F U L L . R E V I E W S


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.


********

TRIVIA ANSWERS
1. Piece of Mind
2. Heaven and Hell
3. Eric Clapton
4. Ted Nugent
5. Nazareth
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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ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: MARTIN POPOFF
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Martin PopoffMartin PopoffFrank Hill10/15/2004


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