If you like heavy metal, you will like Martin Popoff. He writes a ridiculous amount on the subject. He's over 30 books by now, most if not all of them incredibly detailed. And just when you think he is done, he has more. I got his "Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal" in the 1990's, and he was the first guy to take seriously a lot of the records I grew up with. As massive as that was, he then expanded it into three (and now four) volumes, by decade, addings hundreds of reviews. Now comes a second book on Black Sabbath, the first being "Doom Let Loose". This one promises to cover all new ground and sort of reads like a trivia guide, but one written by a true fan.
Popoff's love of his subject matter sets him apart from many metal writers. It's evident off the bat here as he writes in the Foreword about pounding his psyche with "We Sold Our Soul For Rock n Roll" over a weekend doing a junior high school project. How many thousands of kids have that same story? "We Sold Our Soul," with its cheesy coffin photo, was a gateway drug for many. "Iron Man," "Paranoid," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Snowblind" -- all in one package. I forgot about that comp. before reading this, but, if you grew up with metal and lived it, Popoff's opening shot rings profoundly true.
So it is with the remainder of this book. There is plenty of coverage of things you might expect, but there is TON of stuff that a Sabbath fan will read and say "you know, that's a good question -- I never really thought about it, but . . ." He has short chapters on the Van Halen tour (where Van Halen allegedly blew BS off the stage consistently), Sandy Pearlman (think Kim Fowley in metal with a college degree), Geezer Butler's peace loving nature and war weary lyrics, the birth of doom metal, and he treats later albums (i.e., wihtout famous singers) with respect -- though he takes off the gloves where needed. ("Forbidden?" Yikes. I saw that tour, with Motorhead opening. Motorhead just returned to a three piece. Phil Campbell was a dervish, playing all the guitar parts, showing he could handle the new material on "Sacrifice." Sabbath took the stage and stood there. Neil Murray proved it was a good year for qualuudes. Cozy Powell put the "dull" back in "thud." Popoff doesn't pull any punches either.)
Anyway, those are just a few of the gems waiting to be unearthed in this tome. Popoff must have a Yngwie-sized case of carpal tunnel. I don't know how he does it. He must need a transcriber. He definitely needs a publicist because he needs to be widely known. You generally can't go wrong with his stuff. This one is no exception.