From Library Journal
Berger, revising his doctoral dissertation, tries to place the early 1990s death metal, hard rock, and jazz of Cleveland and Akron, within a social context. He introduces his study with an academic discussion of an ethnomusicology based on the theory of philosophers like Edmund Husserl. He then details the hard rock and African American jazz scenes in Cleveland and Akron's Caucasian jazz and heavy metal cultures, explaining the fashions and even the layout of the clubs. Berger next offers a comparison of the onstage experiences of the musicians. He moves on to a careful analysis of a hard rock and a death metal song, trying to link the songwriters' experience to their sound and lyrics. In the last part of the book, Berger places death metal in the numbing, dead-end social context of Akron. Though basing his research on interviews with local musicians, Berger seldom captures the passion of the various music scenes he considers. He observes his surroundings like an overintellectualized voyeur, adding little to the wealth of existing material. Not recommended.ADavid P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"This fascinating and evocative book is far superior to conventional rock criticism. Berger's upbeat writing offers both a vivid sense of being there that is richly satisfying, as well as a solid ethnography of the Cleveland musical scene." (Veit Erlmann, University of Texas)