Heavy-metal rock, which is typified by heavily distorted guitars, lightning-fast solos, wailing vocals, and dominant drums, became popular in the late '60s and early '70s. Bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest produced vinyl records that are some of the most highly regarded examples of the genre to this day. Indeed, heavy metal is still a musical force worldwide, as new metal bands continue to release albums on vinyl.

The late 1970s brought about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), a less blues-inspired version of the early metal movement. The NWOBHM featured bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Motörhead, who paved the way for future heavy-metal artists. Numerous subgenres of metal emerged in the 1980s—a period known in the musical mainstream for huge hair and performances with lots of pyrotechnics. These subgenres included glam metal, death metal, thrash metal, speed metal, and power metal.

Collectors take various approaches to acquiring heavy-metal vinyl records. Some pick a specific band. For instance fans of Black Sabbath, which, along with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, is considered by many to be one of the kings of heavy metal, will undoubtedly have a copy of “Master of Reality” and “Heaven and Hell” in their collections. For those whose tastes are less mainstream, records by bands such as Autopsy or the thrash metal group Possessed may be preferred.

Other collectors enjoy the often over-the-top album art associated with heavy metal. Dark, morbid images, which are commonly linked to the music’s themes, are pervasive. For instance, there is the chilling cover of Terrorizer’s 1989 album, “World Downfall,” which depicts Jesus presiding over a decaying earth. At the other end of the spectrum, however, is Dark Angel’s “We Have Arrived.” Its cover has hand-drawn pictures of the band members jumping and floating over their fans.

While classic metal bands like Metallica, Kiss, and Dio (fronted by its late namesake) continue to be popular among collectors, yet another wave of new bands, some of whom have appeared just in the past decade, are vying for attention. The Finnish band Sentenced, for example, released its incredibly popular “The Cold White Light” in 2002. In 2005, Rotting Christ delivered “Theogonia,” which mixed heavy guitar riffs with Middle Eastern sounds. Indeed, using other genres as influence for heavy metal is nothing new. Led Zeppelin’s 1973 classic “D’yer Mak’er” off “Houses of the Holy,” for example, has strong reggae influences.


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