straightforward melodies with that in mind. There was also the question of band identity and originality, and bands such as Samson and Holocaust seemed to re-invent themselves and their style with each successive song.

The music covered an extraordinarily wide range of styles, almost always centered around an aggressive, high gain guitar sound, typified by the Marshall JCM 800 amplifier and Gibson humbucker equipped guitars. Vocals were pushed hard, to sound either high-pitched and scream-like, following the lead of the likes of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, or, less commonly, growly like Motorhead or menacing like Ozzy Osbourne.

More was expected of bass players, who needed not only to provide a solid, rhythmic root note foundation, but to join in with ever more elaborate passages between extended musical sections, and drummers were required to be versatile enough to cope with both very slow, atmospheric music and ever-increasing speed.

The very challenging nature of the music they were writing and lack of funding for professional studio costs meant that quite often bands found it difficult to play and record their own material, so demos often sound extremely rough in these days of inexpensive computer recording environments.

But the music is frequently inspired and inspiring, contains many surprises for those who think they've heard it all, and, of course, still rocks hard!

Written by Certif1ed (May 2010)

Sub-genre collaborators:

Same as Traditional Heavy Metal.

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Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

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IRON MAIDEN The Soundhouse Tapes

EP · 1979 · NWoBHM
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UMUR
"The Soundhouse Tapes" is the first EP release by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The EP was released through the band´s own label Rock Hard Records in November 1979. The original vinyl version of "The Soundhouse Tapes" was limited to 5000 copies, which were sold by mail order alone. The three tracks featured on the 11:28 minutes long EP ("Iron Maiden", "Invasion" and "Prowler") were originally recorded on New Years Eve of 1978 along with "Strange World" for a demo tape the band used to send to venues to book gigs. Before recording the demo Iron Maiden had a hard time finding gigs, but 1979 proved to be a fruitful year for the band, who played lots of shows and received great responses from the audience. The band were often met with a demand for recorded material by the fans after the shows, and that´s how the idea to release "The Soundhouse Tapes" was born. So the three tracks ("Strange World" was left off the EP, because the band weren´t satisfied with the production values on that particular track) featured on "The Soundhouse Tapes" are actually demos.

"Iron Maiden" and "Prowler" were both re-recorded and included on the band´s 1980 self-titled debut album while "Invasion" was re-recorded and included as a B-side on the "Women in Uniform (1980)" single. Both "Iron Maiden" and "Prowler" appear here in more or less the versions that you´ll hear on the debut album, albeit in more raw sounding and slower paced versions. "Invasion" is slightly less heavy metal oriented and reminds me a bit of early Rush. It´s not as catchy or infectiously aggressive as the other two tracks and it´s obvious why it wasn´t included on the debut album, but chosen as a B-side track on a single instead.

"The Soundhouse Tapes" is ultimately a pretty decent first recording by Iron Maiden although the later more professional studio versions of the tracks sound much better and are also more aggressive due to the higher pace and the more distorted guitar sound. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

TYGERS OF PAN TANG Spellbound

Album · 1981 · NWoBHM
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Warthur
With new vocalist Jon Deverill onboard, the second Tygers of Pan Tang album finds them performing an exciting and accessible style that fits in well with their NWOBHM contemporaries. Imagine what Iron Maiden would have sounded like if after Paul Di'Anno left they got a new vocalist who was a bit less operatic than Bruce Dickinson and, whilst still toning down the rougher punk influences on their playing, they didn't go for the more theatrical, progressive-influenced compositional style that would characterise them from Number of the Beast Onwards. That's Spellbound for you - a somewhat more pop-friendly style of NWOBHM which makes up for what it lacks in complexity with a certain dose of aggression, but not so much as to scare anyone off. Entertaining, but not enough to push them into the top tier of the era.

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Live album · 1985 · NWoBHM
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Warthur
What do you listen to live albums for? Do you just want to hear a very similar rendition of a band's studio songs in a live context, or do you want to hear a different side of the material in its translation from the studio to the stage?

If you are after the former, the Live After Death is perfect: Iron Maiden not only hadn't released a bad album up to this point, they'd hardly even recorded a bad *song*, and this setlist is absolutely stellar.

If you want the latter, though - and that's the camp I'm in - then this will sound an awful lot like the studio albums you no doubt already on, with some overloud crowd noise on top if it. It's interesting hearing Bruce perform Phantom of the Opera - perhaps the one song from the Paul Di'Anno era which deserves Bruce's operatic treatment the most - but otherwise this is going to offer few surprises.

SAXON Denim and Leather

Album · 1981 · NWoBHM
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Warthur
Denim and Leather finds the creative well that yielded Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law beginning to run dry. Whilst it's still an entertaining enough NWOBHM exercise, it feels like something's missing this time around; the band seem to lack a certain punch and aggression, and without that these NWOBHM-by-numbers pieces can tend to feel a bit generic. There's a few too many moments where the band clearly expect us to start chanting along with our lighters in the air but the watered-down sound makes me feel more like at best nodding along or clapping politely. It's OK, but they'd done better.

IRON MAIDEN Women In Uniform

Single · 1980 · NWoBHM
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Modrigue
This single from IRON MAIDEN features 3 tracks from the early Di'Anno period. The cover art represents Maggie Thatcher preparing to take revenge on Eddie.

The title track, "Women in Uniform" is a cover of punk song from Australian band SKYHOOKS, boosted up by efficient heavy guitars. Catchy but tends to become slightly repetitive at the end. Contrarily to "Invasion", which is a little unknown pure maiden-esque gem with a lot of energy from the beginning to the end, complex changes and top-notch guitars solos. The last track is a good live version of "Phantom of Opera" from the first album.

In conclusion, this is an enjoyable single release from early IRON MAIDEN, although the title track is not the best...

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IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
Universally cited as one of the absolute best live albums of all time, LIVE AFTER DEATH is the first live album / video release of IRON MAIDEN’s classic early Bruce Dickinson years and was recorded during their “World Slavery Tour.” Despite lasting a whopping 331 days, this double LP album only took two venues as their source for representing their electric live performances. The first 13 tracks were recorded at the Long Beach Arena in California, USA and the remaining five tracks were taken from a night at Hammersmith Odeon in London. While LIVE AFTER DEATH was released both as audio LP and video VHS in 1985, the two aren’t exactly identical in content. The audio LP originally contained 18 tracks (one of which is “Intro: Churchill’s Speech”) but the VHS visual experience only had 14 tracks. Unfortunately when LIVE AFTER DEATH was originally released on CD it was too long for a single disc and instead of simply issuing a double disc, EMI unwisely decided to cut the last five tracks which included the Odeon performance, therefore it is highly advisable to obtain the Sanctuary remastered version which was released as a double disc and retains the entire run of one classic song after another.

LIVE AFTER DEATH is the absolute perfect live album. I very rarely put live albums high on my list of favorites because more often than not something or many things prevent them from capturing my attention and worthiness as essential. If it’s not the weak production values then it is the inability of the band to capture the magic that is manufactured in the studio. That is not the case here. IRON MAIDEN was at the pinnacle of their creative prowess at this point and after several outstanding and classic albums to mine for material, they perfectly execute these live performances and offer every little ounce of excitement heard on the studio releases. Bruce Dickinson nails the vocals and the thundering trio of Steve Harris’ bass and the guitar synergy of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith accompanied by Nikko McBrain’s stellar drumming style doesn’t get any better. While most of the tracks are performed rather faithfully to their studio versions, there is plenty of live improvisation taking places as well. Standout moments include Bruce’s attempt to get audience participation on “Running Free” and another great difference can be heard on “Revelations” where the tempo is upped and Bruce changes the vocal phrasing to make the track sound different and refreshed.

The video release offers all the theatrical visuals of the tour. The “Powerslave” album was based on ancient Egypt and likewise the stage was Egyptified to the max with sarcophagi, hieroglyphs and a mummified Eddie embellished with ridiculous amounts of pyrotechnics. The tour was a smashing success and this release whether it be audio or video is the perfect testimony to the genius that went into every single detail. The sound and mixing is perfect as well as Martin Birch found the perfect balance of every cast member and delivered one of the most satisfying production jobs for a live release that i have ever heard. In the visual department Jim Yukich perfectly captured two nights in Long Beach showing a great band doing great things at the peak of their game. Another piece of perfection with this one is the brilliant cover art of Derek Riggs surpassing previous album themes of Eddie as the mascot by incorporating those themes of previous albums covers and then putting it all on steroids. The spread of the album is breathtaking in content and color with the boldness of the yellows and blues. Every aspect of talent on board with this release guarantees to wake the dead. I cannot find one negative thing to say about it. It is true that Bruce doesn’t hit every note exactly as on the studio version every single time but when he doesn’t he offers interesting new ways of interpreting the classics. This is simply one of the most perfect live releases i have ever encountered and even MAIDEN themselves haven’t even come close to achieving similar results. Masterpiece.

IRON MAIDEN The History Of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days

Movie · 2004 · NWoBHM
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friso
Iron Maiden - The Early Days (2004), subject (1976-1983)

Such an amazing band!

I'm in love with Iron Maiden now for 10 years, it al started when I was eleven years old. I saw the band live once, during the tour to promote this dvd. This was the best show I've ever seen and might see in my live.

On this super-complete dvd we've got lot's of interesting Iron Maiden material, covering the first four albums and some footage of the band before the first album.

The Early Days documentary. This 90 minutes of documentary that shows the prehistoric times of Iron Maiden. All former band members are discussed, the reason line-up changed, the circumstances they were in, who the material came to be, etc. This way we learn that there was an Iron Maiden that only had Steve Harris playing in it of all the current members. Interviews with the now unknown former members (1976-1979) are done in nice settings and it's nice to hear their stories. Steve Harris reflects on a lot of subjects and early member Dave Murray is also to be seen in some interviews. The old footage and photo's are nice for Iron Maiden fans. This documentary also shows a short making of of the first four albums and the line-up changes that occurred during that period. This dvd is a real threat for fans and it's fun to watch for people who are new to the band. The process of the creation of such an important band is interesting and fun to watch.

LIVE AT THE RAINBOW, Filmed at The Rainbow, London, December 1980 This is pure gold! This set shows Iron Maiden playing seven songs from their first two albums, though Killers wasn't record yet. This particular part of dvd is mega-essential because of the wild performance of lead singer Paul di'Anno. There isn't any better footage of the band in this phase of the band! Iron Maiden plays very motivated, the songs are great and the people enthusiastic. They were so good in their early days! As I said, essential for both fans and people who like the metal/hard rock genre.

BEAST OVER HAMMERSMITH, Filmed at Hammersmith Odeon, London, March 1982 One of the early shows Iron Maiden performed during the time Bruce Dickinson had joined the band and The Number of the Beast came to be. Iron Maiden plays unbelievably motivated and this can be seen as the one of the highlights of Iron Maiden's and vocalist Bruce Dickinson's career! Most tracks are from The Number of the Beast and the material is fresh! It's also nice the band included the important b-side Total Eclipse in their set. Essential metal footage.

LIVE AT DORTMUND, Filmed at Rock and Pop Festival, Dortmunde, Westenfalle, Germany, 1983 This concert was recorded during the Piece of Mind tour. Most songs originate from this album. Though the footage is almost as good as the Beast over Hammersmith from 1982, it's lacks some of it's bombastic enthusiastic power of Hammersmith. Still this is a very interesting show and fans will appreciate this very much!

EXTRA'S The first five clips of Iron Maiden and some top of the pops performances are nice, but they are less hard to find then the gigs on dvd one. Still a great bonus to complete the release.

LIVE AT THE RUSKIN, Home Video filmed at The Ruskin Arms, 1980 This is home video footage of the band in an early stage. This might only appeal to hard-core Iron Maiden fans for it's historical value.

Conclusion. This is the meaning of completeness! This is everything I could ever ask for, concerning the theme of this dvd. Five stars without doubt. Every fan should own this and others might be surprised on how energetic and complete this release is.

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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friso
Iron Maiden - Live After Death DVD (2008)

The ultimate metal-concert.

This live footage is simply amazing. The biggest energy-boost ever recorded! The good thing is I recently re-discovered this live concert. I've been fan or Iron Maiden since I was eleven years old and had discarded this live album because of the vocals. At that time I though they weren't good enough. And though I still thing the vocals on songs with high- pitched vocal lines aren't perfect, I totally missed out on the amazing sound of the band.

This dvd represents a very good piece of evidence of how much Iron Maiden was of a live- band, instead of a studio-band. Even simple tracks like Running Free and Sanctuary sound simply amazing live. The guitars-bass-drum-combination has so much power in it. Unbelievable... and all songs are classics.

And yeah the vocals of Bruce Dickinson are sometimes less good then on the albums, but on other moments he's even more powerful and dramatic. His performance is a total surrender to the what the public wants to see. A god-like metal-concert. The aim for all metal-bands, the promise of the NWOBHM, the promise of rock: a divine all-important rock show. Somehow the album-versions of the songs gain on a new dimension: The Iron Maiden live experience. I've never got this feeling on any other live dvd-set. I saw Iron Maiden live once, and it is still the best live concert I've ever seen (though Magma was pretty amazing too!).

Iron Maiden alway had the better songs, the masterful musicianship, the intelligent compositions and the wide range of emotional depth. The band allowed a controlled portion of sophistication into their energetic music, which makes is so interesting for fans of the progressive genre. This makes them a really unique band in the metal-genre. On top of that I really like the personalities of the band members.

This concert, as can be concluded from my fanboy-review, is a highlight of Iron Maiden career. It's is important however to be aware of the fact the band had more highlights in their long career. The early-days dvd shows some extremely good moments of the Paul Di'Anno era (with Clive Burr on drums!), the Seventh Sun album shows some very good progressive moments (another highlight!), the mature X-factor album has some great art-rock influences and the gathering of six band-members in the Brave New World period can also be seen as an artistic and energetic zenith.

Well this manifestation of the final expression of the promise of intelligent heavy metal can not be rewarded with a lower rating than the five star rating. Buy.

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