Heavy Metal Books

Heavy Metal music has a history that goes back to the late 1960's/early 1970's. Since birth, it has been widely accepted by the masses and still today remains one of the most popular musical styles with an ever growing fan base. During the early days, Heavy Metal to the non-fan was a rather obscure, very noisy and very suspicious genre. Academics, established music journalist, parents, religious fanatics and many other public characters criticized Heavy Metal more or less as a dangerous affair and as a threat to society.

Of course Metal music had its share on the mainstream press, on TV (like BBC's Top of the Pops) and on the radio mainly because record labels were promoting their revenue-making popular bands. It was not until the early1990's when the first serious books about Heavy Metal came to life. Before that, a handful of publications (mainly encyclopedias and collector's guides) were released in various countries across the world in limited copies. Some of these early publications are collector's items in their own right.

In recent years Heavy Metal music has been widely accepted by Academics, by non metal journalists and by the general music audience as a major conceptual force within the popular culture landscape. This is also evident in many books written by (and aimed to) the Academy. Musicologists, sociologists, researchers and many other Academic professional have been listening to our music and for the first time we have some serious works being published. They focus on the musical structure, the lyrical subject matter, the visuals and the ideological cargo… they look upon the details and they explain in decent terms the Heavy Metal phenomenon.

Not all of these texts can be equally accepted by the Metal communities but this is what it's all about: a never-ending discussion about ideas, notions, arguments and of course music!

Obviously the vast majority of Heavy Metal books are written by people who are actually fans or journalists in the metal media and by some musicians too. There are some things that you have to be a fan to understand. You got to grab the feeling. Without feeling it is just technical analysis (not necessarily bad in some cases though)

What are the different types of Heavy Metal books

-Encyclopedias (Usually with biographies and basic album discographies of artists)

-Collector's Guides & Price Guides (item specific, provide reviews and information about CDs, LPs, singles and all sorts of musical formats)

-TOP lists (Top 500 Songs of all Time, Top 100 Essential Albums and so forth)

-Genre Specific (They investigate and explain the history, the meanings, the ideology and the culture of particular Metal sub-genres)

-Purely Academic (Written by Academics. These kinds of books might not be easy to follow by the average reader. However, they do provide thorough analysis of the musicological, social, cultural and political aspects of Heavy Metal)

-Written by Artists (Usually these are the most fun to read. In most cases the artists reveal unknown interesting sides of their lifetime)

-Historical (Possibly centered around an artist. The author is writing the history based on interviews with him, his band-mates his family and various industry professionals. Also requires extensive research through old magazines, fanzines and the press in general)

-Guitar/Bass/Drums Tabs (for all of you current and future Heavy Metal heroes)

-Unclassified (activity books, fun books, recipes etc)

of course certain books might fall into more than one of the above categories

The term Heavy Metal within this website is used not only as a reference to the first wave of bands but also includes all its legitimate sub-genres such as Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Doom Metal, NWOBHM, Progressive Metal and so forth. We are more than happy to see a number of particularly good books dealing with specific sub-genres (such as Death and Black Metal) and their specific attributes. Nearly all of them stand as valid historical accounts that preserve history for the future generations.


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