Book Review: Ian Christe “Sound of the Beast The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal”

Ian Christe
“Sound of the Beast The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal”
(Harper Collins)

This should be required reading for any metal head. It also makes a great contribution to the history lesson that is contemporary music by micro-examining this phenomenon called heavy metal. To list every metal band that has had some kind of impact or influence is a daunting task. The book does an outstanding job of organizing the major players with a timeline starting with Black Sabbath. And rightfully so. Chapters then progress along a timeline explaining the bands and the movements that bring us to today’s metal scene. A little too much time was spent on Metallica, although it is hard to argue against their impact on (at least) American metal. Scattered throughout the book are handy checklists to summarize necessary listening. Like the essential Sabbath albums. Or the 1970’s Protometal bands. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. The MTV Video Bands. Punk Bands. Power Metal. Early Black Metal. Thrash Metal. You get the idea. Metal broken down into its most sub-categorization. You can learn the difference between Metalcore and Grindcore. You can learn the history of the Norwegian Black Metal movement with its killings and church burnings. You can learn the laughable attempts of the PMRC to ban metal in the 80’s. You can basically learn the history of metal. Even if you think you know your stuff, this will round you out. And for the casual metalhead, or the new thrash kid just coming up, learn your roots. This stuff should be taught in schools. But it isn’t. So do your metal homework. Start with this book. And listen to Black Sabbath.

Bushman