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8 Rock 'N Roll Horror Books That Will Rock Your Socks Off

They don't call it “The Devil's Music” for nothing. 

black and white photo of a rock n roll guitarist on stage
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  • Photo Credit: Ana Grave / Unsplash

Distorted guitar, double bass, aggressive vocals, and powerfully resonant live shows: rock/metal music has always been a ripe source material for horror.

Whether it be the vampire Lestat using metal to conjure the Queen of the damned or bands like Ghost and Cannibal Corpse using horror imagery and concepts to add to their musical lore, it’s widely seen and often so much that you could say rock/metal and horror are ongoing collaborators. 

We gathered several books that exemplify this so-called parity and collaboration, books that, well, quite simply rock.

So bust out your leather jacket and your electric guitar—then enjoy these eight rock and roll horror books.

Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You

Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You

By Scotto Moore

Scotto Moore’s Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You is a novella that delves into that all-too-familiar feeling of discovering and quickly becoming obsessed with a band.

There’s this band called Beautiful Remorse; they have seemingly shown up on the scene out of nowhere to release successive songs in as little as a week. 

The songs allure listeners, and the effect is, you could say, instantly gripping. It causes a music blogger to dig into the lore and mysterious backstory of Beautiful Remorse, seeking them out while on tour, only to find that the band has a secret up their sleeve.  

The Final Reconciliation

The Final Reconciliation

By Todd Keisling

From the author of Scanlines and Devils Creek, Todd Keisling’s The Final Reconciliation is the perfect pairing of the Robert W. Chamber’s classic, The King in Yellow, complete with all the oddness and mystery that has since become an undying source of intrigue, and the life of a rocker. 

Readers are introduced to the seasoned musician Aiden Cross, who is being interviewed by Miles Hargrove, a producer looking to find more information about how Cross’s band, The Yellow Kings, called it quits.

He proceeds to talk about how their last show fell apart, only to divulge nefarious and otherworldly insights that fans of both all-things life of the musician and The King in Yellow will gobble up, turning the pages with defiant speed. 

Paul Is Undead

Paul Is Undead

By Alan Goldsher

Paul Is Undead is one of those books that you wish you were around when Goldsher pitched the idea. Like the title so boldly states, readers enter a world where the legendary The Beatles are in the throes of a zombie-ridden world.

 Written as an oral history, Goldsher posits the question—what if the Beatles were zombies? John Lennon is an ambitious undead guitarist seeking world domination; he finds, kills, and effectively turns Paul McCartney into a zombie too. 

Together they enlist George Harrison and Ringo Starr to form the unholy undead rocker alliance, poised to take over the world which… I mean, they certainly did.

Goldsher clearly had a lot of fun writing this one, and the same spectacle translates to the reader, producing more than a few twists and turns—even some surprises to catch you off guard. 



By David Peak

Time for some black metal. The infamous subgenre of metal has long been a subject of fascination for those that seldom delve into the world of worship and rage.

David Peak conjures a tale that manages to play with a lot of the themes and concepts found in black metal without bogging down the story for those who may be unfamiliar. 

The band Angelus Mortis has experienced success while also enduring countless hiccups along the way. They secured a fan base and reputation with albums like their debut, Henosis, and follow-up Fields of Punishment, yet internally the band hasn’t exactly been vibing. 

The vocalist and frontperson, Strigoi, has his own reputation. Readers can expect to see just how deep the infamy goes, and how the temptations of success can often match the themes that drove black metal to become so ominous and otherworldly.  

Wylding Hall

Wylding Hall

By Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall is equal parts music meets a haunted house story. Here we are introduced to the acid-folk band Windhollow Faire on the verge of recording their next album.

Like many bands feeling the pressure to produce something, they seek out seclusion where they can not only get motivated but also to be left alone to record. 

They end up at an old country house called Wylding Hall, which they hope will inspire them. But just as they get started, their lead singer Julian Blake disappears, forcing the rest of the band to search for him only to end up dredging up the secrets of the abode. 

A Lush and Seething Hell

A Lush and Seething Hell

By John Hornor Jacobs

Acclaimed and seasoned horror author John Hornor Jacobs offers two short novels in A Lush and Seething Hell, which includes the novellas “The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky” and “My Heart Struck Sorrow.” The former delves into a tale about Rafael Avendano, an exiled poet, a friendship between the poet and a woman named Isabel, and the complex political conditions of living in a dictatorship. 

The latter story, “My Heart Struck Sorrow,” tells the tale of a grief-stricken librarian tasked with sorting through the estate of a recently deceased philanthropist.

Among all the files and documents is a memoir about two men who traveled around America in search of folk songs to collect. Of course, there’s one that they discover a music recording with what may have nefarious origins. 

The Scream

The Scream

By John Skipp

The Scream tells the tale of the eponymously named band, a heavy metal act of increasing popularity and, as is often the case, notoriety.

Everything about the band is devilish, dark, and dastardly; they are the epitome of the heavy metal cult phenomenon, complete with nods to the Devil and violent madness. 

A true relic of the era of the 80s, when heavy metal was under threat of censorship, Skipp and Spector paint a familiar picture of a band being slapped with lawsuits, a band that is misunderstood, and a band that decides to go the heavy metal way and instead of being burdened by the controversy, they turn to what they know: They decide to raise the horns and rock out.  

We Sold Our Souls: A Novel

We Sold Our Souls: A Novel

By Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix is a master of horror that has found his own unique blend of humor and horror, page-turning excitement with burgeoning chills.

In his 2018 novel, We Sold Our Souls, Hendrix offers a tale that deftly chronicles the adoration for heavy metal culture. 

The band Dürt Würk is on the verge of hitting the big-time when one of its members, vocalist Terry Hunt, finds success all on his own as a solo act.

Bummer, because now the band is without their pivotal vocalist and essentially without a key ingredient that made the band what it was. As is often the outcome of many a musician, the members end up working uneventful jobs, making ends meet in equally uneventful lives. 

Of course, as the title implies, success can often be at the expense of something. In this case, the band finds out that it might in fact be one’s soul.

A maybe-soulless Terry, the same guy who ruined their lives, becomes the spark that might just get the band back together after all.  

Featured image: Ana Grave / Unsplash