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Hale, Mark
The Worldwide Book of Heavy Metal Bands (Book Review)
March 2002
Released: 1993, Popular Culture Ink.
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

I refer to this book as “The Bible”. This book is the first, truly comprehensive metal encyclopedia ever. There were a few other lame attempts at documenting the glorious history of metal but most of them fell short, usually due to commercial restrictions like, time, money and space.

This tome is truly an Academic Encyclopedia. I had to order it directly from the publisher in 1993 for $75.00. They didn’t want to sell it to me because they usually only sell to libraries, but I prevailed. Because it is a reference guide and not really meant for public, consumers , the title is a bit weak, the cover of this 541 pages hardcover is grey and boring. The publisher did not spend money making it look flashy, but as always never judge a book by it’s cover. Inside we find…

-A Foreward by Ted Nugent

-An Introduction including 10 pages of explanations, definitions, which are remarkably accurate.

-An appendix of metal fanzines

-an appendix of the roots of metal

-an index of band names, performers names, nationalities, album labels, numbers, titles

plus the usual very comprehensive bibliographies, sources etc…

-dozens of band photographs.

The meat of the weighty archive are the detailed entries of 3458 bands meticulously documented in fine detail. An amazing feat. It is hard to describe hundreds of pages of straight text, but if you are into trivia like me you will find it very cool to find the names of old demo’s what day people left or joined bands etc…The amount of cross-referencing is amazing.

There are a few minor complaints. Mark Hale decided not to list EP’s chronologically. I find that kind of annoying. There are many omissions and hundreds of little tiny mistakes, but the whole work is so vastly encompassing that all is forgiven. It was published in 1993 but essentially it covers from 1970- 1990.

This book set the standard for all to come and I have enjoyed many hours browsing through it’s hallowed pages. If you can track it down at your local library it is worth it.
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