by Chris A.
– Senior Photojournalist —
If you’re looking for a few laughs and love heavy metal music consider adding The Merciless Book of Metal Lists to your reference library. Penned by two guys who love metal and obviously have a lot of spare time, the book showcases author’s Sacha and Howie’s view on the world of heavy metal through an interesting collection of “merciless lists.”
More than just a book of rankings, “The Merciless Book of Metal Lists”is also a creative presentation of heavy metal’s history. The book opens with a “forward” by Slayer guitarist, Kerry King, except it’s not really a forward. Rather than King sitting down, contemplating the book and giving his thoughts on its contents, due to time constraints, King gave them an interview. Okay, it’s not really a forward but the interview was really pretty good. Kerry seems to think metal heads will enjoy this book and you would have to agree.
Okay, so what’s inside “The Merciless Book of Metal Lists?” Lists about heavy metal stuff. Lists after list after list of things heavy metal related topics that the authors kicked around and kinda-sorta graded or rated.
So what kind of lists might you ask? Here’s a sample list of some of the lists, some credible and cleaver, some just silly and mean-spirited:
-Authors Top 20 Metal Bands
-Top 20 Heavy Metal Fanzines
-Five Shark-Jumping Recordings
-The Best Qualities of Metallica’s Load and Reload Albums
-20 Embarrassingly Bad Album Covers
-30 of the Greatest Metal Guitarists
-Completely Unnecessary Heavy Metal Sub genres
-Heavy Metal Vocal Collaborations
-15 Metal Album Covers Featuring Goats
-5 Bands That Could Have Turned The “Big 4” Into The Big 5
-5 Awesome Heavy Metal Films/
-10 Reasons Dave Mustaine Probably Declined to Participate In This Book
The danger of writing a book of lists is the potential for embarrassing omissions and in that regard the authors have hit multiple home runs. Take the “30 Greatest Metal Guitarists,” how is Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian #12 on this list above genuine shredders like Alex Skolnic? Hell, Annihilator guitar genius Jeff Waters isn’t even mentioned in the book. Yes, this book is going to cause arguments yet that’s exactly what will make The Merciless Book of Metal Lists a hit among metal fans.
Let’s face it. Metal fans can sit around and pontificate about their favorite bands for hours and The Merciless Book of Metal Lists tries to capitalize on the very real loyalty of metal fans.
To be fair, many of the lists are of the “who cares” variety, and many seem reasonable and almost make sense. However, if you’re got an opinion on metal, you’re going to butt heads with the thinking of these dudes on many of their rankings. Considering that the authors do not include Pantera as one of their Top 20 Metal bands, one must question if they suffer from some kind of cognitive metal dysfunction. How can you have a Top 20 and leave out Pantera?
Some of the lists are awesome, hilarious and just epic. 20 Embarrassing Bad Album Covers will put a smile on your face as you reconsider some of the images that were deemed to be “metal.” On the other hand the “Dave Mustaine list” is going to be seen as mean-spirited by Megadeth fans. Dave hurt the author’s feelings by blowing off their request to participate in the book. Bur really, who knows if they mean it.
With it’s very “Spinal Tap” feel, The Merciless Book of Metal Lists is one of those books that absolutely no one is going to agree with and that’s exactly what the authors are counting on. There is enough commonality yet enough “controversial” (for lack of a better word) material for metal heads to digest and that could make The Merciless Book of Metal Lists a winner with metal heads. It’s a relaxing read and will give the tuned-in reader a humorous perspective of the hardest music on the planet.
Pick up the book at your nearest major book retailer or online at Amazon.com.