“The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time” by Martin Popoff

Title: “The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time”
Author: Martin Popoff
Publisher: ECW Press
Release Date: 4/28/2004
Rating: 7/10

For this tome Martin Popoff really had his work cut out for him, as finding the top 500 Heavy Metal albums of all time could not have been an easy task. However, after an extensive readers poll he gives us this 800 page opus for to enjoy. Popoff took the winners in this list of the “Top 500” and then redid his thoughts of review for each album. He also included the top ten picks of hundreds of other artists he has met while doing the book. I thought this a great part of the book since it gives you a better idea as to what your favorite performers are fond of as their favorites. The book will clearly also spark a little bit of debate among you and your Heavy Metal colleagues as to what is included and what is omitted, I was surprised to see the top 10 line out as it ended up. Yet some of it seems on target. The other interesting aspect is that you will also see some classic rock acts and punk acts among the heavy metal superstars.
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“Back To Basics” by Anvil

Artist: Anvil
Title: “Back To Basics”
Label: Screaming Ferret Wreckords
Release Date: 8/24/2004
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7/10

Canadian Metallers Anvil was one of those bands that seem to have never gotten their fair share of touring in the USA. The release of “Back To Basics” comes after a very long absence to the public eye as far as the Metal Industry is concerned. While the release is chock full of steady rolling heavy metal in an old school fashion, there is little impact in any of the tunes. We don’t get anything as musically capable as we did on “Metal On Metal” or “Jackhammer” and “March Of The Crabs”. On the CD there are several decent rockers such as “Keep It Up” , “The Chainsaw” and “Bottom Feeder”. However, the rest is just ok in my opinion. I guess I had expected a little more from them due to the duration in time that I have heard them doing anything. It is still nice to see them able to generate a steady amount of metal in any case. The old school sound or traditional as it is considered nowadays gets continued life because of their efforts.
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“Live From Mt. Fuji” by GWAR

Artist: GWAR
Title: “Live From Mount Fuji”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 5/31/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 6/10

The return to Earth by GWAR is never an event that bodes much good for the Human Race. Their needs are generally base when it comes to us for they either need new Slaves or fodder to dismember during their live performances. Sadly, their return with this CD proves something more insidious, they are giving us a live album. No one is safe now. I know that I am risking my own doom for speaking out of turn on this heralded and awed Intergalactic presence, but I fear I must speak my mind. I was disappointed to find only a live CD and not a visual representation of this show released. GWAR is one of those groups that truly must be seen in person to appreciate in any sense. Otherwise you fail to get the point of what they do and also it makes just listening to them a little difficult to appreciate. There are a lot of jokes going on back and forth between the band members and audience and literally the evening is generally pure chaos when they perform.
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“Metalogy” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Metalogy” – Boxed Set
Date: 5/11/2004
Company: Columbia Legacy
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 10/10

The boxed set for Judas Priest has finally arrived and it is worth looking into. It is 4 music CDs and one DVD. How does one best judge a comprehensive boxed set by a band who’s work is a testament to heavy metal music other than with the simple words of “BUY THIS PRODUCT”. The release of this box does come at a good time, for Rob Halford is reunited with his Mates (Tipton, Downing, Hill and Travis) and they are embarking as the pre-headliner for this year’s Ozzfest opening for Black Sabbath. While many agree that Black Sabbath began the heavy metal music sound, there are many who contend that Judas Priest was the first heavy metal band, taking what Sabbath created and introducing it to a larger variety of sounds and styles. Refining it into so many memorable songs that we still find sounding fresh today.
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“Marbles On The Road” by Marillion

Artist: Marillion
Title: “Marbles On The Road”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 5/10/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 8/10

Marillion is one of those bands that always seem to use their time in the most effective manner. They do this by recording a lot, and touring in their native UK almost non-stop but one thing that always has stood out for me was the release of product from the band. It is almost every few months that we see something happening in the Marillion camp whether it be a CD or DVD or Book. Last year the group returned to the States to support the new CD “Marbles”. I went with some hesitation as it had been awhile since I liked “new” Marillion material yet I have to admit that I was blown away by the album (which was presented in its entirety as it seemed). The release of the DVD “Marbles On The Road” is perfect for any Marillion fan who either attended or missed it somehow and still wants to get part of the picture. Either of those fans would enjoy this piece in their collection. A wonderful mix of Progressive Rock, “Marbles” is clearly Marillion’s best effort in some years and not a second of the experience is lost in this concert film.
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