Related Videos

Top 10 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Bands

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by George Pacheco These bands represent a very different sort of British Invasion. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Bands. For this list, we're looking at the best and most influential bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, which consisted largely of young, working class groups reacting to Britain's punk rock movement with a high energy, melodic sound all their own. Special thanks to our user nikos95 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript

Top 10 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Bands


These bands represent a very different sort of British Invasion. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Bands.

For this list, we’re looking at the best and most influential bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, which consisted largely of young, working class groups reacting to Britain’s punk rock movement with a high energy, melodic sound all their own. We are, however, excluding proto-examples of the movement such as Judas Priest, as they arrived on the scene before the movement truly began.

#10: Raven

The words “high energy” don’t even begin to describe the Newcastle-based group known as Raven, whose legacy of ridiculously over-the-top live performances and furious musicality has cemented their place as founding fathers of British metal's New Wave. Led to this day by brothers John and Mark Gallagher with a rotating set of drummers, Raven’s brand of self-styled “Athletic Rock” featured the sort of progressive arrangements and muscular technicality which would eventually lead to the evolution of thrash metal, with genre legends Metallica prophetically opening up for the group on their very first American tour.

#9: Tank

Formed in London at the very onset of the movement in 1980, Tank were a loose and lethal trio led by bassist and vocalist Algy Ward, formerly of punk band, The Damned. The band carved a career similar to that of Motorhead, in that they combined punk rock aggression and attitude with heavy metal musicianship to create a sound that was intense and frenetic. Although the band’s status today is disputed- with both Ward and the Mick Tucker/Cliff Evans duo creating music separately under the Tank banner - the band's debut “Filth Hounds of Hades” will always remain a stone cold classic in the halls of British metal.

#8: Diamond Head

Metallica and Megadeth fans should be well versed with this next act, as this British metal band were a vital influence to both groups early on in their career. Indeed, early Metallica sets were littered with covers of Diamond Head classics taken from their seminal 1980 LP “Lightning to the Nations,” with the iconic “Am I Evil?” continuing to be included in the band’s live performances to this very day. The Diamond Head sound was marked by Sean Harris’ wailing, Robert Plant-sized vocals and guitarist Brian Tatler’s heavy-yet-expressive style, and, truthfully, it hasn’t aged a bit, with all of the band’s studio LPs serving as essential starting points for fans of the New Wave genre.

#7: Angel Witch

The next act on our list is a band whose legacy has gone on to influence many younger bands in their wake. London’s Angel Witch may not have had much chart success in their home country, yet the band’s penchant for occult imagery, heavy riffs and magical melodies went on to inspire legions of groups within the slower, methodical and atmospheric genre known as “Doom Metal.” The band released three memorable LPs between 1980 and 1986, and reunited in 21st century for the well-received “As Above, So Below” album for Metal Blade Records, proving that there is indeed no rest for the wicked.

#6: Tygers of Pan Tang

Taking their name from the world of fantasy writer Michael Moorcock, the Tygers of Pan Tang were a rough and ready heavy metal band that balanced fast, heavy riffs with melodic vocals to pack a powerful punch. The band released a number of notable albums throughout the 1980s, but it’s their 1981 masterpiece “Spellbound” that comes with the highest recommendation, as the album featured future Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes shredding out riffs that would dizzy and discourage the competition.

#5: Motörhead

What can we say about Motorhead? They’re certifiable metal legends, and perhaps one of the earliest examples of the new wave sound. Sure, frontman and bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister has always maintained that Motorhead simply “plays rock ‘n roll,” but there’s certainly no denying that the band’s influence upon the world of both punk and metal has been enormously important. Fast, brash and with a brilliant simplicity, Motorhead may be rock ‘n roll distilled to its purest form, but the band’s legacy as a British metal institution - where speed was definitely a factor, and pretentiousness not an option - has been equally cemented for generations to come.

#4: Saxon

Often mentioned in the same breath as fellow metal legends Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, the South Yorkshire lads of Saxon are one of metal’s longest running acts - having formed in 1976 – as they continue to thrill headbangers everywhere with their brand of no-frills, meat-and-potatoes heavy metal today. Saxon have crafted numerous metal masterpieces over the years, with such albums as “Power and The Glory,” “Denim and Leather,” and their 1980 classic “Wheels of Steel” serving up epic guitar riffs, driving drums and the unique vocals of frontman Biff Byford. Saxon is heavy metal for the working man, and they’re proud of it.

#3: Venom

Unapologetically extreme, ugly and over-the-top, the Satanic trio known as Venom were not only the most notorious act from British metal's new wave, but their raw and heavy sound would also serve as the starting point for the most infamous metal sub-genre of all: black metal. Indeed, the genre even takes its name from Venom’s legendary sophomore effort from 1982, with many black metal musicians citing Venom members Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon as musical godfathers with their unhinged amalgamation of punk rock energy and heavy metal bombast. Subtlety? Forget about it: Venom goes in for the kill.

#2: Def Leppard

Before dominating the airwaves with “Pour Some Sugar On Me” the dual-guitar sound and raw energy of 'On Through the Night' and 'High ‘n’ Dry' saw Def Leppard spearhead the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Sheffield’s Def Leppard were one of the formative artists of the movement, with their early work displaying a marked heaviness and attitude missing from the band’s later efforts. Indeed, many fans still rank the band’s 1981 “High ‘n Dry” opus as one of their best, while vintage songs like “Let It Go,” “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” and “Switch 625” continue to play important parts in the band’s set to this day.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a couple of honorable mentions.

- Grim Reaper
- Blitzkrieg
- Hell
- Girlschool
- Satan

#1: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden may be one of the most iconic heavy metal bands period, but at one point they were the forerunners of an entire movement with their early collection of songs as found in “The Soundhouse Tapes” EP. Following two landmark albums with singer Paul Di'anno, Iron Maiden would eventually snag former Samson frontman Bruce Dickinson and soon rushed on to heavy metal superstardom with such classics as “Powerslave,” “Piece of Mind” and “The Number of the Beast”. They may be metal gods today, but it was in the early hours of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that the fire of Iron Maiden's greatness was first sparked.

Do you agree with our list? What's your favorite heavy metal band of the British New Wave? For more awesome top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs