Popoff, Martin, American Power Metal (Book Review)

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Author: Popoff, Martin
Title: Popoff Archive 6-American Power Metal
Date Published:  2018
Publisher: PowerChord Press
Reviewed:  Aug, 2018
Reviewer: JP
Rating  3.5/5

Just in time for some summer holiday reading, Canadian author extraordinaire has released a one-two punch of books.  His own PowerChord Press has published POPOFF ARCHIVE parts five and six namely, EUROPEAN POWER METAL and AMERICAN POWER METAL.  I’ve read and reviewed both of them back to back and you will notice a lot of similarity between the books and my reviews, but that is exactly the point.  As part of the series, they even look good standing all lined up on your bookshelf, which plays nicely into my obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Like all the books he publishes, you get a good quality paperback, nicely laid-out and easy to read.  In case you are not familiar, for years Popoff has had all these interviews lying around and they weren’t getting made into the big-name’ books about Sabbath, Priest, Maiden etc.  Instead of having this treasure trove of material sit dormant, he screened it, cleaned it up and has presented about 95% new material, hence the opening of the archives.

Focusing on AMERICAN POWER METAL, based on what bands I enjoy, I really love this book.  It is loaded with interviews with my members of my favourite bands; Iced Earth, Manowar, King Diamond, and Yngwie J. Malmsteen.  The format is simple, 33 interviews spanning 1996 to 2012. There are lots of little insights to be gleaned, things that came true, things that did not come true.    The majority of the interviews are the bigger names and each band gets interviewed several times over the years; some of them three or four times so you can actually track the progression of their careers in a sense.   Each interviewed in preceded with a brief introduction by Popoff giving some contemporary context.

APM is loaded with stories, a monster interview with King Diamond where he excitedly describes the plot of the forthcoming PUPPET MASTER album, a politically charged interview with Jon Schaffer and from a little bit out of left field, an enthusiastic interview with Stuart Lawrence (not Stewart Lawrence!) from Agony Column, an old favourite band of Popoff’s.  In a bit of a trivia twist, the band Agony Column had an album called BRAVE WORDS & BLOODY KNUCKLES from which the esteemed magazine took its name from. The origins of the name are somewhat eye-opening!   Popoff also interviews a few lesser known but no less worth people from bands like Cellador, Royal Hunt, and Eidolon, to go along with the staples of the Jag Panzers and Nevermores.  I was pleased to see that he listed ol’ Yngwie and King Diamond as American, the Swede and the Dane having both lived in the US for over 30 years now, Florida and Texas respectively.   Only two surprising omissions in my mind, Kamelot and Symphony X, both churning it out as early as ’94.

As with anything in life, your preference for this book will be determined by your tastes.  I happen to love and own the vast majority of all the catalogues of every American Power Metal band interviewed, so to me this book is fascinating and totally worth it.  This is a fairly limited run so grab yours today!