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Editorial Reviews


“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.” (Esquire)

“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.” (New York Daily News)

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.” (Mark McGrath, Sugar Ray and co-host Extra)

“A great read and an instant classic.” (The Onion's A.V. Club)

“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.” (Matt Pinfield)

“Two devil horns up!” (USA Today)

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. (Washington Post)

“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.” (Eddie Trunk, DJ and host of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic)

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 (The Huffington Post)

“The authors inclusiveness give this examination a weight that is just as heavy as the music.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A who’s who of heavy music . . . What makes Louder Than Hell un-put-down-able are the stories . . . Essential.” (Revolver (4 stars))

“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.” (Rolling Stone, four stars)

“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.” (Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine)

“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. (Alice Cooper)

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.” (Riki Rachtman)

“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.” (Brendon Small, Dethklok)

“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!” (Chris Jericho, Fozzy)

“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.” (Entertainment Weekly, A-)

From the Back Cover

From Sabbath to Slipknot, Louder Than Hell is the definitive oral history of heavy metal, straight from the mouths of those who defined it. The book was crafted from more than four hundred interviews conducted over the past twenty-five years by music journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman. They have unearthed never-before-heard stories, eye-opening admissions, and the truth behind some of metal’s wildest moments, such as the industrial accident that forever changed the sound of Black Sabbath, the experiences that got Dave Mustaine booted from Metallica, and the bloodletting rituals of death metal bands Morbid Angel and Deicide. Louder Than Hell is packed with raw and unflinching commentary from icons of metal from its inception in the late 1960s to the current day, including Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson, Eddie Van Halen, Tommy Lee, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kerry King, Vince Neil, Axl Rose, Jonathan Davis, Corey Taylor, Pete Steele, Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Dimebag Darrell, and hundreds of others.

From groundbreaking innovations such as the dawn of distortion and the birth of cookie monster vocals to amazing tales of destruction and wild sexual escapades, Louder Than Hell has it all, like the evolution of Judas Priest’s seminal powerchord sound and patented leather-and-studs look; the provocative exploits of the Sunset Strip scene; and the truth behind the Norwegian church burnings and murders that became synonymous with black metal. Discover how Faith No More accidentally created rap-metal and who invented the “devil horns”—and how most people do it wrong.

Louder Than Hell is the definitive look behind the curtain at one of our most dynamic and enduring musical genres. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, how much more metal can you get? None, none more metal.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1 edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006195828X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061958281
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to any true metal head.
I'm not going to completely blame the authors; they took on a gigantic subject within a limited context.
This book was interesting and very informative.
Erik Carr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Runnells on May 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At last, someone has written a smart, thorough and thoroughly readable history of metal! Most metal books read like what they are: Books written by sloppy amateurs who are fans more than writers. The people behind "Louder Than Hell" are established professionals who put a lot of care and love into this book. It's full of stories -- in the band's own words -- about touring, recording classic albums and the general metal scene. Great, great book. I can't recommend it enough. Every metal fan owes it to himself (or herself) to get this one!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rob Ling on July 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I say assembled, because the authors have taken a ton of interviews, and creatively broken them down into context. So it reads as though there are a handful of musicians, roadies, managers, label executives etc... having a conversation about a specific topic as it relates to a specific band, scene at a specific point in time. The transition between these topics is smooth, and flows well. The book takes a chronological path and is fairly thorough. Sure, it isn't going to mention every band, or person involved, but that would be an unreal task. This is a must read for any metal heads out there!
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32 of 43 people found the following review helpful By tim on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of metal in general, have read quite a few biographies on artists, and the genre. I heard about this book a few months back and was pretty excited to read it when I saw it had come out. The excitement dissipated quickly.

This book is 685 pages, and something that is quickly apparent is that is not nearly enough.

I'll start with the bright spots.

Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead lead singer/bassist) doesn't have a bad quote in the book. I think I laughed out loud at everything that was attributed to him. Unfortunately he is pretty much in and out within the first 100 pages, and a lot of his quotes are familiar. I'm not quite sure if he just kind of ran through his gamut of great lines with the authors, or some of his stuff was pulled from previous interviews.

The section dealing with the Florida death metal scene of the late-80's and early-90's was something that I had not read very much about despite an interest in bands like Death, and the scene associated with the "Morrisound". The book does a pretty good job delving into the depth surrounding the bands and the scene. Members of Morbid Angel, Deicide, Hate Eternal, etc...provide an interesting look at how the bands are connected, the thrash roots, and a lot of the mindsets that drove the musicians to their extremes.

The black metal section had a little bit of value to it. Much of it was a very simple rehash of the book Lords of Chaos, but it did provide some more information from Varg Vikernes, on his murder of Euronymous. Whether he is entirely to be believed is another matter, but I really had not read his point of view before. There is a depth to how the whole issue is tackled from the view of other members of Mayhem, as well as others in the scene.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ria Darling VINE VOICE on August 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy metal and feel like I know a decent amount about it but damn this book is a hard read. It's like an oral but academic history of metal. It includes all different genres-classic (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest), the hair bands of the 80s, the big 4 (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth), the British scene, speed metal, punk metal, black metal, techno metal....the list goes on. Honestly, I could have been spared the inclusion of Filter, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy -not that I don't like them, I just think that they didn't really merit a whole chapter.
My main complaint about the book is that is the way it's organized. It starts out chronological and then segments things by genres. It's hard to get a sense of the 'scene' when it's grouped this way-more interesting would have been to see what's going on in the different genres at the same time to see how each evolved. Rather, you get a sense of each sub-genre as a whole but not a complete picture of the scene. The strongest chapter, in my opinion, is the death metal/black metal chapter, toward the end. SO read the above-notice I'm not talking about the great stories that the artists share in the book? About how everyone has a great Dave Mustaine story? Because, much to my surprise, there wasn't much funny about the book. I was expecting there to be a much bigger Spinal Tap factor but there's just...Not. But there's a great debate on the correct positioning of fingers when flashing the sign of the devil (useful and amusing) and details about Rob Halford's struggles as a gay metal God and well done details of Dimebag's last days before he was shot at a show in Columbus. Worth the read but totally academic-it's obvious the author cares about his subject and has researched it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris Reviews on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is really strong on the earlier bands and the height of metal. The stories and characters are amazing and interesting. The ending is weak as it focuses on the later metal scenes and trends and the bands that were part of that era. I don't know if that is because the bands are smaller or just the energy and effort of the writers had run out by the time they reached the end. I'm going to say it is that the bands are smaller and pale imitations of what has come before. Even the decadence was third hand and after the first 10 groupie stories they start to sound pathetic. Overall a fascinating read into some wild characters and wild times in a changing industry. If you like music and want to pull the curtain aside you could do way worse.
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