2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Before I start, I should admit that I am an absolutely unashamed Martin Popoff junkie. Frankly, I love this guy: his witty, opinionated style of writing, his sheer honesty, his complete disregard for flying in the face of the 'accepted' viewpoint and his anecdotal ability to place a record into personal context all add up to make him my favourite rock journalist by a ridiculously wide mile. Does this mean I agree with everything he says? God no, I'm not a robot. But who the hell wants to read the opinions of someone who exactly echoes their own take on things? Popoff is challenging, witty and profound, entirely his own man and so much the better for it. Hail to the king, baby.
That aside, what do I think of this particular volume of his herculean labours? Frankly, though I love both his 80s and 90s tomes, this may well be the most outright useful piece of writing the great man has ever committed to the page. His in-depth analysis of all those 70s discs you've vaguely heard of, let alone those obscurities who you've only ever heard referenced by your favourite enlightened metallers (Opeth, step forward!) is quite superb, hugely informative, brilliantly descriptive and about as excellent a guide to the unplumbed depths of what I hope you too will soon consider rock's greatest decade as you could hope for. Yep, this is honestly that good.
Personal highlights? Well, it if it wasn't for this book, I would never have discovered Ram Jam's 'Portrait Of The Artist...', Angel's 'Helluva Band', Captain Beyond, Sir Lord Baltimore, Edgar Broughton Band, Sensational Alex Harvey Band (yeah, I heard they were good, but not this good!), Montrose (embarassing, I know, that I'd never heard their first album, the greatest debut of all time?), Hard Stuff (genius!) and most importantly of all, Atomic Rooster's 'Death Walks Behind You', one of the greatest and most under-rated albums ever. And this is only the tip of the iceberg... even in his thumbnail-sketchy appendixes to the book, Popoff says enough to switch you on to band after band that, even if you knew they existed, you never realised were as amazing as they are.
In short, if you have the slightest interest in the harder end of 70s rock, I reckon you'll find this book indispensable. I certainly have, as my wallet can attest. Absolutely superb.
on 19 May 2014
I have to agree totally with the previous reviewer, I am also a bit of a Popoff fan now that I have bought several of his books. This was the first and is a personal favourite as it covers the foundation black albums that started the hard rock/metal genre. The book introduced artists and albums to me that has led to my LP collection becoming one to be proud of. Popoff is the best advocate for the rock scene around and his ability to put the artists in historical context is brilliant and gives you the appreciation which those artists deserve for what they enabled the following bands to produce, without the likes of Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple etc, you don't get Judas Priest, Maiden, Metallica etc, their connections are pointed out in this book and makes it great reading because of it. These albums are not just time capsules, they are part of the very makeup of why there are still so many heavy metal hordes around the world, get this book and start to understand why. First class work Mr Popoff...