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Metal: The Definitive Guide Paperback – March 28, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Garry Sharpe-Young is an internationally recognised expert on rock music. He is the author of more than a dozen books on heavy metal and rock, and since 2001 has managed the constantly expanding website, www.rockdetector.com, the definitive on-line information resource for all loud rock/metal music. He maintains good relationships with all major metal acts, and their record companies and management. Joel McIver is an author, journalist, book and magazine editor and album compiler. He is an authority on rock music, and has written many books, including a best-selling biography of Metallica, Justice For All.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Jawbone Press (March 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906002010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906002015
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,454,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book does an excellent job of including biographies and listed discographies of many representative bands in metal separated by categories such as style of music (like Power Metal), geography (like South American Metal), combinations of these (like UK Trash) and a few others (like 70s Metal and Innovative Bands). So you will see a collection of bands from Black Sabbath to Lordi, from Metallica to Cirith Ungol, from Japanese Ezo to Italian Rhapsody (of Fire), from legends to obscure road warriors.

What you won't be seeing, though, are some controversial genres. I'm talking about Hair Metal, Grunge, Nu Metal and bands that the author perhaps thought were split between Hard Rock and Metal (the aforementioned 70s Metal category is rather short, but the bands there are very crucial to Metal's history). So there is no Motley Crue, no Nirvana, no Korn and no Deep Purple, for example. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since a book focusing in band biographies could be three times the size of this one and still leave out interesting bands. So, all the bands in this book are inarguably metal and reading this book can get you to know what kind of bands are (or were) out there.

However, the thing I expected a little more from this book was a general focus on the music itself, not only the story of the band. Yes, you will know what kind of sound is the trademark of every band (usually at the beginning of the entry) and if a band changed the face of metal in big or subtle ways that comes across in the text as well. But the entries can't have the same length (bands like Infernal Majesty never had the long career of Black Sabbath) and often I want to read more about which albums by Trouble are the classics, not what happened to them between albums or which bands they toured with.
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This book is basically a big thick encyclopedia of different metal bands. The author did a really good job of writing about bands that are purely metal, as opposed to other metal books that just get all ridiculous and have entries on Pearl Jam and Insane Clown Posse, but leave out a lot of important bands. Pretty much every band that should be in here is in here. The only band that I was really surprised was missing was Melvins (it was also kind of surprising that the Japanese band Boris wasn't in here either). Anyway, the focus on metal means that many hard rock bands that are either considered to be metal or proto-metal are not in here. So that means no Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Deep Purple, or AC/DC. There's also no hair metal and no nu-metal.

The book is broken up into sections for different genres/categories of metal. Because there are so many genres of metal and so many different metal bands, this sounds like a bad idea, but the categories are split up pretty well. Every band entry is pretty informative and includes a discography. Most entries for bands span multiple pages. Entries for more popular bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Anthrax span several pages and had all kinds of information I had never read before. So while reading this I've never really gotten the feeling that I'm just reading a bunch of stuff that I've read before, which is a huge plus with this kind of book. Also, the band entries are often accompanied by a band photo, which is nice.

Anyway, I guess I would sum up my thoughts on this book as thus: If there were a college course on heavy metal, this would probably be the textbook you'd have to buy.
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I recently bought this book back in August and am stillreading it, its thatgood. First of all, this book only deals with "True Metal" bands only. There are no NuMetal, Grunge, hair,etc.What you get is different genres of Metal. American Thrash, British Thrash, Death, Black, Doom/Gothic, Power, American Heavy Metal, Swedish Heavy Metal, Japanese Metal, NWOBHM, NWOAHM, Brazilian Metal, etc. Band histories and discography are very well done. No longer will you have to buy individual Metal books. Its allhere. In fact, flipping through theAmerican Thrash section, I discovered several Canadian Thrash bands that totally shred. Ended up buying several of their cd's. Garry Sharpe Young has put together the best book on Metal out there for the True Metal fan. If you're a Metal Maniac, buy this now, trust me.
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Format: Paperback
Metal: The Definitive Guide is one of the most comprehensive collection of heavy metal bands and their stories ever put to paper. At just under 500 pages the book is big enough to have all the information you could need without being overly long or unwieldy. The forward by Rob Halford is short but solid. The index used is handy because it separates the bands by genre yet since all the bands are not alphabetized outside of their genres, and there is no list at the end with page numbers for the bands, it can make finding individual band's segments obnoxious.

As for the book itself it has quite a comprehensive list of heavy metal bands, many I was not aware of before hand and now have come to love. The beginning of each segment genre is about a page long and describes the origins and sound of each style of heavy metal. These were my favorite parts of the book because Gary Sharpe-Young really nails where the sounds came from and sometimes even why. He also examines various heavy metal scenes such as Norway, Sweden, Germany, Finland, South America and Japan and their accompanying bands. The pictures are all black and white and while some of them are cool many seem to be bland band-posing-in-front-of-camera shots.

Now we come to the biggest problem with the book yet: the writing. While the writing is detailed and informative its also so straight forward and bone-dry and, worse of all, just plain boring. Nearly every section of the band follows the exact same formula; the band members get together after listing whatever bands they may have been in first, then cuts <__> demo, go into the studios with <__> producer and makes their first album titled <__>, the band tours with <__> bands and plays <__> festival.
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