The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time
Band / Release NotesMartin Popoff is the author of The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal and Riff Kills Man! 25 Years of Recorded Heavy Metal. He is a regular contributor to CMJ and Guitar World.
8/31/2004 - Review by: Frank Hill
Let the debates begin!
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 softcover 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. 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.
1. Piece of Mind
2. Heaven and Hell
3. Eric Clapton
4. Ted Nugent
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