Digging in the crates for metal returns a lot more misses than hits. With metal, the cream really does rise. As an example, the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” from the ’70s is pretty flat aside from the obvious and well-known awesome-ness of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Also, Metallica is like a libertarian fever dream of how quality and the marketplace should work together: they’re the best AND the most successful! Huzzahs all around.
One exception that I’m turning into a little pet project: Budgie. They were this little nerdo band from Wales, a land whose natives lived in coal mines for centuries before becoming human beings, who sort of split the difference between Yes and Black Sabbath in the early ’70s.
Evidently, when Dave Mustaine answered a guitar player wanted ad for the band that would become Metallica, they listed Budgie as one of the bands that they were interested in emulating. Mustaine made it a point to say how much he loved Budgie when he called the number.
Metallica would later cover Budgie’s “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” on their Garage Days E.P., and early Metallica songs like “Jump in the Fire” aren’t too far afield from its single note sludge riffage.
But, surprisingly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are even closer to that field, who straight up stole the riff from Budgie’s “Breadfan” as the intro for their otherwise tepid late-period funk pop hit “Around the World.”