Album Reviews



Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Sterling (October 2, 2012)

Language: English



Now this is what I would call a real teaser for every book fanatic, because the look, size, weight and especially the rubber-bound hard cover is making it feel very comfortable when you have it in your hands. If there is one reason why you still want to own a real book instead of some digital E-Book file, then this is the perfect example. It concerns here a new book by Hardrock/Metal editor/writer/collector MARTIN POPOFF, of whom we reviewed a lot of books in the past. The book is titled ‘Fade To Black: Hard Rock Cover Art Of The Vinyl Age’ and of course we have had many books in the recent period that are based around the artwork of album covers, so it is definitely not an original idea. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Hardrock/Metal or a regular vinyl collector of all kinds of music, one thing’s for sure, the frontcover artwork of each album you like is just as important as the included music, so another mega sized book about this subject is always more than welcome.

Nothing is more exciting than the so-called “crate-digging” for the vinyl collector and in the modern age, when listening to the music, the internet will always be that extra needed medium to check and see what the frontcover looks like of the album you’re listening to. That is something which will never change, not now and not in the next 100 years. Music without an image is almost like living without a soul and especially during the glorious 1970s and 1980s, the artwork was sometimes crucial if a record would become a success or not. The 1990s saw the downward trend of the importance of a frontcover, although especially within the (European) Power Metal community, it actually never went away (RHAPSODY, LABYRINTH, EDGUY, STRATOVARIUS, ICED EARTH…) and likewise, those bands had their albums also printed on vinyl throughout that decade.

Thankfully, in recent times it seems like everyone is ‘back on black’ again and therefore the artwork is becoming more and more important once again. Due to Martin’s huge collection and wide network of contacts within the Hardrock/Metal world, it was only a matter of time before a book about the said subject of artwork would be released and now such a book is indeed available via STERLING PUBLISHING. As already mentioned, the feeling you get when holding the actual book in your hands is something only book fanatics will understand. Anyway, now on to the book itself, because it is of course the content that makes or breaks a book in the end. It’s of course hard to go into the wrong direction when you create a book about the frontcovers of albums and if there’s one music genre which is best known for having controversial artwork it is of course Hardrock/Metal. While looking at Martin’s picks in his new book, it is clear that the artwork of certain Hardrock and Metal albums played a major part in the contribution of the particular record to become a multimillion seller eventually. Either loved or hated, some of them kept the world busy in the 1970s and 1980s and paved the way to make the records become classics, especially in the case of let’s say FOREIGNER’s ‘Head games’ and almost any record by MEGADETH, THE SCORPIONS or W.A.S.P..

Each album is briefly reviewed by Martin, giving you a more detailed look inside the artwork and with the help of artist/designer Ioannis, who also designed some of the legendary album covers, he was able to interview the original designers, photographers, illustrators, and here and there the artists themselves to discuss the artwork and also the negative or positive effects it had after the release. Not only this is making it a stand-out book between the dozens of other books related to cover artwork, but also the fact that besides the cliché tingled (in terms of used in other albumcover related books) albumcovers of KISS, ALICE COOPER, QUEEN, IRON MAIDEN, MOTLEY CRUE, RUSH…, we can also learn more about a lot of obscure record covers of bands like QUARTZ, LEGS DIAMOND, ANGEL, GAMMA, AXE, RUSS BALLARD, FATES WARNING, THE BOYZZ, BLUE OYSTER CULT and STARZ, of which most of these are then again Martin’s favorite bands from the beloved Classic 1970s Hardrock. The rubber package makes it a definite must-have book, because this makes it a real eye-catcher and in a few years probably a collectable piece. In case you want to order the book directly from Martin, e-mail him at: [email protected] and see for more info.


Written by Gabor

Ratings    Gabor    8/10

Tell Us How You Feel