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Metal Music Research: Home

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.

Research Starters

PHSC Databases

All Databases

You will find an A-Z list of databases you can search

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.

You can search Primo, the library catalog using the box below.

Library Catalog Search



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. 

Chat With a Librarian


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Janet Schalk - PHSC Libraries
Librarian, Pasco-Hernando State College
Porter Campus, C 426 (Library)
(813) 527-6693