After 2 smaller books on Heavy Metal bands from the past and the present, 3 books (Hard Rock, 133 Top Albums, Italian Metal Legion), a novel (Il Punto G.D.) and several years of experience as a Rock/Metal reviewer for a handful of magazines (of which Classix and Classix metal are the latest), Gianni Della Cioppa lands on a larger encyclopedia writing and editing.
Of course choices had to be made including or sorting out a band instead of another, and this might cause controversy but in actual fact most important acts were included. A further pleasant aspect resides in the great pictures of bands, labels and album covers that decidedly became classics or gained in importance over the years since Metal was born better than 40 years back.
One of the cons of the opus is the inclusion of bands that have or had always dealt with Rock or Hard rock, yet not Metal; some of their albums or songs were vital to prepare the ground for the genre's birth, nevertheless it remains true they stole place to real Metal bands and should have simply been grouped in a smaller report.
A second disadvantage rises with the bands' descriptions and discographies: the author decided to review and summarize the most vital records and their peculiarities, but this has spread the information about the albums here and there and only someone who knows the band analyzed can connect all the pieces of info in an orderly manner (for instance the fact that James Murphy appeared only on Obituary's "Cause Of Death"), whereas an encyclopaedia ought to help people with a scarce knowledge of the genre or a band's career.
Besides this I found particularly useful the scores next to every album's title, which is of course pretty wise, because it addresses listeners towards an unknown band's fundamental records to start from, avoiding to buy difficult or controversial albums. Exclusively someone who lived their life in parallel with a band's can comprehend its evolutions, but later generations are advised to follow a different path, which is the classics and the catchiest songs first.
240 pages in Italian that make us wish for reprints in English and other languages.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th January 2012