By Bob Nalbandian

Metal Generation
Author: Darryl J. Keck
High Volume Press

Darryl Keck is a first-time author, long-time journalist. Many of you old-school metal-heads will remember Darryl from his great '80s fanzine Amplified Assault. Like Popoff, Keck is a true fan that lives and breathes metal music and has been documenting it since the early '80s as exemplified in the classic interview segments and quotes from members of Slayer, Armored Saint, Warrior, Overkill and many others. I can totally relate to Keck and his book seeing that I spent my youth in a very similar fashion as editor/publisher of my own fanzine, The Headbanger, in the early '80s and witnessing the very same shows and tours as well as interviewing and partying with the same musicians from back in the day. I really love Keck's writing style as he comes across so honest and humble when talking about certain events in his life whether it be hanging out with Dimebag (then Diamond) Darrell at the bar of a small club while Darrell's jamming on the riff to Armored Saint's "Aftermath" before taking the stage with Pantera in front of 20 people (this was pre-Phil) or when Keck examines the cost of putting together the first issue of his fanzine and the problems he was going through with his printer. It was like reading out of a chapter in my life! Not only can I relate to much of what Keck describes in this book, I actually lived it. To be honest, I still haven't had a chance to fully read the entire book (I received it just a few days prior to this writing) but as I shift through the pages briefly touching on each chapter, I really admire the time and effort Keck put forth into compiling this stimulating metal chronicle. Not only do I dig the fact that Keck writes this book in layman's terms so it's easy to comprehend but I also love Keck's first-hand accounts of his metal encounters and journeys with some of the great classic metal bands from the '80s to current. I also respect the fact that he gives equal props to many of the great metal bands from the '80s that never quite received the respect they deserved. And Keck isn't prejudice to any one-style of metal music as he gives memorable accounts of his anecdotes and association with artists of thrash/death metal, classic metal and even glam rock/metal. From the high and mighty bands like Kiss, Sabbath, Def Leppard, Priest, Scorpions, Metallica, Maiden and (ahem) Poison to the underground and under-appreciated bands like Raven, The Rods, Crimson Glory, Samson, Anvil, Tokyo Blade, Virgin Steele, Heavy Pettin', Odin, Steeler, and so many others.

The book is structured fairly well considering this is Keck's first publication. The six chapters are sequenced chronologically (in most cases compiled within a 2-3 year time frame) but the one major flaw is that this book has no index, making it somewhat annoying if you wish to reference a certain band or quote. But I do like the fact that all the band names are in bold print, which again is a great way of giving props to the lesser-known artists in the book. Also a major selling point is the fabulous exclusive and candid black & white photographs including live shots, off-stage group shots, cover photos from Amplified Assault, and rare flyers and artwork. Additionally, every chapter gives a thumbnail account of Keck's top-four albums from each year. I highly recommend Metal Generation to any fan of heavy metal music because this is a true and tantalizing fan's guide to heavy metal.

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