RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Martin Popoff – Smokin’ Valves: A Headbanger’s Guide to Over 900 NWOBHM Records

Rating: B

No one, and I mean no one on this planet should know as much about that heavy metal movement with the long, weird name as Martin Popoff. 

Seriously, the NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL or NWOBHM brought bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon to fame and kinda-sorta did the same for Def Leppard, although they never really kinda-sorta fit into the scene.  That is pretty much what most know of the NWOBHM.  But not Popoff, no… he knows much more.  Probably more than all of the bands of the era know about it…put together.  Probably more than the famous journalist Geoff Barton, who named the movement, knows about it.  And now, Mighty Martin has put it all out in a book so we can learn more about it as well.

Martin tells us when the movement started, which was sometime in 1979 (see Martin, I paid attention).  He reviews over 900 releases…yes I said NINE FRICKING HUNDRED.  In fairness, a lot of this started with a couple of out of print books that he has written.  So, he has combined some things, rewritten some things, and added a lot of new things which, at the end of the day make up this thing.

All kidding aside, I like to think I know a lot about this era of hard rock and heavy metal, but I learned a lot… both about bands I was familiar with, as well as bands I had never heard of.  Martin’s hope is that people who read about these bands that they have never heard of will seek them out on the Internet. Many of these bands can be found on YouTube.  If you’re like me, sometimes after hearing them you will be convinced Popoff was eating mushrooms in 1981 while other times you will discover this guy is right on the money, and there are bands, many bands, that never got the respect they deserved. 

At the end of this day, Martin Popoff has put together a historically significant reference to a time period of music that happened, and the likes of which will never happen again.  It was an important time to be a head-banging, rivet head, fist waving, cardboard guitar playing heavy metal maniac. 

And with this book, Popoff proves it. 

Buy it here: http://www.martinpopoff.com/html/smokin-valves.html

By Jeb Wright