By Bob Nalbandian

Justice For All: The Truth About METALLICA
Author: Joel McIver (Omnibus Press 2004)

It is mind-blowing to learn the fact that Metallica is the seventh biggest musical act in American history. Think about that for a moment...that is truly phenomenal. It's even harder to believe that this band, who I'd witnessed at a small club in Anaheim, California in front of some 20 people back in 1982, had become arguably the biggest band in heavy metal history. And this book takes you there, from the beginning club days right up to St. Anger. McIver does a great job in capturing the underground essence and the pure metal enthusiasm from the band's embryonic stages to their grandness and fortune of rock superstardom. The book is well researched with few inaccuracies (I've noticed a few mistakes and misquotes), not as detailed and elaborated as Metallica Unbound (by KJ Doughton, released in '93), but nonetheless informative as well as intriguing. With quotes from everyone from Lar's father Torben Ulrich, Jon Kornarens, and Lemmy to yours truly, this book is insightful and captivating. Although not as "exposing" as the title implies (I'm not aware of the many myths the press release refers to that have surrounded the band over the years, and I believe the falsities that the title may imply is more or less a marketing strategy of the Publisher) the author does delve into the many controversies that has haunted the band over the years including the Metallica suit against Napster, the members rehab and group therapy, and their change in musical direction. This book also contains loads of great photographs, old and new, from the band's early years (including their first lineup with Dave Mustaine and Ron McGovney, high school photos and childhood pics, as well as great shots of Cliff and flyers from the band's club days) to the recent front and back cover group photos with newest member Robert Trujillo.

Although not officially authorized by the band members themselves, this book gives a descriptive look into the lives of this groundbreaking metal band in a detailed yet simplified format that is easily identifiable for music fans of young and old. McIver's writing style and use of words makes this book easy to consume without being a Harvard graduate. In other words, McIver opts not to unnecessarily employ high-tech vocabulary and grammar, which makes it easy for even simpletons like myself to absorb. Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica is a must read for the true Metallica fan. I would also highly recommend this book for aspiring musicians. The chapters regarding the early years of the band will obviously relate strictly to metal fans but the latter part of the book can easily relate to fans not only of music, but any person wishing to succeed in the world of entertainment, or any business for that matter. Whether you're a musician, student, actor, lawyer, businessman or a working class Joe, this book is inspiring as it illustrates the intense drive and perseverance it takes to launch a group of indigent underground metal musicians to the top of both celebrity and financial superstardom.

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