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Sharpe-Young, Garry & Odermatt, Horst
The Ultimate Hard Rock Guide - Vol I - UK / Europe / Scandinavia (Book Review)
March 2002
Released: 1998, Bang Your Head Enterprises
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: JP

The title says it all. This is undoubtedly the best encyclopedia of metal ever. Supported by the respected Germany metal magazine, Heavy Oder Vas!? This book painstaking documents over 6000 bands in incredible detail. What is even more impressive is that this is just Volume One!! Volume Two will be USA and Volume Three will be Canada, Japan, Australia and South America.

This European edition covers every kind of heavy music, from black, death, doom thrash, power, glam, hard rock and more. The format of the entries is easy to read and listed alphabetically. Even song titles are listed! The amount of information listed is incredible. Singles, EP’s catalogue numbers, guest stars, are all listed as well as the mandatory info like, year, label and title of all the releases. UHRG is stunning in it’s capacity and depth to list multiple albums by obscure Eastern European bands from Poland, Russia and beyond.

Again like, Headbangers (reviewed this month) UHRG does not list EP’s in chronologically with the discography. The other complaint, and I almost knocked a point off for this is they list only one line-up. If you look at the line-up section, the guide lists the current (as of 1998) line-up and opted to detail the various member ship changes as part of the text. I would have preferred a detailed breakdown on who played what instrument on what release, instead of having to plow thorough mountains of text to find out who was the bassist on Deep Purples 17th album and other burning questions.

The research that went into this was painstaking meticulous. I pride myself on knowing metal trivia and even I only found a few dozen mistakes! And that is incredible for 6000 bands and over 10,000 entries listed over 800 pages! The book looks great too with a sweaty Ozzy on the front and a classic headbanging live-shot of a Ripper–fronted Judas Priest on the back!

There is a nice foreword by Glen and K.K. Downing, a note from royal Hunt and a massive global hard rock directory and a few ads. Even the full-colour, full page ads (and there are not many) are interesting to see what products and services European metal company offers.

What more can I say, buy yours today!
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