From Publishers Weekly
In a book that never quite gets rolling, Konow, a writer for Guitar World, sets out to give a timeline of heavy metal while answering "three key questions: what went right, what went wrong, and what the hell happened?" He begins in Birmingham, England, which he argues is the birthplace of heavy metal, with its most popular statesman today, Ozzy Osbourne. As a revolt against the hippie movement and in part to save himself from a life of crime, Osbourne formed Black Sabbath. At the same time, Led Zeppelin formed from the "ashes of the Yardbirds," and after finally gathering enough members (Keith Moon of the Who turned them down, quipping that they'd sink "like a lead zeppelin," which is how Jimmy Page decided on the name), held a jam session. Konow continues in a chronological fashion, briefly sketching band bios, triumphs and downfalls. Without exploiting each band's debauchery or disintegration, Konow covers such other metal acts such as Alice Cooper, Kiss, Van Halen, M"tley Cre, Dokken, Def Leppard, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Guns 'n' Roses and many others. The portraits of Alice Cooper and Axl Rose are the most engaging parts of the book. However, the chapters read more like magazine articles than a coherent book. Hardcore metal fans will likely find the book a bit soft and too pop, and they're unlikely to learn any new stories. In the final pages, Konow attempts an analysis of the fall of heavy metal, but by that point, so many bands have risen and fallen that his curt summation is hardly satisfying. This is an inspired personal effort that won't chart.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This book tells the story of heavy-metal music from its beginning in the late '60s through its precipitous decline in the early '90s. Black Sabbath, the first featured band, got its start in 1969 when its members were just out of high school, a scenario that repeats itself with many of the other groups. With Ozzy Osbourne arguably more popular than ever before, thanks to his family's MTV reality show, teens will enjoy reading how he got into music to escape jail or factory work. Most of the stories follow the same pattern-band struggles; band hits it big; band's success is derailed by money, drugs, and personality conflicts. Some of the groups, like Poison, Ratt, and W.A.S.P, will probably seem laughable to today's teens, while Metallica and the members of Motley Crue are still in the limelight. The author has a chatty, anecdotal style and spares no expense as he shares tales of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Often, those who abused drugs died prematurely, cautionary tales that won't go unnoticed. Several pages of notes show that Konow had firsthand access to many of the musicians. Black-and-white photographs, mainly by the prolific Neil Zlozower, open each chapter. There is no discography. This book will be popular with those who enjoy the heavy-metal genre, as well as with those who want to see how to succeed (or not) in the music business.Jamie Watson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.