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Review: Rockdetector A-Z of Thrash Metal
Book Review
Rockdetector A-Z of Thrash Metal
Publisher: Cherry Red Books
Author: Garry Sharpe-Young
Year published: 2002
ISBN: 1-901447-09-X
Pages: 454

Rating: 1.75/5

Review online: December 28, 2003
Reviewed by: The Lord of Hate
Readers Rating
for:
Rockdetector A-Z of Thrash Metal

Rated 3.25/5 (65%) (4 Votes)
Review


My big "metal disappointment of 2003" isn't an album. It's this book. I was so enthusiastic about this series (they have an A-Z book for almost every metal genre) that I almost ordered all of them when I ordered this one. Thankfully, I settled on ordering just one and limited the damages to my wallet. I guess I had been spoiled by the excellent quality of The NWOBHM Encyclopedia (also reviewed on this site) and expected something similar. Well, this A-Z book is similar in concept, but that's where the similarities end. There are so many things wrong with this book that I just don't know where to begin. Here are a few:

  • Many bands that have nothing to do with Thrash Metal are in here.
  • Many, many typos - did someone proofread this thing?
  • Bad layout. The album names are just in a slightly smaller font than the band names. Since this is the kind of book that you'll want to use as a reference, this makes looking for a specific band a little difficult, since you can't find the band names just by glancing quickly at a page. Some people told me that it's the content, not the packaging that matter, but in the case of a printed book, I have to strongly disagree.
  • Layout screw ups: Some band names are not bolded, some information that should not be bolded IS bolded, very often there is no blank space left between the band sections. Let me stress this again: A good layout is an integral part of a good book. We're not talking about an album's bad cover art here. This is just BAD.
  • The information is often out of date. It seems like the entire book is just a copy/paste of the Rockdetector web site and no effort was put to verify the accuracy of the information, or to complete it when necessary. For example, a comment that says "band xyz should release a follow up in 2000." The book was released nearly two years later: This should have been verified and edited with more up to date information.
  • Useless information: Band name and country alone are uninformative. What are we supposed to do with this? These bands would have been better off being left out of the book. Completion you say? Well, considering that so many bands are in there and should not be (Helloween in a Thrash Metal book? Give me a break), it's not like adding band names only to acknowledge their existence as a Thrash metal band is a guarantee to the reader.
  • There's more, but what's the point?

OK, this is not to say that this book is worthless. There's a lot of information in there (when they actually get it right) and you can learn quite a few things when there's a band bio (many bands have a biography, many don't, unfortunately.) The discography can be useful when looking for something, although I found some of them to be incomplete (and I'm not talking about releases that didn't make it in time for the book's publication) or with typos (again...) So OK, there's some good stuff, but the bad quality of this book overshadows the usefulness of what they actually got right. You can't write a book just by copying information from a web site and putting some titles in bold and adding page numbers and a few pics and getting it published. Speaking of which, I'm surprised Cherry Red Books actually published this thing, I'm used to better quality from that publisher.

Sadly, I must advise AGAINST buying this book. Maybe they'll eventually revamp this into a new edition that will address the many shortcomings, but for now this doesn't even qualify as a draft. Unless you want to waste your money, go buy something else. I can't speak for the other A-Z books in the series, but I think they are from the same author and therefore I expect more of the same.

Oh yeah, there's a 17 track "Thrash" metal compilation with the book. But that doesn't save it either.


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