Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is Heavy Metal?
Heavy metal is a broad genre of music that began in the late 1960's and became especially popular in the 1970's with acts like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Deep Purple, and many more. Subgenres like glam, thrash, death and black metal developed in the 1980's and continue to develop to this day. It is characterized by a loud, aggressive sound featuring distorted electric guitars, dissonant vocals, and often a fast beat. The subject matter of songs can range tremendously depending on genre, but have been known to include themes of rebellion, death, mysticism, and love.
Doing Research About Heavy Metal
The types of sources used for heavy metal research will largely depend on what discipline the researcher is coming from. An musicologist may use Primary Sources (eg, the music itself) and perhaps books and articles from music journals. A sociologist or historian will turn to books and articles as well, but perhaps use other types of primary sources, such as artist interviews and autobiographies. Other types of sources include documentaries, ephemera (fanzines, flyers, photographs), and some websites.
Many sources in this LibGuide are available in the PHSC Libraries. Links to online books and articles will be made available, and the call number will be provided if available in print. However, many sources will not be available immediately and may require interlibrary loan services or a trip to the public library. A good place to start is below, with Reference Articles. Each article is written by an expert in heavy metal studies and will give you a solid basis on which to start your research.
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History
Publication Date: 2005
East Campus Circulation: ML3534 .G754 2005 - 6 vols.
eBook also available.
The six volumes in this set provide narrative chapters on important musicians, writers, producers, trends, genres, concerts, and more within these exciting periods in rock music history.
Icons of Rock by
Publication Date: 2007
East Campus Circulation: ML3534 .S336 2008 - 2 vols.
eBook also available.
Icons of Rock offers a vivid overview of rock's pervasive role in contemporary society by profiling the lives and work of the music's most legendary artists.
Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians by
Publication Date: 1991
East Campus Circulation: ML105 .B16 1992
West Campus Reference: ML105 .B16 1992
Containing more than 15,000 biographies ranging from several lines to eight pages in length, Baker's provides unparalleled coverage of the world's greatest and lesser-known musicians.
Dictionary of Media and Communications by
Publication Date: 2009
Available as eBook
This authoritative reference provides a complete listing of media concepts, figures, and techniques with illustrations and historical commentaries.
Catalog and Databases
Library Catalog - Primo VE
When logging in to the Library's databases or catalog the login information is your PHSC E-mail address and password.
When logging in to My Account in the library catalog Primo VE, choose the SSO - PHSC portal option.
These databases are the next places to continue your research journey. They specialize in scholarly journal articles, which, combined with books and primary sources, are likely going to be most of your research. For more information about specific books and journals to use, click on the Scholarly Sources tab above.
The databases below are general databases, which are meant for all academic disciplines. Generally, you will want to keep your search terms simple, use the advanced search features to apply Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), and limit results to a particular year.
Academic Search Complete (EBSCO)
Academic Search Complete by EBSCO is one of the most comprehensive multidisciplinary databases there are. Whether you want to search history, sociology, musicology, or demonology, you will surely find something here.
Academic Select (Gale Onefile)
Covers everything from art and literature to economics and the sciences. This resource for academic research integrates the full text of publications from across the disciplines and includes vocational/technical titles with a combination of full-text scholarly journals and select general interest titles.
Fine Arts (Gale Onefile)
Fine Arts Collection provides access to scholarly journals and magazines that support research in areas including drama, music, art history, and filmmaking.