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Rock Reads: The Merciless Book of Metal Lists by Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins with photography by Frank White

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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This tome is crammed full of the lists you would expect; the best albums, vocalists, guitar players, songs, etc., featuring all the big names of metal. As the book title indicates, there's no mercy for what Abrams and Jenkins single out as the bad stuff either; a full page dedicated to "The Very Best Qualities of Metallica's Load and Reload Albums" is hilariously left blank. Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister makes for an easy target because of his less than perfect visage; there's a list of the top 10 things his warts might say and the "10 Heavy Metal Livingsocial/Groupon Deals You Will Never See" list has "75% off facial from Lemmy" at #1. Other oddities featuring made-up stuff include a list of reasons why Dave Mustaine declined to participate in the book and a list of reasons as to why there's no list (!) about Ozzy Osbourne. The goofy stuff is hit and miss as to whether it's funny or not; the meat of the book is in lists like "5 Awesome Heavy Metal Films," "Thoroughly Embarrassing Metal Videos," "10 Best Metal Bands From Outside the United States" and so on. In other words, lists that are bound to provoke heated discussions among metal fans while also in many cases turning them on to bands, individual players, songs and albums that they have not yet discovered. White's photography, although not overly emphasized, catches many of the greats in action on stage. Kerry King of Slayer contributes the book's foreword and Pantera's Phil Anselmo pens the afterword.


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