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on 20 July 2004
There is a great book to be written about Metallica but this isn't it. It starts off promisingly with a plethora of facts and information about the band, their roots (musical and otherwise) as well as a very tight chronology of the development of the band through the years. This is all conveyed in a pleasant though bland style which is rather at odds with the genuinely monumental tale it is trying to convey.
Where the book falls down big time is the author's attempts at analysis of either the band members, their motivations or the band's songs themselves. For instance, rather than investigating the meaning or motivation behind songs and albums, most analysis concentrates on the speed and complexity of the guitar parts or how the songs were recorded. So, rather than in depth analysis of songs such as 'god that failed' or 'mama said' the reader is left with a quick description of how the song sounds and what pretty much sounds like extended production notes.
Even worse, where some analysis is attempted this is often simply the author's opinions on the songs or developments in the bands career. This can often be as little as whether he likes it or not (since 1996 mostly not). For a book claiming to be the 'truth' about metallica this is pretty poor. This sometimes goes to absurd levels when the author attempts to prove (or not) so called myths about the band. In these sections the previous plodding prose morphs into an extremely tedious drone as opinion and counter opinion is spouted to no particular end.
The overall impression I had of the book was that it was the work of an over earnest disgruntled ex-fan. A lot of it reads like either a fanzine or the letters page of the metal mags of old. Even this would be fair enough if the story had been conveyed with a certain amount of style and a sense of excitement about the subject matter. Unfortunately it has not.
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on 27 April 2004
This book starts off really well. The first half of of this book isreally informative espcially the chapter about Cliff. It did contain somethings I didn't know about Metallica. The second really lets this bookdown, it is called "The Truth About Metallica" not "My opinion aboutMetallica". There are less interviews in the second half so the authorhas filled it up with his opinions on the band and there later records,but if your a fan of Metallica (which if your buying this book you mustbe) then you'll already have opinions on these later records.
Its a real shame about this, if the second half was as good as the firsthalf then I would recomend this book, but as it is, only buy if you canget it in a sale.
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on 21 November 2012
After reading Mick Walls "Enter Night" i must say this was much more enjoyable even if the second half is like other reviewers here mention not as good as the first. However I give McIver credit for not trying to disguise his opinion as fact and that he stills views a future for Metallica. I am a huge fan of Meatallica and until they put out their own biography this is a great read and I learned a lot I did not know about the band. Mick Walls book has more on their time with their first manager Zazula and some interesting facts around the recording of the albums. If you want to know everything about Metallica then both books will give you something if you have to choose one of these two. I would recomend Metallica: Justice for All by McIver as his writing style for me at least felt more personal and was more enjoyable.
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on 20 February 2005
I'll start by saying, as a 80's aging metalhead who's still into all the old favourites cited in this book, reading through the first half of the book covering the early years, I felt like I was back in the days of leather liquor and Tommy Vance. I remember fondly the underground tape trading network (even in Belfast) when all those Bay Area thashers like Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica and Death Angel first emerged as a worldchanging phenomenon. Back then thrash metal was cool, and this book accuratly relives the early days of this amazing evolutionary time for music. The writer is obviously a fan, and like me, has his own special fondness of those early days, but he tries to be unbiased in his opinions by casting all situations through many viewpoints. It's great to read comments by the musicians that made the thrash scene what is was back then, and see where they all are today as a result. I feel this book is a must see for all stalwart Metallica fans, but beware, if you're not an out and out thrasher, veering more towards the Load Re-Load stuff in preference, then you're in for a harsh bit of criticism (which I personally agree whole heartedly with). Metallica are an amazing band, but the decline of their real musical roots since Metallica shows us no one is safe from the plague of today's commercial calling, or the pressures of the post 90's rat race world. It's great to see the boys getting it back, and with St. Anger showing some progress (except for awful mixing and drum sound and uninspired bass plating by Bob Rock) I think we're in for an eventful few years. Read this book, remember the early days, follow the history of Metal and see why it's like it is today - all told with a primary focus on the world's favourite metal band. I enjoyed this book and I hope you do too.
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on 3 November 2004
Considering how exciting Metallica are as a band, one would expect their story to be similarly frenetic. It's a shame, therefore, to see their tale turned into a list of achievements chronicled in much the same way as a phone directory, with a turgid narrative that more than occasionally touches on inspid blandness. It's revealing to learn that McIver is Production Editor on specialist anorak-zine Record Collector, and that he has previously penned a tribute to the equally bland Erykah Badu - this may go some way to explaining why the book fails as a narrative and would, in fact, have worked better as a series of features (in the hands of the right editor).
This, I'm afraid, is one of those occasions where it's best to reach for something authorised, as this tome has all the flavour of a late-night easy-watching 30-minutes biopic, in which people who once met the band's tea-lady are called upon to dispense their 'wisdom'. A shame indeed, and a rather expensive shame.
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on 23 March 2004
I've been a Metallica fan since 1985 and have been waiting for a book like this to come out ever since their lamentable decision to change to a softer musical style in the mid 1990s. This book tells it like it is -- why the band were so good and why it was so regrettable that they threw it all away. But the author still balances his arguments really well and concludes that they're one of the best metal bands ever, so all Metallica fans will still love this book. There's tons of info here which I've never seen before too, and I thought I knew everything about them. Truly a great achievement!
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on 25 March 2013
Great book, still reading it but definitely worth it so far!! So many details for the best metal band ever!
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on 31 March 2004
You can never be too hard on Metallica because they ARE the Led Zeppelin of our generation...Joel McIver has done a tremendous job on "Justice For All". As somebody the same age, growing up in the same scene (only in New Jersey) as Metallica, Joels book really brought me back to the origins of the whole underground thrash scene of the 80's.
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on 8 November 2014
Another take on the METALLICA story good read .
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on 13 May 2004
I couldn't put this one down, and it's a pretty heavy read! The book go into every detail a dedicated Metallica fan could hope for, from the music that shaped their lives when they were young to separating the myths from the facts about one of the biggest bands in the world. The author, Joel McIver, has included some of his many amazing interviews with different metal bands (Faith No More, Slipknot, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple to name a few), music journalists and photographers from over the years, and although he is obviously a huge fan, his views are balanced and always fair. Just writing this review makes me want to read it again! If only every book would deliver on this level.
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