"The problem with the gene pool is that there's no lifeguard."
Quoted by Mike Poole
BOOK REVIEW: DE HARD ROCK EN HEAVY METAL ENCYCLOPEDIE
by Richard Karsmakers
Sorry, dear non-Dutch reader, but I'm afraid this particular
article will be of rather little use to you as it's about a book
that, as far as I know, has only been released in the Germanic
dialect commonly spoken in the nether regions exclusively. Of
course you may read on, but do realise the book reviewed herein
will not be of any use to you unless you've spent a fair amount
of years there...
Pop Encyclopaedias are as old as mankind. Well, perhaps not -
but they're at least a decennium old, perhaps slightly more. The
largest part of this particular decennium proved to be blatant
discrimination against people of the fairer taste, i.e. people
who think Michael Jackson sucks and who feel that Madonna had
better fall off her bed one day and break something seriously.
Pop music, reggea, ska, some selected rock'n'roll (Holly,
Beatles, Presley) and a few of the archetypal hard rock bands
(Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Let's Eppelin) were all
that they mentioned. OK, perhaps they also mentioned Metallica
(you'll have to agree that nobody can possible leave these
But what if you were after, say, Entombed or Jason Becker? Any
of the existing pop encyclopaedias would probably fail to supply
you with any information regarding them. They may have been of
crucial importance to this misfit genre of ours but their impact
on the world of 'normal' pop music is usually deemed less than
nill (or at least it is by these encyclopaedias' editors).
All of this changed about two or three years ago - at least it
did in the Netherlands - when the first "Hard Rock en Heavy Metal
When this first edition came out, there was still plenty of
stuff left to be complained. Although it was fairly up-to-date,
the layout sucked and it was written more or less in a 'kids
jumping up and down' style. Also, it lacked a proper index.
With the release of the second edition, last October 14th, these
complaints have been largely removed. New pics, new texts, lots
of unimportant bands deleted or put under more major associated
band headers, and over 200 new bands added. Also, it now
incorporates an extensive index with an enormous amount of cross-
references. Progression if ever I saw it.
Needless to say, I could not refrain from buying it one or two
days after its initial arrival in the shops.
First I started browsing through the thing. It was clearly to be
seen that the editorial staff had now not merely consisted of
people writing for the Dutch "Aardschok/Metal Hammer" magazine,
but also more professional writers from popular Dutch hard rock
magazine "Meltdown" (which beats "A/MH" hands down) and general
music magazine "Oor" (who were also responsible for the slick-
looking and extensive official Pop Encyclopaedia). The pictures
are now excellent, too - although some have more than the
required amount of artisticity.
I checked Metallica. Two pages with discography. AC/DC. Even
more pages. So far so good...so what? Megadeth. Present. Now for
some of the less known bands. My Dying Bride (even mentioned
their latest CD). Paradise Lost. Greg Howe. Kat. Michael Lee
Firkins. All present. Many more I shan't recite here.
Present as well. Indeed, this encyclopaedia is very thorough.
One thing I sensed was a certain partiality. One of my fave
bands, Acid Reign, is not mentioned at all, for example, which
may have something to do with the fact that literally not one
professional journalist has in recent years refrained from saying
that they were unimpressive and generally stank. Similarly (and
more astoundingly), Gwar is not mentioned. Nor are the Mentors.
The Mentors are somewhat of a cult band along the lines of Gwar,
with the difference that they never did make it big. But Gwar is
a highly infamous bunch of freaks. Their impression on music (or
at least on the presentation thereof) has been significant to say
the least, which I guess warrants an entry in any such
encyclopaedia (after all, they've even made 3 albums and 2
videos). No show, however.
Apart from some bands I didn't expect to be lacking from this
standard work (Godflesh being another one), everything seems
excellent. The band descriptions are extensive and professional,
sometimes even mentioning truly interesting bits apart from the
usual "he was replaced by so and so because of this and that and
in the end they ended" and that sort of thing.
There are still some minor wishes left, however.
In the regular "Oor Pop Encyclopedie", all known birthdays are
mentioned. Call it deranged, but I have this thing about
birthdays and collecting them. Not much use for the "Hard Rock en
Heavy Metal Encyclopedie" here, as so far I have only discovered
the birth and death dates of Randy Rhoads. I'd also have
preferred indications in the discography whether or not certain
entries are available on CD (again, just like the regular pop
encyclopaedia does). Last but not least, I would also have liked
a smaller sort of font allowing even more information (like a
list of all EP's and that sort of thing, which is now not
present) - again like the ordinary pop encyclopaedia.
For all of you non-Dutch beings, do not be sad. When I recently
spent three days of the 42nd week in London I stumbled across a
similar thing in English. It seemed pretty extensive and well-
written, featuring lengthy discographies and band line-up
information. The only thing I didn't like much was the layout,
but it should still be a wealth of information.
The 2nd edition of the Dutch "Hardrock en Heavy Metal
Encyclopedie" is available at ƒ39.95 (Dutch guilders) from your
local bookshop. It's soft-cover bound and almost 400 pages in
size. ISBN 90 60 10 800 0, published by A.J. Strengholt boeken.
It's an excellent piece of work regardless of the improvements
that could be made. I know for sure that I will buy the 3rd
edition whenever it will become available.
No Dutch-speaking loud music lover should be without this.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.