What is the definition of heavy metal? During a recent interview on SiriusXM’s In the Light, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford offered his own take on the topic with host Alan Light as can be viewed below.
“Oh, it’s a lot of things, but I think just to kind of coalesce it and get it down, for me, it’s always been about the dynamic expression of the music,” states Halford. “And that’s the way that the basic elements of any band — the bass, the drums, guitars and vocals — they’re all at this really strong, potent place with so much power and, for the most part, with so much volume that it almost defines itself.”
The “Metal God” continued, “It’s very difficult to say what is metal, because you have to really be able to absorb and experience it without slicing it and dicing it, without super-analyzing the components of a metal song or a metal band or a metal experience.”
He continued, “By definition, you can say the same thing about what is it about country music? What is country music? Well, country music is a lot of things, and in today’s world in metal, so is metal. Where I’m from, the roots of heavy metal — the people often reference Judas Priest as being one of the originators of the heavy metal sound — it was just that moment where everything got louder. As I often say, in the [This Is] Spinal Tap moment, everything went to 11, you know. Everything went to 11.”
Halford’s definition hit on a lot of specifics that fall under Britannica’s definition of heavy metal music. There it’s defined as, “a genre of rock music that includes a group of related styles that are intense, virtuosic, and powerful. Driven by the aggressive sounds of the distorted electric guitar, heavy metal is arguably the most commercially successful genre of rock music.”
As a member of Judas Priest, Halford has appeared on 16 of the band’s 18 studio albums. The group is currently working on their follow-up to 2018’s Firepower album. Halford has also been making the press rounds of late promoting his newly released Confess autobiography. The book is currently available here (As Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases).