We don't normally review books here on Sea of Tranquility (in fact, this is the first) but in some cases, when the topic area is totally relevant to what we cover on this here portal, perhaps we will do so, and more often. The name Martin Popoff should be no stranger to readers of heavy metal journalism. Hell, Martin currently is one of the principals of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, a very fine metal magazine and accompanying website, as well as a contributor to Guitar World, CMJ, and, ahem, occasional Sea of Tranquility correspondant (when he comes across something perhaps TOO proggy for BW&BK!), in addition to authoring a number of other books. Anyone who knows Mr. Popoff's style can attest to his keen sense of humor and wide knowledge of all forms of metal, of which most, if not all, are covered in this highly entertaining volume.
The origins of this book go back a bit to a poll that Popoff spread to many folks over the internet a few years back, asking fans to list their favorite metal albums of all time. This writer happened to be one of the lucky participants as well! After painstakingly tabulating the results (and obviously putting aside his personal picks in favor of the fans choices) Martin adds insightful commentary to each entry, as well as interview snippets with the artists that he has acumulated over the years, and in many cases the interviews are very recent.
I won't go and spoil which album came in at #1 in Martin's poll, but I will tell you that albums from bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, AC/DC, Van Halen, Dio, Kiss, Motley Crue, and many, many more, make the list, in some cases you will of course disagree with where albums wind up on the list, but that's the fun of it all.
Probably the best thing about reading a book like this, is getting re-introduced to albums that you may not have heard in ages. On many occasions I went over to my rather large CD collection while reading this book and pulled out classics by bands like UFO, Saxon, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Kiss, albums by them that hadn't heard in quite a while.
Fans of death metal, black metal, progressive metal, and power metal will be happy to know that bands like Death, Dimmu Borgir, Hammerfall, Stratovarious, Cradle of Filth, Entombed, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Emporer, Nevermore, and host of others also made the grade, making this book one of the best overall snapshots of a varied and wide musical genre that you will ever read. Click on the link below for ordering information.
ISBN # 1-55022-600-2, 7 X 10", 450 pages, $19.95 US, $24.95 Canada