Mapping the origins of heaviness between 1970-1995: A historical overview of metal music production

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Metal music has been undergoing a remarkable sonic evolution. Pioneering releases of the early 1970s by Black Sabbath already contained all essential ingredients of metal’s sonic signature. The growing need for heavier sounds was satisfied through a rapidly growing recording technology, alongside exploring new production techniques and aesthetics. This chapter traces significant developments in metal music production from the 1970s to the 1990s by looking at key artists, albums and audio professionals to outline how heaviness in recorded form developed in the genre. Many of the analysed engineering practices were adopted, improved and have become standard in contemporary metal production. In this process, production was brought to the fore, making it the determining element of the music, even an art form in itself, and increasingly dictated compositions and performances. This evolution led to what has become metal’s standard hyper-real aesthetic, which in the ongoing and genre-defining quest for greater heaviness in the metal genre will undoubtedly continue being pushed forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Metal Music
EditorsJan-Peter Herbst
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781108991162
ISBN (Print)9781108993982, 9781108845861
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2023

Publication series

NameCambridge Companions to Music
PublisherCambridge University Press


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping the origins of heaviness between 1970-1995: A historical overview of metal music production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this