Tag Archives: the collector’s guide to heavy metal

“The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 3: The Nineties” by Martin Popoff

Artist: Martin Popoff
Title: “The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: The Nineties”
Label: Collector’s Guide Publishing
Release Date: 8/1/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

And so we have arrived at Martin Popoff’s “Final Chapter” in his trilogy of “Collector’s Guide’s to Heavy Metal” tomes that have both enlightened and informed us for a number of years. The first volume focused on the 70’s as Heavy Metal music began to draw up its strength and morph from the Blues-based Hard Rock that Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple delivered while the sound first introduced by Black Sabbath began to inspire scores of bands after them. Volume 2 focused on the 80’s – a decade that was loaded with big hair and even bigger music. It was all about Glam Rock for many during this decade and even the beginning of Power Metal to some extent. At the end of the day this remains an era that many music fans pine for in terms of overall output and creativity. The closing volume brings us back into focus on the 90’s which was a very interesting decade in Metal’s history to say the least. The traditional sound became mixed with Grunge and Industrial while new doors to Black and Death Metal were opened and took up a serious rise while some others such as Glam Metal and Power Metal seemed to take a hiatus in some parts of the world. For those of us who live in the States, it seemed as though the Grunge movement led by Nirvana, Alice In Chains and others were the the death knell for true Heavy Metal music. Yet around the world we found the birth and rise of bands such as Nightwish, EdGuy, Sonata Arctica, HIM and many more while Black Metal experts such as Immortal, Emperor and Dimmu Borgir all showed that they meant business and each of them was worthy of attention.
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“The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: Vol. 1 – The Seventies” by Martin Popoff

Artist: Martin Popoff
Title: “The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: Vol. 1 – The Seventies”
Label: Collector’s Guide Publishing
Release Date: 10/1/2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

Martin Popoff took his massive “Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal” book and decided that it would be best split into three volumes. Each volume would focus on a particular decade and as a result be more informative on the releases from that time period. After observing Popoff’s reviews on websites for many years, I consider him more a Music Historian than a critic of the various releases he lends his views to. The historian status is what makes a to me like “Collector’s Guide” so interesting and important to one’s bookshelf. The edition on the 70’s truly makes for some interesting reading as well as deeper musical discovery. Being born in the mid-sixties, I found myself personally finding music during this era and getting my first tastes of Pink Floyd and David Bowie. The tastes were later expanded into harder music: what was being done by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and KISS. The decade itself was full of amazing music and for the most part Hard Rock was slowly morphing into the newly branded genre of Heavy Metal. In this guide one finds a large quantity of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Nazareth, and Uriah Heep albums listed. There are also fine listings on Sweet, KISS, and Judas Priest as well as the first couple of Van Halen presentations. Fans of the 80’s Metal sound were all following bands that grew up on these groups and were often cited as influences in the many interviews presented in Circus Magazine or Hit Parader (remember these?). The book not only gives you a better understanding of a lot of the albums that were issued in Hard Rock and Metal, but also gives you a chance to compare your own opinions on this against that of the author. Your favorite memory of the decade might not be his and of course that is what makes enjoying music so much fun. If you are too young to recall this decade and come from Rocker Parents, then this book is a great guide to a lot of the records that they might still have stashed someplace in the house. I recommend you go digging in the basement or attic for them if you discover this to be the case.
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“The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: Vol. 2 – The Eighties” by Martin Popoff

Author: Martin Popoff
Title: “The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: Vol. 2 – The Eighties”
Publisher: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 11/28/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

Martin Popoff follows his successful “Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal” with a second volume that focuses exclusively on the Eighties. Mister Popoff is certainly someone who knows the music business and is well known for his work on his other books as well as work with “Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles” as Editor In Chief. Metal fans will in most cases agree that this particular decade was seminal for the genre and perhaps the most productive in terms of band signings, record and video releases as well as bombastic shows from some of the industries greatest bands. With “The Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal V2: The Eighties” you will find 3700 reviews in it’s 540 pages. There is not much in the way of photographs with the exception of some albums being represented but by excluding this they are able to keep the book at a reasonable size. Those that enjoyed the first volume of this guide will appreciate the fact that many reviews not present in the 1st book have representation in this one. As a matter of fact, Popoff even has given an update to many of the ones that made their way to this volume. This ties the whole idea together a little better. This is not a book that you can expect to read from beginning to end in a single sitting but instead something that you can enjoy comparing his views on the releases against your own and taken as a valid reference point on the decade. Of all the vast and varied artists included you will find a good sampling of releases by KISS, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Savatage and Ozzy Osbourne. In addition to these giants you will also find many cult favorites such as Vandenberg and others who while releasing killer recordings somehow missed the audience that they deserved. If you bought a lot of Metal vinyl or cassettes during this period then you have a good chance of finding a lot of what you spent your money on in this book. My thanks go out to Martin for reminding me of how few of some of my cult favorites remain on vinyl and never getting the CD treatment. I feel that a lot of readers will go digging through the vinyl in their basements after reading this book.
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