This book offers a brief overview (129 pages) of Metallica’s early years from 1981-1989, a period which saw the release of the band’s first four albums. It’s a serviceable look at the era, which largely relies on other sources — interviews with those around the band, not the band members themselves. Each album is covered in detail, including not just a look at the music but also how the cover art was conceived.
One interesting element is the rare memorabilia pictured throughout the book. There are flyers of early shows, ticket stubs, t-shirts, and, amusingly, a letter to the fan club apologizing for being slow to answer correspondence: “Despite pitfalls and setbacks, however, we are now in full operation and eager to recruit and unite all dedicated Metallibangers nationwide in a quest to promote and encourage America’s premier practitioners of audio death.”
There are also a handful of appendixes, encompassing Metallica’s post-1989 years, a select discography, a timeline, and brief descriptions of other thrash metal American bands of the period. A good editorial hand would’ve helped removed the occasional repetitions and made for a smoother read.