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Heavy Reviews

Heavy by Dan Franklin

Heavy

How Metal Changes the Way We See the World

Dan Franklin

3.20 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Constable
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 13 Feb 2020
ISBN: 9781472131058

A fascinating investigation into what defines 'heavy' in music and how heaviness transfuses culture.

4 stars out of 5
Elif Shafak
20 Dec 2020

"Dan Franklin discusses its great, enduring cathartic power — as well as its use by the US military as a weapon in Iraq"

Why is heavy metal still beloved? Because it is not a fashion, a trend that comes and goes, a fleeting number on the charts. You can listen to an internationally popular band and the next minute you can switch to an obscure little band within the same wavelength. Heavy metal is alive because it hits us where it hurts the most. Because it is heavy and noisy and full of contradictions, like life itself.

 

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
21 Apr 2020

"For the disaffected youth in your life, whatever their age, it will go down a treat"

Critically analysing a book like this, I feel like a killjoy, but I am a musicologist, so . . . Tethering his book to the heavy thesis (metal is the art of heaviness) doesn’t allow Franklin to explore how often metal’s strongest quality is actually its levity: the music’s buoyant dark carnival, a flow of masks intensifying the ridiculous situation of being alive. Credo quia absurdum, went an old Christian tenet: “I believe because it is absurd.” So it is with metal. Small caveats aside, Heavy is tremendously entertaining, and it will have you rushing to YouTube to educate yourself on Primitive Man and company.

3 stars out of 5
Victoria Segal
15 Mar 2020

"Heavy opens an ornate portal into a murky subculture"

In Heavy, the music writer Dan Franklin explores why some people are drawn to such artful transgression and what purpose it serves. It’s not a conventional history: he has little interest in teasing out a taxonomy of “metal” prefixes — speed, death, doom, black — nor is he concerned with the sex-and-drugs mayhem featured in Hammer of the Gods, the Led Zeppelin history. Instead he works thematically, showing how heavy music can be a symbolic “bloodletting” for sensitive souls, a way to bypass normality’s docile plod and grapple with the human condition by tunnelling into religion, human frailty and death.