Anediadis, Alexandros-Crossover The Edge (Book review)
Released: 2019, Cherry Red Books
Reviewed: August, 2019
Preamble/Intro: A comprehensive, encyclopedic guide to crossover music.
Some Metalheads don’t like punk. Some punks don’t like Metal. However, there are a good number of people who enjoy both sorts of music and inevitably those people, when creating new music fused those two genres into something interesting and unique. Hence the term, crossover. While wide-spread, crossover never really achieved the heights of success of Metal nor the notoriety of punk and remained one of the lesser examined musical genres…until now.
I was delighted to have a book arrive in the mail courtesy of the good people at Cherry Red Books titled, CROSSOVER THE EDGE-Where Hardcore, Punk and Metal Collide. This is a weighty 520+ page paperback, encyclopedia-style book about all things crossover! It has the same type of design and layout as Ian Glasper’s excellent book about UK thrash, CONTRACT IN BLOOD. You can read my review of that book on this site if it pleases you to do so. In fact, in the Foreword is written by Ian Glasper, he says CROSSOVER THE EDGE is the perfect companion piece to his book and I whole-heartedly agree.
Author, Alexandros Anesiadias does a magnificent job in what I believe is the first serious chronicling of the crossover genre. He is nothing but a true fan who was inspired to write a book about his favourite music. It is wise, insightful and opinionated. This encyclopedia style book starts with a very well done history of the genre. Crossover is one of those genres that has somewhat murky origins; is it Metal mixed with punk or punk mixed with Metal? It reminds me of the age-old joke/question, Is it a black zebra with white stripes or a white zebra with black stripes? Anesiadias concludes based on his finding that the genre is rooted in punk and hardcore with some metal elements mixed in. I have to agree. It makes sense because I’m more of a Metal fan and often crossover was ‘too punk’ for my tastes.
The book lists, examines and dissects 80 crossover bands from the USA, 20 from the UK, four bands from Canada, including local heroes from my hometown of Calgary, Beyond Possession. Another chapter details nine scattered across the world. The bands don’t seem to be in any sort of formal order, alphabetical or chronological. Up next is an interesting section (Chapter Five) of 14 bands with crossover appeal such as Amebix, Detent and more. Chapter Six is a bit of a catch all section listing dozens, maybe even hundreds of bands from world. This section was pretty dense and because I’m not the world’s biggest crossover fan, I found it tough to get through, with over 50 pages of really tightly packed, dense text, just grinding out the info on obscure bands, just to get it on the page. The book also has a number of lists, Top 50 crossover albums, Best Demos etc… lots of cool reading as well. I felt that I wasn’t really a crossover fan but after reading this book I feel like I am a bigger fan than I give myself credit for because I own 23 of the 50 best crossover albums, according to Anesiasdias. I’ve heard and/or heard of the vast majority of the bands in the main section of the book but there were several bands such as Bad Yodellers, Clown Alley and Boneless that I have never heard of. There is lots to explore for even the most die-hard crossover fan!
CROSSOVER THE EDGE concludes with an afterword where the author lets his anti-Metal opinion and left-wing sentiment shine though a little bit, but there is nothing wrong with that. Visually speaking the book is loaded with tons of flyers, photos, ads all in black and white giving the book an underground feel.
The only complaint I might make is that in his concluding remarks, Anesiadias makes a bold and outrageous claim that without punk music there would be no Iron Maiden, Slayer or Metallica! This is of course completely ludicrous and incorrect and documented numerous times throughout the history of Metal; from academics, to fans, to media outlets, to industry observers, to the bands themselves. Steve Harris vehemently denies in interviews to this very day, any love of punk or punk influence in Iron Maiden and Lars Ulrich is on record as saying he started to play music because of the Hard Rock/Metal band Y&T, as well as his well-documented love of Diamond Head and the NWOBHM. Aside from this one mistake, or attempt at historical revisionism, the book is superb on all levels.
Grab yourself just one Pepsi and your skateboard and head down to the empty pool or skatepark and dive into the best book about crossover ever written!
Format Reviewed: Softcover
Publisher: Cherry Red