Compiled from over 250 interviews conducted by the long-time music journalists Wiederhorn and Turman over the past 25 years, this work conveys the history of heavy metal through the words of the men and women who created it, played it, re-invented it, and continue to carry the torch for this much-loved and much-maligned subgenre of rock ’n’ roll. Bookended by an introduction by Anthrax’s Scott Ian and an afterword by Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, metal’s lifespan is broken up into chapters that tell the story of metal in chronological order, basically starting with Black Sabbath’s formation in the late ’60s to the death of Slipknot’s Paul Gray in 2010. For those looking for all the classic touchstone moments of heavy metal, they are here, including Ronnie James Dio perfecting the metal “devil horns,” Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat, the debauchery of the L.A. glam scene, Kiss’s Gene Simmons “over 4,600 liaisons,” and Alice Cooper killing a chicken on stage. But the authors dig deeper into the other hard rock—related stories, like black metal death that included Norwegian Count Grishnackh murdering fellow countryman and musician Euronymous, and the Swedish frontman of the band Dissection Jon Nödtveidt “helping to kill” a gay man in 1997. While proponents of classic bands such as Iron Maiden or AC/DC may take issue with the inclusion of rap-rock band Limp Bizkit, alternative act Marilyn Manson, or industrial group Nine Inch Nails in a book about metal, the authors inclusiveness give this examination a weight that is just as heavy as the music. (Color photos not seen by PW.) (May)
“Whether you’re the sort of man who knows everything from who first threw the Devil Horns to the correct pronunciation of Yngwie Malmsteen, there is something fascinating to learn from Louder Than Hell . . . Shed[s] new light on the making of Satan’s Music.”
“Presents the collective memory of heavy metal through the ages and eras in the voices of the men who lived it . . . It’s an aficionado’s delight.”
“A great read and an instant classic.”
“Two devil horns up!”
“As definitive as it gets, bonding historical anecdotes to pieces of debauched mythology from the scene’s platinum superstars and fringe icons . . . as indispensable as a skull-adorned leather jacket.”
A compelling, first-person account of a seemingly unstoppable force . . .the book reads like an extended, uncensored, shockingly satisfying episode of VH1’s Behind the Music.
Often hilarious, occasionally, ‘God, I wish I hadn’t read that!’, sometimes profound, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes infuriating . . . no one holds back on any subject. . . you come away from this book with a crystal-clear vision of this world
“A who’s who of heavy music . . . What makes Louder Than Hell un-put-down-able are the stories . . . Essential.”
“No one’s gone quite as deep into the genre’s recesses as this 746-page oral history, which covers everything from the birth of Black Sabbath to Dave Mustaine’s departure from Metallica to the disaster that was Woodstock ‘99.”
“Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman know metal. Louder Than Hell is an amazing gathering of different breeds of heavy metal rockers telling the tales metal fans want to hear.”
“If you love metal, great stories, and music history told by the people who made it, then Louder than Hell is a must-read. This is the book every metal fan should own.
“Louder than Hell is a love letter to the misunderstood genre of heavy metal music, written by trusted companions who had a front row seat on the devil’s rollercoaster. The definitive chronological testimony by the people who were there, including some who are no longer with us.”
“Louder Than Hell comes straight from the twisted minds of rock icons and flows seamlessly through various eras of heavy metal. . .I really dig this book.”
“This is the best oral history I’ve read since Please Kill Me. Louder than Hell is the first book that really delivers the brutal truth from the mouths of the artists and key players themselves! I couldn’t put it down.”
“An amazingly comprehensive book on all eras and genres of hard rock and heavy metal. The stories and attention to detail make it an instant must for anyone who ever was or is a fan.”
“I’ve said thousands of times that reading ‘totally sucks.’ But this book does indeed not suck. Books on the history of even something as cool as metal can be a bit antiseptic and boring-not this one.”
“Who likes rock n roll here?? Well if you do, this is the book for you! . . . This is the definitive chronicle of all that is heavy metal and I’ve read them all!”
An indispensable oral history of an often misunderstood musical genre. The most important lesson this mammoth tome teaches us is that metal means far more than one might believe. It isn't just Black Sabbath, Slayer, Guns N' Roses and teased hair, write Revolver senior writer Wiederhorn and Nights with Alice Cooper producer Turman. Rather, it's an umbrella under which falls numerous subgenres, including thrash, death and black, oftentimes incorporating and/or encompassing punk, rap, and good, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. This is why a style of music that hasn't completely crossed over to the mainstream more than merits this lengthy, in-depth study. The success of an oral history is primarily dependent on the quality and quantity of interview subjects, and here, the authors lined up a veritable murderer's row of talking heads: Jimmy Page, Henry Rollins, Gene Simmons, Slash, Courtney Love, Kurt Loder, Sharon Osbourne and Dee Snider are among the dozens of high-profile musicians and industry insiders who offer up commentary. The authors also spoke with members of well-known cult bands like Slipknot, Minor Threat and Bad Brains, as well as Type O Negative, Disturbed, W.A.S.P. and Cannibal Corpse. The majority of the interviewees are forthcoming and compelling, which makes for great reading for both hard-core headbangers and general music fans. The anecdotes run the gamut from debaucherous (lots of sex, drugs and violence) to heartbreaking, but there's plenty of factual meat to satisfy readers in search of the history behind the music and the facts behind the myths. The subtitle doesn't lie: This hugely impressive achievement is, without question, definitive. Even if your metal collection consists of a couple of Kiss cassettes and an AC/DC CD, you'll find this a killer read.