What is NWOBHM?

If you do an internet search you will get all kinds of results, but it is an abbreviation for New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

The first know use of the phrase was in the weekly music paper Sounds in May 1978, after Geoff Barton attended a concert featuring Iron Maiden, Samson, and Angel Witch at London’s Bandwagon Heavy Metal Soundhouse.

But just what is it?

The rock music of the 1970’s was struggling. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc. were all fighting against the ever-growing popularity of disco and punk.  NWOBHM is exactly what it says; a new wave of British born heavy metal. It was an underground movement counteracting the music scene of the late ’70s, and became a worldwide phenomenon which lasted until the mid-1980s. It was characterized by fast tempos and technical guitar solos with melodic vocals, present in bands like Iron Maiden, Angel Witch & Judas Priest, which would be the staple of the genre.

Iron Maiden is considered by most to be the face of the genre, and one of the most influential bands to come from the movement. Lead singer, Bruce Dickinson (originally with Samson), is the original energetic metal front man. His high pitched melodic (human air raid siren) style mixed with his high energy performances influenced everyone from Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses to Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of Overkill. Lars Ulrich of Metallica has also been quoted as finding them an influence of his musical tastes.

Essential Albums:

The Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden)
On Through The Night (Def Leppard)
British Steel (Judas Priest)
Power & Glory (Saxon)
Lightning to the Nations (Diamond Head)
High N’ Dry (Def Leppard)
Crazy Nights (Tygers Of Pan Tang)
Black Metal (Venom)
Ace of Spades (Motorhead)
Iron Maiden (Iron Maiden)
Denim and Leather (Saxon)
Borrowed Time (Diamond Head)
Killers (Iron Maiden)
Rock Until You Drop (Raven)
See You in Hell (Grim Reaper)
Shock Tactics (Samson)

There were a lot of bands, many or which remained unsigned and have since become part of music history, some of these groups were lucky enough to press a single or an album, here are just a few examples of the lesser known groups.

Paralex – White Lightning: Rare 1980 UK limited 3-track 12 single pressed on Green Vinyl, the only release from the NWOBHM band with band members going on to create the group Hell, also including Travelling Man and Black Widow, within the black & white printed picture sleeve. The sleeve displays some light general wear whilst the vinyl remains excellent with only a few signs of play. This example has been Fully Autographed by the five band members on the reverse in a blue point pen, a nice copy and the first we have ever seen!

Isengard – Please Put Me On The Radio: Rare 1983 UK private press solid centre 7″ vinyl single pressed in France. The debut and only release from the short lived NWOBHM group from Kent in England, also including Love You Love Me, within a plain die-cut paper sleeve. This example remains in a fantastic ‘near as new’ condtion, and looks to have never seen the turntable, the first we have ever had.

Mythra – The Death And Destiny EP: Rare 1980 UK limited edition 4-track 12″ EP by the NWOBHM band on the tiny Street Beat label, also featuring Killer, Overload & UFO, top opening picture sleeve. The sleeve shows minimal shelfwear & the vinyl remains in excellent condition with few signs of play.

Satan – Court In The Act: Rare 1983 UK 10-track LP for the NWOBHM band featuring vocals from Brian Ross from the band Blitzkrieg, picture sleeve. The sleeve shows just a little light shelfwear with a bit of edge scuffing & the vinyl remains near ‘as new’ with few signs of play.

Mayday – Day After Day: Rare 1980 UK 7″ vinyl single single and the NWOBHM groups only release, also including Love In The Spaceage, with the original picture sleeve. The sleeve shows minimal wear whilst the vinyl shows very little evidence of play. A really nice example and the first we have ever seen.

Metal For Muthas: Scarce 1980 Japanese issue of the classic 10-track ‘NWOBHM’ vinyl compilation LP featuring early versions of Sanctuary and Wrathchild by Iron Maiden, along with recordings by Samson and seven other artists from the era, picture sleeve complete with Japanese text band biographies/lyric insert and obi-strip. The sleeve displays minimal wear whilst the vinyl looks barely played.

See more of what we currently have in stock for bands classed as NWOBHM.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m definitely an 80s Kid!
    I remember being in the bathroom dropping ‘wolf-bait’ & a knock on the
    & one of my brothers saying, ‘Check these out!!’.
    3 albums were slid under the door: Iron Maiden- The Number of the Beast.
    Def Leppard-Pyromania. Great White.
    Just the artwork on Maiden’s & Leppard’s albums alone blew my mind!
    I was just 14. & what a hell of a ride it was.., The 80s!

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