Author and journalist Martin Popoff is a legend among rock scribes: senior editor and co-founder of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, author of various rock biographies and the exhaustive The Collector's Guide To Heavy Metal series.
But his latest work is less about the sonic glories of rock and more about the visuals: Fade To Black: Hard Rock Cover Art of the Vinyl Age, a compendium of great album covers from hard rock and metal history.
The book is a rubber-bound hardcover in 9 1/2” x 12 1/4” large format, on premium gloss stock, full color throughout and weighing an impressive 3 3/4 pounds. I guess it's got to be that heavy because it has a lot of metal within its pages. "What I've done is critiqued, reviewed, raved about, interpreted, reminisced over each one," Popoff says. "Emboldening some of my most feverish writing is lots of quotes 'n' comments from the cover artists themselves, the photographers, and in many cases the bands (and even the odd manager), about the thought process behind the cover at hand."
The book includes commentary from artists who did covers for Uriah Heep, Diamond Head, Budgie, Ted Nugent, KISS, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Gamma, Iron Maiden, Queen, Thin Lizzy and dozens more. "And it's not all mainstream either," Popoff says, "You'll see some Quartz, Manowar, Legs Diamond, Angel, Boyzz and Starz celebrated as well."