Released: 1997, Collectors Guide Publishing Inc.
Martin Popoff has just released his 30th book on Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. His work hasn’t been getting nearly enough attention in our book reviews section. As of 2011 we’ve only reviewed five of his 30 titles on this site. Well to celebrate the 30th book milestone of sorts, this month (March, 2011) I’m going to go back to the core of his writing career and review the four (or five or six depends how you count) books that are the collections of his reviews. I’ve already reviewed the title THE COLLECTORS GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL VOLUME I: THE 70’s back in 2004. Click here for review. http://www.metal-rules.com/review/viewreview.php
Also reviewed in this series this month are the original COLLECTORS GUIDE and the decade themed follow-up series, the 70's, 80’s, 90’s and the newbie the 00’s. Plus we’ll look at his very first book going way back to 1993 RIFF KILLS MAN, the book that started it all. Incase you are confused yet here’s how it works.
RIFF KILLS MAN! (1993)
THE COLLECTORS GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL (1997)
THE COLLECTORS GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL Volume I The Seventies (2003)
THE COLLECTORS GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL Volume 2: The Eighties (2005)
THE COLLECTORS GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL Volume 3: The Nineties (2007)
THE COLLECTORS GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL Volume 4: The 00’s (2011)
There will be a bit of repetition in this feature/series of book reviews due to the similar nature of each title but each book has it’s quirks and charms. Let’s get to it!
Four years after the release of his debut title RIFF KILLS MAN! Martin works and reworks his initial book into the now globally acclaimed and popular COLLECTORS GUIDE series. Martin second collection of reviews is much more than just editing and rewriting a few reviews, he actually doubles the number of reviews to 3700! By 1997, Popoff had already written more Heavy Metal album reviews than anyone on the planet. That’s an important point because many scholars of Metal point to 1997 as the year that Metal really exploded on a global scale. His first book got a lot of attention and positive press for it’s innovation and he continues the trend here.
It’s a monster book at 537 pages and smaller font than the previous title. The book comes with a bonus CD of Century Media artists who in hindsight were really cutting edge and innovative at the time. Some of the other excellent features are the lists and appendices. There are quite a few personal ‘Best of lists’ which are always fun and great for debate.
Martin again includes a Glossary of Terms and definitions for the various sub-genres. He also employs for the first time the now iconic cover art (I still don’t know exactly what it is…a rusted train wheel?) which is perhaps a more mature or sophisticated image than for example, a dude on a motorcycle with a sword fighting a dragon.
In THE COLECTORS GUIDE Martin expands his listening repertoire to include more Death Metal, Black Metal and more extreme styles. It’s fairly clear even at this point he doesn’t like much of it, being fairly dismissive of Darkthrone, Mayhem and so on. He also had embraced grunge so there is a quite a type of appreciation for Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and so on. It was at this point where I started to realize that if Martin liked an album, I’d probably not like it and if he disliked an album, I’d like it. This book became an extremely useful benchmark when record shopping. I’d bring it along and flip through it and if I came across an unknown band (to me) and Martin gave a detain score I would judge accordingly. There were of course those times where our opinions would click and all would be well with my new purchases.
This book is still the standard and with the massive proliferation of supply and demand, not only for Martin’s writing but for Metal literature in general, there was no where to go but up and expand this book into a series. Welcome to the new millennium!