Released: 201, DB Books
I reviewed this books predecessor back in 2010 and I was a bit critical of that book called PRECIOUS METAL. It was very good but not great. Decibel have returned with part two called THE DECIBEL HALL OF FAME ANTHOLOGY VOLUME II, and in some odd way I like it better in some ways and less in others.
The first noticeable change is the title. Gone is PRECIOUS METAL. Although the previous title was a bit more unique, I think I like the straightforward HALL OF FAME a bit more. Every time I read the title ‘PRECIOUS METAL’ I thought of the 80’s all-female glam rock band, which is not a bad thing necessarily! The book is now a hard cover; bigger, bolder, and more graphics, pictures and illustrations. Decibel decided to self-publish this 339 page tome and everything is a bit nicer; the paper stock, the cover art, the back cover collage, it is just better. In the previous book there were eight contributors doing 25 interviews, this time there are 10 authors doing 25 interviews and Chris Dick gets the call with eight interviews making the cut. Editor and Decibel’s Grandmaster, Albert Mudrian pens a nice introductory essay. They also dropped the over-arching concept of defining albums as ‘extreme’ which is a smart move because it is such a vague term as to be inconsequential.
Assuming briefly that you are not familiar with the concept of the magazines Hall Of Fame, essentially the staff pick an album deemed to be essential, classic etc and someone interviews every performer (the main line-up at least) who participated recording that album and the stipulation being that all members who recorded the album have to be alive. So basically this is 25 interviews, and I understand many of the expanded from the original printing in the magazine, so even if you are a dedicated reader/subscriber, it’s probably cool and worth it to get all these enhanced interviews in one place. I mean, I bought the book and I don’t even read Decibel! So the cool factor is pretty high. Much like last review I did, I can’t really comment on the quality of the interviews, the band gets asked a question, the band members answer it, you can’t really criticize that! All of it is very interesting, loaded with trivia and your own interest will likely revolve around how interested you are in that particular album. Which leads to my next point.
The part that I was disappointed in that there are even fewer albums that I was interested in reading about than last time! In the last book I owned 23 of the 25 albums. This time I only own 15 of the 25. Again Decibel betrays their tastes with a batch albums, many of which that kind of float on the fringes of Metal; industrial, punk, alternative, post-Metal, etc. When I was reading and planning this book review I had a fairly lengthy section written about why I didn’t like this and that, and in retrospect it seemed like a bunch of mildly back-handed compliments, so I dropped it. I’ll streamline it to state, I just don’t really agree with the taste or opinion of most of the staff of the magazine. Hence, my lack of enthusiasm about a bunch of interviews with band members who made albums I don’t like and albums I have not heard and even others that I don’t consider classic or worthy. Not all the albums were questionable entries 66% of them I'd agree with and really enjoyed looking back about some of those old classics by W.A.S.P., Queensryche, Mercyful Fate and more.
So in the final analysis I am still a bit neutral, (leaning towards positive) on this book and the series in general. Most technical aspects of HALL OF FAME are superior to the debut but I am less enthralled with several of the albums that made the cut. However, keep an open mind like I did, pick this up, enjoy it for what it is, and you may learn a lot about some albums that some people consider classics! It’s limited to a print run of 1500 so you better get on it quick, I have no doubt HALL OF FAME will sell out!