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Review: Swing of the Blade: More Stories from Metal Blade Records
Book Review
Swing of the Blade: More Stories from Metal Blade Records
Publisher: Metal Blade Records
Author: Brian Slagel
Year published: 2023
ISBN: 979-8885893763
Pages: 192

Rating: 4/5

Review online: April 29, 2023
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Swing of the Blade: More Stories from Metal Blade Records

Rated 4/5 (80%) (4 Votes)

I'm pretty sure I bought Brian Slagel's first book a few years ago but never got around to reading it. I guess it must have been successful for him to write a second one. This is a guy that not only was there to see a growing metal movement more than 40 years ago, but his label Metal Blade Records also helped put so many bands on the map, including such heavyweights as Metallica and Slayer. So, with a guy like that putting some memories on paper, you have to pay attention.

The short version is that Swing of the Blade reads like a brain dump. There are very few chapters in the nearly 200 pages of the book, and you'll find a lot of cool insights about both the labels and various bands that signed to Metal Blade - or not, such as Iron Maiden. Brian will go on about a band for several pages and then in the middle of a sentence mention another band and, there we go, we're on for a few pages about that band. It's all interesting, but sometimes it's hard to take in all in one read. Oftentimes I felt like when I'm with a friend talking too much and I'll say, "drink your beer, it's getting warm" or "eat your food, it's getting cold" (I've been guilty of being on the other side of that conversation). So, you don't get much of a breather reading this, but there are so many known (and not quite as known bands) mentioned here with stories of their early days that it's a lot of fun to read. I found it interesting that, 40 years later, whenever Brian meets up with Metallica at one of their shows, James Hetfield still thanks him for putting them on the map with the Metal Massacre compilation. You'll find little gems like that in this book.

While this could have been better written in a format that feels less like a brain dump, there's so much cool stuff here that it can be excused. Brian is a metal fan, and you can just feel that reading his words. Now I need to go find that first book he wrote...

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