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The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal – A Very Resourceful Metal Music Book

Posted in 1970's punk rock, 1970's heavy metal music, 1980's hair metal bands, 1980's heavy metal bands, 1980's metal bands, 1980's punk rock music, 1980's thrash metal, 1990's heavy metal bands, 1990's heavy metal music, 1990's thrash metal music, black metal roots, book reviews, classic rock music, death metal music, doom metal music, extreme metal music, hair metal music, heavy metal book reviews, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal music books, heavy metal music guides, heavy metal music reference, heavy metal vocalists, horror punk rock bands, Metal, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, old school metal bands, old school thrash metal music, punk rock bands, rock music, sludge metal bands, southern hard rock, thrash metal bands with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Ozzy small picI’m always looking for good deals on my Heavy Metal Music purchases, from albums, CD’s to memorabilia and books. Upon one of my recent stops into a local thrift store, I happened upon quite the Heavy Metal find indeed, for the ripe price of fifty cents. Yes, fifty cents. The find you ask? Well, none other than The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal – and it is quite the book for me. (This book is a 1st printing, printed in 2005 by Rough Guides). While perusing the book aisle at this thrift store, the image of none other than Ozzy Osbourne caught my eye. What is this? I could not believe what I had found! Knowing immediately too, that any book in this thrift store is only fifty cents… I was Metal stoked. As a bonus, this book stared right at me in gem mint condition as well. As I picked it up and browsed through it’s Heavy Metal filled pages, it was obvious to me that the previous owner of this book never bothered to read it. As crisp of a new book you will find. Life is a sweet journey sometimes, especially when you can stumble on a 410 page book, when you least expect it, that is dedicated to your favorite music genre… Heavy Metal.

Alright, enough about how I found The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal and onward with it’s review. This richly factual book is written by Essi Berelian, with a foreward by the legendary front man for Iron MaidenBruce Dickinson himself. There are over 300 bands and/or musicians that are covered in this book. (Hey, to make a definitive book of Heavy Metal bands would not only be a task of the ages, the page count would reach a bizarre number as well). Therefore, there are going to be bands that are missing, (I am disappointed that Enslaved did not get aknowledged), plus there is that band here and there where I can’t exactly label as Heavy Metal, (Asia has a write-up in this book). I like Asia, yet I do not see the connection here. I will bend and say Foreigner has a loose connection to the genre of Heavy Metal, they are represented in The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal. Diversity is shown in the representation of bands, The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal even acknowledges Lynyrd Skynyrd and their link to heavy music.

From Ozzy Osbourne and Kiss to King Diamond and Magnum, with the likes of Venom and UFO in between, a fabulous smorgasbord of movers and shakers are touched upon with factual integrity and reverence. I am smitten that Slayer, Motorhead, W.A.S.P., Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kreator are well covered here too. Something that Essi Berelian did here, that impresses me most, is the inclusion of legendary Punk Rock Bands such as the Misfits and Ramones. Still, where are the Sex Pistols? C’mon, if you include Punk Rock into a voluminous book such as this, it is not a bright move to ignore the Sex Pistols! Plus, whenever writers refer to the 1970’s Hard Rock band Sweet as “The Sweet”, it drives me crazy. Anyone familiar with this band knows them as Sweet… period. The only album I am aware of, that has the moniker of “The Sweet” is their very first album, which was titled Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be back in 1971. Give me a Metal break.

Essi Berelian deserves much praise and credit, despite the few flaws mentioned, that in reality, I can overlook. Each band or musician represented in The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal has it’s history and discography touched upon in enough detail that suffices for me. Interesting anecdotes and facts are also provided throughout this entire book, making for a very resourceful guide on the history of Heavy Metal. The genres of Heavy Metal are explained very well too, giving the reader an in depth explanation to it’s respective origin and impact on the world of music. From Christian Metal to Black Metal, the genres of Heavy Metal are given their own spotlight. The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal is also loaded with plenty of black and white photographs, (group and individual shots, album covers and concert photos), giving this book that much more appeal.

At the end of the Metal day, The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal makes for an extensive and detailed read into the bands that started, shaped and expanded the world of Heavy Metal Music. Whether you are a life long fan of this incredible genre of music or a brand new fan, this book is rather difficult to put down. I most highly recommend The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal to all, it really isn’t that rough at all. Hey, for the fifty cents it set me back, this book is worth every penny. I cannot shake the Metal grin on my face each time I pick this book up to read.

Ozzy large pic

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BLACK SABBATH – 1983 “BORN AGAIN” ALBUM IS METAL OF PROFOUND IMPORTANCE

Posted in 1980's heavy metal albums, 1980's heavy metal bands, 1980's heavy metal music, 1980's metal bands, 1980's metal music, Album Review, black metal roots, classic heavy metal, classic metal, collecting metal music, cool album covers, creepy album covers, doom metal music, essential heavy metal albums, essential metal music albums, guitar legends, heavy metal album covers, heavy metal albums, heavy metal albums 1983, heavy metal music, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal album review, metal music, metal music albums, metal odyssey, Music, old school heavy metal, old school metal bands, rock music, scary album covers, spooky album covers, vintage heavy metal albums, vintage heavy metal bands with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Black Sabbath "Born Again"Back on October 4, 1983, Black Sabbath released their eleventh studio album – Born Again. I was serving time in high school as a senior in 1983, I also became a born again Metalhead that same year, thanks to this most underrated Black Sabbath album. I am not kidding or trying to sound like a yahoo by stating that. Born Again was a match made in Metal heaven for me… the prolific vocals of Ian Gillan uniting with the ultra legendary Black Sabbath. I have to admit, with Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio not fronting Black Sabbath, it was common place for professionally paid Rock Music critics to easily overlook the other lead singers this Rock And Roll Hall of Fame band has bestowed over the decades. I never overlooked a damned thing Black Sabbath had done, especially when they joined forces with Ian Gillan. From the front album cover artwork of the demon baby, to the down right eerie and chilling Metal Music heard on Born Again, this album is a must listen and own in Metal Music 101.

When I first listened to Born Again, back in good ol’ 1983, the synthetic instrumentals of Stonehenge and The Dark left a Metal imprint on my subconscious like none other… all I could think back then and now is this is the soundtrack of doom… all hail Black Sabbath. The guitar riffs, leads and solo on Zero The Hero sound as if I am listening to a descent to the darkest depths of inner Earth… I love that descent. Trashed is not just an amazing song lyrically, this is an early introduction of Heavy Metal making the transition to pure… Metal. Comparing Born Again to other Heavy Metal albums of that time is what separates the Heavy Metal label from Black Sabbath, thus anointing this iconic band to true masters of Metal Music.

The Metal of Born Again is not Thrash, yet it is not Accept, Quiet Riot or Saxon of that time period either. With Born Again, a black album was unintentionally or intentionally created, (both with album artwork and the Metal Music within), while Black Metal itself was simultaneously being born into a genre, courtesy of Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer . I can’t compare this Black Sabbath album to their earlier albums with Ozzy. Nor can I make a comparison of Born Again to the Dio led Black Sabbath either. The song Born Again alone is a study in just how far Tony Iommi would go in making a unique Black Sabbath album, one that would stand apart from the entire Black Sabbath catalog… forever. Listening to Ian Gillan’s vocals on this song honestly takes my Metal breathe away. Ian Gillan is beyond unreal great on Born Again – all one needs to do is open their Metal mind to the song Hot Line and thou shall understand and realize why. Seriously, the vocals of Ian Gillan on Hot Line makes me imagine what life would have been like for this Metalhead, if more Black Sabbath albums were created with his legendary voice. I guess it is obvious by now, that I revere Ian Gillan.

Digital Bitch may have been the most popular song from Born Again, the song that advertised their Born Again Tour on FM Radio back in 1983-84. Despite the fondness that commercial FM radio had for this song, it blazed with Metal fury like no other song back then. Disturbing The Priest, this song title alone made for my own personal battle cry for serving eight long years of time – in a parochial school. Trust me on that one. In Metal hindsight, maybe the professionally paid Rock Music critics of the world were never ready for the dark Metal Music that Born Again was about. This was not the Deep Purple version of Ian Gillan, nor was this the Children of the Sea version of Black Sabbath. Keep It Warm actually grounded this Born Again album, keeping it from being a non-stop onslaught of apocalyptic, melancholy and dark sided themes.

In a Metal nutshell, this Born Again album was forged by the union of Ian Gillan joining the legends of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill ward. This version of Black Sabbath has suffered through too many years of comparisons to the Ozzy and Dio fronted bands of the same name. All too often, the ignorance of professionally paid Rock Music critics can water down the integrity of a great album from an elite band. Such is the case here with this incredible Born Again album from Black Sabbath. I never saw this Black Sabbath lineup as anything other than Black Sabbath, only with a different lead singer in Ian Gillan who rose to the Metal occasion with unparalleled pipes.

Over the years it has been amusing to me, to even read that Ian Gillan himself was never satisfied, actually displeased, with the music and demon baby artwork of Born Again. (The liner notes of this Born Again CD detail this, as written by writer Hugh Gilmour). If only Ian Gillan knew, just how much this Born Again album has meant to me, as a lifetime fan of his prominent vocals. Black Sabbath fans who appreciate the music created by Tony Iommi, (guitar), Geezer Butler, (bass) and Bill Ward, (drums), know that the Ozzy, Dio and Ian Gillan versions of this band carry their own Metal identity that captivates with it’s own powerful mystique. Born Again by Black Sabbath is more than a vintage Metal album that I recommend, it is a vintage Metal necessity, that should be embraced and heralded as an important contribution and moment – to the history of Metal Music.

To my best Metal buddy Scott… thank you for buying me this hard to find CD. Having owned a copy of Born Again on cassette, spanning three decades, deserved a righteous Metal upgrade. I truly wish I kept the vinyl album of Born Again that once was in my collection.

Black Sabbath "Born Again"

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