Taking cue from the do-it-yourself attitude of their country’s punk movement, Britain’s up-and-coming heavy metal bands that comprised the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) were not content to wait for record labels to come knocking. Instead, they took to issuing their own music, typically in the form of 7 inch singles but also 12s and full-length album, many indie, some on small labels, and some on the major labels smart enough to get on board (essentially EMI and MCA).
Martin Popoff, author of 45 books on heavy metal (and at 7900, writer of more record reviews than anybody in history across all genres), has undertaken the task of documenting virtually every record large and wee from heavy metal’s most fabled period (beginning essentially in ‘79 with a hard stop at 1983) providing catalogue information, mini reviews as only he can do, plus a gob of thumbnails of those wonderful 7” picture sleeves and LP covers.
Note: the lion’s share of the material in Smokin’ Valves: A Headbanger’s Guide To 900 NWOBHM Records combines rewritten and expanded text from Martin’s long out-of-print The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Singles plus the relevant reviews of full-length albums from his Collector’s Guide series, specifically the ‘70s and ‘80s book. These reviews have also experienced judicious editing and rewrites.
- includes a few hundred rare 45 picture sleeve and album cover images
- every record rated out of 10
- layout designed so that albums are distinguished from 7”, 10” and 12” singles/EPs by larger, bolder typestyle
- label, year of release and catalogue number for almost every entry
- two appendices, displaying all 9’s and 10’s for singles as opposed to LPs
Final note, one thing I like about an experience like this book in the internet age, hopefully the idea is that you will read some of these glowing 8 to 10 rated reviews of hopelessly obscure singles you ain’t never going to get alerted to otherwise, and then check out if they can be heard and enjoyed on youtube (many of them can!), so you can decide for yourself, or begin some sort of whacky digital collection of this stuff to park in yer metal library. In that respect, I’m just being a DJ that instead of talking, types.
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