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McIver, Joel
What Evil Lurks-The Complete History Of Black Sabbath (Book Review)
December 2016
Released: 2016, Racepoint
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

As Black Sabbath creep toward the end of their 45+ year reign we see more and more books about the band being published. A bit of on-line research shows us dozens of Sabbath related books and that is not even including all the tablature books. The most recent (as of time of writing this review in November 2016) is called WHAT EVIL LURKS-THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF BLACK SABBATH.

Back in 2006, (ten years ago!) McIver wrote one the best Black Sabbath biographies on the market SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH. As this is his second book about the band I was curious what more he could add that hasn’t been said before, either by his own writing or the dozens of other Sabbath books on the market. WHAT EVIL LURKS is indeed a very different beast. This is an illustrated history, a coffee-table book much in the vein of the Voyageur series of books. The audience for this will be different, perhaps even wider than the more academic, die-hard fan of the band. This heavy-duty book is very well appointed, with a nice foreword from Robb Flynn, a discography and list of the various line-up’s. It even comes with a Black Sabbath four-panel foldout family tree in the middle of the book.

As one would expect the book follows a chronological retelling of the history of the band. Divided up into logical chapters there is a decent amount of time spent on the early years and a generous amount of time dedicated to Ozzy’s solo career, which in retrospect had remarkable cross-over with Sabbath as Ozzy and Iommi tended to trade musicians back and forth like owners of a hockey team trading players. McIver does not skimp over some of the lean years (Post Dio, pre-reunion) and has some nice detail on the myriad cast of lesser-known characters such as bass hero Laurence Cottle. I appreciate that the lesser popular eras of the band get equal attention and care. Despite not having a huge amount of brand new information I did pick up some cool bits and pieces, and perhaps even more a renewed appreciation of the many Sabbath side-projects, Geezer solo albums and the like. One of the most attractive features are the wonderful photos from across the ages. Many I have already seen but there were many new ones as well. This book looks great and it is an easy read so the uninitiated can read about the band, it is a great primer and overview.

There are a lot of books about Black Sabbath on the market. I have read many (most?) of them and at first I wasn’t sure of yet another book about the band is necessary. In the end I was won over by the lovely design and presentation, the smooth easy reading prose and the lush visuals. WHAT EVIL LURKS will fit many needs, the curious and the die-hard who need every Sabbath publication on the market. If you only want one or two good books about the history of Black Sabbath, I'd put this one near the top of the list to buy.

Next review: » McKagan, Duff - How To Be A Man (Book Review)
Previous review: » McIver, Joel - To Live Is to Die (Book Review)

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