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A History Of Heavy Metal by Andrew O’Neill review

It’'s the way he tells ’em

Cover art for A History Of Heavy Metal by Andrew O’Neill

Having performed his stand-up show of the same name everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe to Download festival, the metal and comedy cred of Andrew O’Neill is in no doubt, and really it was just a matter of time before A History Of Heavy Metal was turned into a book.

Telling the tale of his one true love of heavy metal, from its inception and formation (starting at the actual invention of music) to the current state of metal within a changing industry of Bandcamps and a million sub-genres, 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, plus the odd crude illustration – as you’d expect from a lesson in the devil’s music. Unsurprisingly, it’s much more in-depth than his stand-up show. He has obviously gone to great effort to leave no plectrum unturned in the pantheon of heavy metal, and he’s not afraid to voice his views on certain bands and the dire straits of the late 90s.

It’s perhaps not something you’d teach verbatim at Heavy Metal University, although if we could choose our lecturer it would definitely be O’Neill.