Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal
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Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  292 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The definitive oral history of heavy metal, Louder Than Hell includes hundreds of interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Korn, Pantera, Van Halen, Limp Bizkit, and many others at the leading edge of this movement.

Louder Than Hell is an examination of the cultural phenomenon of heavy metal, a much-maligned genre that has not only stood the test of time, but has...more
Hardcover, 736 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by It Books
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Paul Gleason
It’s hotter than Hell today, and you’re in dire need of a cold one. You step into your favorite metal club for a quick beer, but the place somehow seems different. The walls – which are usually adorned with neon signs advertising beer – now bear gigantic posters of the covers of some of the best metal albums of all time: Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Deep Purple’s Machine Head, Judas Priest’s British Steel, Motörhead’s Ace of Spades, AC/DC’s Back in Black, Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast, Meta...more
David
Louder than Hell purports to be the definitive oral history of heavy metal, and in style and format it does a decent job. Most of the book is stories told by various musicians, and most of those stories involve some combinations of sex, drugs, violence, or general lawlessness, Yep, sounds like metal.

The book is extraordinarily large and heavy (718 pages, 2lbs 5oz), but would be terrible as an e-book, because the glossy pictures are great (although they are sadly bunched together rather than int...more
Liz
This was a pretty good book on metal, though I think the word "definitive" is a bit optimistic. While I know that the drug/alcohol use is inextricable from the metal scene, I think Wiederhorn focused entirely too much on the "I was so high/drunk/whatever..." stories. More focus on the music itself would have been nice. The last third of the book sort of dragged, but that's only because I have a particular hatred of nu metal, metalcore, and Slipknot. The chapters on early metal, thrash, NWOBHM, d...more
Joshua
I love oral histories related to rock music and Louder Than Hell covers ground on a subject for almost 700 pages that I know very little about: heavy metal. I actually know a little bit on '70s metal, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and some about the awful "hair" metal phase but quiz me about thrash, death metal, black metal, grindcore, metalcore, speed metal or all the variations and I come up empty. Now I can talk about how wimpy the black metal scene in Norway is currently compared to th...more
Chris Lira
A pretty good history of metal, in the words of the musicians, label staff, and the occasional groupie :-) That being said, a section on progressive metal(Dream Theater, Queensryche, Fates Warning, Rush, etc.) was conspicuously absent.
Dave Mason
i am a huge fan of this type of book where they tell the story of a "movement", "event" or "scene", via interviews with the people who were there. the pace is generally fast, there is very little room for filler, and if done right, you hear from a broad range of interesting characters.

as far as LTHTDOHM goes, if you love metal you'll love the book. it was my main soundtrack leading in to my teens and a big part of it through my 20's/30's. metal's impact on me was huge. now that im older and mar...more
Nycdreamin
I was lucky enough to score a copy of "Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal" for Christmas from a relative who works for a local media outlet (which shall remain nameless). They still had a few promotional copies of the book left so she nabbed one for me. It was a great gift and much appreciated as I was quite aware of it's release back in early 2013, absolutely wanting to read it, but having so far been hesitant to shell out to meet the $32.50 price tag.

The main section of "Lo...more
Bastian Greshake
This book actually started pretty interesting and then went on to become quite boring. While the general interview-style worked fine in the beginning it became pretty boring pretty fast. This is in part because not all of the different metal styles are my cup of tea, but that would be acceptable if it wasn't for the endless repetition.

I mean: How often can you read about excessive drug use (with either people driving themselves to death or plain OD'ing), people starting some kind of violent rag...more
Eduardo
The oral history angle is this book's saving grace because without the amusing artist quotes it is really just an abridged, American-centric history of heavy metal, which is preposterous since the genre owes most of its vital developments to other countries. To give you an idea, beyond some lip service paid to formative influences like Blue Cheer, Hendrix, the MC5 and Mountain, heavy metal's subsequent rise through the 1970s zips from Black Sabbath to Judas Priest to Kiss (!) to AC/DC, with litt...more
Kevin
Enjoyed reading it. Glad I was never a typical metal musician. A better title for the book would have been, "A definitive account of the lifestyles of the better-known musicians in heavy metal's sub-genres as quoted from the musicians themselves." The fifth star of my rating is absent as was discussion of the music itself and a broad range of artists per sub-genre. Should be on every literate metalhead's bookshelf.
Brady Kellogg
Very in depth, you can tell the authors did their research and pulled a lot of interesting quotes from the musicians for every chapter. The only two things that are wrong with this book are that it does go into a lot of "Oh my god, we partied so hard and got into so much trouble" instead of talking about the music, but you have to kind of expect it going in cause it IS a book about metal, and you're going to get that, it comes with the territory.

The other thing it was missing was a chapter abou...more
Jnagle4
A very good history of heavy metal, told by the musicians who were there. My one criticism is that each genre was given only one chapter, so you really only get a basic overview. Still if you don't know anything about heavy metal, this is a great place to start.
Eric
I've read a number of books on metal, and this is probably one of the best. Not only does it shed a lot of light on how metal came to be, it spotlights how it's not going away any time soon.
RJ (ryan)
I stopped reading after the third chapter (Hair metal) because of a lack of interest in the bands that came afterward. I can't really get into thrash metal aside from some of Metallica's older stuff, and I loathe industrial metal. The only other subgenre I thought would be worth reading would be progressive metal, which was not included in the book.

It was pretty great to hear stories and opinions from the mouths of some of my favorite musicians, albeit depressing at time when they recollected me...more
Gregory
Couldn't put this down. Learned a ton about some genres of metal I was less familiar with like death metal, grindcore, and crossover and enjoyed more in-depth tales of bands I've loved for years like Metallica, Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest. Admittedly I zipped through the Nu-metal and metalcore chapters a little fast, as I think my current knowledge of Limp Bizkit and the like should remain as it is. All from the mouths of the artists themselves and meticulously organized and framed b...more
Viridian5
Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman is really interesting: a few decades of heavy music history literally through the musicians' own words, including clashing accounts. All the inspirations, struggles, addictions, mayhem, mishaps.... I'm surprised and amused that some of the funniest stories are in the industrial section, courtesy of Al Jourgensen, Rob Zombie, and Sean Yseult. I'm also boggled by a straight-edge music scene in California...more
William Johnson
A genre like metal is nearly impossible to separate into 'seminal' sections because there are so many off shoots. Plus, as bands evolve, there is no way to put certain groups into certain categories (instead, you have to put them in multiple categories which just makes things more confusing).

So the work Jon Widerhorn and Katherine Turman do here is exceptional. They, of course, get the broad categories right and interview, for the most part, the important bands of those genres. So, for the proto...more
Jake
In a perfect world, Louder Than Hell would come with its own music sampler. A listen through would cover the high points of the history of heavy metal. From the birth of metal with Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, to the decadent 80s, to recent American experimentation, Louder Than Hell does its best to highlight the creators and innovators of metal's various sub-genres and spinoffs. The chapters of the book, each focusing on a different style, use the words of the musicians themselves to tell ea...more
Dustin Gaughran
For a guy like me, this is required reading. I loved this book, especially during the early years of Metal, because those are the bands I'm most into. I loved how the book was an oral history, pieced together over the years and movements.
My only criticisms are petty, and in no way detract from the total package. One, I thought it odd that the title of the book is a line from a well known Manowar song, and from my recollection, that band only gets mentioned once. I'm not the ultimate fan boy, bu...more
Heather Forrester
I skipped a few of the many interview chapters (this book is over 700 pages) but I thoroughly enjoyed the early chapters with the interviews on the early days of metal (consisting of bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest amongst others) along with the chapters on the hair bands, rise of industrial and thrash bands like Metallica and later "millennial metal" bands like Tool.

This book is a series of interviews with artists talking about their experiences in the music industry and touring spri...more
Dario
This book is so gossipy, it would be hard for a metal fan not to enjoy. However, that quality is also its weakness, as it seems to deal much less with heavy metal music than with an endless array of anecdotes detailing the depraved extracurricular band activities (typically about drugs, fights, deranged sexual activities, or some combination of the above).

A couple of other issues: points get subtracted for any author that even pretends to not know in his heart of hearts that Black Sabbath is th...more
Benjamin Kahn
I found this book very disappointing. There wasn't anything new here - most of the stories about older bands - Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest - I had heard before. There was way too much information about groupies, substance abuse and how violent some of the groups were off-stage - Exodus and most of the hardcore groups. I'd had enough of the book after the chapter on hardcore bands and stopped reading.

A better sub-title would have been The Definitive Oral History of Ame...more
David Stephens
One of the defining characteristics of the metal scene is each new movement's attempt to outdo the previous one either in terms of speed, loudness, brutality, lyrical repugnance, stage antics, or all around wickedness. And it may very well have been with that in mind that Louder Than Hell was written. Rock journalist Jon Wiederhorn and music producer Katherine Turman have upped the ante in giving the fullest account of heavy metal thus far, surpassing Ian Christe's 2004 effort, Sound of the Beas...more
Josephmehs
This book shows the entire history of metal and how its transformed through the years all the way back from proto metal(1964-1970) to millennium metal(1992-present) and its told by many critics and artists who lived or participated through these different eras so you're given very diverse opinions on similar subjects just because there from not just one persons perspective . While there are obvious metal acts that are touched upon such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Pantera, there are very und...more
Mark
My biggest disappointment so far this year (it's January so there's plenty more months for disappointment ahead...).
The first warning should have been that anything that calls itself "definitive" probably isn't. The second warning should have been anything that says "oral" is probably just going to be a collection of old interviews....
The major flaws with this book is that it is just a collection of snippets of out of context interviews. Rather than being insightful these become just tired old '...more
Tony Espy
If you like Heavy Metal ( of any kind ), this book is worth picking up, even if you don't read it cover to cover like I did. It starts in the 60s, and continues sub-genre, by sub-genre ( NuMetal, Black Metal, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Grindcore, ... ) through the present. The coolest thing is that other than a few transitional paragraphs per chapter, the whole book is made up on quotes from musicians, producers, managers, ... They're some funny stories, some tragic, and a whole lot in-bet...more
John
Apr 04, 2014 John added it
I'd say "definitive" is a bit hyperbolic, but an interesting read none the less. Skip the metal core chapter. Also, power metal is bizarrely excluded. But pretty good overall.
Steven
Incredibly detailed, covering all facets and sub-genres of Metal. A lot of tragedy, humor, and, of course, sex & drugs. A LOT of the last two.
Amanda Garcia
really amazing
an interesting read to say the least
so many entertaining stories and meanings to songs and how bands formed.
Jeff Littrell
Extensive history of Heavy Metal music. Basic back-stories on any bands who left their mark on the metal genre.
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