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Nelson, Dan
All Known Metal Bands (Book Review)
November 2010
Released: 2008, McSweenys
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: JP

There are lots of book of metal lists out there but this one takes the concept of minimalism to the extreme. This book is essentially a list of the names of metal bands and nothing more.

All Known Metal Bands is quite a weird little book. It is an odd-shaped, hard cover, no pictures, a poor cover, and several hundred pages. The paper is black and the band names are listed alphabetically in silver/white ink. It’s neat to look at and is OK for the coffee table. Your non-metal friends when they are over at your house can flip through it and get a laugh and say, “There is a band called Leprosy Fart? Ha! Ha ! That’s hilarious!”

There is no additional information about any of the bands. So for example the bands that share the name (I flip to a random page and get ‘Hyperion’ with 9 bands with that name.) So the word Hyperion is listed 9 times. Who cares? Where are they from? It should have at least been listed Hyperion (UK) and Hyperion (Can) etc.

The major problem with this book is that there are the hundreds of bands missing. It is NOT all known Metal bands by any stretch. I can name dozens of bands missing off the top of my head. Basically I think Nelson copied some of the big databases and rearranged it into a book. He even sort of admitted that in the final dialogue…which brings me to a final point.

One sort of neat touch is the final outro. It is a short 2-page essay commentary, laced with humour and clever concepts. Dan is clearly a metal fan. He ends his notes with a final raison d’etre. “But when the light books sputter out and die, this brick of paper shall remain. This dusty volume which you may have unearthed from a tomb, or a burned-out library or from a metal box submerged in desiccated mud. If you can read our language then read of these beings who once populated the earth and who now are gone. Examine this stone and read in it a fallen civilization. Read it-and weep.”

I’m not sure why I bought this book actually. I flipped through it a couple of times and now it sits collecting dust. The lack of practical purpose combined with the aforementioned omissions, AKMB really isn’t a necessary addition to your library. However, if you have a few extra bucks and a sense of humour go for it. Better yet, get your Mom to get it for you for Christmas.
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