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Speed metal

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Template:Heavymetal

Speed metal is a genre of heavy metal that is often mistaken for thrash metal but tends to be more melodic and less punk-oriented. The seminal speed-metal band is considered to be Judas Priest. Their album Painkiller from 1990 is viewed by some as the quintessential speed-metal album, combining lightning-fast riffage, extended guitar solos and duels, and Rob Halford's trademark shrieking vocals.

Speed metal is generally categorised as "heavy metal played fast". It is a very broad term. Thus, other bands that can be seen to fit the genre include Motörhead (whose gruff vocalist, Lemmy, won't be mistaken for Rob Halford), and also the black metal band Venom, who were a direct influence on the genres of thrash and death metal. Since thrash is also played fast for the most part, it can be viewed as a subgenre of speed metal, though using the terms interchangeably tends to lead to confusion.

The genre names (thrash, death, power, speed, etc) are fairly recent. In the 1980s, the terms were used interchangeably. Venom (black speed metal) labelled themselves as "power metal" (to differentiate themselves from what was being labelled as "heavy metal" by the commercial press, namely Bon Jovi), and Metallica (thrash) also used the same term on their first business card. Motörhead play more than just speed metal, combining heavy metal, punk, and rock 'n roll elements, so they are noted mainly for their influence.

The first speed-metal song is probably Deep Purple's "Highway Star", from the 1972 LP Machine Head, though earlier efforts with a similar mindset include Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" (from the album of that name, 1970) and also Deep Purple's "Speed King" (from the 1970 In Rock LP). However, it was "Highway Star" that introduced into heavy metal both the extreme speed of the single-note riffage and also the complex guitar and keyboard solos (performed by Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, respectively), borrowed from progressive rock of the 70s, but heavily influenced by classical music.

Later speed-metal efforts that bear special mention include Helloween's Walls of Jericho (1985), Motörhead's live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (1981), and Judas Priest's live album Unleashed in the East (1979), which arguably featured the first thrash-metal recording, "Tyrant".

Speed metal nowadays is still a viable genre, though there is not much creative territory left to explore. Painkiller (1990), the last album Judas Priest released before Rob Halford departed from the band (but would later return), has set a standard that has not yet been met by successors, though many albums have come close.pl:Speed metal

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