Justice For All: The Truth About METALLICA

Justice For All: The Truth About METALLICA

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Writer: Joel McIver, 2004
Publisher: Omnibus Press
List Price: £9.95 (€12)

I guess there are enough books covering METALICA’s deeds circulating in book shelves and online shops. After all, the American quartet had – and still has – such a huge controversial career and influence in the Metal/Rock world that not much is never enough talking about what they were, what they become and how the hell they still stand the test of time by having their name and only raising quotes and non-stop discussions with every single move they make.

Form this endless source of information, I think a book like “Justice For All: The True Metallica Story” written by Joel McIver is the most comprehensive and special work made to date. And I mean ‘special’ because it is penned by a once die-hard fan who gradually saw himself distancing himself from the musical (and not only) directions the more-than-successful outfit stared walking on at some time. Just like me and thousands of Metal fans think alike...

First of all, the structure in this book is phenomenal. It does boast a storyline based on the time constituent and does dress each chapter with enough quotes from both the band – not (mainly) directly speaking to the author, but via printed interviews of the time – and more often people critically attached to METALLICA’s whereabouts all these years or fellow Metal/Rock artists that have in one way or another found themselves worshiping or rejecting parts of the band’s musical offerings from 1983 until the time the book was finalized. The chapter structure is ideal, primarily informing us of the background of each of the early METALLICA members –focusing mainly on the Ulrich and Hetfield stories – while afterwards does run in terms of demo/gigs/album/tour activities and their subsequent influence on the band’s further aims and beliefs.

There’s a detailed presentation with enough information on the 1986 Cliff Burton tragedy, there’s a strong part laid down regarding the Napster story (2000) plus a strong reference is made to the relationship conflicts within the band – resulting in the “Some Kind Of Monster” psychotherapy movie. The author succeeds in equally chopping facts and periods of years in a balanced way, thus resulting in a quite smooth reading of some 370 pages overall. He also gives his own insight without exaggerations in certain parts, still bringing forth his own chagrin for the once pioneering Thrash/Heavy Metal band that ultimately turned to multi-selling commercialized music machine.

Fans of the 1983-1993 METALLICA career will surely find enough interest in this book: not only because there’s tons of information dealing with the birth and growth of this in-any-way charismatic band but also due to the integrated and spherical and documented way the author gives food for thought in regards to what possibly happened after the “Black Album” commercial breakthrough (it’s quite naïve to just say “they stopped playing Metal and sold their souls to the Music Industry”, anyway). To expand, Joel McIver has done an impressive work and research in this book and to say the least he deserves enough credit from building an as objective as possible material regarding one of the most special bands in the running Metal/Rock world.

+Pros The sequence of facts and the number of people giving their own opinion without prejudice

-Cons Nothing, really...