This one’s for the music mavens out there:

AC/DC: Hard rock or heavy metal?


I loooooooveee my old school AC/DC! I'd have to say hard rock.

Hard rock. Definitely. Metal evokes too many images of spikes and leather and stuff.

Besides: You can't classify a band as "metal" if its lead guitarist performs in short pants.

I'd say "old school hard rock"! and I love it!

Hard rock, and total guy magnet.

I always called it classic rock.

Haven't you asked this question already?

AC/DC is crap, but crap that falls most squarely into "Classic" Rock or "Hard Rock" if you're musically pampered. It is certainly not any genre of metal, which implies, generically, growled or screeching lyrics about death and Satan and egregiously masterful guitar work.

Hard rock, without a doubt.

But I don't think metal is necessarily generically defined by lyrical content; I once heard someone describe the Who's "Live at Leeds" as metal's founding document, a role more often given to the first Sabbath LP. I'd have to say heaviness and an emphasis on baroque solo techniques - and to an extent arrangements - constitute metal.

Which brings us back to the query, now, a bit.

I do recall for a time Rush was lumped in with metal, which sounds odd today.

Hard Rock. Perfect music, really, distilled down to the bare necessities. Back in Black is almost unassailable, try to spot a false note.

But yeah, it's an almost exclusively male domain. "Music" a few comments above must be a chick.

Metal isn't necessarily defined by lyrical content, but it's strongly associated with it. There are a lot of metal bands that aren't that way today, but when you look back at metal's roots, the majority of first (and second, and third) generation metal is that way.

The Who - Classic rock
Rush - Progressive

I apologize for my lack of testosterone and my excess of taste. I'm just going to puke if I have to listen to that screeching voice pelt my ears with "Back in Black" or "TNT" one more time. Or "Dirty Deeds," or "Hell's Bells." Yeah, come to think of it, all their songs are terribly annoying.

Let's not neglect Motorhead, now, as an example of a band that's clearly metal, but with generally avoids both the baroque stuff and the fabulist lyrics.

Although Motorhead sports some attributes of heavy metal, they're probably a bit more punk than metal. Quite a unique band.

Oh, and AC/DC: I'd definitely describe them as post-Zeppelin hard rock, not heavy metal. (Although many if not most heavy metal fans are also AC/DC fans.)

That said, heavy metal doesn't seem terribly well defined. Most people would probably point to the first three Sabbath records (beginning 1970) as the prototype: plodding, sludgy hard rock and a lyrical focus on issues of mortality and fantasy. (But don't forget Blue Cheer which did some of the same things starting in 1968.)

AC/DC came along in 1975, and their material exhibits little stylistically in common with Sabbath and their most obvious followers until, perhaps, "Hells Bells" in 1980. Even then, AC/DC's music has mostly been arena-sized pub rock (girls, booze, more girls, and a little vague "sticking it to the man") with only a little Sabbath-esque trick thrown in here and there.

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