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Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal

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3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  682 Ratings  ·  96 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
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Hardcover, 736 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by It Books
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Paul Gleason
Mar 14, 2013 Paul Gleason rated it it was amazing
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
Adam
Nov 06, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it

Metal was one of my first musical loves. Or more specifically my brother’s Metallica tapes. Then I grew up in age of exciting popular metal watching grunge wipe away hair metal(which I mostly hated…because well I had heard Metallica, except Van Halen…I loved Van Halen until David Lee Roth quit…oh and I guess Guns and Roses) and the bizarre era of Jane’s Addiction, Primus, Faith no More, Melvins,Helmet, NIN,Rage against the Machine, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains being popular bands. Then moving
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David
Oct 27, 2013 David rated it liked it
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
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Liz
Jun 04, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
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
May 01, 2014 Joshua rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
May 25, 2013 Chris Lira rated it really liked it
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
Jun 12, 2013 Dave Mason rated it it was amazing
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
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Bastian Greshake
Oct 07, 2013 Bastian Greshake rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Eduardo
Oct 01, 2013 Eduardo rated it liked it
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
Eric
Jul 07, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing
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.
Ben
Nov 09, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
Delivers what the title promises - this really is definitive and at times piles on and on like an Iron Butterfly solo (whose name never came up, so maybe this really wasn't as definitive as I thought). For stories, anecdotes, and the history of the multifaceted offshoots of metal and hard rock, you can't beat this book. My only complaint was it seemed to spend too much time on the recent hardcore / death metal / black metal bands from the 90's to today (Mastodon, Hatebreed, Slipknot, Kickpuncher ...more
Matt
Jan 03, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing
This is s great book if you are true metal enthusiast. If you are just into music then this will probably be offensive in parts. As I read this over a couple weekends I felt like I was having a conversation at a bar with the contributors. Everyone is represented throughout the book, as far as metal goes. I found the last section about new American metal very interesting and eye opening. If you are interested in what makes these artists tick this is a good choice. If you are looking for a histori ...more
Nycdreamin
Jan 05, 2014 Nycdreamin rated it really liked it
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
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John Porcellino
Feb 23, 2015 John Porcellino rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, history
Excellent and highly readable oral history of metal, from Sabbath through Slipknot. I personally bogged down a bit post-thrash because my interest in the bands starts to wane, but even so the chapters on industrial, death, and black-metal et al were enlightening and arranged well. This book will definitely make you wanna dust off some older records for a new listen and check out any bands you're not familiar with.

Any fan of music history and especially aggressive music will find this book hard t
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Kevin
Jan 28, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it
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.
Stewart Tame
Oct 18, 2014 Stewart Tame rated it liked it
Interesting book. On the long side, but there's a lot of ground to cover after all. I definitely learned some things I'd never known before, and made some mental notes of a few bands I want to track down. For all its length, it seems a bit incomplete. Quite a few bands--GWAR, for instance--get mentioned in passing but no interviews with them are included. And what about progressive metal? Where's Dream Theater or Opeth? It would seem that, while this may be the definitive ORAL history of metal, ...more
Brent Seabrook
Feb 04, 2015 Brent Seabrook rated it liked it
Far from definitive, this is a hodgepodge of quotes from other books and magazines. The authors devote chapters to Norwegian black metal and Tampa's death metal scene, but neglect New Orleans sludge and Seattle grunge. AC/DC gets plenty of space but other hard rock bands like Aerosmith, Rush, and even the Scorpions get none.

I would have preferred less about sex and drugs and more about rock and roll, though you could argue the two are inseparable. And though it rarely provides any answers, the b
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Kinksrock
Jan 19, 2016 Kinksrock rated it liked it
This is an oral history of heavy metal, with those who were involved telling their stories (similar to published oral histories of punk rock (which I read) and the porn industry (which I have not read)). When I took this book out of the library, I knew immediately that I would not be reading the whole thing, and I didn't, and I suspect that there are metal fans who will enjoy this book a lot more than I did. I like early metal, primarily from the 80s, primarily the kind that is now referred to d ...more
Brady Kellogg
Jun 05, 2014 Brady Kellogg rated it really liked it
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
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Jnagle4
Jun 12, 2013 Jnagle4 rated it really liked it
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.
RJ (ryan)
Jun 16, 2014 RJ (ryan) rated it liked it
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
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Sam
Jan 30, 2014 Sam rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books ever.
Gregory
May 22, 2014 Gregory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mark
Jul 22, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one who enjoys heavy metal can say this is not an interesting book, but the focus seems misguided. There's just so much written on sexual adventures and drug abuse that this easily makes up 1/4 of the book. This wouldn't really be a bad thing if the stories weren't pretty much all the same; every musician thinks he's the wildest person out there, but it's all quite similar and derivative, with very few exceptions. It goes like this: one line gets written about how the recording of so and so a ...more
Todd Martin
Apr 13, 2015 Todd Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
As a genre of music, heavy metal is the Rodney Dangerfield of its field … it gets ‘no respect’. In fact, ever since “This is Spinal Tap” was released, it probably isn’t clear to many people where the reality of the genre ends and the parody begins. It’s viewed as a disreputable art form (some may even scoff at the use of this term) for intellectually challenged people on the fringes of society.

Metal has also had surprisingly little influence on popular culture. Whereas rap music and rap culture
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Stenwjohnson
Mar 06, 2015 Stenwjohnson rated it liked it
One advantage of oral histories is the absence of an omniscient critical voice. It's a technique that's welcome in a book on rock, a topic where analytic flights of fancy are a common distraction. The pure reliance on a rogues' gallery of characters makes "Louder than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal" an engaging read, in spite of its hundreds of capsule interviews and 700-plus pages. Refreshingly, "Louder than Hell" never tries to justify its topic or argue for its cultural importance ...more
A. Hotzler
Aug 13, 2014 A. Hotzler rated it really liked it
This was good Uncle John's reading. I hope to see an updated edition, as this "history" leaves off in the middle of 2011 with Paul Gray's death. I would also like to see more of a modern representation, as many modern metal bands are lost in the shuffle: Rammstein received only a few pages worth of recognition, Amon Amarth and practically the entire Scandinavian scene was lost, where bands like Children of Bodom, AA, Soilwork, In Flames, Opeth, and Arch Enemy weren't even mentioned.

Definitive? D
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Viridian5
Aug 02, 2013 Viridian5 rated it really liked it
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
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Jake Beals
Oct 14, 2013 Jake Beals rated it liked it
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
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