Skip to main content

How the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was born

In the late 70s, rock music was given a steel-booted kick up the backside by a new breed of band. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal would go on to rule Britannia – and the world

Less than a decade after it had been forged in the white heat of the late 60s, British rock was in trouble. Its original pioneers had either split up, lost touch with reality or were spiralling into drug-addled irrelevance, their thunder stolen by both a wave of platinum-plated American bands and the incendiary punk movement.

It may have been down, but British rock wasn’t quite out. As the 1970s hurtled towards its conclusion, a new wave of heavy bands from all corners of the United Kingdom sparked off a grass-roots revolution, rewriting the rule book on how things could be done and giving their more established counterparts a shot in the arm. Its leading lights would go on to achieve the unthinkable, but even the bands who didn’t and got left behind – the foot soldiers, also-rans and no-hopers – were heroes in their own way.

For a few glorious years in the late 70s and early 80s, these small islands were the epicentre of the most vibrant, exciting and groundbreaking scene around. This is the story of how British rock heavied up and changed the world once again…

From the archive

From the archive

From the archive


More from this edition

Get Involved

Trending Features