Heavy Metal is the rock music sub-genre that refuses to go away.
Most often characterized by the use of electric guitars, bass, and drums played at maximum volumes, heavy metal has been around in one form or another since at least the sixties, and has not only survived, but continued to thrive as numerous musical trends have long since come and gone.
Although everyone from seventies rock critic Lester Bangs to sixties rock band Steppenwolf can probably claim some credit for coining the name, there is less agreement on just where metal itself came from.
Many point to the hard blues rock of bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin, while others cite less obvious suspects like sixties psych-rockers Blue Cheer or the satanic sludge of Black Sabbath. Most however will agree that heavy metal's peak period in mainstream popularity came during the seventies and early eighties through bands like Sabbath, Zep, and Uriah Heep and their latter day offspring Metallica and Iron Maiden.
Today, heavy metal lives on through a variety of sub-genres like death metal, thrash, grindcore, and speedcore, and enjoys a fanbase that is devoted as ever. There is also no denying the power of metal in the blogosphere where sites like Heavy Metal Universe, 4metal, and loadown continue to preach the dark gospel.