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Leon, Carlos & Gomez, David
Hellbook (Book Review)
Released: 2015, Bottom Row
There are those times when as a Metal fan you just have to say ‘Screw it!’ and spend waaay too much for something you really want. It happened to me recently. At Midnight on Oct 30th, 2015 (the very start of Halloween Day) one of my favourite bands of all time, Helloween opened up their webshop to sell HELLBOOK! HELLBOOK is the 30th anniversary coffee table book about Helloween and I ordered the deluxe, hard cover version limited to 777 copies. My credit card went to hell and back again!
This book is one of the nicest books I have seen. In terms of quality I rank it up there with THE GOSPEL OF FILTH, RANDY RHOADS, TRUE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL and ONLY DEATH IS REAL as some of the biggest luxury-status coffee-table books on the market. (As an aside I’ve reviewed all of those above titles on this site.) HELLBOOK (deluxe) is a gold hard cover that comes with a nice dust jacket as well. It is over 550 pages long printed on really nice paper. The book was created and published by two Spanish guys with the help and endorsement of Helloween. The deluxe version has an extra 58 pages called ‘Hidden Treasures’ which consists of rare hand-written notes, scribbles, sketches, early design notes and personal photos of the earliest days of the band. My copy came autographed as well! In terms of production and presentation this is an amazing book.
The content is also superb. The book is essentially the history of the band. HELLBOOK has everything. I mean EVERYTHING. It has essays and biographies of all members, all producers, all managers and all artists, basically everyone who has been involved with the band. It has all tour dates, all guest appearances, all the time members of Helloween have appeared on other bands albums, and more. It starts with a 64-page history of the band, including the obligatory family tree and never looks back. It has full equipment lists, even drum schematics for all the drummers! There is a full discography with pictures of everything including alternate cover art from different territories. There are also interviews with virtually every member of the band past and present as well as a nice tribute to the deceased Ingo. A huge chunk of the book is a section re-printing the lyrics of all the songs they have ever done. I read one criticism that said that this 185 pages was unnecessary filler but it is much more than that. It has pictures of every single from each album and full credits and loads and loads of photos from each era of those albums. There are lists of Helloween tribute bands and Helloween tribute albums too! The graphic design, layout and art-work is amazing, every inch is crammed with little pumpkin dudes, sketches, doodles and more. It is simply beautiful to look at and exciting to read. There are photos of live shots, candid shots, tour passes, logos, all the plectrums (picks) and shots from the various video shoots. Did you know Helloween has shot over 20 videos? The depth and quantity of information is almost overwhelming.
I’ve noticed as the age of older Metal fans increases so does the market for luxury books and products. The older more established Metal fans seem to have the disposable income to spend on amazing pieces of memorabilia and I have absolutely no regrets about buying HELLBOOK despite the very high price tag. HELLBOOK now proudly stands as one of the five biggest and best books in my entire Metal library of over 300 titles.
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