"Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?"
HEAVY PAPERWARE UNFOLDED
by Richard Karsmakers
Originally this was going to be only a review of the "Kerrang!
Heavy Metal Direktory", but just before the release of this issue
of ST NEWS I got across this really cheap copy of a Metallica
biography and got it, read it, and wrote about it.
Kerrang! Heavy Metal Direktory
Some issues ago I wrote something about a Dutch "Hardrock &
Heavy Metal Encyclopaedia". Of course it was of limited interest
to most of you, but this time I have something that's written in
English and might therefore be of appeal to a whole lot more.
This time it's the "Kerrang! Direktory of Heavy Metal", edited by
Neil Jeffries and released by Virgin books. It even has an intro
written in Jaymz Hetfield's barely decypherable handwriting!
First thing I did after getting it, of course, was look up
"Gwar". They were in there, with a suitably gory picture even.
That already made the book better than the aforementioned Dutch
product. However, upon more careful examination it becomes
obvious that the Direktory is not an actual Encyclopaedia. Don't
expect complete discographies, for example, for the editors have
only included the worst and the best albums with the self-called
legendary K! rating that was given them when released. Some of
the bands featured in this piece of work do have rather more
complete discographies, but there are few and far apart. Only
bands who have released one album can pride themselves on a full
discography in the book. And don't expect current band member
listings either. You can deem yourself happy when you get some
sort of indication of the years when the band was around (or as
of when they were around in cases they still are).
The nice thing about the Direktory is that it's actually fun to
read. It's not some sort of dry summary of facts and history, but
a fair share of subjective drivel as well. Some of the entries,
such as those on Malmsteen, the Great Kat, Fuck Off ("CRAP band,
interesting name" and Manowar, don't mask the writers' criticism.
Their totally subjective approach, however, also causes certain
archetypal bands (such as Diamond Head and Budgie) to get too
much coverage and appraisal - after all, these bands were and
are almost totally unknown and would be even more so if Metallica
hadn't covered some of their songs.
Fifty bands get sortof an all-time Top 50 Akkolade treatment,
meaning you get more information on the band as well as some
interesting quotes uttered by the band members (in interviews
with "Kerrang!" magazine) at one time or other. Some bands, like
Nirvana and Bon Jovi, don't deserve that kind of honour in my
eyes - but get it anyway. Maybe they should have limited it to a
Top 25, for there can't possibly be more than 25 truly important
bands in the genre. I mean has Bon Jovi ever really sortof
changed things for heavy metal, or even hard rock? Except for
making more money than many and redefining the percentage of
female spectators at a concert, that is. And has Nirvana and this
whole Seattle thing (yes, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden get the
Akkolades too) really changed anything in the long term? I think
nobody will remember them in five years' time when this whole
Seattle thing will have vanished and nobody will want to listen
to their simply 2/3-chord tunes that all sound alike. Some of
these bands are good but none of them are classics. Thank whoever
is worth believing in (probably no one) they also give the
Akkolade to bands who have really meant something, bands like
Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Venom, Slayer, Kiss, Iron Maiden,
even Scorpions (who used to be quite good in the early eighties)
and, of course, Metallica. I guess even Guns and Fuckin' Roses
deserve it, and they get it.
So, apart from the sometimes too subjective approach - that also
has its humorous advantages - and the lack of an index, the
"Kerrang! Heavy Metal Direktory" is certainly worth the £12,99
you have to shell out for its 250 paperbacked and more than
adequately illustrated pages.
"The Kerrang! Heavy Metal Direktory" edited by Neil Jeffries,
published by Virgin. ISBN0 86369 761 5, £12.99.
Metallica, The Frayed Ends of Metal
(Actually, that's a lie, for instead I got its Dutch
translation, "Metallica, De Angstaanjagande kanten van de Metal")
Miranda (my girlfriend) is momentarily sitting at the other end
of the room, studying for some kind of Veterinary exam she has to
take in a few days. I should be studying, too, but when I sat
down this afternoon to read the introduction to "Metallica, The
Frayed Ends of Metal" I suddenly found myself reading the whole
thing. I just finished it while eaten listlessly, and now I'm
sitting here. So as not to disturb the heavy studying session
going on at the other side of the room, I am currently playing
Metallica's "...And Justice for All" through headphones. Perhaps
this is my favourite Metallica after all. Not just because it's
got great music but because it was my First Metallica Album, a
bit like a First Kiss or First Girl, or First Computer. Also, it
makes me think back of really intense times back in 1988/89 when
Stefan still had a lot more free time and, more importantly, the
zeal required to make ST NEWS the biggest and baddest.
I can almost not repress screaming violent screams, and banging
my head to such extent that the headphones would fly off, leaving
me suddenly bewildered in almost perfect silence with the distant
sound of metal through far-off headphones barely able to cause
the air to vibratre.
My headphones are still on. They are turned up really loud.
To begin whipping dance of the dead
Blackened is the end
To begin whipping dance of the dead
Is the outcome of hypocrisy
Is the exit of humanity
Colour our world blackened
I think those times will probably never come back. Maybe it's
for the better. No need to reminisce over things past.
"Metallica, The Frayed ends of Metal" is written by Chris
Crocker. From the fact that it nowhere mentions any thanks or
credits to the members of Metallica I assume it's totally
unauthorized - but that never stopped me from buying anything. On
top of that, it merely set me back 15 Dutch guilders which is
tremendously cheap for a capable written and scarcely illustrated
234 page book.
What you get is 23 chapters plus thanks, introduction,
discography and videography. It is quite objectively written, and
doesn't just cover Metallica and all the necessary relevancies
but also the whole heavy metal genre from Black Sabbath and Led
Zeppelin to Gwar (of all things) and all the trials and
tribulations associated with whatever seemingly trivial
Metallica-connection you can concoct. I read the whole thing in
one afternoon, spent raising an eyebrow here or there and
criticising the English->Dutch translation job.
Mr. Crocker is definitely not a true Metallifan himself. He
neglects to inform the reader of the fact that the 'live' tracks
on "Jump in the Fire" were in fact taped in the studio with
audience response taped onto it later (and from another band at
that!). Also, he spends rather a lot of time on descriptions of
the tunes on the albums, the latest concert tour and the videos
takes off "Metallica" (and that of "One"). True fans have heard
them all, seen 'em all, so they know all that stuff already.
Nonetheless the book does contain some rather interesting bits
of trivia, such as the way the band lived around the time when
they had to record "Kill 'Em All", and dozens of quotes of
various Metallica members taken from innumerable rock magazine
articles published through the ages. When reading the book you
once more get the total feeling of underground, growth, and then
frustrated decadence that forced itself on the band due to their
super-stardom. In a way it's a sad story, but it's beautiful too.
The current phase Metallica is in will certainly decide what to
think of them for the future. They changed their musical rudder
with "Metallica" and they are still alive - very much so. But if
they change it even more drastically they might go the same way
as Faith No More, Pestilence and the Gathering - who totally
alienated their old fans by their new albums, at least as far as
I was concerned.
Metallica has been the prime metal band, and still is. I find it
grim, true, and real. It's justice. I hope their next album -
which shouldn't be expected until in about 2 or 3 years anyway -
will be another corker. Even if it doesn't sell that well.
So I've finished the review. But Metallica on my headphones have
only just started the third track. There's an entire further CD
to listen to. I will leave you - and me - to it.
"Metallica, de Angstaanjagende kanten van de Metal", by Chris
Crocker, published by BZZZTOH. ISBN 90 6291 995 2. Costs Hfl
14,95. Original title "Metallica, the Frayed Ends of Metal".
"Do you trust what I trust?
Me, myself and I
Penetrate the smoke screen
I see through the selfish lie"
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.