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Type of rock music marked by highly amplified, distorted power chords on electric guitar, a hard beat, thumping bass, and often dark lyrics. It evolved in Britain and the U.S. in the late 1960s from the heavy, blues-oriented music of Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, and others. In the 1970s the genre was defined by the music of bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kiss, AC/DC, and Aerosmith. After a period of decline, a new generation of bands such as Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, and Van Halen revived heavy metal in the 1980s, along with the careers of many of its pioneers, including Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on heavy metal, visit Britannica.com.