BANG YOUR HEAD: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal

David Konow, Author . Crown/Three Rivers $14 (496p) ISBN 978-0-609-80732-3

In a book that never quite gets rolling, Konow, a writer for Guitar World, sets out to give a timeline of heavy metal while answering "three key questions: what went right, what went wrong, and what the hell happened?" He begins in Birmingham, England, which he argues is the birthplace of heavy metal, with its most popular statesman today, Ozzy Osbourne. As a revolt against the hippie movement and in part to save himself from a life of crime, Osbourne formed Black Sabbath. At the same time, Led Zeppelin formed from the "ashes of the Yardbirds," and after finally gathering enough members (Keith Moon of the Who turned them down, quipping that they'd sink "like a lead zeppelin," which is how Jimmy Page decided on the name), held a jam session. Konow continues in a chronological fashion, briefly sketching band bios, triumphs and downfalls. Without exploiting each band's debauchery or disintegration, Konow covers such other metal acts such as Alice Cooper, Kiss, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Dokken, Def Leppard, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Guns 'n' Roses and many others. The portraits of Alice Cooper and Axl Rose are the most engaging parts of the book. However, the chapters read more like magazine articles than a coherent book. Hardcore metal fans will likely find the book a bit soft and too pop, and they're unlikely to learn any new stories. In the final pages, Konow attempts an analysis of the fall of heavy metal, but by that point, so many bands have risen and fallen that his curt summation is hardly satisfying. This is an inspired personal effort that won't chart. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Open Ebook - 313 pages - 978-0-307-56560-0
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