Released: 2006, Chronicle Books
As regular readers of my book reviews on this site may know, I’m not a huge fan of Heavy Metal books that are essentially collections of photos or art, unless they add something special or extra. Why would I buy a book of pictures of album covers that I already own? I can walk over to my shelf (or online) and look at the same pictures for free! HEAVY METAL THUNDER however delivers the goods.
This fat-boy of a book is over 250 pages long and is very well done. Ya gotta love an author who concludes his brief intro by saying, “Hail Satan!’ This book is so crammed with cool metal it hurts. The book is broken into eight chapters each with a theme. For example Chapter Two is subtitled ‘Lipstick and Leather’ and is a collection of albums covers about, yep you guessed it, Glam Metal. Chapter Three ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’ is self-explanatory and each chapter is roughly genre specific.
Scott Ian of Anthrax writes an eloquent and impassioned Foreword heralding the merits of cover art from the good ol’ days of vinyl. The authors throw in an Afterword which exclusively features the kick-ass art of the Manowar album covers. A nice touch!
What makes this collection of album covers stand out is that there is running commentary through the book, discussing the merits of certain bands, artists, album covers, trends and themes. The additional analysis is interesting and generally pretty accurate. As a reader you can see certain trends. Most album covers are big and bright. When you get to Chapter Six, the Black Metal album covers, you can see the trend of minimalist art or photos mostly in black and white, as compared to the bright cartoonish art of the Death Metal albums.
I own 98% of the album covers in this book, except for the lame grunge and alternative ones which could have easily been dropped in favour of a Power Metal chapter. However, since a ton of this stuff I own on cassette it is much nicer to see these bigger, clear pictures on glossy paper. It’s a great collection, good choices for inclusion and would fit in the library of all metal fans.