PLEDGE NOW
The History, Sounds And Politics Of Heavy Metal

The definitive history of heavy metal and what it’s always been about.

A metal fan crowd surfs in a mosh pit during the heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air in Germany. (Philipp Guelland, DAPD/AP)

A metal fan crowd surfs in a mosh pit during the heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air in Germany. (Philipp Guelland, DAPD/AP)

Heavy metal — rock’s dark side — tends to draw a bright line through music fans, through any crowd.

People run to it, or they run away from it.  Fans hear majesty and hard, dark truth.  Un-fans hear rage and noise.  Fans hear nuance — power metal, thrash metal, black metal, nu metal.  Un-fans hear menace.  Well, they should.  To a point.

Up next On Point: A big new oral history works through the roots and meaning of heavy metal music.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, authors of "Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal." (Greg Cristman/HarperCollins)

Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, authors of “Louder Than Hell.” (Greg Cristman/HarperCollins)

Jon Wiederhorn, co-author of “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal.” He’s senior writer at the rock and heavy metal magazine Revolver. (@LouderThanHell)

Katherine Turman, co-author of “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal.” She’s a music journalist and producer for “Nights With Alice Cooper.” (@KatherineTurman)

Robb Flynn, lead vocalist and guitarist for the heavy metal band Machine Head. (@TheGeneralMH)

A Conversation With Machine Head’s Robb Flynn

Flynn described Machine Head’s typical audience, saying, “They were just there to vent their anger in a healthy way, and we were there to give them a soundtrack to do it.”

Flynn also revealed the tragic story behind the song “Aesthetics Of Hate,” which he wrote after the on-stage murder of Pantera’s guitarist:

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal” by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman with permission from It Books / HarperCollins Publisher.

Playlist

Advisory: The following songs contain explicit content.

Tweets From During The Show

From Tom’s Reading List

Definitive Metal Family Tree

NPR: China’s Artist Provocateur Explores New Medium: Heavy Metal — “The man ArtReview magazine named the most powerful artist in the world is trying his hand at rock stardom. In 2011, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in detention. He was later let go and charged with tax evasion. Now, he has released his first heavy metal song, based on his time in police detention.”

The Guardian: Rocking On: When One Heavy-Metal Frontman Is As Good As Any Other — It is hardly a high-risk strategy to replace one incredibly famous singer with another, but there must surely be an element of defiance in the move, as if the remaining Pilots are saying: “Well, the last thing we need is another preening berk with a hot temper. Let’s go for someone utterly inoffensive this time.” Whether or not this new collaboration works and leads to more commercial success for the hardy grunge survivors is another matter, but at least Bennington won’t be guzzling heroin and thumping people for looking at him a bit funny.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 31, 2016
This 2006 colorized scanning electron micrograph image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the O157:H7 strain of the E. coli bacteria. On Wednesday, May 26, 2016, U.S. military officials reported the first U.S. human case of bacteria resistant to an antibiotic used as a last resort drug. The 49-year-old woman has recovered from an infection of E. coli resistant to colistin. But officials fear that if the resistance spreads to other bacteria, the country may soon see germs impervious to all antibiotics. (Janice Carr/CDC via AP)

A new superbug resistant to our antibiotic of last resort has shown up in the U.S. We look at the threat, and our dwindling antibiotic options.

May 31, 2016
In this July 31, 2015, file photo, an orca or killer whale breaches in view of Mount Baker, some 60 miles distant, in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash. ( (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The end of orcas at SeaWorld, McDonald’s using cage-free eggs — should animal lovers be optimistic about a new “humane economy”?

RECENT
SHOWS
May 30, 2016
Rock icon Donald Fagen looks back on a lengthy and ongoing career in his new memoir 'Eminent Hipsters.' He co-founded the classic rock group Steely Dan with Walter Becker in 1972. (Penguin Books USA)

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen talks “eminent hipsters” and the cultural outliers that shaped his sound. He joins us.

 
May 30, 2016
Author and Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy. (Photo by Bob O'Connor / Courtesy The Author)

Strike a power pose. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy on the power of presence when you’re ready to act and win.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Good Internet Comes To Those Who Wait
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remember when we promised you a new website? We meant it.

More »
Comment
 
In The Garden, Mother Nature Makes The Rules
Friday, May 27, 2016

Executive producer Karen Shiffman explains why she turns to her garden for food, friends and natrual comfort.

More »
Comment
 
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment