Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music
by Robert Walser
254 pages. Wesleyan. $14
Aimed at the most popular examples of heavy metal, this analysis peers into issues of gender and power as ethnographic vectors of impetus toward participation in the metal genre. The interpretations of reasoning and ideologies behind music, while limited to less than self-articulate examples in many cases, are the strength of this book.
Black Sabbath: An Oral History
by Mike Start and Dave Marsh
128 pages. Harper Perennial. $
A reasonable account of the early days of metal and its slow descent out of the hippie and biker positive hedonism of the day into a new and darker persona. Extensive material on Sabbath personalities and attitudes regarding the creation and presentation of their music.
Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison and the Doors
by John Densmore
336 pages. Delta. $13
A useful prescience about politics in dark themed bands can be derived from the lessons learned in this recounting of the rise and fall of the Doors and their enigmatic vocalist Jim Morrison. Densmore is under the grip of Catholic morality and while recognizing it is unable to vanquish it, but it colors the book less than his stunning first-person viewpoint on the action.
Metalheads: Heavy Metal Music and Adolescent Alienation
by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett
208 pages. Westview Press. $34
A sociological study of 100 metalheads including profiles and brief analytical pieces on various aspects of relatively mainstream metal culture. Reasonable and deliberately overindulgently just, this work attempts to find a parent’s view of why children who hate society, religion, and conformity turn to metal.
Rocking the Classics : English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture
by Edward L. Macan
320 pages. Oxford University Press. $33
Delving into the world of progressive rock in a context of cultural development through history, this book explores the motivations and musicology of progressive rock with a broad but well targetted research base.
Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture
by Deena Weinstein
368 pages. Da Capo Press. $14
A broadly inclusive view at the public perception of heavy metal and its fans which, although limited to mainstream music, captures the unstable origins of modern metal, this book provides a solid foundation for Weinstein’s comments on metal.
Are You Morbid?
by Tom G. Warrior
360 pages. Sanctuary Publishing. $
Although somewhat scattered in focus due to its intense immersion in the personality of the writer and the human emotions of its band, this book establishes the intent of Celtic Frost and its predecessor, Hellhammer, and explains the philosophies of unified concept and music as a presentation of the ideology and desires of an artist (stranded in a mortal body). While conversational in text and often tedious, this retelling answers many fundamental Hessian questions.
20th Century Rock N Roll: Heavy Metal
by Martin Popoff
192 pages. Collectors Guide Publishing Inc. $
A somewhat distanced view of metal as rock music, this book brushes over many of metal’s strengths en route to a discussion of its commonality with popular music.
Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology
by Deena Weinstein
331 pages. Lexington Books. $
A reasonable summary of most academic study so far, which indulges heavy metal as an extreme offshoot of rock in which rebellion is the prime goal and the fundamental ceremony is the concert. These failings aside, there is very perceptive research here on the origins of heavy metal and the personalities within its culture. The latter is most informative of all aspects in this book and is Weinstein’s strength as a writer.
The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal
by Martin Popoff
544 pages. Collectors Guide Publishing Inc. $
Short reviews talking about the emotions and social significance of heavy metal bands are Popoff’s strength, and he through a fragmented view into hundreds of bands reveals a culture in transition. Including a reasonable small selection of underground metal.