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Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal

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The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more. More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more. More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's favourite new reality show. Contrary to popular belief, headbangers and the music they love are more alive than ever. Yet there has never been a comprehensive book on the history of heavy metal - until now. Featuring interviews with members of the biggest bands in the genre, Sound of the Beast gives an overview of the past 30-plus years of heavy metal, delving into the personalities of those who created it. Everything is here, from the bootlegging beginnings of fans like Lars Ulrich (future founder of Metallica) to the sold-out stadiums and personal excesses of the biggest groups. From heavy metal's roots in the work of breakthrough groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to MTV hair metal, courtroom controversies, black metal murderers and Ozzfest, Sound of the Beast offers the final word on this elusive, extreme, and far-reaching form of music.


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The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more. More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more. More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's favourite new reality show. Contrary to popular belief, headbangers and the music they love are more alive than ever. Yet there has never been a comprehensive book on the history of heavy metal - until now. Featuring interviews with members of the biggest bands in the genre, Sound of the Beast gives an overview of the past 30-plus years of heavy metal, delving into the personalities of those who created it. Everything is here, from the bootlegging beginnings of fans like Lars Ulrich (future founder of Metallica) to the sold-out stadiums and personal excesses of the biggest groups. From heavy metal's roots in the work of breakthrough groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to MTV hair metal, courtroom controversies, black metal murderers and Ozzfest, Sound of the Beast offers the final word on this elusive, extreme, and far-reaching form of music.

30 review for Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Fairweather

    I tried and tried to come up with justification to give this 3 stars however I just can't stomach the idea. So why is that? Well perhaps the author needs to figure out how to put fandom aside and to become objective when taking on a subject matter that he obviously has much invested in. By that I mean, when trying to take on such a large subject such as the entire history of heavy metal, the author needs to realize that Metallica and his fanboy worhship of them does not make up 60-70% of the his I tried and tried to come up with justification to give this 3 stars however I just can't stomach the idea. So why is that? Well perhaps the author needs to figure out how to put fandom aside and to become objective when taking on a subject matter that he obviously has much invested in. By that I mean, when trying to take on such a large subject such as the entire history of heavy metal, the author needs to realize that Metallica and his fanboy worhship of them does not make up 60-70% of the history of heavy metal. This got very tiring. Yes Metallica is important both musically, socially, and legally to the metal scene however there is much much more to it and its sad that such bands such as Iron Maiden and even Black Sabbath take on such a back seat position in this work. It is obvious that Chrisite can not get past his own personal opinions in many regards. Christies omission of punk rock and its impact or interaction with heavy metal is laughable. Essentially bands such as the Ramones, the Misfits, Bad Brains, Black Flag etc never had an impact on much of anything and the fact that Metallica covered The Misfits on Garage Days was simply coincidental. The author even goes as far as to say Metal crushed the puck rock movement in 1979/80 which not only is not true but it comes off as a jaded sports fan who ignores other teams accomplishments because it isn't their team. Christie also doesn't recognize the full impact nor does he even mention really the Grunge era and immediately says that Metal was always strong and then went on to proclaim that metal battled and won against indie rock...really? Us vs them on a medium that is created in the safety of a metal heads mind? Come on. I wasn't a fan of the grunge era either with the exception of Screaming Trees and Alice in Chains but to most the era is poor journalism. In fact speaking of journalism...where are your sources? Lots of stuff in quotes but even I can tell his quotes were stolen from VH1 biography shows. I even suspect that he lifted word for word some statements for former Dead Kennedys singer/spoken word artist Jello Biafras spoken word discussions. Very suspect to say the least. The fact that he called Green Day and the Offspring 90's Hardcore Punk bands had me laughing as I was reading while on the eliptical at the gym. I won't bother to get into his brief discussion of Industrial music either because the fact that bands such as Ministry have been around since 1981 yet all have Nine Inch Nails to thank for creating the genre in the late 80's early 90's is hilarious. Leave your fanboy beliefs at home when you write. Writing a novel thats filled with your 30 categories of your personal top 10 lists gives me pause to consider how this fanzine of a book even got published in the first place.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    A few weeks ago I reviewed what I considered to be a subpar history of heavy metal, titled “Hellraisers.” You can read my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Now to be completely fair to that book, it got a low rating from me because I thought that it lacked the proper scope of the subject and omitted far too many bands and artists that were important to the genre and its many subgenres as a whole. The photography was great, and it did bill itself as a visual history, but the no- A few weeks ago I reviewed what I considered to be a subpar history of heavy metal, titled “Hellraisers.” You can read my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Now to be completely fair to that book, it got a low rating from me because I thought that it lacked the proper scope of the subject and omitted far too many bands and artists that were important to the genre and its many subgenres as a whole. The photography was great, and it did bill itself as a visual history, but the no-shows were just too much for me. All of which led me to scour my bookshelves looking for one of my other metal-themed books that might be a better recommendation for fans looking to read a more comprehensive overview of the subject matter. I was specifically looking for a book by Ian Christe called “The Sound of the Beast,” but as luck would have it I dimly remembered that I had passed it on to someone and it never made it back to my shelf. As things sometimes go in my life however, I took a quick trip the used book store and quickly acquired another copy and sat down to reread as soon as I got it home. Now THIS is more like it. Lighter on photos than “Hellraisers,” the more text-heavy approach covers a lot more history and a lot more of the influential and important bands across all of the various subgenres that heavy metal has spawned over the decades. That said, “Sound of the Beast” DOES have a lot of black and white photos and a short color midsection that all serve to provide a more than adequate visual accompaniment to the sometimes dense prose. What you get with this book is 400 pages of hard rock and heavy metal history, packaged in an appealing volume with some spectacular cover art courtesy of Madeline von Foerster. I previously owned the hardcover version of the book, but replaced it with the softcover, getting a fairly detailed new afterword in the process. The biggest strength of “Sound of the Beast” is all of the many devils in the details. Ian Christe himself has a ton of metal cred that he displays with deft precision. You can check him out with a little more detail at his Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Chr... It is abundantly clear that Christe loves his subject matter, and uses a ton of interviews and sources to support his conclusions. He draws a compelling line from Black Sabbath to Black Flag and Black Metal as he moves from decade to decade in some frenzied sort of narrative that never seems to lose its primary focus even as it threatens to come off of the rails at a few points. He rightly spends more time on the biggest and most influential groups and solo artists in metal, but he also takes the time get off of the beaten path and give props to the bands that sat on the margins of the music, both in terms of popularity and overall importance. Christe also does a good thing in alluding to punk rock’s huge influence on metal at a vital transitional time in the music’s development. The early punk bands were full of thrashing fury and power chords even as they stripped the music down to its essential elements, and later bands such as Discharge managed to produce music that destroyed genre boundaries with mountains of noise that were highly influential to the development of crossover and thrash. As for weaknesses….well, there are a few that I need to point out. Christe is yet ANOTHER metal historian who places the origin of heavy metal square in the lap of Black Sabbath, whose self-titled album released in 1970 seemed to set the bar for the essence of everything that would coalesce into what we now know as “heavy metal.” I myself would argue that the first TRUE heavy metal record should be “Led Zeppelin II,” released several months prior to Sabbath’s drop. “Led Zeppelin II” crunched with a heaviness never heard before that was light years ahead of the heavy blues stomp of its debut record. But I know that I’m in the minority with this opinion, so I won’t waste too much time on it. Christe also seems to fall into a Metallica/thrash metal trap somewhere around midway through the text. He spends way too much time dissecting Metallica’s career at the expense of the other “Big Four” (Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer) thrash groups that virtually ruled the metal underground through the slog pit of the mid to late 1980s. On the plus side, that leaves him little time to spend on the glam bands of the era, those MTV darlings that sold a ton of records while veiled in the spandex and poofy shirts that left the whole decade smelling like hairspray and wine coolers. It’s also apparent that Christe wrote the book in sections rather than as a straightforward narrative. He repeats himself incessantly, and contradicts himself at several points in the proceedings. This is readily apparent when he attempts to tackle the alternative metal scene that developed alongside the poppier appeal of the “grunge” movement as a whole. Christe simply can’t make up his mind whether or not Soundgarden really qualifies as a heavy metal band, stating at one point that they ARE, yet dissing their metal credibility at another juncture. Worse yet, Christe almost wholly omits the one Seattle band that REALLY straddled the line between classical and alternative metal, Alice in Chains. Jane’s Addiction likewise gets no love from Christe, barely rating a couple of mentions despite their outsized footprint on the alt-metal scene. But, my little gripes aside, “Sound of the Beast” is a worthy addition to any metal bookshelf, and should be kept around as a solid reference guide for those of us who like to talk and argue about this stuff until the wee hours. The only other real weakness is that the book was last updated in 2003. Thus the narrative fails to cover anything that’s happened in heavy music in the intervening years between ‘03 and 2019. Surely even Ian Christe couldn’t have foretold that Metallica would still be active today, fat and happy and cranking out the classic hits in massive stadiums to crowds that weren’t even alive when they pooped out “Master of Puppets” in 1986. I was lucky enough to score two tickets to Black Sabbath’s “The End” tour back in November of 2016, right before I was diagnosed with cancer. That San Antonio show was the final time that Sabbath would ever been seen in North America, and it was like a book closing for me. I took my daughter to see that show, and she was absolutely fascinated by the sheer size and scope of the whole thing. The Sabs put it all out there, even Ozzy sounded great and sober and full of energy as he clapped and shuffled his way around the massive stage. So, I don’t know. Maybe it DID all start there. It’s difficult to argue when you realize just how scary and downright HEAVY “Black Sabbath” the song and Black Sabbath the band sounds in a live setting. I remember Sabbath just scaring the shit out of people back in the day, and that’s what great rock ‘n’ roll is SUPPOSED to do, in my opinion. It’s that dark energy and the opportunity to find release in music that drew me to heavy rock in the first place. Anyway, get this book and give it a go, even if hard rock and metal are not your musical forms of choice. Anyone with an interest in music and popular culture and anthropology will find something here to recommend it. 4 Horns UP! \m/ \m/

  3. 4 out of 5

    LTJ

    As a huge metalhead for decades now, I was very excited to read this book to see the rise of thrash metal and most especially, what exactly went down with all my favorite bands when they first started. This book does a great job at breaking down the early metal scene down from Black Sabbath all the way to the insane popularity it achieved worldwide thanks to Metallica. There are a ton of interviews here from many different musicians that add a unique perspective to how metal started, progressed, As a huge metalhead for decades now, I was very excited to read this book to see the rise of thrash metal and most especially, what exactly went down with all my favorite bands when they first started. This book does a great job at breaking down the early metal scene down from Black Sabbath all the way to the insane popularity it achieved worldwide thanks to Metallica. There are a ton of interviews here from many different musicians that add a unique perspective to how metal started, progressed, and why it will be here forever. This is a great book for anyone wanting to brush up on their metal history or someone new that wants to get into it. You’ll undoubtedly learn a lot here and might even find some new bands to get into as you read. This is 5/5 stars in my book and then some, it's that good and something I highly recommend for all my fellow metalheads. I also enjoyed listening to metal while reading and recommend the same to others for an even more immersive experience.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    I actually give this work two and a half stars. For me, it was a notch above "ok." The reason for my rating is as follows: The book suffers from several major flaws. 1) It sometimes reads like the Book of Numbers from the Bible (try reading the Book of Numbers and you'll see what I mean). Too much detail in too little space with too many names of people and bands. 2) It lacks organization. Ian Christe attempts to take on way too much in too few pages. The outcome ends up being something like paint I actually give this work two and a half stars. For me, it was a notch above "ok." The reason for my rating is as follows: The book suffers from several major flaws. 1) It sometimes reads like the Book of Numbers from the Bible (try reading the Book of Numbers and you'll see what I mean). Too much detail in too little space with too many names of people and bands. 2) It lacks organization. Ian Christe attempts to take on way too much in too few pages. The outcome ends up being something like painting a house by splattering the paint everywhere. 3) The book never cites any sources, even though it's quite obvious Christe is quoting an interview, or extras that would be included on a DVD or a documentary, etc. He needs to cite his sources. Not doing so is just shoddy unprofessional writing. 4) He voices his opinion way too often and makes what he probably would consider factual statements about bands that are clearly false. Once again, this is due to lack of citing sources, and poor research. Now, on the the things I enjoyed about the book. The subject matter is very interesting to me, so I enjoyed reading about metal bands. I loved the illustrations and photographs in the book. I liked the flow charts that were provided along with the tid-bits (usually one-pagers) about various genres of metal. Christe included small bullet point timelines that were somewhat helpful. And lastly, I liked that fact that I read the updated version which included metal in the Muslim world. That was an interesting section. Over-all, I enjoyed the book, but didn't love it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    jack

    do you like heavy metal? good for you. do you love it? then read this book. it breaks down every aspect and genre of metal in fascinating and fact backed detail. there are charts! my only criticism with this book is that it starts the history of heavy metal right at the birth of black sabbath. and while i agree that sabbath is the great grandaddy of all us bangers and rightly deserve our worship i gotta point out that the zep and deep purple had a hand in it, too. and way waaaay waaaaaaaaaaaay b do you like heavy metal? good for you. do you love it? then read this book. it breaks down every aspect and genre of metal in fascinating and fact backed detail. there are charts! my only criticism with this book is that it starts the history of heavy metal right at the birth of black sabbath. and while i agree that sabbath is the great grandaddy of all us bangers and rightly deserve our worship i gotta point out that the zep and deep purple had a hand in it, too. and way waaaay waaaaaaaaaaaay before them was robert johnson, a blues musician from the early 20th c. who was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil and whose haunting blues tracks, such as "me and the devil blues," were re-issued in the 60s inspiring blues rockers of the time (like the zep, who took their seed from black american music before doing their own white british genetic modification). is there ever a perfect history book, though? i doubt it. this goes great hand in hand with lords of chaos and bang your head!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    A great read for anyone with a passion for the music or who's chewed through the numerous rock star autobiographies on the market. Motley Crue's "The Dirt," for example, is a compelling story about one band's experience of what it was to ride the wave of metal stardom in the 1980s. While both books are focused on heavy metal, Ian Christie's functions at the macro level, examining heavy metal as a cultural force that grew out of and into something that goes beyond the sound. Commencing with Black A great read for anyone with a passion for the music or who's chewed through the numerous rock star autobiographies on the market. Motley Crue's "The Dirt," for example, is a compelling story about one band's experience of what it was to ride the wave of metal stardom in the 1980s. While both books are focused on heavy metal, Ian Christie's functions at the macro level, examining heavy metal as a cultural force that grew out of and into something that goes beyond the sound. Commencing with Black Sabbath, Christie deftly traces metal's roots, utilising a formidable knowledge of important musicians, albums, songs and sub-genres. The book has been criticised for a middle section that comprehensively discusses Metallica, however, this was no less interesting to me and was entirely relevant; it cannot be denied that Metallica's global dominance represented a watershed moment for heavy metal (for better or worse, depending on who you talk to) and the band succeeded not only as pioneers of thrash but also with critics and legions of fans. In particular, Metallica is often cited as being the bridge that brings fans to metal when they had never listened to it before. Christie's broad history is punctuated with interviews, photos, lists of must-have records and most importantly, the passion of an author who is obviously a die-hard heavy metal fan.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Metal has been growing for a couple decades now and how built up quite a following of dedicated metalheads and crazy headbangers. Many will tell you that it all started with Black Sabbath who is often considered to be the first ever heavy metal band. The genre eventually evolved from the Sab Four to a variety of subgenres, making metal one of the most diverse genres of music and this book covers (most of) it all. From the Bay Area thrash metal scene to the church-burning Norwegian black metaller Metal has been growing for a couple decades now and how built up quite a following of dedicated metalheads and crazy headbangers. Many will tell you that it all started with Black Sabbath who is often considered to be the first ever heavy metal band. The genre eventually evolved from the Sab Four to a variety of subgenres, making metal one of the most diverse genres of music and this book covers (most of) it all. From the Bay Area thrash metal scene to the church-burning Norwegian black metallers to Florida’s relentless death metal act, the book explores many various aspects of what has become an extremely broad genre today. The book gives many page explanations about various genres and various scenes with genre boxes that explain the sub-genre and give several album recommendations. It offers plenty of facts that may be a surprise to even the most dedicated metalheads. Did you know that Lars Ulrich used to bash Slayer in their early days? Did you know that Possessed were only 16 when the released their first album? Did you know that Public Enemy sampled a Slayer song in “She Watch Channel Zero”? Did you know Ice-T was in a thrash metal band called Body Count? Did you know Metallica’s The Unforgiven II (and probably I) is named after the Clint Eastwood film? Did you know that during concerts, Manowar used to call up any fans wearing Metallica shirts up onto stage, take the shirt and replace it with a Manowar shirt? While this book certainly has a lot of information to keep any headbanger pleased, there are some nitpicks I have to mention. Yup, you guessed it. The author is way too obsessed with Metallica. When I was going through the other user’s reviews, I noticed that many of them said the same thing. While reading the book, I soon realized they were right. The thrash metal chapter alone has plenty of Metallica devotion. However, this book probably documents every album of them, including an entire chapter dedicated to the Black Album. Hell, take a look in the index and find out how much Metallica is mentioned compared to every other band. Another complaint I had was about the genre boxes. Certainly, they had a lot of recommendations that are probably worth checking into, but I seriously have to question if some of them belong into the correct genres. For example, Slayer and Morbid Angel are considered black metal? Furthermore, gothic metal, folk metal, progressive metal or groove metal? Why aren’t there genre boxes for these? At times, the book seems to throw a lot of names and quotes at once. This may throw the reader off at some points because it sometimes doesn’t distinguish exactly what genre the band is in. (For example, I believe Overkill was mentioned somewhere in the black metal section.) However, I suppose you really can’t blame the author considering that there are so many metal bands to keep track of. I also had a hard time not detecting bias in some of the chapters, and I’m not just talking about Metallica. For example, take this passage about glam metal: "If image was a crucial selling point, the ultimate sellout was the power ballad-usually a maudlin, pseudo-acoustic love some complete with a weepy guitar solo and lovelorn sing-along chorus." Or consider the fact that pop fans “didn’t mind being told what to think.” As a fan of both pop and metal, I beg to differ, even if modern pop is sometimes trashy. Through its nearly 400 pages, Sound of the Beast offers a LOT of detail. It also mentions magazines, many important musicians, record companies, MTV and tons more. While it certainly goes into moderate detail about the big names (*cough* Metallica *cough*), it has a surprising amount of detail on Stryper, Saxon, Ratt and a few other names. Luckily, Celtic Frost isn’t overlooked either. Some names, like In Flames, Hammerfall, Blind Guardian and Coroner are only mentioned once. Dark Tranquillity, Annihilator and Amon Amarth are nowhere to be seen. Overall, it’s quite easy to see how passionate Ian Christe is about the metal genre, and any would-be metalhead should pick this up in order to learn about the deep history (unless they’re a Metallica hater). That way you'll know what is metal and what is not metal, like this:

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    The Sound of the Beast will seriously school you on the world of metal. Offering a very clear progression of metal as we know it from Black Sabbath to Dillinger Escape Plan, this book reads like a long version of the type of magazine article that makes you stay seated in the bathroom until you finish, reading. The writing is entertaining without degenerating into mind-numbing aural description and Christe rarely uses the same hyphenated adjective twice. Taken as an exhaustive overview of all thi The Sound of the Beast will seriously school you on the world of metal. Offering a very clear progression of metal as we know it from Black Sabbath to Dillinger Escape Plan, this book reads like a long version of the type of magazine article that makes you stay seated in the bathroom until you finish, reading. The writing is entertaining without degenerating into mind-numbing aural description and Christe rarely uses the same hyphenated adjective twice. Taken as an exhaustive overview of all things metal, or a trip down memory lane, this book is a winner. Two devil horns way up! \m/

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    There is nothing new that I read in this book. All the ideas are generic, cliché, biased, and Christe offered absolutely nothing to ponder. Also, if I have to read the words "Black" and "Sabbath" one more time.... arghghghalsdkf. There is nothing new that I read in this book. All the ideas are generic, cliché, biased, and Christe offered absolutely nothing to ponder. Also, if I have to read the words "Black" and "Sabbath" one more time.... arghghghalsdkf.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diogenes

    For those who may not know, Ian Christie is a mainstay DJ on SiriusXM's Liquid Metal channel, and he hosts a riveting show called Bloody Roots where he tackles some thematic issue each time, be it Folk Metal from the UK, the origins of Black Metal in Scandinavia; he even did an ode to children and childhood through heavy metal music. Needless to say, this dude's a sage on the subject and a kindred spirit of alliteration meshed with a heroic writing style. As one of the back cover plugs by the Li For those who may not know, Ian Christie is a mainstay DJ on SiriusXM's Liquid Metal channel, and he hosts a riveting show called Bloody Roots where he tackles some thematic issue each time, be it Folk Metal from the UK, the origins of Black Metal in Scandinavia; he even did an ode to children and childhood through heavy metal music. Needless to say, this dude's a sage on the subject and a kindred spirit of alliteration meshed with a heroic writing style. As one of the back cover plugs by the Library Journal says: "Christie might as well drop the 'e' from his name because he has just delivered the gospel of heavy metal." This book is over a decade old, and even though history is what it is, some of the more "modern sections" (read: Internet age) lose their luster simply because cable TV, Headbangers Ball, Rock Video Monthly, and the web allowed much easier access to underground music that could never make it to FM radio. As a side note, I know there is an interesting, if not somewhat silly, academic base in Northern Europe focused on "heavy metal studies," which is (abstractly) a sub-set blending of sociology and musicology, linked by the psychology between leaders (bands) and followers (fans). If you have access to academic databases, check it out. Free college for all allows for odd subject-matter specialization, I guess. Now most critics, and Christie, say Black Sabbath was the true point of origin for every single facet of heavy metal, in 1970. However, Hazlit recently published an interesting feminist critique alluding otherwise ( http://hazlitt.net/blog/heavy-metal-f... ), and really no one can now remember what was going on in basements and garages, dive bars, and pubs in backwater venues. Of course, no one pops out of the womb with an electric guitar and a song: everyone is influenced by someone else. Sabbath was influenced by the Stones, the Stones were heavy into southern blues music, the Deep South Blues were influenced by centuries of slavery and slave songs . . . I suspect lots of young bands trying new things out of the 60s never made it into the spotlight, but for all intents and purposes, the Brits did it first in the 70s (Sabbath, Motörhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden), and the U.S. took it harder, faster, and darker in the 80s (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Pantera). Now, it's pure, beautiful bedlam aching almost every corner of this dark world. Of course I'm generalizing here. The social-psychology of how heavy metal came to be through fan-reaction is very meme-like in the classic sense of the term. Word-of-mouth, tape sharing, fanzines, mom & pop music shops, and concert-going were the only real way kids could get hooked, before cable TV, radio stations, and the Internet embraced it in the early-mid 90s. Nowadays the spectrum of sub-genres in metal is staggering, and Christie himself has made a more-or-less formal taxonomy of it all, which is brilliant as much as it is limiting by the oppressive power of labels. Christie goes into more depth with his radio show, and his publishing company (http://www.bazillionpoints.com) churns out titles regularly, all focused on metal music. That said, this book does a nice job of sometimes looking at the social and political contexts of the metal music scene across the timeline, and across the planet, at least up until 2003. The final section is him putting his finger on the pulse of metal and making predictions in the post-9/11 world, which of course Time makes such things moot. I think the best comparison I can make is that heavy metal and all its sub-genres are very much akin to postmodern fine art when looked at along its timeline. No other type of music can be defined by its ever-pushing of boundaries, challenging, twisting, shocking, transforming, self-destroying, turning inward, exploding outward, mocking, writhing, screaming, searing . . . and at times, being witch-hunted by Neocons, slandered by the media, feared by the ignorant, and, sadly, selling out (i.e., Metallica). To me, metal is also the most topical, often digging deep into the human condition with life and death, mortality and demise, war and religion, hypocrisy and oppression. Again, look at Sabbath. It starts, more or less, with them. For me, this book was a nostalgic odyssey, seeing the forces at play upon our young minds that we were all mostly oblivious to back then. We connected to the music because it was underground, riotous, unpopular, not on the radio. It was communing with a fringe group, often without knowledge of, or dialogue with, one another, because the music spoke for us. We were, and may forever be, the outcasts of popular society. Having grown up in the 80s, and being at the far eastern edge of Chicagoland, with luck and clear skies, we could bend the rabbit ears antennae on the TV and pick up Channel 50 on the UHF dial. This was the obscure channel that showed Godzilla movies, hosted Samurai Sundays filled with B-style Kung-fu flicks, and during the summer months played music videos, one of which was Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It." This was probably in 1985-6; I was 12-13 years old. Taking paper route money, I bought a compilation cassette tape titled "Heavy Metal Thunder." Anyone remember this one? Twisted Sister, Dio, Judas Priest, Scorpions, etc. Blew the doors off my mind and I was hooked forevermore. First live concert was Megadeth (Rust in Peace) opening for Judas Priest (Painkiller), while my second was the mighty Milwaukee Metal Fest to see Nuclear Assault, amongst so many others, riding with a friend through Chicago in a beat-up Jeep Gladiator pickup. My prized Global Annihilation Tour shirt was worn until it was tatters. This was 1989. The fact that both Motörhead and Iron Maiden just released great new albums is a true testament to the longevity of the genre at its purest roots. Spotify analytics determined that although rap is the genre most globally ubiquitous, metal listeners are the most loyal. I'm proud of that. It might just say it all. This book is a terrific resource for further reading, and a great general guide to the big picture of a music genre over its first thirty years. Kids, expand your musical minds, and know your roots!!! Addendum (07 SEP 2019): Guernica magazine published a wonderful article on the history of eco-hardcore, written by Mario Reinaldo Machado, asking "Post-humanism in hardcore music is often accompanied by a hefty dose of misanthropy, fellow Homo sapiens be damned. Yet eco-hardcore, more explicitly than any other musical genre, is grappling head-on with the absurd and apocalyptic realities of the Anthropocene. As this generation attempts to rewrite the stagnant politics and hollow institutions that have come to define the neoliberal and post-modern era, eco-hardcore music is providing a powerful and unrepentant form of expression. Through its performers’ activism as well as the discourses it produces around social change and environmental stewardship, eco-hardcore is both an artistic refuge and a source of energy for political movements. It might also represent a home in which to rest, a final sanctuary from which to scream hell and fury into the void as humankind claws precipitously towards a doom of its own making. What could be more metal than that?": https://www.guernicamag.com/anthems-f...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    For my second time through this book, my feelings are pretty much the same as before. It feels like a series of long magazine articles, as the casual and exuberant writing style seems to reflect that more than the feel of a tightly written book. One the downside, the coverage of Metallica is still extensive, but didn't bother me as much as the first time around, I guess because I've somewhat come to terms with the reality tat they were/are(?) a band that played an important role in the history o For my second time through this book, my feelings are pretty much the same as before. It feels like a series of long magazine articles, as the casual and exuberant writing style seems to reflect that more than the feel of a tightly written book. One the downside, the coverage of Metallica is still extensive, but didn't bother me as much as the first time around, I guess because I've somewhat come to terms with the reality tat they were/are(?) a band that played an important role in the history of the heavy metals. But the second to last chapter, "Virtual Ozzy and Metal's Digital Rebound", is hard to wade through as I have no interest in hearing about techno-metal, rap-metal or any of that stuff. Kid Rock does not belong in a book about heavy metal, no matter how you twist is around... I'd like to say that Slipknot doesn't either, but here they are too. But it is still a fun read, not too in depth or bogged down by details (except for all of the Metallica coverage). Sound of the Beast is a great and fun to read history of Heavy Metal, from Black Sabbath through NWOBHM, thrash, glam and death metal to the gross nu-metal hybrids of modern times. Though its coverage of black metal is a bit lacking, it seems to be just considered a branch of death metal here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bryce

    This is an excellent and much needed scholarly effort that skillfully weaves a comprehensive history of the vastly erratic, eclectic, and woefully underappreciated genre of Heavy Metal. There is a LOT more to the story than Metallica and 80's Glam Rock (despite what VH-1 tells you); Sound of the Beast is a useful resource for anyone interested in going beyond the shallow depths of the industry spiel. This is an excellent and much needed scholarly effort that skillfully weaves a comprehensive history of the vastly erratic, eclectic, and woefully underappreciated genre of Heavy Metal. There is a LOT more to the story than Metallica and 80's Glam Rock (despite what VH-1 tells you); Sound of the Beast is a useful resource for anyone interested in going beyond the shallow depths of the industry spiel.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lee Vickers

    After being a metal fan for my entire life, I thought that I knew everything that I needed to know about the most misunderstood music genre. Then I read this, an amazingly in depth of the whole genre from thrash, to glam to black metal, this is a witty and brilliantly written that took some serious time to digest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I remember this being jaw-dropping when I first read it. Most people talk about how irritating it is that Metallica get so much attention, but what he's doing makes sense - you need a control group to calibrate all the rest of the machines. Plus, those first three Metallica albums fucking KILL. Great pics, great anecdotes...I could stand to read this again. I remember this being jaw-dropping when I first read it. Most people talk about how irritating it is that Metallica get so much attention, but what he's doing makes sense - you need a control group to calibrate all the rest of the machines. Plus, those first three Metallica albums fucking KILL. Great pics, great anecdotes...I could stand to read this again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Okay, Ian Christe needs to realize that there are more Heavy Metal bands out there, other than Metallica. Simply graces over some of the most important bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, all of Death and Black Metal, Marilyn Manson, and any metal band popular in the late 90's. But could be a great biography for Metallica, just needs to change the name. Okay, Ian Christe needs to realize that there are more Heavy Metal bands out there, other than Metallica. Simply graces over some of the most important bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, all of Death and Black Metal, Marilyn Manson, and any metal band popular in the late 90's. But could be a great biography for Metallica, just needs to change the name.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cameron O'neil

    this is one of thoes Rare Gems of literature, that actually captures the essence of what Metal is actually about. I highly recomend this book to people who are already Metalheads, and people who want to learn more about the history of the genre. you may be supprised to know that there is much, MUCH more to this music than you think.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    A thorough evaluation of the rise and fall and resurgence of Heavy Metal. All the highs, all the lows, all the unbelievable anecdotes in between. Two massive devil horns raised high.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    I really enjoyed this! It was a well written and entertaining. I put it on my best reads pile.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meow558

    You can tell a lot about an author from reading their books, and what I learned about this author is that he LOVES Metallica. He mentioned other bands and went over different types of metal very well, but as soon as Metallica formed that’s all he talked about. You’d be hard pressed to find a page that didn’t mention them at least once after that. Doesn’t matter if it’s talking about something that has nothing to do with Metallica, like Norwegian Death Metal, they will be mentioned. The author al You can tell a lot about an author from reading their books, and what I learned about this author is that he LOVES Metallica. He mentioned other bands and went over different types of metal very well, but as soon as Metallica formed that’s all he talked about. You’d be hard pressed to find a page that didn’t mention them at least once after that. Doesn’t matter if it’s talking about something that has nothing to do with Metallica, like Norwegian Death Metal, they will be mentioned. The author also has an intense dislike of Hair Metal and commercial bands, like Poison, and will insult them whenever he feels they must be mentioned. But apart from that, the book does do a good job. Can be difficult to write a book going over an entire genre that spans 50 years, but he manages to do it and in a rather succinct way. I also like how he didn’t just talk about American and British metal, he also mentioned Norwegian, German, Finnish, Japanese, Brazilian, etc. Nice to read a book that’s not completely focused on the western world (just mostly).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Presley Roush

    Literally so informational, a must read for all metal heads!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peejo

    Well. What to say. I really didn't know ass from elbow when it came to metal before I read this book. Look at the rating before you get too excited. This book has three strong points: It covers the entire history of metal and devotes equal attention to all the offshoots, even giving ICP a spot. It's full of top ten lists of albums, artists, etc. that are essential to certain aspects and parts of metal's history. Most of the art for the chapter/list headings is pretty dope. This book has one weakness Well. What to say. I really didn't know ass from elbow when it came to metal before I read this book. Look at the rating before you get too excited. This book has three strong points: It covers the entire history of metal and devotes equal attention to all the offshoots, even giving ICP a spot. It's full of top ten lists of albums, artists, etc. that are essential to certain aspects and parts of metal's history. Most of the art for the chapter/list headings is pretty dope. This book has one weakness which, unfortunately, supersedes the prior good points noted: The author. It's impossible to document something without putting your own spin on it. However, it's entirely possible to include other popular (and unpopular) opinions that the author knows exist, and this guy fails at doing so. What we find, then, is a history of heavy metal that revolves around Metallica. I mean, seriously, this guy wants to suck off the whole band, and I'm kinda thinking he should've just done that instead of write about them under the guise of "Heavy Metal's History." If I had read this book and used it as my sole guide to understanding the unfolding story of metal, I swear I would have thought that Metallica and speed metal was all there ever was to it that's worth anything. I probably would have assumed that Lars Ulrich (who's a wicked big bitch, obvious even through the filter of this novel) not only pioneered speed metal, which was the greatest thing ever to happen to metal, music, and humanity in general, but probabaly also went back in time and taught Black Sabbath everything they knew just so that they could get the metal scene started so he and his band could do all the important stuff 10 years later. Seriously, this author just wants to suck Metallica's balls, and he wrote a whole novel about their importance in metal and the world music and social scene just so he could prove it. Lars take note: this dude wants you. Don't forget to leave a mint on the pillow when you're done.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cupcakes & Machetes

    Being a metal fan, I thought that I would sit down and get my metal history straight. Turns out it was completely straight to begin with, thanks to my husband who had already told me 99% of the information in this book. So I skipped around to the chapters I thought were more interesting like punk and black metal, turns out, according to my husband, that the black metal chapter is pretty lacking. He scrunched up his face in disgust as I read a few tid bits to him. I have now been pointed in the d Being a metal fan, I thought that I would sit down and get my metal history straight. Turns out it was completely straight to begin with, thanks to my husband who had already told me 99% of the information in this book. So I skipped around to the chapters I thought were more interesting like punk and black metal, turns out, according to my husband, that the black metal chapter is pretty lacking. He scrunched up his face in disgust as I read a few tid bits to him. I have now been pointed in the direction of a much more accurate book to add to my list, Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. Which, we used to have of course, but it fell apart from overuse before I could get my hands on it. I'm rating this based solely on the fact that if you did not know anything about metal, this would be a good place to start.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Maas

    Read this awhile ago, just writing review today. In short, it's attributes: * Author Ian Christe really brings his power to light here. He's been doing this since he was a teenager, and this is one of his culminations. * Though metal history is easily dated because of new bands coming out every year, there's a timelessness here. * It's quite humorous in places, particularly Christe's lists. Just a great book, a great gift for metalheads and more. One of those 'open it up at any page and jump in' bo Read this awhile ago, just writing review today. In short, it's attributes: * Author Ian Christe really brings his power to light here. He's been doing this since he was a teenager, and this is one of his culminations. * Though metal history is easily dated because of new bands coming out every year, there's a timelessness here. * It's quite humorous in places, particularly Christe's lists. Just a great book, a great gift for metalheads and more. One of those 'open it up at any page and jump in' books that are a great go to on your shelf.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Cohen

    This was an excellent read when I was a teenager and beginning to absorb the classic albums and learn the history of heavy metal. Going back to it today is admittedly hard as a learned fan because it focuses way too hard on the biggest-name bands, but it does an admirable job of covering all the sub genres. If this was ever updated for the last 20 years (djent, atmo-black, etc) I would read it again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dustin

    awesome, and it made me start digging deeper into my itunes library, too. well written, though Christe definitely glosses over some sub-genres in favor of his clear preferences, but even for that, its definitely a good read that looks at the development and evolution of heavy metal from the earliest days all the way up to the "present (2005 or so)." awesome, and it made me start digging deeper into my itunes library, too. well written, though Christe definitely glosses over some sub-genres in favor of his clear preferences, but even for that, its definitely a good read that looks at the development and evolution of heavy metal from the earliest days all the way up to the "present (2005 or so)."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    Not only is this a true gem that metalheads will enjoy reading once, they'll also find it a great reference further down the road. It's the history of the evolution of metal, decade by decade and subgenre by subgenre. Looking for a new band to check out? Whether recent or veteran, you'll find scores of suggestions. A must-have book for any fan of metal music. Not only is this a true gem that metalheads will enjoy reading once, they'll also find it a great reference further down the road. It's the history of the evolution of metal, decade by decade and subgenre by subgenre. Looking for a new band to check out? Whether recent or veteran, you'll find scores of suggestions. A must-have book for any fan of metal music.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I can't for the life of me figure out why Ian Christe didn't just write a book about Metallica. If you are a Metallica fan, then this one if for you. If you have high hopes that you will see more than a paragraph about your favorite metal band, look elsewhere. I can't for the life of me figure out why Ian Christe didn't just write a book about Metallica. If you are a Metallica fan, then this one if for you. If you have high hopes that you will see more than a paragraph about your favorite metal band, look elsewhere.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Russell Holbrook

    Are you kidding?! This is the best book about metal, so far, ever!! At least it's my favorite. Really, this is hands down my favorite music book of all time. It's immensely fun to read and was written by a dude who loves metal just as much as you or I do, or maybe more. Are you kidding?! This is the best book about metal, so far, ever!! At least it's my favorite. Really, this is hands down my favorite music book of all time. It's immensely fun to read and was written by a dude who loves metal just as much as you or I do, or maybe more.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    Well written, kept my attention.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    I think that this book doesn't miss a fact about how the genre metal began. it's timeline and details and pictures are amazing. It's my favorite book and f you like metal this book is for you. I think that this book doesn't miss a fact about how the genre metal began. it's timeline and details and pictures are amazing. It's my favorite book and f you like metal this book is for you.

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