Headbanging in the Library

Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Library

Headbanging in the Library

Adjusting to normal life after Memorial Day weekend for me means stepping out of my own version of heaven that is known as Maryland Deathfest. Maryland Deathfest is dubbed "America's biggest metal party of the year" and it is a promise fulfilled time after time.

Thousands of metalheads from all over the world break out their finest studs, spikes, and vests to flock to Baltimore for four days of soul crushing metal... and it is so, so good. Old friends reunite, new friendships form, and the bands bring their A-game, as masters of their craft always will. Metalheads around the world will be telling stories from MDF for the entire year until the next one occurs, and those stories will accumulate every year, for the rest of our lives.

I spend at least a week with the post-MDF blues, until I remind myself that being a metal head is a full time job (read: lifestyle!), not just something that goes on for four days in May. Luckily my other full-time job is working in a library, which is a great place to get books and music (no kidding!). With this in mind, I want to share a few of the awesome resources DC Public Libraries has to offer from the wide world of metal. If you've got a need for speed, we've got your pedal.


Running With the Devil
Running With The Devil is a comprehensive academic look at the sociological aspects of metal music and culture, including identity formation, group sociology, and roles of gender within the metal community.
Lords of Chaos
Lords of Chaos is an unstoppable read about the violently nihilistic birth of Scandinavian black metal.

Michael Moynihan documents the history of the black metal movement, as well as ongoing communications and interviews with the then imprisioned Varg Vikernes and other key members of the early scene.
Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology
Heavy Metal is another great sociological study of heavy metal culture.


Black Sabbath - The Dio YearsBlack Sabbath - The Dio Years
This is a compilation CD of songs from the period of time our beloved lover of rainbows, Ronnie James Dio (rest in peace), was the front man for Black Sabbath.

Of course it has "Heaven & Hell" on it, and you should listen to it on repeat. Or sing it at karaoke every week!
Death - HumanFounded by the nicest man of metal, Chuck Schuldiner (who we also miss dearly), Death has long been recognized as a fundamental key in the origin of the Death Metal sub-genre.

You can download this album for free (3 tracks a week limit!) through 
Freegal, our free music downloading service.
Cough: Ritual AbuseNative Richmonders Cough bring the serious heavy with their release Ritual Abuse. This is how sludge/doom is supposed to sound.

You can also find this album on
While our in house selection of metal CDs is not vast, Freegal does offer the entire Sony and IODA music catalogs for free download. 


Paradise LostI firmly believe every person should see Paradise Lost. This documentary, the first of three, documents the horrific murder of three young boys, and the equally horrific false accusation and imprisonment of three teenage boys, better known as the West Memphis Three. Despite a lack of evidence to implicate them, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly Jr. and Jason Baldwin became the targets of a modern-day witch hunt, all because they listened to metal, wore black, and were "different" than the rest of their community. Each of these young men lost the majority of their childhood, and a significant amount of their adult lives, to false imprisonment. Even upon their release, the court refused to grant them a full pardon, despite new DNA evidence that confirmed their innocence.

When you're done with Paradise Lost, be sure to check out Part 2: Revelations and Part 3: Purgatory from our catalog.
Anvil: The Story of AnvilAnvil: The Story of Anvil is a great movie documenting the not-quite-fame of the Canadian metal band Anvil. While cited as being a strong influence on many metal bands, Anvil never received the major recognition that they worked tirelessly for in their first 30 years.

Interestingly enough, this movie was such a hit it actually helped catapult Anvil into the spotlight that they danced just outside of for the past three decades, and now they are touring and rocking harder than ever!
Heavy Metal in BaghdadHeavy Metal in Baghdad serves to remind us of the importance of music in resistance. This documentary follows the lives of Iraqi metal band Acrassicauda during the Iraq war. It's pretty intense to see their day-to-day lives, and how much additional danger they put themselves in just by daring to play metal music.

Watching this movie makes you truly appreciate the freedom of expression we have in America, but it also serves as a wonderful example of creativity, art, and free voices surviving even the most perilous of conditions.

Outside Resources

Maryland Deathfest Website
Official website for Maryland Deathfest. Enough said.
Map of Metal
With so many sub-genres of metal out there, it can be extremely confusing to sort out exactly what is what. This amazing (and I really mean amazing) interactive Map of Metal explains it all! A word of warning, though: there are videos that play on the map, so you may want to turn your speakers down if you are at work!
DC Heavy Metal
DC Heavy Metal is the definitive guide to every metal show in the NOVA/MD/DC/Baltimore region. Now you don't have an excuse for not showing up. "I didn't know" won't cut it any more!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks! Be sure to check out our Pinterest resource page for additional pieces from the DCPL collection, along with some notable outside resources.

Party on, D.C.!    
-- Jesse Sigman