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The truth or Joel McIver's opinions about metallica ?
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.