Speed Metal

Speed ​​Metal is a definition of a subgenre of Heavy Metal that appeared in the late 1970s, being an influence on Thrash Metal, Neoclassical Metal and Power Metal. The Allmusic website describes Speed Metal as “extremely fast, abrasive and technically demanding”.

The Speed Metal style also fits perfectly into other Metal subgenres, such as Thrash metal and Power metal. This is mainly due to Speed Metal’s influence on the development of these genres, although it should also be mentioned that Speed Metal was used by some Glam Metal and NWOBHM bands during the 80s.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of Speed Metal, mainly because it never fully established itself as a sub-genre of heavy metal until the 80s. However, some consider the embryo of the genre to have emerged with the songs: “Flight Of The Rat” (1970), “Fireball” (with the use of double pedal/double bass drum, 1971) and “Highway Star” (1972) by Deep Purple; “Razamanaz” (1973) by Nazareth; “Set Me Free” (1974) by Sweet; “Stone Cold Crazy” (1974) by Queen; and Montrose’s “Black Train” (1975).

In 1977, Judas Priest released their third album, “Sin After Sin”, which featured the songs “Sinner” (Let Us Prey) “Call for the Priest” and “Dissident Aggressor”, which had a fast feel for the time. The following year it was the turn of the album Stained Class, which opened with a base of double bass drums promoted by drummer Les Binks in the song “Exciter.”: the song was one of the most notable for the base of speed metal. With “Rapid Fire” and “Steeler” from the album British Steel, the quintet further consolidated itself in this fast heavy metal style, being one of the main influences for several Thrash/Speed ​​Metal bands in countries such as Germany and Canada.

Motörhead added elements of Speed Metal to their Rock Style. In 1979, they brought their second LP to the public, Overkill. The title track, which opened the album, would be one of the most iconic influences on Speed Metal, perhaps surpassed only by the songs “Ace of Spades” from the 1980 album of the same name and “Iron Fist” from the album of the same name released in 1982 The album Ace of Spades contained 12 very fast and aggressive tracks that made the British group famous.

Evolution of Speed Metal
Other newer bands began to emerge on the scene. The NWOBHM movement peaked around this time, and many bands embraced Speed Metal, notably Venom, who combined the style of Motörhead with a raw, harsh atmosphere. Another English trio that also showed their skills in the genre was Raven, who called their music “athletic rock”.

German heavy metal band “Accept” introduced Speed Metal elements into their songs in the early 1980s. The song “Fast as a Shark” from their 1982 album Restless and Wild is an example of Accept’s idea of ​​Speed Metal.
Accept’s influence on the German Heavy Metal scene was undeniably enormous. Bands like Running Wild and Grave Digger built on Accept’s fast tempos to create the foundations of German speed metal.

In Canada, Anvil appeared, who released their albums “Hard ‘n’ Heavy” (1981) and “Metal on Metal” (1982) at the beginning of the decade, in addition to Exciter, a power-trio who debuted with the LPs “Heavy Metal Maniac “(1983), “Violence and Force” (1984) and “Long Live the Loud “(1985). Both groups played an important role in establishing the scene.

Agent Steel, coming from the United States, recorded the albums “Skeptics Apocalypse” and “Unstoppable” Force in the mid-1980s, bringing even more speed to Speed Metal and adding strong vocals with impressive high notes from vocalist John Cyriis.

In 1990, Judas Priest released the album Painkiller, which served to rescue the genre. Instead of mixing several different musical ideas, the band created an entire album dedicated to Speed Metal.

Speed ​​Metal today

The term Speed ​​Metal has been little used, as it is often confused with Power and Melodic, often taking characteristics of both. But it differentiates itself by its greater appeal to speed (above 170 bpm) and by its extremely fast and almost always long solos.

As Speed Metal was the vanguard for what would eventually evolve into Power Metal and Thrash Metal, significant overlap between genres is often found in tracks that would be predominantly rooted in Speed Metal. This sometimes leads to confusion regarding gender. The most common mistake is using the terms Speed ​​Metal and Thrash Metal interchangeably. When the two are undeniably related to each other, the variable and definitive traits of character display will serve to differentiate them. Thrash metal tends to be more elaborate, with sound constructions that use a musical variation of greater complexity and tempo. A common method that helps differentiate between the two styles of Metal is to listen to an album that is representative of both styles. For example, “Painkiller” by Judas Priest, “Walls of Jericho” by Halloween and “Reign in Blood” by Slayer or “Bonded by Blood” by Exodus are good starting points.

Some bands still do justice to Speed ​​Metal, such as Enforcer (Sweden) and Skull Fist (Canada), for example.