The 15 Best Heavy Metal Books

9 min read

Heavy metal music has been a popular genre for decades, captivating audiences with its intense sound and wild energy. For fans of this musical style, there are many books available that offer insight into the history and influences behind heavy metal culture. From autobiographies to photography collections, these titles explore how this musical movement has shaped our world today. Whether you’re looking to learn more about your favorite bands or want to discover new acts, these best heavy metal books will provide an entertaining read full of incredible stories and stunning visuals.

  1. Sound of the Beast

    Sound of the Beast
    Ian Christe
    Published in 2004

    Sound of the Beast is a comprehensive and engaging look at heavy metal over the last 30 years. Ian Christe, who has written hundreds of articles on this genre for various publications, takes readers on an exploration through bootlegging beginnings to MTV hair metal and beyond. This is one of the best heavy metal books, with interviews from members of iconic bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Slipknot included in its pages, providing insight into both the personalities that created it as well as their music’s growth in popularity. It also touches upon controversies associated with certain artists such as black metal murders or courtroom issues faced by some popular acts. This exhaustive overview offers detailed accounts of key albums/songs released between 1970-2003 as well as definitions for lesser known subgenres within heavy metal culture. Sound of the Beast is perfect reading material for any fan interested in understanding more about how this musical form evolved to become one of today’s most beloved genres worldwide.

  2. Confess: The Autobiography

    Confess: The Autobiography
    Rob Halford
    Published in 2020

    Rob Halford, the iconic frontman of renowned heavy metal band Judas Priest, offers an insightful and candid look into his extraordinary five-decade career in Confess: The Autobiography. This honest memoir is full of deadpan Black Country humour as he recounts the highs and lows of life on tour with the legendary rockers – from run-ins with celebrities like Madonna to struggles with addiction and coming out. With remarkable candor, Halford bares his soul for readers as he details how music has helped him overcome a tumultuous past filled with personal tragedy. Readers will be touched by this inspiring story that celebrates not only Heavy Metal but also courage, hope and redemption – it’s sure to leave you feeling uplifted!

  3. The Decade That Rocked: The Photography Of Mark “Weissguy” Weiss

    The Decade That Rocked: The Photography Of Mark
    Mark Weiss, Richard Bienstock, Eddie Trunk, Rob Halford
    Published in 2020

    The Decade That Rocked: The Photography Of Mark “Weissguy” Weiss is a comprehensive, career-spanning collection of never-before or rarely seen photos from the 80s hard rock scene. Featuring 700+ photographs and interviews with some of music’s greatest icons, including Ozzy Osbourne, Dee Snider, Nikki Sixx and Joe Perry – this book truly captures the spirit and energy behind one of rock’s most iconic eras. With exclusive stories straight from photographer Mark ‘Weissguy’ Weiss himself that span his unbelievable journey around the globe photographing legends like Van Halen, Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe to Bon Jovi & KISS – it is easy to see why readers ranked him as rock’s top photographer in Creem Magazine during that decade. This retrospective look at an artist who helped define a generation will leave you feeling inspired by Mark’s drive for greatness captured through his lens. An absolute must-have for any fan wanting relive those golden days!

  4. The Heavy Metal Guitar Bible

    The Heavy Metal Guitar Bible
    Mr Rob Thorpe, Mr Joseph Alexander
    Published in 2016

    The Heavy Metal Guitar Bible is an excellent reference book for guitarists of all levels. With 277 pages, it contains three best-selling books in one: Heavy Metal Rhythm Guitar, Heavy Metal Lead Guitar and Progressive Metal Guitar. The 360+ musical examples are accompanied by audio to help readers understand each concept and technique with licks, riffs and solo studies included. Fundamental Changes have written the most popular guitar books on Amazon with over 150,000 copies sold worldwide which should give any reader confidence that they’re getting top quality tuition from this publication. Every aspect of metal playing is covered – from picking hand dexterity to tone development; melodic lead work to neoclassical style file writing; advanced techniques to odd meter cross rhythms – making this a comprehensive guide along the path towards heavy metal greatness!

  5. Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography

    Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography
    Ronnie James Dio, Mick Wall, Wendy Dio
    Published in 2021

    Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography, is an instant national bestseller written by legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio who achieved multi-platinum success in three bands. Written with esteemed music writer Mick Wall, it details his remarkable life from upstate New York to Madison Square Garden and provides a frank account of his collaborations with Ritchie Blackmore and Black Sabbath, as well as the formation of his own band – DIO. It also looks back on the friendship that gave him a start in music; luck that led to Rainbow’s birth; chance meeting made him second singer of Black Sabbath; and tender story behind Devil Horns symbol. This book overflows with moving coming-of-age tales, glorious stories of excess, candid recollections about what happened backstage at shows, hotels and studios plus 8 page 4 color photo insert making this autobiography a must for any metal fan!

  6. Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Metal Story

    Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Metal Story
    Ika Johannesson, Jon Jefferson Klingberg
    Published in 2018

    Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Metal Story is an expansive narrative of the origins and evolution of extreme metal in Sweden. This book delves into how a small Scandinavian country became a major player on the international music scene due to iconic bands such as Entombed, Dismember and At the Gates. It covers many aspects that propelled this culture forward – from rawer sounds to nihilistic attitudes – while also incorporating humanizing character studies which bring depth to these musicians’ stories. An interesting read for any fan or connoisseur of heavy metal, it provides insightful perspective on the genre’s aesthetic and ideological traits with details about church-burning Satanism and grotesque logos. Blood, Fire, Death: A Swedish Metal Story offers a comprehensive look at one of modern music’s most influential scenes

  7. Biblical: Rob Halford’s Heavy Metal Scriptures

    Biblical: Rob Halford's Heavy Metal Scriptures
    Rob Halford
    Published in 2022

    Rob Halford, lead vocalist of Judas Priest and author of the critically-acclaimed autobiography Confess, brings us yet another riveting book. In Biblical: Rob Halford’s Heavy Metal Scriptures he takes readers behind the stage curtain with a collection of stories, memories and anecdotes about rock music culture from tours to tattoos, riffs to riders, drugs to devil horns. With an open narrative style that is both humorous and insightful – as well as candid accounts about his life in music – this encyclopedia provides fans with an all-access pass into heavy metal history. It transports them back through time where they can relive their record collections while learning lessons on humility and redemption along the way. An essential read for any fan or aspiring musician alike!

  8. Mosh Potatoes

    Mosh Potatoes
    Steve Seabury
    Published in 2010

    Mosh Potatoes is an essential cookbook for rock ‘n’ roll fans, with 147 unique recipes from some of the most iconic musicians. This book includes spicy turkey vegetable chipotle chili from Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron Thal, orange tequila shrimp from Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna and homemade Italian spaghetti sauce and meatballs from Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society. Not only does this collection feature delicious dishes but also intriguing stories alongside each recipe. For those who love to eat as much as they enjoy music, Mosh Potatoes is a must-have! Each page contains inspiring anecdotes that provide insight into the lifestyles of many stars in the industry while delivering mouthwatering meals fit to feed any headbanger. With its entertaining tales that accompany hearty recipes, it’s easy to see why Mosh Potatoes has become a hit among music fanatics everywhere.

  9. Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal

    Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal
    Jon Wiederhorn, Katherine Turman
    Published in 2014

    Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal is an expansive and comprehensive book on the fascinating world of heavy metal. Through hundreds of interviews conducted over a span of 25 years, renowned music journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman have compiled an in-depth chronicle from the people who lived it – including artists, industry insiders, family members, friends, scenesters and groupies. With 48 full colour pages of photographs as well as anecdotes about sex drugs rock & roll lifestyle that permeates every aspect this genre; Louder than Hell delves into the misunderstood universe behind some our most beloved bands such as Black Sabbath to Slipknot offering readers insight like no other. This definitive oral history is sure to captivate both old fans looking back with nostalgia but also new headbangers just starting out alike – resulting in a must read for all those passionate about Heavy Metal Music.

  10. Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries

    Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries
    Jon Kristiansen, Tompa Lindberg, Fenriz, Chris Reifert
    Published in 2011

    Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries is an exhaustive and comprehensive book on the evolution of heavy metal across a quarter century. It includes early candid photos, archival material unseen for decades, exclusive interviews, never-before-seen artwork and historical photographs by editor Jon “Metalion” Kristiansen. This book has been widely praised as one of the best books about metal ever released; its content forms what many refer to as an ‘unholy bible’ for all extreme music fans. Metalions personal stories from his experiences with members of renowned Scandinavian bands serve as introductions in every issue. As well as portraits and Arne Babb’s cartoons, readers will be able to appreciate drawings from various metal musicians who once were zine editors themselves. Those who are familiar with the classic magazine or simply those passionate about underground genres won’t want to miss out on this essential piece – it provides a genuine insight into true metal culture!

  11. Van Halen Trivia Book

    Van Halen Trivia Book
    Dale Raynes
    Published in 2021

    This Van Halen Trivia Book, written by Dan Raynes, is filled with facts and questions that will challenge even the most avid fan. Hours of fun can be had learning about one of the greatest rock bands in history who helped define a genre. It covers topics from throughout their long career, including technical guitar playing from Eddie Van Halen which paved the way for Mötley Crüe and other metal acts. The book also pays homage to some of their more popular hits like “Jump” and “Runnin’ With The Devil”, as well as providing insights into their dynamic live performances. This comprehensive volume offers an entertaining read for music-lovers everywhere looking to test their knowledge on this iconic band or just learn something new!

  12. Iron Maiden – Guitar Tab: 25 Metal Masterpieces

    Iron Maiden - Guitar Tab: 25 Metal Masterpieces
    Iron Maiden
    Published in 2017

    This comprehensive guitar tab book from Hal Leonard covers 25 metal masterpieces from the extensive career of Iron Maiden, one of Britain’s most iconic heavy metal bands. With authentic transcriptions and notes for each song, it is an essential resource for fans looking to hone their playing skills and learn some classic tracks. The tabs are accurate and error-free with sensible fingerings throughout. Some rarely seen songs such as ’22 Acacia Avenue’ make this a must-have item for any student or enthusiast wanting to perfect their renditions of these timeless classics. Guitarists both beginner and advanced will find plenty in this thick volume that they can use to enrich their repertoire. This all-encompassing collection features tracks spanning decades, making it invaluable for anyone who wants to study Iron Maiden’s impressive oeuvre on the fretboard.

  13. Mustaine: A Life in Metal. Dave Mustaine with Joe Layden

    Mustaine: A Life in Metal. Dave Mustaine with Joe Layden
    Dave Mustaine
    Published in 2011

    Mustaine: A Life in Metal, by Dave Mustaine with Joe Layden is a captivating memoir detailing the incredible journey of one of the most influential heavy metal bands ever. This candid and refreshingly honest account follows an extraordinary tale that includes personal highs and lows as well as a revealing insight into two iconic groups; Metallica and Megadeth. The book sheds light on why Mustaine was fired from Metallica, how he recovered his dignity afterwards and went on to further glory with Megadeth. It provides readers with an enlightening look at the struggles endured along this tumultuous road to success – including drug abuse, personality clashes, accidents and more – which only adds depth to its endearing narrative. Those interested in either band or rock music itself will be enthralled by this compelling read that highlights both triumphant victories and crushing defeats through vivid imagery conveyed via exceptional writing style.

  14. The Badass Metallica Trivia Book

    The Badass Metallica Trivia Book
    Dale Raynes
    Published in 2021

    This trivia book is a must-have for any Metallica fan. It covers the band’s history from their formation until 2021 and includes multiple choice questions, true or false statements, interesting facts and stories in each chapter. Readers can test their knowledge of one of metal’s most influential bands with this well-researched collection that is perfect for hosting an at-home game night with friends or as a travel companion on short trips. With its special launch price, The Badass Metallica Trivia Book offers readers an in-depth understanding of the iconic group while providing entertainment through challenging quizzes to determine how much they really know about Metallica!

  15. Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece

    Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece
    Dave Mustaine, Joel Selvin, Slash
    Published in 2020

    Rust In Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece by Dave Mustaine is a captivating and comprehensive account of one of heavy metal’s most iconic albums. This book provides an exclusive look behind-the-scenes into the creation, production, and eventual success or failure of this legendary record. Through interviews with bandmates, producers, friends and family members alike; readers are given insight into all aspects from individual struggles to addiction to financial pressures that faced the group in their attempt for lasting fame. With its foreword by Slash himself, Rust In Peace: The Inside Story serves as a reminder not only of how influential this album was on music history but also on each member’s personal journey throughout it all. A must read for any fan interested in learning more about Megadeth’s incredible talent and perseverance against great odds!

Additional resources

If these heavy metal books were still not enough for you and you’d like to read more, check out the following blogs and websites:

  • Metal Injection offers a wide range of news and reviews about heavy metal.
  • MetalSucks is a popular blog for metal fans, featuring interviews and reviews.
  • Encyclopaedia Metallum is an online encyclopedia of metal bands and albums.
  • Metal Sludge is a website featuring interviews and reviews of metal bands.

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