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The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time - Martin Popoff (2004) ECW PRESS - reviewed by: Nailer

One of our guiltiest pleasures--The List. How much time in high school did I spend debating with the other bangers the best of various bands and musicians. I remember we hardly agreed and 'Angus Young vs. Randy Rhodes' was a pretty spirited dispute. Class sucked anyway, so I guess it was time well spent. Then I matured and left those arguments behind.

Using the democratic votes of an enormous, world-wide poll covering 35+ years of headbanging history, Metal scribe Martin Popoff reprises his role as the reigning heavyweight of massive metal volumes continuing on from "The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs Of All Time" to the 450 page "The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time" book. Popoff is a blast to read with an acute, often times obtuse style that is as cerebral as it is from the gut. Whether he's describing the "the strong backhand of the title track" from Nazareth (#436) or the "rope-a-dope lope" of Helmet (#456), you can't help but be impressed by the furnace level of this wordsmith.

If you think Martin just took the easy road and copped his own reviews from his prior 1997 magnum opus "The Collector's Guide To Heavy Metal", think again. Part of the fun of reading this stout soft cover is his integrated agreements and disagreements that range from the extended passage (Appetite for Destruction #10) to the short, punchy "Bah!" (Screaming for Vengeance #12). Other at-a-glance goodies are short lists of Top Albums from artists, themed Top 10s (Best Power Metal, Best Black Metal, etc), Points by Band and Popoff's own Top 25. Along with each commentary is quoted sections from the artists that are a treasure trove of trivia (board game sometime, Martin?). Try these out (answers at bottom):

1. Bruce Dickinson's favorite Iron Maiden album?
2. What's Dio's favorite album from his past?
3. Who did Ritchie Blackmore's first Strat come from?
4. Who said Heavy Metal was too Caucasian for them?
5. What band received a gold 8-track?

This book left me rubbing my eyes nightly from staying up late during the work week delighting in the anecdotes and features. As much as I'd like to say an obscure band from a modest country won the poll, the big boys owned the chart clear up to #35 when Mercyful Fate joined in. Metallica, Sabbath, Slayer, Maiden and Pantera give credence to the idea you don't have to be a small seller from the underground to be a classic favorite. The latter half had a surprising number of death, black and other extreme acts. After finishing "The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time", I might just start arguing again.

"The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time" can be ordered from ECW Press (Entertainment Culture Writing, not the 90s wrestling fed) or Martin Popoff www.martinpopoff.com
martinp@inforamp.net

http://www.ecwpress.com

OTHER BOOKS BY MARTIN POPOFF:

Riff Kills Man! 25 Years Of Recorded Hard Rock & Heavy Metal (1993)
-1,945 album reviews, 440 p.

The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal (1997)
- update of Riff Kills Man!: 3750 album reviews, 540 p., 600,000 words, full-length CD sampler, in fourth printing

Goldmine Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (2000)
- 11,800 entries, 300 photos, 368 p., best of list, essays, full-length CD sampler

Heavy Metal: 20th Century Rock And Roll (2000)
- part of series, themed as The Fifty Most Influential Bands In Heavy Metal, essays, interview segments, discographies, best of lists, 190 p.

Southern Rock Review (2001)
- 410 southern rock record reviews, 150 album cover shots, 200 p., 10 tr. CD sampler, appendices

The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs Of All Time (2003)
- poll winners, reviews of each, artist quotes for approx. 460 of them, singles shots, artist lists, 486 p.

The Collector's Guide To Heavy Metal - Volume 1: The Seventies (2003)
- 1162 reviews of '70s hard rock albums, most not in original '97 source book (and those that were, expanded/rewritten), 188 album cover shots, seven appendices, 12 tr. rarities sampler, 344 p.

The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time (2004)
- Like the Songs book but better, longer quotes and reviews, longer overall, due to 7” x 10” page size (450 p.). New appendices etc. Winners from a poll, reviews by me, artist quotes for almost all entries.

Blue Oyster Cult: Secrets Revealed (2004)
- A 193 p. bio of the band (focus on albums and songs); original interviews with Buck, Eric, Albert, Joe, and Bobby, plus Greg Scott, Ioannis, Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman, Richard Meltzer, John Shirley, Helen Wheels and David Roter.

Contents Under Pressure: 30 Year of Rush At Home & Away (2004)
- a 230 page book with 270 photos (most quite rare) authorized by the band, with fresh interviews, to be sold in bookstores and on tour; full colour throughout, 7" x 10" format.

********

MY TOP 25 (with their place in the book)
1. Iron Maiden--Live After Death (#87)
2. Queensryche-Operation Mindcrime (#7)
3. Led Zeppelin--Physical Grafitti (#48)
4. Queensryche-Rage For Order (#108)
5. Metallica--Ride the Lightning (#4)
6. Iron Maiden--Number of the Beast (#2)
7. AC/DC--Back in Black (#5)
8. Metallica--Master of Puppets (#1)
9. Led Zeppelin I (-)
10. Led Zeppelin II (#59)
11. Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy (#146)
12. Led Zeppelin III (#134)
13. Led Zeppelin IV (#30)
14. GnR--Appetite For Destruction (#10)
15. Def Leppard--Pyromania (#55)
16. AC/DC--Highway to Hell (#23)
17. Queen--The Game (-)
18. Queen--Night At The Opera (#177)
19. Dio--Last in Line (#73)
20. Anthrax--Among the Living (#49)
21. Queensryche--The Warning (#192)
22. Iron Maiden--Piece of Mind (#8)
23. Overkill--Feel the Fire (-)
24. Helloween--Keeper of the Seven Keys I (#89)
25. Metallica--Kill 'Em All (#18)


TRIVIA ANSWERS
1. Piece of Mind
2. Heaven and Hell
3. Eric Clapton
4. Ted Nugent
5. Nazareth


--Nailer 08.31.04

About this Writer:
Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Martin PopoffMartin PopoffFrank Hill10/15/2004


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