The Merciless Book of Metal Lists Author Says He Was Inspired to Write It After a Heated Debate (INTERVIEW)
“I was having a conversation online with [heavy metal-loving rappers] Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz, nerding out on metal, arguing about which thrash album was our favorite, and why a certain band sucked… that kind of thing. So then it hit me. I was always a huge fan of Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists, and I thought to myself, ‘Why hasn’t anyone done a book like that for heavy metal?’ That’s how it all started,” Howie Abrams tells Noisecreep, revealing the inspiration behind his upcoming The Merciless Book of Metal Lists.
Hitting stores on April 9, Abrams – co-founder of In-Effect Records (Sick of it All, Nuclear Assault) and former Senior Director of A&R at Roadrunner Records – wrote The Merciless Book of Metal Lists with none other than Sacha Jenkins, one of the minds behind the aforementioned Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists.
“I fucking loved that book! It was so in-depth and really came from a hardcore rap fan’s point of view. I also loved the realm of wackiness that it entered where they just weren’t writing the typical ‘Best Albums of…’ lists, but getting into stuff that you really had to be dedicated to come up with. I wanted to do that for our scene,” says Abrams, a native of Queens, N.Y.
Noisecreep has already had the pleasure of reading The Merciless Book of Metal Lists, and Abrams’ aim to enter the “real of wackiness” is unquestionably realized.
Sure, you have your standard best (fill in the genre) albums types of lists included in the book, but it’s the really niche kind of stuff that makes TMBoML a winner. We’re talking about lists like ‘Completely Unnecessary Heavy Metal Subgenres’ and ’10 Reasons Anthrax Should Never Be Associated With Hardcore.’
“I have an hour train ride to work, each way, so I had plenty of time to brainstorm. I would be typing into my iPhone all kinds of ideas for crazy list ideas. A lot of the list ideas came from conversations I’ve had with other metalheads throughout the years. We definitely wanted those random kinds of lists include, but we also got really speculative, almost like ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit type of stuff in the book. There’s a list where I go back to some classic Judas Priest lyrics and reinterpret what Rob Halford really meant in them now that we know he’s gay [laughs]. Just fun stuff.”
As stuffed as TMBoML is with great material, Abrams admits he and Jenkins could go for another round. “As fans of heavy metal, all we do is debate and pick apart all of our favorite bands, and the ones we hate. It starts with the music and then to what they look like…we just can’t stop ourselves. I love the debates and engaging in that banter. The book could have been twice as long as it is. If we sell enough copies of the book, maybe we’ll get to do another one someday.”
Abrams and Jenkins called on metal luminaries such as Scott Ian (Anthrax), Max Cavalera (Soulfly) and Gary Holt (Exodus), to contribute to the book, and with Slayer‘s Kerry King and Down‘s Phil Anselmo providing the foreword and afterword, respectively, The Merciless Book of Metal Lists has more street cred that a dude in a longsleeve Metal Church shirt, buying a zine at a Slough Feg show.
“Phil jumped in feet first and turned in a 4-page piece where he talks about being a metalhead kid in the South. You know, feeling like a complete outcast listening to Iron Maiden in your small town as a teen. Anyone who loves heavy metal will love what he wrote.”
At the risk of sounding like complete egotists, Noisecreep is proud to announce that Abrams includes us in the book’s ‘Best Metal Blogs’ list. We’re fucking honored!