Kelly, Sean – Metal On Ice (Book Review)

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: September 2013
Released: 2013, Dundurn Publishing
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Celtic Bob


An overview of Canadian Metal focusing on the melodic side of the 80\’s and 90\’s.

Author Sean Kelly is currently the guitarist for Nelly Furtado and has played bass with Carol Pope and with Helix. If that wasn’t enough he has his own band, Cash Kelly and has released a few Classical guitar albums. With that musical background it is only fitting that he write a book.

As the title suggests this is a book on Canadian Metal and Hard Rock. It shares his memories of growing up in North Bay, Ont to playing on stage with some of his heroes and interviewing them for this book. After reading the advance of METAL ON ICE I have to begin by saying that this is THE book of Canadian music. I have never seen, let alone read such an informative book on Canadian music before. This book was one that I could relate to in many ways as I share many of the same favorite albums as the author. Growing up in Newfoundland in the 80’s we had few shows to go to and we mainly heard of bands through magazines such as Circus and Hit Parader and later on Rip, Metal Maniacs and Metal Edge. It is these memories that I have in common with Mr. Kelly that makes this book all the more special.

Hearing about the early days of the bands you idolized as a teen and how they struggled to make it is eyeopening. It wasn’t all tour busses and fancy hotels by any stretch. Sleeping in freezing cold hotel rooms and sharing a bathroom with the entire floor was considered a luxury. It was after many years of enduring this that some of the bands finally “Made It”. Sadly the decline came quicker for some than the rise did. The book isn’t all about the bad, it just states the reality of the times.
 Intertwined with band stories are Sean’s personal recollections of what it was like growing up in these times which is what many of us readers will relate to. The book also takes a look at the media of the times, namely Much Music’s “Power Hour” and Toronto’s M.E.A.T. magazine that became a nation-wide success.

METAL ON ICE is a mini encyclopedia of Canadian Metal. It is a book of memories for those that lived it and a wealth of info for those that didn’t. Even if you were there or grew up in that era listening to the music you will enjoy reading the stories from the artists you looked up to as a teen. There are many new and unheard stories straight from the bands themselves which add to the persona. Mr. Kelly captures the essence of an era from different angles which sheds a positive light on a genre that usually gets a bad rap by some. METAL ON ICE is a book that every Canadian who has an interest in music should own. Essential reading for ALL Metal music fans.

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Format Reviewed:
Publisher: Dundurn Publishing
Pages: 210