October is Metal Month at Throughout the month, we’ll have artist interviews as well as mini-documentaries about metal, metal fans and the birthplace of metal. And book reports: reading is fundamental, even for headbangers, and we’ll have reviews of some of the best recent metal biographies and retrospectives. Horns up!

Last week, we gave you the lowdownon Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal, which takes you from the ’60s to today. It’s a great history lesson, and a very readable one. On the flip side is The Merciless Book Of Metal Lists, which gets into a crucial part of the heavy metal culture, namely, arguing about who is great, who sucks, and who is a poser.

Written by Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins, the book harkens back to the pre-blog era where fanzines were a crucial part of the metal ecosystem. Jenkins knows his way around a list: He’s was the coauthor of Ego Trip‘s Book Of Rap Lists, but he’s a well-rounded guy, and knows his way around metal. He and Abrams love the genre, but never take it too seriously. There’s a lot of reverence for the founders of metal, namely Black Sabbath, who top several lists including Best Metal Band, Best Metal Album (for their 1970 self-titled debut), Greatest Guitarist, Greatest Bassist, Best Guitar Tones, Best Bass Tones and two entries on the Greatest Voices (Ronnie James Dio topped the list, while Ozzy Osbourne came in at #19), and two entries on the Greatest Drummers (Bill Ward came in at #2, Vinnie Appice at #20), Best Songs (a tie between the Ozzy-era “War Pigs” and the Dio-era “Heaven And Hell”).

On the other hand, Metallica, who get their due as a huge influence (they’re rated at the third best metal band ever, after Sabbath and Iron Maiden) are also called to task: a two page feature called “The Very Best Qualities Of Metallica’s Load and Reload Albums” is entirely blank.

Read more at 

— Brian Ives, 


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