on 25 April 2015
The New Wave of Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), depending on your point of view:
“.. was a nationwide ground-breaking phenomenon from which sprang such heavy metal legends as Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon and Diamond Head.”
— Kerrang! NWOBHM supplement (1989)
Or it was:
“... crude, poorly produced and played by musicians with rudimentary talents.”
— Joel McIver, Justice for All: The Truth about Metallica (2004)
Well, I agree with both of these statements: it was, in my opinion, a magical coming of age for heavy metal which will never be bettered. The term NWOBHM was conjured up at the time by journalists to conveniently package the rock and metal bands which had embraced the DIY punk ethic; speeding up what went before, toning down the blues influences and turning it up to 11. The genre reached its peak in the UK in the early 80s when the charts were packed full of Maiden, Priest, Motorhead, Saxon and loads of other excellent metal bands. It was also a period where the numerous subgenres of metal were slowly starting to define themselves.
This book is probably the most comprehensive record of the bands from that era (with 500 plus entries) and exposes the real size and scope of revolution that was taking place at the time. Of course not every band can be Def Leppard and the while a lot of the copycat and hopeful bands faded into obscurity it’s still massively interesting to read about their brief time in time spotlight and why it all went wrong for them.
The occasional illustration, rare photograph, copy of album and 7” single sleeves, sporadic inclusion of gig information from the time and comments from the band members themselves liven up what could have a fairly dry read.
I found some the entries were out of date but if you supplement most of the band entries with the data available at Rate Your Music then the colourful discographies can easily be updated and releases rated making it easy to separate the wheat out from the chaff.
When I was reading the book I couldn't believe there were so many bands which I'd forgotten about who were still actually releasing music and gigging after all of these years. To me, this highlights the fact that big labels will continue to shovel crap onto the general public who are happy to buy it, while 99.9% of the truly awesome bands who created superbly influential songs sadly fail to make a living from doing what they love.
So in summary, this is the ultimate primer of an all too short but hugely important chapter of musical history. A must read for anyone interested in the metal genre.
on 7 August 2008
This book is probably the most comprehensive (if a little outdated now) guide to the New Wave of British Heavy metal. It's not just boring biographies but a very colourful and amusing tome that goes into great lengths to explain what was going on back in the early eighties. Malc is a very entertaining writer; I love the little anecdotes and one-liners that are spread throughout the book, and the extremely honest tone he puts across in his writing. Be warned though, this isn't an easy book to just pick up and read as you really should have some knowledge of at least a few of the artists mentioned, and as I said earlier it is now slightly outdated; As one who keeps up with the NWOBHM scene, a lot of the bands have actually reformed, or put out newer albums than the ones listed (it only goes up to about 2001) so just bear that in mind if you feel slighty disappointed one of your favourates no longer exist; they just might've got back together since this was writen!
It is an excellent book though, the basic structure of listing every EP, Single and album (although, frustratingly not demos or cassettes, but these are usually mentioned in the descriptive bio's) makes it perfect for collectors to hunt down that elusive album.
Overall, if you have a passion for this kind of music, or you're just getting into it and hanker for more (like I was) then this book is perfect to get you going.
on 15 November 2012
If you are a NWOBHM follower then you shouldn't by any means lose the chance to get this book. There are tons of bands listed here, and the information regarding each one - even the most obscure ones - is literally enticing. i was looking for this book for a long time, I do not know if it's really to being sold out (or already sold out) but it's definitely worth its money...and more. Do not expect to read it at once, no way.
on 7 July 2015
This is, simply put, a majestic effort by the author.
It has hundreds of British bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the vast majority of them never even released a LP, most of them only reached the single or EP format.
To be exact, there are 515 bands covered here...
You have short sketches for some bands, longer ones for others, but all of them have meaning, they are not filler.
I have the February 2012 edition.
This book is simply a must have.
on 26 January 2015
This is a wonderful resource for anyone even slightly interested in this genre. The author obviously researched long & hard to produce such a comprehensive, accurate & frank history of one of the most popular & maligned forms of modern music of it's time. Attention to detail is meticulous. I should know, I was in some of these bands as were many of my friends. He got every detail spot-on. Everyone who's seen the book has known a band or person from it & had distant memories stirred. This is a great read, well written, a labour of love. Good for a browse, great for a full-on history lesson. Won't let my copy out of the house!