Two words: Oh, my.
If, like us, you open to a random page in "The Merciless Book of Metal Lists" (Abrams Image, $18.95), you might get more than your little demonic heart can handle. In our case, page 93 of the subsection titled "The Terrifically Ugly." In family newspaper terms, the page is a list of the 25 most "interesting" song titles from death-metal band Cannibal Corpse (playing June 5 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg!). Among the, er, most interesting titles: "Edible Autopsy," "A Skull Full of Maggots" and "Bloody Chunks" -- and those are the tame ones!
There's much more, of course, in the book's 208 pages. And authors Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins have a fun time in this "most opinionated compendium ever written concerning heavy metal." To wit, pages 46-47 are set aside for The Very Best Qualities of Metallica's "Load" and "Reload" Albums. The two pages are blank, save for a "Nuff said" in the lower right corner. Ouch.
Nevertheless, the writers are die-hard fans and knowledgeable beyond reproach. There's a foreword by Slayer guitarist Kerry King and an afterword from Phil Anselmo, of Pantera and Down fame. If anything, the trivia and factoids here will help you hold your own at the next Dokken after-party.