Loud, unapologetic and full of love, Andrew O'Neill's essential and much-needed History of Heavy Metal is as funny and preposterous as this mighty music deserves.
One of the funniest musical commentators that you will ever read. A History of Heavy Metal is a comprehensive, landmark analysis of an enormous area of music that has been too long without such a thing, and has the massive advantage of the funny being turned up to twelve. A loud and thoroughly engrossing love-story.
This, then, is the work of a fan first and foremost, driven by his prejudices and passions . . . a man on a righteous mission to persuade people to "lay down your souls to the gods rock and roll", as Newcastle's Venom would have it.
O'Neill's knowledge is nothing short of impressive. His chronological expedition through the ages, as seen through his own eyes, is backed up by constant witticisms and footnotes of in-jokes and opinions. He has obviously gone to great effort to leave no plectrum unturned in the pantheon of heavy metal.
I simply didn't want it to end . . . reading this book was like suddenly having a mate to go to the pub with and discuss my favourite subject for about fifteen hours. The chapters are packed full of jokes, footnotes and personal anecdotes which are very very funny. But beneath the light tone lies a deep reverence for metal, and beneath that passion lies an encyclopedic knowledge and a balanced approach.