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10 Albums to Listen to While Reading

Updated on August 26, 2012
The cover of Led Zeppelin's fourth album- featured in this Hub.
The cover of Led Zeppelin's fourth album- featured in this Hub. | Source


As an avid music listener, I often enjoy reading while listening to certain albums. In this article, I have compiled ten excellent albums that I think are nice to listen to while reading a book. These aren’t necessarily my favorite albums by each band, but all of them are decent releases. I have fewer reasons for some of these being on here, but I have tried my best to describe why these albums are so awesome for reading. Let me say now that this list is not ordered in any way- it’s just some albums that came to mind when I was thinking of this subject (I'll likely think of many more after I publish this!).

Ensiferum- Iron

The second album by the band has a song for every moment in a great book. There are mellow songs, long and elaborate songs, and songs that literally feel like a climactic fight between good and evil. Some of the songs are heroic (“Iron”), while others (“Slayer of Light”, anyone?) are villainous. Iron also has that great fantasy-like atmosphere while still being real and emotive at the same time. It’s not quite as good as the debut album by the band, but I think that it suits reading a bit better than that album would.

Recommended songs: “Lai Lai Hei”, “Tale of Revenge”, “Sword Chant”, “Iron”, and “Lost in Despair”.

Led Zeppelin- IV

Led Zeppelin IV is not my favorite album from the band, by far actually. Almost for this reason, it’s one of the better of their albums to read to. It’s definitely one of those albums that can be enjoyed without giving it all of your attention. Songs like the famous “Stairway to Heaven” and “The Battle of Evermore” paint lush pictures that are good for accompanying a large variety of books. In fact, the latter (and the song “Misty Mountain Hop”) actually contain some Lord of the Rings references.

Recommended songs: “Black Dog”, “Misty Mountain Hop”, “The Battle of Evermore”, “When the Levee Breaks”, and “Stairway to Heaven”.

Nirvana- Bleach

This is one of those albums that I have fewer reasons for choosing. I don’t know… it just has that special something that goes well with a good book. Perhaps it’s the happy dreariness of the whole release, or maybe it’s because the songs are so simple while still being extremely effective. It doesn’t matter really- just know that Bleach is a very nice album to read a book along to.

Recommended songs: “Blew”, “Floyd the Barber”, “About a Girl”, “Sifting”, “School”, and “Paper Cuts”.

Nightwish- Angels Fall First

I chose this one particularly for the pretty atmosphere and the fantastic sense of dynamics that the band has. There are heavy hitting songs, soft folksy ballads, and everything in between. The lyrics are also derived from fantasy books and movies, which has to count for something. Anyway, this album is also one of those fantastic albums that can be appreciated in two different ways: by giving it your full attention or by listening to it as background music. Personally, I love hearing it both ways.

Recommended songs: “Elvenpath”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Astral Romance”, “Angels Fall First”, “Tutankhamen”, “Know Why the Nightingale Sings?” and “Lappi (Lapland)”.

Metallica- ...And Justice For All

…And Justice For All is an album I don’t really listen to that much anymore. However, I have fond memories of putting this one on while reading a nice book. I think it’s the complex, but passive nature of the songs. Maybe it was so boring that I had to listen to it while reading (not really, haha!). This is another one where I have few reasons to back my claim up, but it really does work.

Recommended songs: “…And Justice For All”, “To Live is to Die”, “Harvester of Sorrow”, and “Blackened”.

Black Sabbath- Sabotage

I picked this because of the droning nature of the lengthier songs, and the beauty of songs like “Symptom of the Universe”. The album Master of Reality is a good contender for this position too, but ultimately Sabotage won out. It’s an eclectic mix of songs, ranging from very heavy to extremely soft. Some of the songs are rather progressive, while others are quite simple.

Recommended songs: “Symptom of the Universe”, “Hole in the Sky”, “Supertzar”, “Megalomania”, and “The Writ”.

Eluveitie- Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion

I put this on here specifically for anyone who might like acoustic-y music. I usually prefer a heavy guitar in my music, but Eluveitie’s acoustic album is pretty good for the purpose of ‘listening while reading’. The range of emotions is actually pretty impressive- something I didn’t realize for awhile. There are a few slower tracks, and a few upbeat tracks, and also a few that could have been remixed as heavy metal songs. So there’s a pretty good variety of songs, and it can all be appreciated while reading your favorite novel.

Recommended songs: “Brictom”, “The Arcane Dominion”, “Memento”, “Dessumiis Luge”, “Carnutian Forest”, "Gobanno", and “The Cauldron of Renascence”.

My review of this album:

Thergothon- Stream from the Heavens

Stream from the Heavens is easily the weirdest album on this list, and likely won’t appeal to many people. To me, it’s a landmark and ‘underground’ classic. If you don’t like atmospherically driven music (which is perfectly fine- I can’t handle a lot of atmospheric stuff), then this probably won’t appeal to you. It is extremely slow, and incredibly dark. Due to this, it’s perfect for reading any kind of book or novel because it has such a thick and foreboding atmosphere.

Recommended songs: “Everlasting”, “Yet the Watchers Guard”, “Elemental”, and “Who Rides the Astral Wings”.

Alice in Chains- Jar of Flies

Also a decent acoustic album (it’s an EP actually), Jar of Flies works well when reading a book. There are some really beautiful gems to be found on this album, and it’s really better than I probably give it credit for. The light and darkness examined on Jar of Flies and the mix of influences presented is fascinating. Without hesitation, I recommend this to music-listening readers everywhere.

Recommended songs: “Rotten Apple”, “Nutshell”, “I Stay Away”, and “Whale & Wasp”.

Anacrusis- Screams and Whispers

Screams and Whispers is cool because it’s got that aggressive thrash metal element to it, but it’s also pretty relaxing too. It’s very heavy, but the songs are dynamic and refreshing to listen to. This one would be particularly good for realistic or non-fiction books, because it doesn’t have that fantasy atmosphere like some of the others do (the Metallica, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains albums would be good for more realistic books too). The frantic feeling of the songs is great for action-packed moments found in many books. Screams and Whispers is also criminally underrated. It’s not unknown exactly, but it’s just so good to get such little recognition.

Recommended songs: “Sound the Alarm”, “Sense of Will”, “Release”, “Division”, “Tools of Separation”, “Grateful”, and “A Screaming Breath”.

I hope anyone reading has enjoyed this article. I had a lot of fun writing it, and picking out these awesome albums. As always, leave a comment and tell me what you think of my choices or what you would have included. I’m eager to see different opinions!

Which of these albums is the best for reading?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi Patti,I'm planning on maikng a calendar for 2013 to give as gifts to a few people. I saw the photos of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar on your blog and I'd like to ask if I you'd let me use some of the photos there.Thanks!:)Andrea

    • epigramman profile image


      5 years ago

      Hello Erica - I simply loved our time together on Facebook and I remember them so fondly and you had taught me so much about the heavy metal scene and all of its different genres.

      You have such great taste in music.

      I sincerely hope all is well with these days with you my friend and please come and say hello at my hub when you have time.

      Sending good energy and warm wishes to you from Colin and his cats at 5:58pm canada

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, suzettenaples! Haha, I've never much been into classical music. My taste has, however, changed quite a bit since writing this hub. Sometimes atmospheric and instrumental songs are the best for reading--whether it be post-rock or classical or something completely different. Thank you for the kind words!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Well, you can tell we are of different generations. Lol! I have to listen to classical music when I read. If a song has lyrics I can't listen to it when I read. I guess I'm one of those people that can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Lol That said, your review of these albums and songs is great. You do a thorough job and give an example of each which is great. I can now tell the difference between them. 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zepplin is all I'm really familiar with. But, I enjoyed reading this and your reviews are well done and well written. Thank you!

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for reading and commenting handsomegenius! Master of Reality is definitely awesome for this purpose. I do a lot of background listening also, but I do like to simply listen to music by itself.

    • handsomegenius profile image


      6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I love Master of Reality for reading to.. also I often have it on in the background when I'm working! A great deal of my listening is background listening..

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hey Colin/epigramman! Thanks very much for sharing my hub on those groups! I haven't joined the Hubpages group yet... I must do that soon and I need to get back to Let's just talk music or cinema.

      Thank you very much for the compliments, commenting, and sharing my hub!

    • epigramman profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello Erica - I have shared this fabulous world class hub tribute to ten of your favorite albums to our music group on FB - Let's just talk music or cinema - and also on another FB group called Hubpages - so nice to connect with you again - for I have missed you my friend - and on my favorites list at You Tube - I have so many favorites now listed there because of your impeccable good taste in music - thanks to you.

      I hope sincerely all is well in life for you and that you are healthy and happy - as you know You Tube has 'everything' and I saw a very good behind the scenes documentary with the Canadian rock band Rush called The Boys in Brazil last week.

      Love your passion here and your wondeful writing style - you always rock my world - I have learned so much from you and I look up to you as one of my true musical heroes here at the Hub - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time 9:18am ontario canada

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, Debbie! I love Led Zeppelin too. I also like to write and listen to music, it definitely stimulates my mind and actually helps me with writer's block. Thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I have to go with ZEP.... I grew up with them... great choice of music.. I will be listening to each one. I like to listen to music while i write too.. really helps me..

      hugs and blessings and sharing


    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting tatau! When listening to Zeppelin, it can be difficult to focus on anything else. They are just so awesome!

    • tatau profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the Zep, but the I just can't read when it is on....I have to listen! :)


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