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Heavy Metal Books

The outside world periodically investigates and analyzes metal to encode in book form its conclusions. For the convenience of our readers, we have assembled a brief guide to society's efforts so far, in a resemblance of order of relevance. Click the image to see options to buy the book.

Lords of Chaos
by Michael Moynihan

Although somewhat uneven, this book chronicles the events in Norway as black metal rose and intelligently presents the ideological viewpoints behind the actions of these musicians, as well as giving insight to the mechanations of bands and personalities in the turbulent world of underground metal.

Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology
by Deena Weinstein

A reasonable summary of most academic study so far, which indulges heavy metal as an extreme offshoot of rock in which rebellion is the prime goal and the fundamental ceremony is the concert. These failings aside, there is very perceptive research here on the origins of heavy metal and the personalities within its culture. The latter is most informative of all aspects in this book and is Weinstein's strength as a writer.

Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture
by Deena Weinstein

A broadly inclusive view at the public perception of heavy metal and its fans which, although limited to mainstream music, captures the unstable origins of modern metal, this book provides a solid foundation for Weinstein's comments on metal.

The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal
by Martin Popoff

Short reviews talking about the emotions and social significance of heavy metal bands are Popoff's strength, and he through a fragmented view into hundreds of bands reveals a culture in transition. Including a reasonable small selection of underground metal.

20th Century Rock N Roll: Heavy Metal
by Martin Popoff

A somewhat distanced view of metal as rock music, this book brushes over many of metal's strengths en route to a discussion of its commonality with popular music.

Goldmine Heavy Metal Price Guide
by Martin Popoff

For those who want to enter the intricate world of collecting, an experienced metal journalist outlines the significance and comparative value of classic metal releases of interest to collectors.

Are You Morbid?
by Tom G. Warrior

Although somewhat scattered in focus due to its intense immersion in the personality of the writer and the human emotions of its band, this book establishes the intent of Celtic Frost and its predecessor, Hellhammer, and explains the philosophies of unified concept and music as a presentation of the ideology and desires of an artist (stranded in a mortal body). While conversational in text and often tedious, this retelling answers many fundamental Hessian questions.

Metalheads: Heavy Metal Music and Adolescent Alienation
by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

A sociological study of 100 metalheads including profiles and brief analytical pieces on various aspects of relatively mainstream metal culture. Reasonable and deliberately overindulgently just, this work attempts to find a parent's view of why children who hate society, religion, and conformity turn to metal.

Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music
by Robert Walser

Aimed at the most popular examples of heavy metal, this analysis peers into issues of gender and power as ethnographic vectors of impetus toward participation in the metal genre. The interpretations of reasoning and ideologies behind music, while limited to less than self-articulate examples in many cases, are the strength of this book.

Rocking the Classics : English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture
by Edward L. Macan

Delving into the world of progressive rock in a context of cultural development through history, this book explores the motivations and musicology of progressive rock with a broad but well targetted research base.

Black Sabbath: An Oral History
by Mike Stark and Dave Marsh

A reasonable account of the early days of metal and its slow descent out of the hippie and biker positive hedonism of the day into a new and darker persona. Extensive material on Sabbath personalities and attitudes regarding the creation and presentation of their music.

Riders on the Storm : My Life With Jim Morrison and the Doors
by John Densmore

A useful prescience about politics in dark themed bands can be derived from the lessons learned in this recounting of the rise and fall of the Doors and their enigmatic vocalist Jim Morrison. Densmore is under the grip of Catholic morality and while recognizing it is unable to vanquish it, but it colors the book less than his stunning first-person viewpoint on the action.

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