THE N.W.O.B.H.M. TAPES (part 1 of 3)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – The N.W.O.B.H.M. Tapes, audiologist Vols. 1-3

I first head that most glorious of all acronyms in the English language uttered on a half-hour MTV documentary about Metallica that aired in the early ’90s. I could barely wrap my brain around such a jumble of letters at first, but when I learnt what they meant, I never forgot it.

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal lasted from the exact same time period as the classic post-punk period did, from the late ’70s to early ’80s, but has rarely gotten its due like post-punk has today, probably because the haircuts are less fashionable. Nevertheless, the movement was just as important as post-punk, in that it contained literally a thousand different awesome bands (some innovators and countless imitators), influenced a generation of metal acts that went on to conquer the world (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer et al.), and featured music that rocks just as hard today as it did back then thirty years ago. Wikipedia sez:

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal…emerged in the late 1970s, in the United Kingdom, as a reaction in part to the decline of early heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. It was also a reaction against punk rock, although ironically it incorporated many of British punk’s innovations, and some of its aesthetic.

NWOBHM’s music reacted against the artifice of contemporary pop, placing an emphasis on musicianship and amplification, the former trait setting it apart from punk rock. Yet, unlike progressive rock, which placed a far greater emphasis on musical complexity, and unlike post-punk, which emphasized ‘strangeness’ and innovation, the NWOBHM thrived on volume, speed, and directness, with an idealised working class image. (Its closest counterpart in the British rock-musical landscape of the time was Oi! — a stripped-down, working-class variant of punk, which usually had little of heavy metal’s technical prowess, but cross-fertilized with the new wave of British metal bands via groups such as the Cockney Rejects.)

Reviled or ignored by many mainstream critics in both the UK and the US, the NWOBHM nonetheless came to dominate the hard rock scene of the early-mid 1980s. NWOBHM was musically characterised by power chords, fast guitar solos and melodic, soaring vocals, with lyrical themes often drawing inspiration from mythology, fantasy fiction, and the occult. The movement’s music was, however, often surprisingly melodic, and surprisingly parallel to punk and post-punk.

The early movement was associated with the likes of Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, Tygers of Pan Tang, Def Leppard, Motörhead, Triarchy, Blitzkrieg, Quartz, Sweet Savage, Girlschool, Saxon, Diamond Head, Venom, Samson and Tank, among others. The image of bands such as Saxon (long hair, denim jackets, leather and chains) would later become synonymous with heavy metal as a whole during the 1980s.

Various Artists – The N.W.O.B.H.M. Tapes, Vol. 1 compilation (ZIP file)
Various Artists – The N.W.O.B.H.M. Tapes, Vol. 2 compilation (ZIP file)
Various Artists – The N.W.O.B.H.M. Tapes, Vol. 3 compilation (ZIP file)

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814 Responses to THE N.W.O.B.H.M. TAPES (part 1 of 3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    There you go again, posting something else that everyone will love. I know I do, thanks for this!

  2. Craig says:

    Where did these “tapes” come from? Why cant I find info on these elsewhere on the interweb?

  3. La Crainte says:

    Keep on John Peeling ! Great stuff !
    Regards from Paris !

  4. Jason says:

    Listening to clean guitar parts of Bleak House’s “Rainbow Warrior”, it is pretty obvious where Metallica got their inspiration for “Sanitarium”. Not the first time they’ve liberally borrowed from obscure NWOBHM…