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Metallica The Thrash StashThough it is an “unofficial and unauthorized” book, Metallica: The Thrash Stash is a perfect coffee table book for any true Metallica fan. Author Jerry Ewing is a rock journalist who has written for such publications as Metal Forces, Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, and Stuff. A quote from the book’s introduction makes Ewing’s metal fandom clear.

“As they strode unassailably towards the top of the heavy metal tree,Metallica once again played Wembley Arena. Two nights this time, and these shows included the famed Snakepit, another attempt to keep that link with their fans. My pass on one of those nights granted me access to said pit, and without hesitation I entered as the band struck up the opening bars of ‘Enter Sandman.’ I hadn’t even considered the effect such close proximity to the on-stage pyro might be. A full 20 years down the line I think my eardrums have just about recovered!”

Each decade of the band’s existence is given its own chapter, with a quick synopsis of that entire decade. However, for the reader that wants to go more in-depth, there is also a section covering every single album, from the recording process to the top singles and chart ratings.

Each band member also has a section to themselves ( James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo) with information such as how their musical careers began and other bands they were in before joining the mighty Metallica.

It is fitting that bass player Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus accident in 1986, also has a section of his own, since ( while technically not their first bass player) he was there when the band first began to hit the thrash scene hard and was featured on their earliest and most beloved albums.

However, Jason Newsted, who replaced Cliff and was a member of Metallica for 15 years, has his profile relegated to the “other band members” page, along with some who played merely a couple of gigs with the band, as well as Dave Mustaine, a founding member, who of course went on to fame with Megadeth. (Though, as the book hints, perhaps Newsted was never fully accepted into the band.) Either way, it seems like the man who actually played bass for the longest period of time might be deserving of his own page.

The book covers the band’s earliest days in the Bay Area thrash metal scene through their rise in the 1980s. The 1990s was a time when many hardcore fans thought that the band had “sold out”, though they continued to play to sold out crowds and sell millions of albums. 1995’s Load had the band showing off new haircuts, stylish outfits and eyeliner, much to the dismay of many.

In the 2000’s portion of the book, James Hetfield’s stint in rehab, Jason Newsted’s departure and Robert Trujillo as his replacement are covered, as well as Lars Ulrich’s famous rant against Napster and the band’s 30th Anniversary shows, which featured many past members. And in 2008, the band got their groove back with Death Magnetic and soon thereafter were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The book closes with 2 lists: one of live performances caught on DVD or CD and another of the most popular bootlegs ( would Lars approve?).

Along with pages and pages full of pictures, an exciting feature of the book, which arrives in a protective slipcase, are the removable facsimiles of rare Metallica memorabilia, such as concert flyers, set lists, concert tickets, and even a receipt for a bass guitar that Cliff Burton purchased. Perhaps if you enclose these in a frame and display them on your wall, you can impress your friends, who don’t have to know that you were never actually there.

If you are looking for extremely in-depth narrative on your favorite album, or you want something officially Metallica sanctioned, then this may not be the book for you. But as a living room, show-off piece for a metalhead, this is a must-have and will definitely look excellent sitting  between your remote control and coaster.

Click here to purchase Metallica: The Thrash Stash

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