These early bands made famous songs that people still love today. Fans around the world can’t seem to get enough of this genre of music. People from various works of life have come to love this brand of music, including very cerebral authors. So, if you like heavy metal, there are special books just for you, written by a fan just like you. This Christmas, we made a list of these books. They show you different parts of rock and heavy metal. From “The Decade That Rocked” which has cool pictures of rock bands from the past, capturing what that time was like to Ronnie James Dio’s autobiography, “Rainbow in the Dark“, which tells his true stories, these books shine a brighter light and takes a unique look at “The 10 Books for Rock and Heavy Metal Fans this Christmas”.
Each in our list of Rock and Heavy Metal books gives you a special look into heavy metal’s culture, history, and the amazing music that makes it unique. Have fun reading and discovering the stories behind the music you love. Let’s begin!
Which are the best Rock and Heavy Metal books for Christmas?
- The Decade That Rocked
- Van Halen Rising
- Heavy Metal and Weights
- Louder Than Hell
- Rainbow in the Dark
- Electric Wizard
- Heavy Metal Lead Guitar
- The Art of Metal
- Heavy Metal Islam
The Decade That Rocked
Mark Weiss’s new book, “The Decade That Rocked“, showcases photos of ’80s hard rock legends like Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mötley Crüe. According to Sebastian Bach, Mark Weiss has set a new standard for rock ‘n’ roll books, praising the detailed and high-quality content. Gene Simmons acknowledges Weiss as the real deal. Gene said, “Mark is the real deal. He may not play the guitar, but that camera is his guitar. He’s a rockstar.”
Dee Snider highlights Weiss’s energy, creativity, drive, positive attitude, and enthusiasm, which contribute to his rock photography legacy. Rob Halford notes that Weiss’s pictures convey as much as the music itself. Alice Cooper emphasizes Weiss’s unique position as one of the guys rather than just another photographer. Joe Perry credits Weiss for capturing the band’s energy with instinct and technical talent.
Screamer Magazine commends “The Decade That Rocked” for breaching an intimate level that many music photographers lack today. Each photo in the book reflects the trust and synergy between Weiss and the musicians, capturing the essence of both live performances and behind-the-scenes moments. Mark “Weissguy” Weiss is recognized for setting an unmatched standard in rock photography.
“Hellraisers” is co-written by Axl Rosenberg and Chris Krovatin; it features band interviews, over 200 photos, genre-specific playlists, and more to keep you immersed in metal all night long. In this book, you will read through metal music’s history, starting with pioneers like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The book also touches modern styles such as experimental black metal, stoner doom, and djent. “Hellraisers” book provides a superfan’s perspective on metal’s most hardcore and innovative sounds enjoyed globally – from classic acts like AC/DC and Anthrax to contemporary favorites like Meshuggah and Mastodon.
Van Halen Rising
The “Van Halen Rising” book covers the early years of Van Halen, featuring 230 interviews. The book features former bassist Michael Anthony and key figures like Pete Angelus, Marshall Berle, Donn Landee, Ted Templeman, and Neil Zlozower. Described as “fascinating” even for non-Van Halen fans, the book is praised for its anthropological level of detail by Vulture. The Rolling Stones called it “a fascinating read” and notes the tale of hardworking kids fusing pop and heavy metal into a groundbreaking sound.
Ted Templeman, Grammy-winning producer for Van Halen, calls the book fantastic, and original MTV VJ Martha Quinn recommends it for die-hard Van Halen fans. Ted Templeman said, “If you’ve got it bad, got it bad, got it bad for Van Halen, get Van Halen Rising.”
Historically, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen exploded onto the rock scene with their 1978 debut, selling over a million copies and reshaping the genre. “Van Halen Rising” uncovers the untold story of their journey from Pasadena, California, to global superstardom, combining
thorough research and original interviews.
Heavy Metal and Weights
In “Heavy Metal & Weights“, Jason shares his journey of intertwining his two main passions: Heavy Metal and weightlifting. Imagine pumping iron in sync with screaming guitars – that’s workout perfection according to Jason. Discovering his love for both Heavy Metal and lifting weights early on, Jason didn’t just want to be a fan; he wanted to actively participate. So, he picked up a guitar, taught himself to play, and honed riffs from bands like Megadeth and Metallica while sculpting a strong physique.
In this unique story, Jason takes you on his journey from childhood to mastering these passions and how they complement each other. Beyond his personal tale, he shares insights on pursuing your own passions while maintaining a healthy physique. As a bonus, Jason provides his tried-and-true workout plan for building muscle and strength. What’s more, Jason has recorded two Heavy Metal albums and a workout-focused single, giving you the perfect soundtrack for your exercise sessions.
Louder Than Hell
“Louder Than Hell” by music journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman is the ultimate oral history of heavy metal. Over the past 25 years, they’ve conducted hundreds of interviews with the giants of the genre. Unlike other music genres, metal fans are known for their enduring loyalty, following their favorite bands for decades. For metalheads, it’s not just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle and a deep obsession that permeates every aspect of their lives.
This book, “Louder Than Hell“, mentions the cultural phenomenon of metal and explores the enduring appeal of this often misunderstood genre. The book contains 250 interviews featuring major metal bands like White Zombie, Slipknot, and Twisted Sister. The authors provide insights from industry insiders, family members, friends, scenesters, groupies, and journalists. Lastly, “Louder Than Hell” features 48 pages of full-color photographs, the book stands as an examination of heavy metal’s cultural impact and its enduring legacy.
Rainbow in the Dark
An instant national bestseller, “Rainbow in the Dark” is the long-awaited autobiography of Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie James Dio is an icon in the heavy metal musical world and the frontman for three legendary bands—Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio. Dio had been working on this autobiography before his untimely death in 2010. He reflects on his journey from upstate New York to the grand stages of the world, with Madison Square Garden serving as the poignant starting and ending point.
The narrative begins with Dio contemplating the achievement of his dream at Madison Square Garden and the key aspects that shaped his life. Dio also shares the luck that birthed Rainbow and the challenges of collaborating with Ritchie Blackmore. He narrated his humble beginnings when he played at parties, bars, frats, and clubs with a close gang of friends to the unexpected transition to the microphone that altered the course of his life. The autobiography also covers the meeting that made him the second singer of Black Sabbath. Dio candidly discusses the creation of the Devil Horns, his marriage to Wendy, and how he formed his band – Dio.
Co-written with his longtime friend of thirty years and respected music writer, Mick Wall, who took on the task after Dio’s passing, “Rainbow in the Dark” is a frank, startling, often humorous, and sometimes somber testament to dedication and ambition. Filled with moving coming-of-age stories, tales of excess, and candid recollections of backstage moments, hotel stays, studio sessions, and personal experiences behind closed doors, the autobiography provides an intimate look into Dio’s life both on and off the stage.
“Electric Wizards” takes you through the evolution and influence of heavy music. The book starts with the Beatles‘ “Helter Skelter” and moves on to modern sounds. Readers will come across everything from the Blue Cheer to the locked grooves of Funkadelic, and from the Faust to the tectonic crush of Sleep. This book also covers post-punk, industrial, grunge, stoner rock, and various other genres. It shows a rich and eclectic lineage that extends beyond the usual of heavy rock or heavy metal. “Electric Wizards” highlights heroes and heroines, illustrating how each phase of heavy music was shaped by what came before. The book extols those who brought something fresh and exciting into the elemental tradition, whether by design, accident, or sheer chance. The “Electric Wizards” book celebrates those who dared to do things differently and introduces readers to the rich history of a genre that constantly evolves and defies expectations.
Heavy Metal Lead Guitar
Mastering metal lead guitar soloing becomes easy with “Heavy Metal Lead Guitar.” Packed with over 100 pages, this book is a comprehensive guide to essential modern licks, techniques, and full solos. Covering heavy metal and rock guitar soloing styles inspired by legends like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Extreme, Megadeth, and more. Heavy Metal Lead Guitar Features 130 recorded audio examples in standard notation and tab.
While many guitar soloing books focus solely on building technique, “Heavy Metal Lead Guitar” takes a different approach. It not only teaches essential techniques but also roots each one in hundreds of relevant musical examples. The book includes full, authentic solo studies that integrate each technique into a song. Beyond technique and licks, it guides you to be creative and musical in your soloing. The book provides advice on phrasing, context, melody, dynamics, and contouring solos.
The Art of Metal
Metal music wouldn’t be the same without its artwork. The colorful visuals that accompany album artwork, posters, and iconic logos play a crucial role in the genre’s impact. When you think of “heavy metal”, no other music genre conjures such vivid and distinctive images. From its beginnings in the 1960s to today’s giants, metal art has been intricately linked to music. Every classic album brings to mind an identifiable cover, and every great band has a recognizable logo.
Today, the art that once served to package metal has become an entity of its own. What started as a way to present metal has evolved into a visual history reflecting the genre’s evolution. The “Art of Metal” book covers how metal art has shaped and defined each subgenre. It explores the relationship between the music and its visual representation.
Heavy Metal Islam
Mark LeVine’s book on sub- and countercultural music in the Middle East has been reissued with updates. The book, titled “Heavy Metal Islam“, features a new preface by the author. Originally published in 2008, “Heavy Metal Islam” explores the influence of Western music on the Middle East and North Africa through interviews with musicians and fans. LeVine introduces readers to young people grappling with the challenge of reconciling their religion with a deep passion for music and a thirst for change. It contains Mark’s conversation with the band “The Kominas” and complex connections between extreme music and Islam.
The book introduces us to individuals like an eighteen-year-old Moroccan who loves Black Sabbath, a twenty-two-year-old rapper from the Gaza Strip, and a young Lebanese singer quoting Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song“. In the Muslim world, heavy metal, punk, hip-hop, and reggae are considered the music of protest and are often deemed immoral. As anticipated by the young people and subcultures featured in LeVine’s work, the book shows that heavy metal music has become the soundtrack of countercultures, uprisings, and even revolutions across the Muslim-majority world. The book captures contemporary cultures in the Muslim-majority world through musical scenes. It contains narration by musicians, scholars, and activists with LeVine’s experiences.
This is our list of the best books for rock and heavy metal for Christmas! If you think we’ve left some of the best books in this genre out of the list, leave it in the comments below!