Some books you read, toss aside, and promptly forget. Others you take a little more seriously. You reread a book of this second sort and delight in the fresh perspective each new viewing brings. You jot your excited epiphanies in the margins of the book, which for the purposes of this introduction, is a real honest-to-God book made out of paper and glue. You recommend the book to your friends and urge them to read it so that you may discuss it together, even going so far as to lend your dog-eared copy to the more trustworthy of the bunch.

You follow the book on Twitter. You fail at judging your friends’ trustworthiness and have to buy a new copy. In fact, as long as you’re at it, you just buy two new copies so this doesn’t happen again. You make plans to have your favorite excerpts of the book tattooed somewhere on your body. You throw out some feelers on Craigslist to see if anyone else in your area would be receptive to a spiritual movement based on the book’s tenets. You spearhead this movement and successfully file for tax-exempt status.

You know how it is.

Enter Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal — 718 pages of pure, distilled essence of rock ‘n roll. 718 pages is long enough to make anything boring, but Louder Than Hell compels from badass beginning to epic end.

Louder Than Hell

Compiled from twenty-five years’ worth of interviews conducted by journalist and Nights with Alice Cooper producer Katherine Turman and veteran rock journalist Jon Wiederhorn, the history of metal in all its depravity comes straight from the lips of the legends themselves. Ozzy. Dio. Gene Simmons. Rob Halford. Tommy Lee. Metallica. Axl. Slash. Dave Mustaine. Trent Reznor. Marilyn Manson. Imagine having a week-long conversation with your favorite band about the coolest stuff that ever happened to them, and you’ll know a glimmer of what reading Louder Than Hell is like. Trust me: you can’t imagine the kind of shit they got up to.

Come for the incredible tales of sex, drugs, booze, violence, backstabbing, thievery, and lies; stay for the master class in rock history. Louder Than Hell is a fascinating look at the why behind how metal’s evolved over the last forty years. Each subgenre of metal is represented, from British New Wave to thrash metal to nu metal to death metal to metalcore, and there’s even a handy “cast of characters” appendix to help you keep all the players straight.

By the time you reach that 718th page, you’ll know the stories behind how every band you’ve ever listened to got together, broke up, and everything in between, including some of the raunchiest and most irresponsible things I’ve ever seen committed to print. I’m telling you — you have no idea.

Metal’s had a hell of a journey. There’s no better way to learn about it than by reading Louder Than Hell. Even if you’re not a metal fan — but who isn’t? Your grandmother sings along to “Crazy Train” — you won’t be able to look away from the horrific but mesmerizing car accident that was the metal lifestyle, and you’ll get a first-hand rock education along the way.

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Louder Than Hell