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Electric Wizards: A Tapestry of Heavy Music, 1968 to the Present (Paperback)
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From Black Sabbath to Big Black, a ride through the evolution, diversity, and influence of genre-defying heavy music.
It began with the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.” It was distilled to its dark essence by Black Sabbath. And it has flourished into a vibrant modern underground, epitomized by Newcastle’s Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. This is the evolution of heavy music. The voyage is as varied as it is illuminating: from the lysergic blunt trauma of Blue Cheer to the locked grooves of Funkadelic, the aural frightmares of Faust to the tectonic crush of Sleep, alighting on post-punk, industrial, grunge, stoner rock, and numerous other genres along the way. Ranging from household names to obscure cult heroes and heroines, Electric Wizards demonstrates how each successive phase of heavy music was forged by what came before, outlining a rich and eclectic lineage that extends far beyond the usual boundaries of heavy rock or heavy metal. It extols those who did things differently, who introduced something fresh and exciting into this elemental tradition, whether by design, accident, or sheer chance. In doing so, Electric Wizards weaves an entirely new tapestry of heavy music.
About the Author
JR Moores is the resident psych-rock columnist for both the Quietus and Record Collector, and his work has also appeared in the Wire, Guardian, Bandcamp Daily, and Vice.
"As a compendium of leap-off points, Electric Wizards is a mind-riot. . . . Heavy music has deserved its own tome but the only thing heavy about his book is its weight—its tone and style are illuminatingly light and wonderfully convivial throughout. Someone get Electric Wizards on the national music curriculum now."
"Electric Wizards is a good read because it’s constantly analyzing and theorizing—inspiring the reader to follow suit. No matter what your tastes in heavy sounds, you’ll find yourself considering new perspectives and rethinking artists you may have dismissed or overlooked. There have been plenty of superficial, fawning heavy rock histories, so it’s good to finally have one that challenges the reader."
— Ugly Things
"An enthrallingly funny read, and one that's hard to put down despite its girth."
— Record Collector
“A depth-charge exploration to the bloodied heart of heavy. Essential, energetic writing—Moores is the netherworld guide we always needed.”
— Harry Sword, author of "Monolithic Undertow: In Search of Sonic Oblivion"
“Simultaneously hilarious, provocative, and sensitive; wildly entertaining while always getting to the heart of the matter. . . . Just take my goddamned bitcoin already.”
— John Doran, cofounder and editor of the "Quietus"
“This book will open a wormhole in your brain.”
— Joe Thompson, cofounder of the band Hey Colossus
"The landscape of heavy music is vast, its existence is ever evolving. There is no better person to explore its dynamic terrain than Moores."
— Matt Baty, member of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
"Moores covers a rich landscape of sounds. . . . What’s more, he achieves a rare feat in rock criticism of saying something fresh and interesting about the Beatles."
— Dan Franklin, author of "HEAVY: How Metal Changes the Way We See the World"