New Wave of British Heavy Metal Turns 30

(guardian.co.uk) This year sees the 30th anniversary of one of our most thoroughly titled musical genres: the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, abbreviated to NWOBHM, and pronounced "nuh-wobbum".

It's a realm of rapid-fire riffs and heroic declarations about motorbikes, the Charge of the Light Brigade and sticking it to the boss. It's also a place of much bathos and human fallibility. One NWOBHM group toured in a van bearing the trademark of its previous owner: Sid Cummings - Tripe Dealer. Another band's drummer played inside a cage while wearing what was often referred to as a "rapist mask". He called himself Thunderstick, though his parents knew him better as Barry Purkis.

NWOBHM was not solely the preserve of bathos. Two of its leading lights, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, went on to become among the biggest groups in the world, forging long-lasting careers. But they do not, perhaps, represent the British metal scene in its truest light. Def Leppard's transatlantic inclinations soon removed them from the scene that spawned them (and from the affections of hardcore metalheads back home), while Maiden became the international gold standard for metal. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal centres on the hordes of bands who never quite eclipsed the thing that spawned them. - more on this story

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