With a quick foreward by none other than Metal God Rob Halford, Metal-The Definitive Guide is a great primer for anyone with a passing interest in the music genre called Heavy Metal. Author Garry Sharpe-Young does a great job at breaking down the barriers and sectioning off each of metal's sub-genre's, and while he might not dedicate sections of each chapter to every metal band who ever laced the leather & spikes, most of the bands who have toiled the scene over the years do get mentioned.
The book is divided into parts that delve into classic metal (called heavy), thrash, death, black, gothic, doom, power, and progressive (note, 'glam' or 'hair' metal is not included here), so a lot of the styles of heavy metal are covered, especially of the more extreme nature. Sharpe-Young breaks things down even further, as he takes these sub-genres at looks at the scenes from various countries like Norway, Sweden, USA, UK, Japan, etc.. Plenty of photos adorn the book, and each band's full discography is listed, along with detailed history of each act. If you are turned on by reading about all the line-up changes, including who auditioned for who and which guitar player filled in for what band at which show, this book is loaded with all that critical information, and I must admit, being a long time fan of the genre, much of this book is a compelling read, regardless of whether you were a big follower and any of the bands themselves written about here. Of special interest to many will be the chapters on Norwegian Black Metal, the American Thrash scene, NWOBHM, and Swedish metal, as well as detailed ramblings on classic metal bands like Black Sabbath, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Budgie (surprise!), and Motorhead.
At just under 500 pages, there's a lot to sink your teeth into, and the book is big and weighs a ton, but if you are at all interested in the heavy metal genre, whether a novice or loyal fan, definitely seek this well put together book out.