What is the first heavy metal song?
According to various sources, the very first heavy metal song is often credited to "Helter Skelter" by, believe it or not, The Beatles. The song was produced in 1968 and features a lot of heavy guitars and droning drums from the great Ringo Starr.
"While some of its fire might sound a tad tame by today's standards, this scintillating cut was far ahead of the rest of the crop when it came to gut-wrenching, musical punches." - Metal Injection.
How did heavy metal start?
Like all musical genres, heavy metal as a distinct genre was the product of musical style evolution over decades. Most people agree that heavy metal really began to emerge between the 1960s and 1970s, largely but not exclusively in the United Kingdom.
With its routes in blues-rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, heavy metal tends to be characterized with highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, prominent drum beats, and overall loudness.
Early pioneers of the genre tend to include the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. Since its emergence the genre has spawned many sub-genres over the years including, but not limited to: -
- Alternative metal
- Black metal
- Death metal
- Doom metal
- Glam metal
- Gothic metal
- Power metal
When was the term "heavy metal" first used?
The short answer is that no one really knows for sure. While it has been used as a term for centuries prior to chemistry and metallurgy, its attribution to a musical genre is less clear.
But one of the first-ever references to it in print (to describe a type of music) was in a review by Barry Gifford in May 1968 issue of the Rolling Stone. Talking about the U.S. Ban Electric Flag's album " Long Time Comin'," Barry wrote the following: -
"Nobody who's been listening to Mike Bloomfield—either talking or playing—in the last few years could have expected this. This is the new soul music, the synthesis of white blues and heavy metal rock."
7 of the best heavy metal sci-fi soundtracks
So, without further ado, here is our offering for the 7 of the best heavy metal sci-fi soundtracks of all time. This list is in no particular order (with the exception of number 1 - no arguments!) and is far from exhaustive.
1. Transformers the movie (1986)
Consisting of a wonderfully crafted combination of glam metal and hard rock (subgenres of heavy metal), the soundtrack to the original Transformers movie is an absolute classic. With material provided by rock legends like Stan Bush, Kick Axe, N.R.G., Vince DiCola, Spectre General, Lion and the eponymous "Wierd Al" Yankovic, it transports listeners back to more innocent times.
The soundtrack's standout pieces include "(You've Got) The Touch" and "Dare" by Stan Bush (author's favorite), "Nothings Going To Stand In Our Way" by Spectre General, "Instruments of Destruction" by N.R.G. and of course "The Transformers (Theme)" by Lion.
It was a product of the times with each song being as integral to the movie as the wonderful quality of animation that still stands the test of time. It is simply a masterpiece of a sci-fi soundtrack.
2. Resident Evil (2002)
The horror action sci-fi Resident Evil is yet another film with a pumping heavy metal soundtrack. Including tracks from Slipnot, Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory and Rammstein, it is a truly stunning collection of some of the best in the genre.
Based on the highly popular video game series of the same name, the film sees a special military unit pitted against a powerful out-of-control supercomputer and countless mutated flesh-eating creatures.
The soundtrack stands well on its own, but when combined with the action-packed shenanigans of the movie, the film producers really do treat the audience.
3. The Crow (1994)
The Crow, starring Brandon Lee in his final performance, is another film that has become a cult masterpiece. Its soundtrack featuring covers and original pieces from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, and Rage Against the Machine, this makes it one of the best heavy metal film soundtracks of all time.
Directed by Alex Proyas, was based on the comic book of the same name by James O'Barr. The basic plot centers around a rock musician (Brandon Lee) who is brought back to life following his and his fiancee's murder.
Brandon was accidentally wounded and later died from a defective blank round. However, there are many conspiracy theories around whether it really was an accident or not.
Whatever the case, the soundtrack is still one of the best heavy metal ones of all time.
4. Spawn (1997)
The 1997 classic Spawn is yet another sci-fi film with a banging heavy metal soundtrack. Directed by Mark A. Z. Dippe, the film tracks the story of an elite mercenary who returns from hell as a reluctant soldier of the Devil.
"After being betrayed and murdered by his employer, a government-trained assassin named, Al Simmons, is resurrected as a Hellspawn and is forced to become the reluctant leader of Hell's army." - IMDB.
Featuring tracks from metal legends like Marilyn Manson, Korn, Metallica, and The Prodigy, the soundtrack is arguably better than the film itself.
5. The Matrix (1999)
Written and directed by The Wachowskis, "The Matrix" is a masterpiece of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre. Set in a dystopian future where humans are mere batteries for their AI overlords, the film makes the audience question the meaning of reality.
Featuring tracks from Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, Rob Zombie, The Deftones, Monster Magnet, Rammstein and Rage Against the Machine it really is a delight for fans of the music genre.
The film's producers' choice of music really does polish off this sci-fi classic in a way that no other musical genre could ever have hoped to achieve.
6. Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge (1991)
Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge's inclusion on this list might surprise you, but it really shouldn't. With musical offerings from the likes of Drowning Pool, Disturbed and The Deftones, it has earned its place here.
This classic Japanese anime science fiction martial arts film was the fifth Dragon Ball Z animated movie at the time. It was originally released in Japan in 1991 but later made its way to the English speaking on DVD in the early 2000s.
It is a great example of Japanese anime and has one of the best heavy metal soundtracks you could ever wish for.
7. The one (2001)
And last, but by no means least, the soundtrack of The One is the icing on the cake of this underrated piece of sci-fi.
"A rogue multi-verse agent goes on a manhunt for versions of himself, getting stronger with each kill. With only one version remaining, he races against the clock to finish him and become "The One." - IMDB.
Released in 2001, it features tracks from the likes of Drowning Pool, Disturbed and Godsmack to name but a few. If the brief synopsis above isn't enough to pique your interest, perhaps the soundtrack will sell it to you.