Vardis “If I Were King”

Standard

Note: This post is part of a collection of analyses based on the compilation New Wave of British Heavy Metal ’79 Revisited, an album put together by Lars Ulrich and Geoff Barton that is not only a significant account of a particularly important period in the history of heavy metal by two people who helped shape that scene, but may also be a revealing window into the influences and musical raw materials that Ulrich drew from when he founded what became the most successful metal band in history, Metallica.

The band Vardis was a threesome who originally began playing together in 1977 under the name “Quo Vardis.” The band had dropped the first word in their name by the time they released their first album, 100 MPH, in 1980. Unlike most debut albums, Vardis chose to compile their first record from live recordings. One of these songs, “If I Were King,” was recorded in a studio the same year and released on a compilation titled New Electric Warriors (1980). This studio recording is the version which appears on NWOBHM ’79 Revisited.

Continue reading

Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath”

Standard

Black Sabbath in 1970

Black Sabbath’s debut album Black Sabbath was released almost 45 years ago in 1970, and alongside a couple of albums by Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, this album is commonly cited as the beginning of heavy metal.1 The standard story is that Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, and Bill Ward wanted to make a new kind of blues rock that would “scare people.” In addition the troubling question of why white British musicians would think of making contemplative and melancholic African American blues music into something primitive, dangerous, and aggressive, one of the mysteries surrounding the birth of heavy metal is: Why blues-rock and why the late 1960s? Continue reading

  1. For example, Robert Walser’s Running With The Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (1993) gives this version of metal genesis on page 10. []