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Blair Gibson
From the Minds of Madness: The Origins of Heavy Metal Band Names (Book Review)
February 2012
Released: 2011, Rymfire Books
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Well, I’m breaking new ground here – this is my first book review for Metal Rules and it should be an easy one. See, with a title like that, it’s pretty clear what FROM THE MINDS OF MADNESS is about, so I don’t have to explain much. The author, Blair Gibson is a life-long fan of heavy metal and he’s spent countless hours tracking down the stories behind hundreds (300+) of bands’ names. As an e-book, its layout is pretty basic, with a format the basically goes band name, story of band name, next band name, etc. It’s simple yes, but completely adequate to the content, and very easy to read.

So what you get contained in these pages is the stories of how all of these bands got their names, directly from the band members themselves. There’s also an amusing introduction to the book written by My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe. In terms of actual bands, I have no idea as to Gibson’s selection process, but it’s pretty comprehensive in that it covers all genres of metal, even if there is a slight leaning towards stoner rock. Whatever the case, there are a huge number of bands in this book that I have never heard of. That could be a bit of a downer, and while I would have like to read about more noteworthy bands, a lot of the lesser-known bands have stories that are far more amusing than their more known brethren. One that sticks out in my mind is how the band Don Fernando got its name (it has to do with a coke dealer in Santiago, Chile). Or how Canada’s Harem Scarem is named after a Bugs Bunny cartoon (!). Or the SuperHeavyGoatAss award (named after the band of the same name). Like I said, the book is full of these often quite funny anecdotes.

That said, if it’s popular metal bands you want, you’ll get stories from the likes of: Armored Saint, Artillery, Bal-Sagoth, Borknagar, Crimson Glory, Darkthrone, Dimmu Borgir, Exciter, Jag Panzer, Savatage, and Y&T just to name a few.

For the low price being asked, you just can’t beat the content provided – almost three hundred pages of stories. The scope is obviously laser-focused (read: small), but you’ll definitely enjoy reading it. With so many bands still to be covered, hopefully we’ll get a second volume!

Check it out on SmashWord Books ( or Amazon.
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