"The Book of Heavy Metal" (Century Media; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The danger of going back and exploring the classic sounds of bands like Judas Priest and Dio today is that the attempt might wind up being a caricature of itself. Unless a fresh twist is added to the music or a unique feature added (a la the one-of-a-kind vocals of The Darkness's Justin Hawkins), the result may be nothing more than a 60-minute slab of cheesy, faux vintage rock'n'roll.

With "The Book of Heavy Metal," Dream Evil march boldly past the point of being cheesy, ignoring everything but their desire to deliver a classic "metal" record, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the late 80s, early 90s. The result is an album that sounds, in tone, a lot like Ozzy Osbourne's classic "The Ultimate Sin" but with The Scorpions Klaus Meine on vocals. 

If you're a fan of such legendary artists as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Ozzy's solo stuff, and Dio, "The Book of Heavy Metal" will appeal to you. With crashing power chords, blistering leads and clear, to-the-point vocals, "The Book of Heavy Metal" rocks with a big sound that makes it clear that classic metal is alive and well.

It's hard not to roll one's eye to such titles as "The Book of Heavy Metal (March of the Metallians)," "The Sledge," and "Let's Make Rock." I mean, could they be more clichéd? But listening to the songs rather than just reading the titles leaves an entirely different experience because Dream Evil rocks so determinedly and so well. Listening to "The Book of Heavy Metal" brings to mind the first time you listened to Priest's "Stained Class," Dio's "Holy Diver" or KISS's "Destroyer." Okay, "The Book of Heavy Metal" may not be the equal of those aforementioned classics, but its style and power are very close indeed.

Bottom line: Dream Evil's "The Book of Heavy Metal" is a hugely successful return to the classic metal style and I, for one, can't wait to hear more.

Dream Evil: Niklas Isfeldt - vocals; Gus G. - guitars; Fredrik Nordstrom - guitars; Peter Salfors - bass; Snowy Shaw - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.dreamevil.se

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:00:07 -0400.