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THE Hard Rock and AOR Reference on the Internet!
Bands: 9087 CDS: 21565 Songs: 255985
Hard rock. AOR. Heavy metal. Sleaze glam. Hair metal. Cheese metal. Commercial metal. Melodic rock. Melodic metal. Power metal. Prog rock. Prog metal. Glam metal. Cock rock. Arena rock... musical adjectives used to describe bands and albums. After a while they all start to blur together.
AOR - Album-Oriented Rock (or Album-Oriented Radio). This term has its origins in the 1970s, when radio stations had the flexibility to play (and often did) any cut from an album, not just the released singles. When someone uses the term "AOR", think bands like Styx, Boston, Journey, Foreigner, and Toto. The term Arena rock has also been used to describe many of these bands.
Glam - "Leather and lipstick bad boyz". Examples include: Hanoi Rocks, Roxx Gang, and Pretty Boy Floyd. See further down the page for more on this term.
Hair metal, Cheese metal, Commercial metal - terms for the MTV-friendly hard rock bands of the 1980s, characterized (visually) by long hair, leather jackets, torn jeans, and obligatory scantily-clad hot babes in the videos. Think Bon Jovi, Winger, and Warrant.
Melodic metal - See above, but with a slightly heavier edge. Examples: Keel, Accept, Krokus, Steeler, and Fifth Angel.
Prog rock - "Progressive rock." These bands have a tendency to get away from routine song structure, and often their songs do not have a definable chorus. Their albums are also often characterized by many instrumental tracks and/or instrumental portions of songs. Songs can be very lengthy. Examples include: Yes, Starcastle, Shadow Gallery, Artension, and early Genesis. NOT radio-friendly. You will find only a limited amount here at Heavy Harmonies.
It's no secret that nomenclature and classification are the bane of any archivist. In music this is even more the case, as the differences between bands and/or albums can be subtle as well as subjective. Add to this the fact that many genres overlap, and trying to pigeonhole bands into a single category is nigh unto impossible.
Rock music is much like light, in that it runs continuous spectra, one with respect to heaviness, the other with respect to tempo. The heaviness gammut runs from pop, through AOR and hard rock, into melodic metal then power metal, proceeding through speed and thrash metal, and ending up in death and black metal. The tempo (at least with respect to metal) range runs from doom metal on the slow end, to the frenetic paces of speed metal, black metal, and grindcore. Then there are the offshoots from these continua (like light that is bent away via a mirror): sleaze glam (a mix of hard rock and punk elements) and prog rock/metal (hard rock and metal that leaves the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus structure behind and is more free-flowing).
These continua can best be visualized by the diagram below (please bear in mind that is an extremely simplistic visualization of the rock spectrum; most genres would span a region in the X and/or Y direction, rather than being a point).
'twere it that easy. One person's hard rock is another's heavy metal. Also, definitions evolve over time. What was identified and indeed villified as "heavy metal" in the early 1980s (Twisted Sister, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.) are now considered "hard rock". The emergence of death and black metal in the early 1990s raised the bar as to what is now considered "heavy".
Also, some terms mean different things to different people. For example, the term glam is sometimes used to refer to all varieties of '80s "hair metal", whereas it is also used to denote "leather-and-lipstick" hard rock. It all depends on one's historical frame of reference as to which definition is meant. For the record, Heavy Harmonies now uses the latter definition, whereas when the site first opened as "The Halls of Glam" I used the former (hence the reason for changing the name of the site).
Lastly, classifying a band as one type of hard rock/metal or another only *really* works as long as all the releases by a band fall into the same genre. Over the course of time, many bands can switch genres, and even switch back again (for example: many of the '80s bands who jumped onto the alternative/grunge bandwagon in 1992-93 only to lose their fan base, and in 1998-99 have gone back to the style that made them big to begin with).
The boundaries as to what may or may not be included here at Heavy Harmonies may at times seem somewhat arbitrary. That's because they are. :).
Take classifications with a grain of salt. They're not gospel. They're meant to give a quick pointer to a musical style, that's all (and my interpretation of their style at that).