|Other names||Biker punk|
|Cultural origins||England and United States, late 1970s–early 1980s|
Biker metal (also known as biker punk) is a fusion genre that combines elements of punk rock, heavy metal, rock and roll and blues, that was pioneered in the late-1970s to early-1980s in England and the United States, by Motörhead, Plasmatics, Anti-Nowhere League and Girlschool.
Biker metal has been described as being influenced by punk rock, rock and roll, heavy metal and blues. Sleazegrinder, a writer at Classic Rock, described biker metal as "glam metal gone Mad Max".
Biker metal is characterized by its mid-tempo approach to metal, its "gritty and American" sound, and its alignment with biker culture as a whole. The genre has been contrasted with slower and more operatic forms of metal, such as Judas Priest's work in the early 2000s. Similarly, biker metal eschews the speed and virtuosity that rose to prominence in the 1980s.
Bands such as Black Moth, Orange Goblin, The Obsessed, Earthride and Black Label Society have been described as fusing the style with doom metal, whereas Clutch have been described as merging elements of biker metal and Southern rock into their stoner rock sound. Black Sabbath's song "Paranoid" has been considered a classic of the genre.
Biker metal has proven influential to genres ranging from speed metal to hardcore punk and crust punk, and was integeral to the development extreme metal. Giuseppe Sbrana of Botswanan heavy metal band Skinflint has stated that biker metal bands were heavily influential on the aesthetic of African heavy metal bands.
The association with biker culture has been present for most of heavy metal and punk rock's lifetime: Thin Lizzy were photographed frequently with motorcycles stretching as far back as 1973; Joan Jett appeared on the cover of Outlaw Biker Magazine; Judas Priest used a biker image beginning in the mid-1970s, however also borrowed heavily from sadomasochism; and the common dressing style of metalheads is closely tied to those in biker gangs. Spin hails Motörhead frontman Lemmy as the first to bring motorcycle culture into punk rock and heavy metal, likely through the influence of earlier rock bands such as Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Grateful Dead. An early use of the term "heavy metal" was even present in Steppenwolf's 1968 song "Born to Be Wild", in reference to a motorcycle.
With their 1977 self-titled debut, Motörhead opened the floodgates for a new style of bluesy, bombastic biker metal, but two years later, on March 24, 1979, they rewrote the rule book altogether with the more urgent, combustive Overkill.
So naturally, Jones wanted to keep the motor revving. And as we rolled into the last gasp of the 80s, biker metal was where it was at. COP, Warrior Soul, Zodiac Mindwarp, Spread Eagle, Horse London, Two Bit Thief, The Cult, Four Horsemen, I mean, everybody had long hair and dangling earrings and black biker boots and snorted whiskey and guzzled gasoline in '89. Biker metal was glam metal gone Mad Max, basically, and 1989 was truly the Year of Manly Living.
A herald of the laid-back biker metal of the band's latter years, "Born to Raise Hell" is a Motörhead classic lacking any pretense.
Former Ozzy Osbourne guitar man Zakk Wylde spends most of his time these days churning out doomy biker metal with Black Label Society
Seeing as Type O Negative are the band that brought heavy-metal doom to goth rock, it's no surprise that they were huge Sabbath fans. And while their best-known Sabbath cover is "Black Sabbath," from the original '94 Nativity in Black tribute album, a few years earlier (it was tacked on as a bonus cut to 1992's "live" album The Origin of the Feces) they took on the Sab's biker-metal classic "Paranoid," turning into a very Type O–esque dirge.
And while their best-known Sabbath cover is "Black Sabbath," from the original '94 'Nativity in Black' tribute album, a few years earlier (it was tacked on as a bonus cut to 1992's "live" album 'The Origin of the Feces') they took on the Sab's biker metal classic "Paranoid," turning into a very Type O-esque dirge.
Also many metalheads in Botswana are cowboys from the villages and farms, so they mix the cowboy image with a biker metal look