Heavy Metal Painkillers (ECW Press)
by Martin Popoff
by Craig Regala
Really, if you care about Judas Priest or the germination of metal, you’re gonna wanna look at this. The pictorial evidence alone is fantastic. Hell, even if you read no English, you’ll know what’s what. The hundreds (and hundreds!) of pics roll from the beginning to 2007, laying that what before our eyes. Even God’s, and he’s already seen most of everything. I’m not kidding about the photos: All the cool stuff is shown, from “Bob” Halford lookin’ like he’s in Monster Magnet (a third a century ago!), to ass-kickin’ Chris Casella’s Ozzfest shots. Say you wanna see Mr. Halford, sans shirt, sporting ink, you got it. Photos of fucking everything: Live shots, promo shots, t-shirts, backstage passes, tickets, magazine covers (buncha German ones I’ve never seen), buttons, and eight-tracks, LPs, EPs, 7″ picture sleeves, hand bills, guitar pics, and concert posters. I’d be surprised if there are three or four dozen pages without something pictorial on’m, and the book’s just two dimes short of 400 pages. Nice move, including all the Priest recordings the guys have chucked up.
So how about all those words smeared between the pics? Well, this guy Martin Popoff is a deep crate digger in the hard rock and metal world, a lifer’s lifer. He’s got 20 books under his Maiden belt buckle. Bios of the greats: Sabbath, UFO, Rainbow, Rush, etc., Collector’s Guides by decade, ’70s ’80s, and ’90s, Price Guides, and two of the world’s great bathroom books, The 500 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs, and The 500 Greatest Heavy Metal Records. He knows the good the bad and the ugly and can contextualize it with the what’s, why’s, who’s, and where’s of the loud shit from the past 40 years, no matter what style or hyphen is tacked onto the music. Trust me: He loves the iron so much, he’ll roll his eyes when eye rollin’ is necessary. Martin writes about every damn song on every damn one of these Priest records because he cares. Much herein is quotes from the boys in the band, various business and industry folks, and the general print media. Lotsa info.
In summation, why’d he write the book? I’ll give you one of his sentences: “Priest is responsible, in my opinion, for the unassailably greatest run – or vein, or dynasty – of what classic ever; namely 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny through 1979’s Hell Bent for Leather.” Thereby lay their importance: They weren’t just great, they changed the game, upped the ante, and shifted the paradigm. You can ask no more from any artist.