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Rock Lit: The Sound of the Beast: The History of Heavy Metal

November 13, 2007
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I finally finished this monster of a book. I lugged it around everywhere, digesting 10 pages or so here and there, taking in funny looks on the bus when someone got a glimpse of the cover.

The History of Heavy Metal. It was almost too much, but it put my better than average knowledge to shame. The book works in several ways- it discusses influences through the originators of sub genres of metal rather than functioning in an absolute timeline. It provides ‘top ten’ style lists for important sub genres and trends. It also uses Metallica as an anchor throughout, thus going in to the most history and depth with them, and always tying the story back to Metallica.

The important thing that the book achieves beyond imbuing readers with a slew of sometimes too much to digest info, is the importance of metal to its fans. The tape trader circuit, the band shirts, the inspiration to form their own bands- it’s all pretty moving. I don’t think pop music tends to affect its fans in the same way. I got the same feeling from watching Headbanger’s JourneyI’m not alone. It’s OK to go to work and tell people that I am listening to Slayer.

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


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