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Heavy music


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Considering we're on a forum of a band that is routinely described as being, in the musical sense, heavy; I wanna know how you define it. What makes a band heavy? Sounds? Attitude? Both? Neither? For example, a band like Opeth, a prog/death metal band I'm a big fan of is probably the heaviest stuff I've ever heard in my life.

Pretty heavy. But in what context? I expect a band labeled as death metal, at their prime, making a song released in 1998 to as heavy or heavier than anything else in direct context. I think it's safe to say music has gotten heavier as time has gone on. And this is an example of that.

But what about something like this? Jerry Lee Lewis performing Good Golly Miss Molly off the infamous Live at the Star Club, Hamburg. The early rockers are not pushovers by any means and it took a lot of balls to shape the music we call rock and roll today. But, when you have a man who in 1964, when this album was recorded, was considered a washed up, has-been, old man, ect... living in a world dominated by pop leaning British Invasion bands like the Beatles and such: Something like the song below is, for me, the heaviest thing I've ever heard in my life. Because while there has been heavier things recorded, the context of the song changes so much for me.

And the music alone, you hear an anger and rawness in Jerry's voice and by how hard he's hitting those piano keys. In an another track, he yells at his backing band, The Nashville Teens, to keep up. He's racing every song to the finish and it's why I think this is an all time great "heavy" recording.

Your thoughts?

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I know of people who call Led Zeppelin the originators of heavy metal, but I don't know if I'd go that far. Sabbath were more the cornerstone of that musical genre than Zeppelin were. When I think of Led Zeppelin and "heavy", I think When The Levee Breaks. Something really rich and dense, something that goes right up the spine. There was a special on Vh1 some time ago, I can't remember what.....maybe 100 Greatest Songs in Hard Rock or something, where Roger Glover said upon hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time that, "heavy wasn't a sound, it was an attitude". WTLB had that attitude.

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It's really quite hard to say, very good question.

I would say it's a mixture of the lyrics, the atmopshere within the song and the emotion put into. To be described as a "heavy" band the sound also has to come naturally to them as many Heavy Metal bands regard themselves as rock and roll bands for example Sabbath and Motorhead. Most of the heavy metal bands these days however I do not count as being heavy musically at all. Anyone can drop their guitar into C or whatever and just play some meaningless riff fast, few can do that and actually make good music. I would say Cream and Hendrix for example are much heavier than some screamo band.

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I would consider Metallica, Judas Priest and even TCV to be heavy, and then that other newer screaming metal I just can't take at all. The Dead Weather is the heaviest music I can listen to, and that's because there's a blues influence and you can understand the lyrics, mostly.

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I know of people who call Led Zeppelin the originators of heavy metal, but I don't know if I'd go that far.

I think a 'few' of the songs Zeppelin did were the bluepint for what became known as 'heavy metal' in the 1970s and 1980s. Communication Breakdown with it's fast riffing, screaming vocals, heavy drumming, blistering guitar solo is the kind of thing that most bands who jumped on the 'heavy metal' bandwagon were aiming for.

Most bands who came under the label 'heavy metal' really weren't 'heavy metal' to be honest. I guess it all depends on what we call heavy metal. Some bands that came under that label in the 1970s and 1980s wouldn't be classed as that now. If nowadays 'heavy metal' means doom laden distorted music then yeah Black Sabbath were the blueprint.

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That Jerry Lewis song is...wow. I never listened to any of his stuff before, but that is just incredible. :mellow:

Then, that must mean you've never heard this from his Last Man Standing album which came out a couple of years ago:

Must get the album...

All of his vintage stuff is a must but he's also a fine example of someone that's rockin' out well into their "golden years". I highly recommend the deluxe edition of his latest album, Mean Old Man. Like Last Man Standing before it, it's chock-full of guest stars. Some cuts, like those with Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow and Kid Crock should have remained on the cutting room floor but overall it's a very worthwhile record.


1. "Mean Old Man" w. Ronnie Wood (written by Kris Kristofferson)

2. "You Can Have Her" w. Eric Clapton/James Burton

3. "Dead Flowers" w. Mick Jagger

4. "Middle Age Crazy" w. Tim McGraw/Jon Brion

5. "Rockin' My Life Away" w. Kid Rock/Slash

6. "You Are My Sunshine" w. Sheryl Crow/Jon Brion

7. "Swinging Doors" w. Merle Haggard/James Burton

8. "Hold You In My Heart" w. Shelby Lynne

9. "I Really Don't Want To Know" w. Gillian Welch

10. "Railroad to Heaven" w. Solomon Burke

11. "Sweet Virginia" w. Keith Richards

12. "Roll Over Beethoven" w. Ringo Starr/John Mayer/Jon Brion

13. "Bad Moon Rising" w. John Fogerty

14. "Please Release Me" w. Gillian Welch

15. "Whiskey River" w. Willie Nelson

16. "Sunday Morning Coming Down"

17. "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" w. Mavis Staples/Robbie Robertson/Nils Lofgren

18. "Miss The Mississippi and You"

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That Jerry Lewis song is...wow. I never listened to any of his stuff before, but that is just incredible. :mellow:

Must get the album...

The album is "Live at the Star Club, Hamburg". I've got MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" as my avatar and it's an incredible live album. But as raw and violent as that album is, it's a candle to the Great Chicago Fire that is "Live at the Star Club". It's got a couple different album covers, so I'll post them.



Side one

1. "Mean Woman Blues"

2. "High School Confidential"

3. "Money (That's What I Want)"

4. "Matchbox"

5. "What'd I Say, Part 1"

6. "What'd I Say, Part 2"

Side two

1. "Great Balls of Fire"

2. "Good Golly, Miss Molly"

3. "Lewis' Boogie"

4. "Your Cheatin' Heart"

5. "Hound Dog"

6. "Long Tall Sally"

7. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"

8. "Down the Line"

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I consider this song to be "heavy".

"You want heavy? Tallica gives you heavy, baby!"


I hate that screaming metal, too, Virginia. I could barely stand to listen to Lamb of God when they opened for Metallica at the Cincinnati and Cleveland concerts that I attended in 2009. The singer screamed and growled out his lyrics and kept spitting all over the place and I could not understand a word that he was singing, lol.

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These are some of the songs which I consider as "heavy".



The second one is classified as "sludge metal", I believe! :lol:

But in all seriousness, the very definition of "heavy music" is very subjective and tends to vary from person to person. For some, "heavy music" may constitute songs belonging to the "thrash" / "doom" metal / gothic rock genre. For some, it might be songs by artists like "Evanescence" from the "Alternative Rock" genre. For some, it might even be music by bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. For some, it might even be a tragic love song which made them cry their eyes out!

To me, this is quite an interesting topic because I get to see what everyone's interpretation of "heavy music" is! :D

According to me, a song can be considered as "Heavy Music" if the song has either some or all of the following characteristics :

1) Gloomy and moody guitar riffs which tend to create this atmosphere filled with tension!

2) A little bit of growling or shouting thrown in by the singer (like in the case of bands like HIM)

3) Lyrics which are beautiful but depressing!

You guys might think differently, but hey, like I said, it's all very subjective! ;)

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Thanks for the info on jerry Lee Lewis guys! I listened to some other tracks on YT, and now am on the hunt for Hamburg! And yes, I had heard about the "Last Man Standing" album when I was looking at Page's wiki article :P

As for me when it comes to heavy music, I'd honestly have to think about it lol..does emotionally heavy count? if it does I think "Box of Rain" by Grateful Dead is a really heavy song to me.

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