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

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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.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.