"Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal" Book (Three Rivers Press; 2002)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Author David Konow has written for Guitar World, Creative Screenwriting and Psychotronic. He also authored the book “Schlock-O-Rama: The Films of Al Adamson.” Since I’ve been writing for Rough Edge (and thanks to Editor R. Scott Bolton for letting me), I’ve listened to more music this last year than I did when I was blasting it through my 1970 Buick Skylark’s cheap speakers during my “metal years.” I loved the music of the 80s; there were girls, the guitars and, if you were in a band, you were golden.

If you read my reviews then you know I require a great guitar solo. It doesn’t have to be blistering, but it has to be good. Those things take me back to my youth, back to the things that have a memory attached to an emotion. You can talk with people from the 80s and they will always say, “Man, that was some great music.”

Konow’s book chronologically starts with the earliest bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as the roots that sprung the sound of heavy metal. Some delicious apples fell from the tree of music during that time. He also notes that music is ever evolving. The 50s sound gave to the 60s and to the 70s as well. But the 90s did not pull from the 80s. They just crushed it, un-tuned it and basically killed it and it never revived itself. 

Maybe the fast lane was replaced by the HOV lane. Who knows? David Konow spent three years interviewing everybody and anybody who wanted to talk about the greatest party music ever made: heavy metal. If you want to read a history that tabloids just tried to make money from, than this book could be your musical bible. It’s 496 pages of grit and dirt and then there are the stories you might not have ever known. I walked away a little more enlightened than when I started.

Anyone interested in the history and influence of metal should read this book.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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