International Day of Heavy Metal Date in the current year: December 12, 2024

International Day of Heavy Metal The International Day of Heavy Metal is celebrated annually on December 12. It was created to recognize a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s in the United Kingdom and United States.

Heavy metal, often referred to as simply metal, is a genre of rock music characterized by its thick, monumental sound. Its most recognizable features are loudness, vigorous vocals, extended guitar solos, distorted guitars, and emphatic beats. Heavy metal lyrics often focus on dark and depressing themes; visual imagery also plays a large role in the genre.

Heavy metal has roots in acid rock, blues rock, garage rock, and psychedelic rock. It’s hard to say who was the first heavy metal band. American critics tend to favor Led Zeppelin as the progenitor of heavy metal, while British critics tend to favor Black Sabbath (interestingly, both bands are English). Deep Purple, another English band, are also considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal. The three bands are sometimes referred to as the “unholy trinity” of the genre.

Across the pond, the trendsetting heavy metal band was Grand Funk Railroad, followed by Sir Lord Baltimore, Blue Öyster Cult, Aerosmith, and Kiss. Although it has been debated whether these and other early bands truly qualify as heavy metal or as simply hard rock, which developed around the same time, they are believed to have heavily influenced the genre and contributed to its development.

In the mid-1970s, heavy metal record sales began to decline because many major record labels focused on the emerging punk rock. The new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) began to emerge in response to the growing popularity of punk. Initially an underground phenomenon, it broke into mainstream and re-energized heavy metal in the late 1970s. Notable representatives of the movement included Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Saxon.

Since heavy metal broke into mainstream in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a number of heavy metal subgenres have emerged. They include alternative metal (and its subgenres such as funk metal, nu metal, and rap metal), avant-garde metal, black metal, Christian metal, crust punk, death metal, doom metal, extreme metal, folk metal, glam metal, gothic metal, grindcore, grunge, industrial metal, metalcore, post metal, progressive metal, symphonic metal, and others.

Heavy metal fans, known as “metalheads”, have created their own subculture. The most recognizable attributes of the heavy metal subculture include long hair, leather and denim jackets, motorcycles, tattoos, signature gestures and movements like headbanging and the sign of the horns, and alcohol and drug use.

The International Day of Heavy Metal was launched in 2012 by “Iron” Mathew Collins, a Scottish-born heavy metal fan from England, to celebrate all styles of heavy metal and everything that is good about the genre. There are many ways to get involved with the International Heavy Metal Day: you can listen to your favorite bands and albums, introduce at least one friend to heavy metal, wear your band t-shirt with pride, and spread the word about the holiday on the social media with the hashtags #InternationalDayOfHeavyMetal and #HeavyMetal.

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