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Giffin, Brian
The Australian Metal Guide (Book Review)
July 2002
Released: 2002, Publisher: Moonlight Productions
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

There are a number of reasons why I could be very critical of this book. In brutal honesty it is pretty poorly produced. Before I mention some of the flaws, it should be understood that this is intended in the spirit of constructive criticism and I’m sure the author was limited by time and money as so many independent projects are.

The book is essentially an 87 page, heat-bound, photocopy in black and white, mostly text. The cover is pretty dull; the graphics are pretty poor as is the layout and general design. I think it would not have cost much more in terms of time or money to have a friend with a decent graphics program to add some visual flair to this very dull looking book. There are very few pictures and they are in black and white as well. I would have liked to see a guest essay about the history of Aussie metal, some quotes, anything to add a little more spice. One very cool element is the appendix listing all the releases by two local metal labels, Warhead and Def Records.

What salvages this book? The incredible content. In most art or literature substance will always win out over style unless you are a Hollywood movie producer. The AMG is the first and consequently the most comprehensive and well done reference guide to the Australian metal scene ever. Griffin has done a fantastic job researching and compiling this info. Hundreds of bands are listed alphabetically, including all genres and styles from Hard rock to Black. Some of the entries are a little sparse on info but it must be very hard to find accurate info on these ultra-obscure bands that did one EP in 1987 in the middle of the outback. Overall the discography and line-up information is present and quite comprehensive. Griffin scatters a few editorial comments throughout adding a dimension of readability that is often missing from encyclopedia style books.

As an archivist, historian and librarian of metal (man, that sounds bad) this book is fantastic, essential reading for everyone on that continent and dedicated headbangers everywhere. Australia has had a vibrant, diverse and dedicated metal scene for many years and this excellent book will help get many of these great bands (who struggle against time, geography, distance, exchange rates, to get noticed) the exposure they truly deserve. Highly recommended.

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Previous review: » Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned - South Side of the Moon

Giffin, Brian
The Australian Metal Guide (Book Review)
July 2002
Released: 2002, Publisher: Moonlight Publications
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Brian Giffin is obviously one of those driven and obsessed metal fans who has done the entire metal community a great service by cataloging and archiving extensive information on Australian metal bands both active and inactive. If not for his efforts some of these bands would be forgotten and only remembered by those few involved. For some of the bands, perhaps it is better that they are forgotten, but when scanning through this guide there are hundreds of bands (600+ in all) from every metal sub-genre, many of which I know nothing about. So don’t be surprised if as you thumb through this you read about bands you’d love to check out!!

Mr. Giffin has been collecting information on Aussie bands since 1986! An online version of this book also exists at but it is not as up to date and as complete as the printed version. All bands of varying degrees of popularity are cataloged from Abhorrent to Zen Venom. Even tiny bands that recorded one EP and broke up are included. It’s hard to knock this guide because it’s clear how much time and work has gone into this. The only criticism I have is an understandable one and that is regarding the actual printing and layout. The book is all in black and white and looks photocopied. Even the book cover is lackluster and boring coming off as looking rushed and not very well planned out. However, the purpose of this guide is not to impress us with fancy graphics and layout, so I can overlook this. Perhaps if this one sells well a higher quality version might be available in some years?!?!

The Australian Metal Guide can be ordered directly from the author, at the following address:

Brian Giffin

PO Box 7001

Bass Hill NSW Australia 2197

(Cheque, money order or well-concealed cash -- Note: We cannot be held responsible for cash lost in the mail!)

The Australian Metal Guide costs $18 Australian, including postage within Australia, or $US10 plus $US3 postage for orders outside Australia.

The Australian Metal Guide may also be purchased from Utopia Records, 505 - 525 George St, Sydney and from Red Eye Records, 66 King St, Sydney.

Next review: » Giffin, Brian - The Encyclopedia Of Australian Heavy Metal (Book Review)
Previous review: » Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned - South Side of the Moon

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