Judas Priest: Heavy Metal Painkillers — An Illustrated History
by Martin Popoff
If any band deserves a multi-volume biography of the type generally reserved for scholarly overviews of World War II, it is Judas Priest. Largely responsible for creating heavy metal, throughout their career the band was sued for subliminal backmasking, had a semi-openly gay singer, had a replacement singer selected from a tribute band, and managed to produce an album in the late ’90s that stands with their classic string of albums from the ’70s and early ’80s.
While Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Painkillers is not a multi-volume set, the over 300-page book touches on all of these subjects, yet mainly delves into the band’s recorded output. Each album’s tracks are reviewed and band members are interviewed about the recording process. Although Popoff mentions in the beginning that the band members are not the best interview subjects due in large part to British reserve, the interviews seem to flow well and produce several interesting informational nuggets.
The photographs are where Heavy Metal Painkillers really shines. Years worth of album and single sleeves, concert shirts, ticket stubs, promo posters, and concert photographs are reproduced on nearly every page. The only things missing are photographs of the stage setups. There are some mentions in the text that make them sound like the most awe-inspiring things ever and it would be nice to see some photographs of them.
While not a six-book biography, Heavy Metal Painkillers is a well-designed, informative book recommended for Judas Priest or metal fans.
ECW Press: www.ecwpress.com