One of, if not the best, biographies of mighty Metallica.
Is there such a thing as reviewers fatigue? I suspect there might be when I was reading ENTER NIGHT. I’ll explain that concept in a moment.
ENTER NIGHT is essentially one of, if not the, biggest and best Metallica biographies around. First published in 2010 I have known about this book for ages but not being a huge fan of Mick Wall’s writing style I did not rush to pick it up. Recently I found the 2012 updated paperback, at a very inexpensive price and decided to finally read and review the Grand-daddy of all Metallica books.
Looking back, since we started our book review section, The Library Of Loudness’ several years ago I have read and reviewed over 15 books about Metallica, not to mention the countless times the band have been written about in other books about thrash or the history of Metal in general. In addition, I just read and reviewed Brian Slagel’s book about his company, Metal Blade Records, (which had lots of info about early Metallica) and I read and reviewed Mark Eglinton’s biography of James Hetfield as well, both prior to tackling ENTER NIGHT. Hence the reviewers fatigue! What could be said about the band that has not already been told ad naseum a million times already? However, people like reading and writing about success. That is why there are dozens of books about Metallica and no books about obscure Polish porno-grind bands. It’s not Wall’s fault that I read a bunch of Metallica books before his, so I have to be fair and say how superb it is, which is the truth.
Wall, with his ‘world-weary, seen-it-all, suffer no fools’ writing style, follows the band story, somewhat lazily as we wander through the bands history. There are countless little anecdotes and stories that are entertaining and revealing. I enjoy how at the beginning of each chapter he tells a little story about himself and his interactions with the band. He does not worship the band and write a fluff piece which is to all of our benefit although at times he comes across a bit tough on a band he wanted to write about. I found the later chapters to be most satisfying, the stories of 1980 to 1990 have been told so often as to be ingrained in the collective subconscious of most Metal heads. When many of us drifted away from the band to be replaced by a new breed of fan, I stopped following them and hanging on every word and so for me, the back quarter of the book was most revealing. Like most Metallica book is heavily weighted to the early days. He spends the first 350 pages covering up to 1993 and then the next 100 pages covers two decades (1993-2012). In his defense, the bands productivity went way down, popularity went way up, and access became harder, therefore there is probably a lot less to write about as the band settled, bought mansions, got married, had kids and became more private people. I’m sure Wall is working on an update to cover the past half-decade since this update in 2012.
This is a bit of a non-review perhaps, there are already well over 50 reviews on Amazon.com about ENTER NIGHT, I don’t think I could add much to the chatter already. It is very well done, didn’t feel too long despite my earlier complaining. It has reissued several times, updated, issued with different covers and published in several languages. It has lots of cool pictures on glossy plates spread across the book. It is well-referenced and sourced, most of it based on Wall’s own interviews with the band over decades. If you are going to read or own only one Metallica biography, it might as well be this one.