Sound of the Beast


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 favourite new reality show. Contrary to popular belief, headbangers and the music they love are more alive than ever. Yet there has never been a comprehensive book on the history of heavy metal – until now. Featuring interviews with members of the biggest bands in the genre, Sound of the Beast gives an overview of the past 30-plus years of heavy metal, delving into the personalities of those who created it. Everything is here, from the bootlegging beginnings of fans like Lars Ulrich (future founder of Metallica) to the sold-out stadiums and personal excesses of the biggest groups. From heavy metal’s roots in the work of breakthrough groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to MTV hair metal, courtroom controversies, black metal murderers and Ozzfest, Sound of the Beast offers the final word on this elusive, extreme, and far-reaching form of music.

Reviews:

Publishers Weekly

Few books on heavy metal music can compare to Christe’s thoughtful and passionate history of the music of the beast. There is little argument that heavy metal began in earnest with Black Sabbath (though the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” is considered by some to be the first heavy metal song), and Christe holds to convention and begins his metal timeline in early 1970. Following in the jamming, bluesy tradition of the Yard Birds and Cream, Sabbath (then called Earth) wrote “Black Sabbath”-a song that changed not only the band’s name, but the face of rock and roll. Black Sabbath set the pace, but bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple “fleshed out the edges and gave it sex appeal.” The next wave, the new wave of British heavy metal, saw the emergence of Motorhead, Saxon and Iron Maiden among many others. The movement then spread through America and found most bands cropping up out of L.A.

School Library Journal

Adult/High School-MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, which debuted in 1987, was canceled in 1995-metal was officially “over.” But it has returned to the schedule, and metal is making a comeback. In Christe’s exhaustive history, readers watch metal rise, fall, change, and splinter into a massive number of genres (death metal, black metal, thrash metal, and more). As in David Konow’s Bang Your Head (Three Rivers, 2002), the story begins with Black Sabbath (as if there would be any other choice); but while Konow kept to the well known, Christe gives just as much attention to the fringes. Also unlike Konow, he eschews gossip for almost scholarly explanations of the musicians’ creative process and their works. Through it all, he shows the impact of competing forces (like punk, grunge, and rap). Chapters are arranged chronologically but also by genre, and each one is packed with black-and-white photographs and “genre boxes” that list the definitive recordings, ending with the author’s choice for the 25 best metal albums of all time. The book is well indexed.

 

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