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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

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  2,088 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more.

More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 17th 2004 by It Books (first published 2003)
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Jan 13, 2008 jack rated it it was amazing
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
Shawn Fairweather
Jan 16, 2015 Shawn Fairweather rated it it was ok
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
Aug 26, 2012 Leah rated it really liked it
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
Aug 19, 2008 Carl rated it it was amazing
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
May 11, 2011 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

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
Apr 23, 2012 TBV rated it it was ok
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
Sep 07, 2008 Ashley rated it really liked it
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
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.
Oct 17, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cameron O'neil
Apr 09, 2008 Cameron O'neil rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 17, 2007 Jeff rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 25, 2007 Peejo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 10, 2012 Shane rated it it was amazing
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.
May 15, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 06, 2009 Dustin rated it it was amazing
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)."
Russell Holbrook
Apr 04, 2015 Russell Holbrook rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 03, 2007 Rebekah rated it did not like it
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.
Feb 08, 2011 Eli rated it it was amazing
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
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
Gabriela Galeano
Oct 22, 2016 Gabriela Galeano rated it really liked it
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
Sep 19, 2015 Stephen rated it really liked it
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
Sep 27, 2016 Katy rated it liked it
I skimmed a lot and skipped a few chapters... I'm not terribly interested in Metallica, and the "structure" of this book speak to have Metallica as the running thread or center spoke so to speak. It's hard to describe, but it seemed like the author continued to return to their story, or end up relating the other stories back to Metallica. Which is fine, I just didn't care for it. After noticing this trend, I ended up skimming to get past large Metallica chunks, or to chapters like the one on Nor ...more
May 18, 2011 Jarrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 30, 2013 Kristin rated it liked it
While I am sure it is a fantastic anthology of all things metal, I found myself skipping through this book. I was initially excited to learn about the roots of heavy metal, but found the writing to be extremely dull, which is unfortunate given the aggression and passion of the topic it focuses on. I was not around for the 70s or 80s metal hey-days, and the book didn't really make me feel like I missed anything at all. And when I finally got to the portion I really wanted to read about -- 90s met ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Kinetic rated it really liked it
I have loved heavy metal ever since my father introduced me to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. From there, I traced my own path of musical discovery, eventually finding my favorite band, Metallica. What I enjoyed about this book is its approach to the birth and evolution of a musical culture - not merely a time line of dry facts, but rather a narrative rooted in social context and individual souls, and how they influenced one another. This book has also encouraged me to explore other bands that ...more
Renato Maschetto de Sa
Dec 29, 2012 Renato Maschetto de Sa rated it liked it
Shelves: music
This is a great book but, as other readers may agree (for good or bad), it focus too much on Metallica, basically relating all the evolution in Metal to Ulrich and Hetfield. Not that I totally disagree or try to minimize their importance to the genre, but the author kind of builds his case around Metallica only (or mainly). Other bands had their importance, and he "fails" to explore that. There is very little space for Judas and Maiden. Yes, he mentions them all over the book, but bits and piece ...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.” 7 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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