1-20 - Book Review: SOUND OF THE BEAST- The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy MetalIan Christe
!t Books
2003

In this first-ever atlas of the heavy metal phenomenon, Ian Christe delivers a bird’s-eye view of this dark and forbidden music. The ultimate head-banger history, Sound of the Beast reveals tales of concert hysteria, courtroom drama, and musical triumph with: Interviews with Black Sabbath, Metallica, Morbid Angel, Megadeth, Twisted Sister, Kiss, Slipknot, and many others; Genre boxes explaining black metal, power metal, thrash metal, nu metal, and more; More than a hundred rare and unpublished photos; A thirty-year graphic timeline of metal milestones, hilarious metal lists, and the twenty-five most original recordings of all time.

One of the limitations of publishing a book with the phrase “The Complete History Of…” in the title or subtitle is that, given the nature of time itself, it never really is the complete history. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to revise things, and even then, that’s not going to truly be the complete history. Unless the world blows up and society as we know it crumbles at the very moment the update is published, and whatever theoretical alien archaeologist that comes across a somehow preserved copy of it can claim it really is the complete history…

…and once again my brain has hijacked a perfectly good intro to another book review. My apologies, my tender dumplings.

All pedantic speculation aside, being a \,,/METALHEAD\,,/ as well as a general pop culture history junkie, running across a copy of Sound Of The Beast was a rather nice find in that Fremont, Nebraska Hasting’s store that one afternoon several years ago, browsing for nothing in particular, but snatching this up when I saw it there.

As a history of the only music that really matters in life, Sound Of The Beast is one of the better tomes written. It’s written more in a traditionally journalistic style, rather than the coffee table book style; and by that I mean, it’s doesn’t rely on a whole bunch of pictures with the wordy bits put in there scrapbook style. It isn’t a glorified magazine; this is an actual book, giving a well-written detail on the early roots of Metal, and exploring the origins and history of the various differing genres under the great Metal umbrella. Everything is covered here, the good, bad and ugly: Heavy Metal, Pop Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Hardcore/Crossover, Grindcore, Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, and all points in between. And yes, there are pictures in here, rather interesting supplemental pictures, as well as side-bars recommending certain albums from the particular sub-genre of the chapter, as well as appendixes. My particular copy that I purchased happens to be one of the updated copies that includes a chapter on metal from the Middle East.

Overall, Sound Of The Beast is perhaps one of the best books published on the wide-covering topic of Heavy Metal I’ve read. This is one I’m going to be keeping in my personal collection for some time. At least, until I can justify upgrading to an “updated” complete history. Highly recommended.

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