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Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal
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Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal

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3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  2,171 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
The definitive history heavy metal, with over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more. With hundreds of platinum albums to date, heavy metal CDs and ticket sales continue to dominate Billboard and Pollstar charts. More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by HarperEntertainment (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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jack
Jan 13, 2008 jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
do you like heavy metal? good for you. do you love it? then read this book. it breaks down every aspect and genre of metal in fascinating and fact backed detail. there are charts!

my only criticism with this book is that it starts the history of heavy metal right at the birth of black sabbath. and while i agree that sabbath is the great grandaddy of all us bangers and rightly deserve our worship i gotta point out that the zep and deep purple had a hand in it, too. and way waaaay waaaaaaaaaaaay b
...more
Shawn Fairweather
I tried and tried to come up with justification to give this 3 stars however I just can't stomach the idea. So why is that? Well perhaps the author needs to figure out how to put fandom aside and to become objective when taking on a subject matter that he obviously has much invested in. By that I mean, when trying to take on such a large subject such as the entire history of heavy metal, the author needs to realize that Metallica and his fanboy worhship of them does not make up 60-70% of the his ...more
Leah
Aug 26, 2012 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read for anyone with a passion for the music or who's chewed through the numerous rock star autobiographies on the market. Motley Crue's "The Dirt," for example, is a compelling story about one band's experience of what it was to ride the wave of metal stardom in the 1980s. While both books are focused on heavy metal, Ian Christie's functions at the macro level, examining heavy metal as a cultural force that grew out of and into something that goes beyond the sound. Commencing with Black ...more
Carl
Aug 11, 2008 Carl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Sound of the Beast will seriously school you on the world of metal. Offering a very clear progression of metal as we know it from Black Sabbath to Dillinger Escape Plan, this book reads like a long version of the type of magazine article that makes you stay seated in the bathroom until you finish, reading. The writing is entertaining without degenerating into mind-numbing aural description and Christe rarely uses the same hyphenated adjective twice. Taken as an exhaustive overview of all thi ...more
Patrick
Jan 01, 2011 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
description

Metal has been growing for a couple decades now and how built up quite a following of dedicated metalheads and crazy headbangers. Many will tell you that it all started with Black Sabbath who is often considered to be the first ever heavy metal band. The genre eventually evolved from the Sab Four to a variety of subgenres, making metal one of the most diverse genres of music and this book covers (most of) it all. From the Bay Area thrash metal scene to the church-burning Norwegian black metaller
...more
TBV
Jan 12, 2011 TBV rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I actually give this work two and a half stars. For me, it was a notch above "ok." The reason for my rating is as follows: The book suffers from several major flaws.
1) It sometimes reads like the Book of Numbers from the Bible (try reading the Book of Numbers and you'll see what I mean). Too much detail in too little space with too many names of people and bands.
2) It lacks organization. Ian Christe attempts to take on way too much in too few pages. The outcome ends up being something like paint
...more
Ashley
Sep 03, 2008 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
For my second time through this book, my feelings are pretty much the same as before. It feels like a series of long magazine articles, as the casual and exuberant writing style seems to reflect that more than the feel of a tightly written book.

One the downside, the coverage of Metallica is still extensive, but didn't bother me as much as the first time around, I guess because I've somewhat come to terms with the reality tat they were/are(?) a band that played an important role in the history o
...more
Bryce
Apr 18, 2007 Bryce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: appreciators of music
This is an excellent and much needed scholarly effort that skillfully weaves a comprehensive history of the vastly erratic, eclectic, and woefully underappreciated genre of Heavy Metal. There is a LOT more to the story than Metallica and 80's Glam Rock (despite what VH-1 tells you); Sound of the Beast is a useful resource for anyone interested in going beyond the shallow depths of the industry spiel.
Lee Vickers
Sep 24, 2007 Lee Vickers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heavy Metal fans
Shelves: music
After being a metal fan for my entire life, I thought that I knew everything that I needed to know about the most misunderstood music genre. Then I read this, an amazingly in depth of the whole genre from thrash, to glam to black metal, this is a witty and brilliantly written that took some serious time to digest.
Chris
Oct 17, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
I remember this being jaw-dropping when I first read it. Most people talk about how irritating it is that Metallica get so much attention, but what he's doing makes sense - you need a control group to calibrate all the rest of the machines. Plus, those first three Metallica albums fucking KILL. Great pics, great anecdotes...I could stand to read this again.
Amanda
Apr 08, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, Ian Christe needs to realize that there are more Heavy Metal bands out there, other than Metallica. Simply graces over some of the most important bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, all of Death and Black Metal, Marilyn Manson, and any metal band popular in the late 90's. But could be a great biography for Metallica, just needs to change the name.
Cameron O'neil
Apr 09, 2008 Cameron O'neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Metal Fans, and anyone who would like to know more about the music and culture.
Recommended to Cameron by: I found it in the Library at my school
this is one of thoes Rare Gems of literature, that actually captures the essence of what Metal is actually about.
I highly recomend this book to people who are already Metalheads, and people who want to learn more about the history of the genre. you may be supprised to know that there is much, MUCH more to this music than you think.
Rebekah
Aug 02, 2007 Rebekah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing new that I read in this book. All the ideas are generic, cliché, biased, and Christe offered absolutely nothing to ponder. Also, if I have to read the words "Black" and "Sabbath" one more time.... arghghghalsdkf.
Jeff
Oct 17, 2007 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thorough evaluation of the rise and fall and resurgence of Heavy Metal. All the highs, all the lows, all the unbelievable anecdotes in between. Two massive devil horns raised high.
Peejo
Oct 25, 2007 Peejo rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: metallica
Well. What to say. I really didn't know ass from elbow when it came to metal before I read this book. Look at the rating before you get too excited.

This book has three strong points:

It covers the entire history of metal and devotes equal attention to all the offshoots, even giving ICP a spot.
It's full of top ten lists of albums, artists, etc. that are essential to certain aspects and parts of metal's history.
Most of the art for the chapter/list headings is pretty dope.

This book has one weakness
...more
Hybrid Creature (devours books instead of brains)
Being a metal fan, I thought that I would sit down and get my metal history straight. Turns out it was completely straight to begin with, thanks to my husband who had already told me 99% of the information in this book.

So I skipped around to the chapters I thought were more interesting like punk and black metal, turns out, according to my husband, that the black metal chapter is pretty lacking. He scrunched up his face in disgust as I read a few tid bits to him. I have now been pointed in the d
...more
Jonathan Maas
Dec 21, 2016 Jonathan Maas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this awhile ago, just writing review today. In short, it's attributes:

* Author Ian Christe really brings his power to light here. He's been doing this since he was a teenager, and this is one of his culminations.
* Though metal history is easily dated because of new bands coming out every year, there's a timelessness here.
* It's quite humorous in places, particularly Christe's lists.

Just a great book, a great gift for metalheads and more. One of those 'open it up at any page and jump in' bo
...more
Shane
Not only is this a true gem that metalheads will enjoy reading once, they'll also find it a great reference further down the road. It's the history of the evolution of metal, decade by decade and subgenre by subgenre. Looking for a new band to check out? Whether recent or veteran, you'll find scores of suggestions. A must-have book for any fan of metal music.
Dustin
Dec 20, 2008 Dustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dustin by: Jennifer Reeder
Shelves: music
awesome, and it made me start digging deeper into my itunes library, too. well written, though Christe definitely glosses over some sub-genres in favor of his clear preferences, but even for that, its definitely a good read that looks at the development and evolution of heavy metal from the earliest days all the way up to the "present (2005 or so)."
Dana
Nov 22, 2007 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't for the life of me figure out why Ian Christe didn't just write a book about Metallica. If you are a Metallica fan, then this one if for you. If you have high hopes that you will see more than a paragraph about your favorite metal band, look elsewhere.
Russell Holbrook
Are you kidding?! This is the best book about metal, so far, ever!! At least it's my favorite. Really, this is hands down my favorite music book of all time. It's immensely fun to read and was written by a dude who loves metal just as much as you or I do, or maybe more.
Eli
Feb 08, 2011 Eli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book doesn't miss a fact about how the genre metal began. it's timeline and details and pictures are amazing. It's my favorite book and f you like metal this book is for you.
Tiffany Newman
Jan 13, 2013 Tiffany Newman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
im a person who loves heavy metal. this book tells the history of metal has the time goes on it really great has awesome pictures of heavy metals bands though the times
Soham Chakraborty
Heavy metal.

For an ever-increasing number of people, it's more than a musical genre, it's more than the fist-pumps on stage, it is something that makes them who they are. It gives them a voice, a voice capable of expressing dissent and protest, a freedom to speak against atrocities and injustice in this world, an energy that will never be a doormat, an ever-thrusting energy and devotion will keep crushing all the hatred and censorship and proclamations and misinformation about it. Heavy metal is
...more
Stephen
Jun 21, 2015 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who may not know, Ian Christie is a mainstay DJ on SiriusXM's Liquid Metal channel, and he hosts a riveting show called Bloody Roots where he tackles some thematic issue each time, be it Folk Metal from the UK, the origins of Black Metal in Scandinavia; he even did an ode to children and childhood through heavy metal music. Needless to say, this dude's a sage on the subject and a kindred spirit of alliteration meshed with a heroic writing style. As one of the back cover plugs by the Li ...more
Gabriela Galeano
Oct 22, 2016 Gabriela Galeano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sound of the Beast offers a compounded – and dare I say not “complete” - history of heavy metal. Beginning with Black Sabbath, the heavy metal founding fathers, Christie traverses several decades covering the intersections and fragmentations that make heavy metal what we know and love today.

This compendium presents an impressive collection of information and visuals. Pages are peppered with photography, underground posters, tape-trader zines, and basement show flyers. Christie also compiles exc
...more
Aurelien
Jan 17, 2017 Aurelien rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Telling the history of Metal music, a complex and incredibly rich scene spanning more than four decades, surely must not have been easy. Ian Christe though managed to pull it off here, in a book that is as interesting as it is easy to read. Sure, it's quite a romp and the fans won't learn much! But it still is nice to go through the whole story, both of the music itself and of the different contexts in which it has been evolving. We see the impacts of various other genres (from punk to grunge an ...more
Jillian Hundey
I'm disappointed in this book. If I wanted to read a biography about Metallica I would have. 3/4 of this book refers to Metallica's accomplishments. While they are instrumental in the metal music scene there are so many other bands who are as well. I wouldn't call this "the complete headbanging history". If you want to expand your knowledge on the subject I recommend reading Choosing Death by Albert Mudrian (Decibel Magazine Editor).
Jarrett
May 08, 2011 Jarrett rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic account of the history of heavy metal from it's beginnings with Black Sabbath to around the year 2002-2003. For the time that is was written, I think that it more than captured not only the history of the metal genre as well as it's sub genres, but also put some interesting perspectives on metal during the 90's grunge era. This was the first time I have ever heard Metallica as the main influence of the shift of metal during the 90's rather than the perspective that Nirvana wa ...more
Ryan Mishap
Sep 01, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
OK, the “Complete Head-banging History of Heavy Metal”. Don’t laugh! This book was next to a coffee-table book called Punk at the library. of “Punk” covered ’74 to ’79. I put it back after seeing the title of the last, shortest chapter: “’79 and later.” Ugh, punk died a long time ago….Christie takes this view of punk as well, gleefully describing punk’s demise while holding aloft the triumph of metal like a blood-stained battle axe over the tundra of musical history. I’m totally serious, the gu ...more
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Ian Christe is the author of Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal and Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga. He is the publisher of Bazillion Points Books, home to Swedish Death Metal, Murder in the Front Row, Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries, Touch and Go, Experiencing Nirvana, Heavy Metal Movies and other authoritative books about powerful movements and moments ...more
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“That's certainly the roots of heavy metal. That whole sense of revolution and wanting to be powerful is definetly a puberty thing. Fans don't have to be offended by that. Everybody goes through it. That's why heavy metal is so powerful.” 8 likes
“Those bands, in their style and approach, that’s what I call tits-and-ass metal,” comments Rob Halford of Judas” 1 likes
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