Monday, November 16, 2015

Heavy Metal Monday: Speed Demon

Cover Art for Painkiller by Judas Priest, revitalizing itself with the very Speed Metal that the band helped to spawn a decade earlier.

Introduction & Style

Speed Metal was one of the earliest offshoots of the NWOBHM movement, and is a direct technical evolution of the music style. This subgenre faster tempo than most other types of Heavy Metal, with more expressive vocals, but the vocals are still "clean" and the instrumentation is still more melodic than Thrash Metal, itself a derivative of Speed Metal.


Judas Priest released the song Exciter in 1978, with a faster tempo than most metal bands, but the true originator of the genre was considered to be the Canadian band Exciter, who took the name of Judas Priest's song, improved upon their technique and incorporated elements of Punk-insired NWOBHM. Judas Priest incorporated Speed Metal into their famous album Painkiller. In Germany, Accept too became a major influence in 1982 with Fast As A Shark, whose double bass drumming technique set the standards for Power and Thrash Metal. 

Most Speed Metal bands moved into Thrash Metal or traditional Heavy Metal, but a few bands still play Speed Metal.


Prominent Bands


Accept was formed in 1968 by singer Udo Dirkschneider, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes. The band achieved mainstream success with the album Balls to the Wall in 1983, and was one of the few German Metal bands to achieve mainstream success in the United States.


Exciter was formed in Ottowa, Ontario in 1978 as Hell Razor. The band consisted of vocalist and drummer Dan Beehler, guitarist John Ricci, and bassist Allan James Johnson. In 1980, they changed their name to Exciter. This band was a major influence to Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, the "Big Four" of Thrash Metal. 


Megadeth was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson. While best known to be one of the "Big Four" of Thrash Metal, the band has a heavy focus on the speed aspect. 


Dragonforce was formed in 1999 in London, England by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, inspired by the sound of 8 bit video game music. Unlike most Speed Metal bands, Dragonforce incorporates elements of Power Metal into their style, singing the standard Power Metal themes of high fantasy and epic battles, to video-game inspired guitar solos. 

Lesser Known Bands 


Stormwarrior was formed in 1998 in Hamburg, Germany by vocalist and guitar player Lars Ramcke and drummer Andre Schumann. While they draw most of their inspiration from Helloween and Running Wild, they sing almost entirely about Vikings. 

Running Wild

Running Wild was formed in 1976 in Hamburg, Germany. The band's early albums had satanic themes, but in 1987, the band adopted a pirate theme.


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