Heavy metal today is much different than it was decades ago during its inception, and thats largely because of our generations over-saturated musical palettes. Metal is extremely diverse today with hundreds of sub-genres, and we have seen and heard things from all these bands so much that nothing appears as groundbreaking or shocking anymore. That wasn’t always the case, and these are five areas of the globe which spawned some of the most influential music in heavy metal existence.
Home to bands like: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Enslaved, Satyricon, Immortal, and Ulver.
Norway is one of the locations in metal culture where the surrounding elements heavily influence the music itself. Black metal from Norway holds a very distinct sound from any other form in the genre. Its a frigid, cold sounding production with little to no post production effects used at all. Norway has also garnered attention for the church burnings which took place there in defiance of certain areas religious stranglehold on society. Musicians like Varg Vikernes became a celebrity of the genre for his blatant confession to both church burnings, and even first degree murder. While Norway may seem like the den of Satan to some fans of black metal, its actually one of the most peaceful places to live on the planet.
Home to bands like: Death, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Obituary, and Morbid Angel.
When you think of the corpse rotting, gore infested territory of death metal, the last place you imagine it hailing from is the sunny shores of Florida. Nobody is quite sure why the most evil breed of metal music was born in such a pleasant environment, but Florida is where many senior citizens go to die, so in some aspects that could be a catalyst for death ridden music. Regardless of the atmosphere, Florida became the stomping ground for many of these legendary bands, and also created a distinct production technique which would eventually inspire the Swedish death metal movement.
Home to bands like: At the Gates, In Flames, Soilwork, Therion, and Amon Amarth.
There are some locations where the music is derived largely in part to the atmosphere surrounding the band. In Sweden its almost the exact opposite, with the actual production sound of the music directly inspiring the genre. Swedish death metal became one of the fastest rising trends in the metal community, thanks in part to producers like Fredrik Nordström, who crafted such a distinctive sound out of these bands. The production techniques used back then are still widely sought after in many of todays metal records.
Home to bands like: Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, Slayer, and Metalli…something.
There are two types of metal fans responsible for influencing a new genre in California, one group of fans who cared about hair spray and spandex, and another group of fans who only cared about one thing: thrash metal. Even though many of these bands came from different areas in California, the genre itself was lumped into one specific location which is often referred to as bay area thrash. What made this music so distinct from everything else in heavy music was its ability to maintain the abrasiveness of heavy metal, but at extremely fast tempos, and played with tack sharp accuracy.
Home to bands like: Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Diamond Head.
Considered by many to be the birthplace of heavy metal, much of England’s dank and depressing towns of old would inspire the darkness bands like Black Sabbath reflected so well. England also served as the catalyst for all other sub-genres in heavy metal, with aspects of each band inspiring a whole new level of music across the globe. Bands like Motörhead and Diamond Head influenced thrash metal, Iron Maiden would soon inspire both black and swedish death metal, and Black Sabbath was extremely influential in both death and doom metal.
These are five locations around the world that would inspire the most diverse and unique breed of heavy metal we have ever seen. Unfortunately there hasn’t been any new locations anywhere to spawn such a legendary movement again, and many believe metal has all ready showed us everything its capable of. I personally believe the opposite, and think we have yet to see what this amazing genre is truly capable of.
Its only a matter of time before metal fans get sick of the bland, stale repetitiveness that plagues our beloved genre at the moment. Hopefully that happens sooner than later, and we can all experience a shift towards something new and exciting, much like these locations did back in their glory days of heavy music.