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Dome, Malcolm & Ewing, Jerry
The Encyclopedia Metallica (Book Review)
Released: 2007, Chrome Dreams
I’ve lost track of how many books there are about Metallica. I have a dozen alone in my collection and I know there are many more put there. I recently purchased this book while on vacation, and I remember standing at the cash register and thinking to myself, “Do I REALLY’ need another book about Metallica?” Well, perhaps not ,but in the spirit of being comprehensive with the Library Of Loudness (Book review section) for Metal-Rules.com, I bought the book.
Here is a piece of Metal trivia for you. Famous and respected British Rock/Metal journalist and author Malcolm Dome has written two books with the same title! His debut work, ENCYCLOPEDIA METALLICA was written back in 1980 (I reviewed it here on the website) and this one. Published in 2007 by Chrome Dreams, the newer version (with the title being prefaced by the word ‘The’) was co-written by another well-known UK journo, Jerry Ewing. The book itself is a decent sized paperback, 287 pages long and is actually written in an encyclopedia format. There are tons of black and white photos on almost every single page. The alphabetical format makes it a fun, quick and easy read and decent reference guide.
The facts were interesting and they covered a lot of ground with each album, song and band member (past and present) getting entries. There were also individual entries for many other people, family, crew members, different events surrounding the bands career. One entry I felt was a highlight was Lars Ulrich’s statement to read to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 11th, 2000 about the Napster lawsuit. It was reprinted in it’s entirety. It boggles my mind how many people turned against him and the band when he was fighting for his own livelihood and completely justified, morally and legally, in doing so. Time has shown he was correct and he won, so justice was on his side and perhaps if we had heeded his visionary warning the entire music industry may not have been in the toilet where it is today. I enjoyed reading some of the trivia about the meaning behind the songs of the band, especially later-era albums (post-Justice) where I sort of stopped really paying attention the band. I did find it odd that Dome and Ewing were generally favourable to LOAD and RELOAD although they admitting that many people have accused the band of selling out as far back as RIDE THE LIGHTNING and for most original thrash fans for selling out on the 1991, self-titled album.
One complaint I do have is that the entries repeat information very often. Even the same quote (a quote by Dave Mustaine) is used in two entries on one occasion! The authors could have added more obscure trivia and eliminated an enormous amount of duplication; the same facts were brought up over and over. Most of the material is common knowledge for true Metallica fans. In addition, it is fairly opinionated for an ‘encyclopedia’ a supposedly neutral and unbiased list of facts.
Reading this in 2015 it is an interesting look back at a time when Metallica was generally regarded at the lowest point in their career, the whole five-year lull, after the dismal ST. ANGER album and tour cycle. Of course the book (written largely in 2006) is now almost a decade out of date. I’d say this is very good introduction to the band perhaps for fans who have never read much about the band but it doesn’t offer too much new for the experienced, loyal fan.