Released on Friday 13 February 1970, Black Sabbath’s deranged self-titled debut is widely credited with the birth of metal. That’s 50 full years of the genre’s substantial density bearing down on us all. Which is in anybody’s measure a shedload of heaviness. But what actually defines the ‘heavy’ in heavy metal? If you were foolhardy enough to attempt to distil its essence, what are you actually left with? (We’re not entirely sure, but we know it’s going to be black and sticky).
Subtitled How Metal Changes The Way We See The World, seasoned metal head journalist Dan Franklin’s book attempts to assess the rarely explored full cultural impact that heavy metal music and its aesthetic has had on society.
In order to give the genre the serious meaning he craves, Franklin adventurously explores any number of avenues, looking into the wider cultural landscape of books (Lord Of The Rings), films (Mad Max 2) and art (gothic horror). He even delves into the past for historic instances of ‘metal’ behaviour – as, let’s face it, the ‘Black Death’ can’t be that far removed from the mosh pit at Download Festival.