I haven’t really listened to Heavy Metal since I was 12 years old apart from the occasional trip down memory lane with a bit of Metallica, but I am often amazed at how huge the scene is worldwide and how much it has grown and keeps growing all the time. In Germany it is bigger than ever with thousands of Metal heads from all around the world flocking every year to countless festivals and to the biggest one in the world in the small town with 2000 inhabitants of Wacken, in Schleswig-Holstein in the North of Germany, just above Hamburg. Lately the Festival has been sold out to some 70 000 attendees. 2009 set a sales record; it sold out on December 30, 2008. All 70,000 tickets were sold over 200 days before the opening of the festival.
See a video about Wacken’s metal scene here
Germany has a long and strong history with heavy metal. It is considered by many to be one of Europe’s heaviest contributors to the scene. Early Hard Rock / Heavy metal was brought to German soil with the success of Scorpions, probably Germany’s most famous Metal Band.
Germany has a strong tradition of Speed metal and Power metal. Early speed metal bands include Running Wild, Grave Digger, Rage, and to some extent Accept. The European style of Power metal, born in Germany, was popularized by German bands like Blind Guardian, Helloween, Gamma Ray, and gained international recognition. In many cases these bands initially started out playing Speed metal, but later switched to Power metal.
Two local variants of metal subgenres exist in Germany. The Teutonic thrash metal scene is represented by such groups as Destruction, Kreator and Sodom. Medieval metal, a branch of folk metal incorporates German traditional music with industrial metal. It includes Subway to Sally, In Extremo and Schandmaul.
More extreme German bands include Necrophagist, Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban and Deadlock. These bands range from genres of death metal, deathcore, metalcore and black metal.
Some of the best bands in Germany according to guy called Chad Bower are:
1. Scorpions (www.the-scorpions.com)
2. Helloween (www.helloween.org)
6. Blind Guardian
7. Grave Digger
9. Gamma Ray
10. Running Wild (www.running-wild.de)
I recently watched an awesome documentary on the Metal Scene around the world called ‘Global Metal’. Watch it here It is not the best quality and you should probably get in better quality, if you want to see it, but it is a must see!! It explains a fair amount about the music.
There is also an older movie by Sam Dunn, the same director, called ‘Metal- a headbanger’s journey’ which u can watch here– I would watch this one first to get a fulller understanding about Metal. (You may have to download a media player to watch the full movie)
I found of the most interesting parts about ‘Global Metal’ about the scene in Brazil and in Iran.. Such as in Sao Paolo, Brazil, there is a 5 story mall solely consisitng of specialized shops featuring the latest alternative stuff (for goths, metal heads etc).
From Gothic and industrial-style clothing and T-shirt shops, to tattoo and body-piercing salons and skateboard stores, the gallery features everything that trendy young Sao Paulistas consider essential to their life-styles.
“It’s mostly about music,” says Sebastian, a Sao Paulo native who goes by the name “Lawless” and recently returned to the city after spending five years in Los Angeles, California. “But, it’s also about attitude, it’s a kind of rebellion.” Sebastian hangs out in Stamp Rockwear, where his friend Alex Melo, a drummer in the rock band Abrasion, works as a clerk. Both Alex and Sebastian are living examples of such an attitude, outfitted in dark jeans, construction boots, and black T-shirts boasting the logos of their favorite metal groups. But the three girls a few feet away, eyeing stacks of shirts that bear the images of such heavy-metal bands as KISS, Led Zeppelin, and Iron Maiden, appear as though they’ve just arrived from their high school classes. They look quite conventional in pressed white blouses and tight-fitting blue jeans. “They’re probably just here to buy something of their favorite band,” Sebastian says, adding that this cultural trend in Brazil is about twenty years old.
Also, some other information I found about the metal scene whilst doing some Research, is about the umlaut (also known as rock dots) is an umlaut mark that is sometimes used gratuitously or decoratively over letters in the names of heavy metal bands, for example those of Mötley Crüe and Motörhead. Among English speakers, the use of umlaut marks and other diacritics with a blackletter style typeface is a form of foreign branding intended to give a band’s logo a Teutonic (old school Germanic/ Roman tribe) quality. It is a form of marketing that evokes stereotypes of boldness and strength commonly attributed to ancient north European peoples, such as the Vikings and Goths- it is generally not intended to affect the pronunciation of the band’s name.
These decorative umlauts have been parodied in film and fiction. In the mockumentary film This Is Spın̈al Tap (spelled with an umlaut mark over the n), fictional rocker David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) says, “It’s like a pair of eyes. You’re looking at the umlaut, and it’s looking at you.”
For more info about where to go in Berlin to get your metal fix click here
Otherwise, according to a fellow metal head, the places to go to catch Metal in Berlin are K17 venue in Friedrichschain as well as 3 popular bars in the same area- Paulie’s metal eck, Feuermelder and Halford’s.
There are also occassional metal gigs at Cassiopeia and Knaack club. But you can go to The Last Cathedral any night of the week for an alternative/ metal vibe but the Kill em All Club night at Last Cathedral looks like a good bet to me. (See our links page under bars and clubs for links to Cassiopeia, Knaack or The Last Cathedral)
As Sam Dunn says in his documentary, ‘Global Metal’,
“…Metal connects with people regardless of their cultural, political or religious backgrounds- and these people aren’t just absorbing Metal from the West, they’re transforming it, creating a new outlet they can’t find in their traditional cultures of ways to express their discontent with the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds them in their rapidly changing societies. And for metal heads all across the globe, Metal is more than Music, more than an Identity- Metal is freedom and we are now together, a global tribe.”