Emerging from the blues and psychedelic rock of the 1960s and ’70s, heavy metal has been a driving force in music for nearly 50 years — known for its massive sound, extended guitar solos, and unrelenting intensity.
Despite being critically reviled throughout its history, metal has stood the test of time with bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Mötley Crüe achieving legendary status, unfathomable wealth and exerting a profound influence on generations of musicians and fans. Unlike many forms of popular music, whose followers are fickle and transitory, metalheads tend to embrace their favorite bands and follow them over decades. Metal is not only a pastime — it’s a lifestyle.
Written by veteran rock journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal” (It Books; May 14, 2013; Hardcover; $32.50) was assembled from more than 300 interviews with members of Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Van Halen and many others, conducted over a 25-year span. Turman and Wiederhorn dug deep into their extensive list of contacts to uncover never- before-heard stories, eye-opening admissions and the truth behind metal’s most explosive legends. With an introduction by Scott Ian of Anthrax and an afterword by Rob Halford of Judas Priest, this is the book metal fans have been waiting for.
Icons of the genre offer candid and confessional commentary, including: Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson, Eddie Van Halen, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Lita Ford, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Axl Rose, Slash, Dave Mustaine, King Diamond, Kerry King, Philip Anselmo and more. The many musicians interviewed offer their take on their influences, touring, the music business and songwriting, as well as their often-traumatic upbringings, battles with substance abuse and bizarre sexual exploits. Industry insiders (including managers, record label executives, family members, friends, scenesters, groupies, journalists and porn stars) provide additional insight.
“Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal” explores the transformation of metal culture, with stories and anecdotes straight from the mouths of the most infamous and successful bands. Filled with hundreds of revealing interviews representing every type and era of heavy metal — from metal progenitors such as Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, and the MC5 to current day innovators — “Louder Than Hell” is the ultimate look behind the curtain at one of our most dynamic, controversial and enduring musical genres.
Alice Cooper: “This is the book every metal fan should own. A fascinating high-octane chronicle of metal mayhem that takes readers on a wild ride, from metal’s earliest days to the headbanging present. I’m not saying this just because I’m in the book, but . . . if you love metal, great stories, and music history told by the people who made it, then ‘Louder Than Hell’ is a must-read.”