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"From the Minds of Madness: Origins of Heavy Metal Names" (Book)

 - "From the Minds of Madness: Origins of Heavy Metal Names" Book cover image

Reviewed by on August 11, 2011

"With a book like this, it’s impossible not to come off as more of a reference versus something you crack open on a Sunday afternoon."

In 2009, author Blair E. Gibson was interested in the origin of band names. He didn’t discriminate across genre, including death metal, power metal, punk, glam, and everything in between, covering bands from Britny Fox to Harem Scarem.

Gibson must have the gift of persistence (or bullshit) because the sheer number of responses is impressive. The book displays the bands (along with logo) alphabetically, which is essential because there are hundreds and hundreds of bands to navigate through.

Here are a few examples:

BURNING WITCH (Doom metal) (Seattle, USA) (Formed in 1995)
Named after the sound of suffering.

HAREM SCAREM (Hard rock) (Toronto, Canada) (Formed in 1987)
Harem Scarem was the name of one of the first Bugs Bunny cartoons. We thought it was funny at the time!

SERGEJ THE FREAK (Stoner rock) (Goteborg, Sweden) (Formed in 1999)
I was watching the news one day and they talked about this Russian dude and how he liked to dress in baby's clothing. In the same broadcast there was another Russian dude who had killed his mother because she wouldn’t bring him his dinner to his room. And I just thought, what freaks.

THULSA DOOM (Stoner rock) (Oslo, Norway) (Formed in 1999)
Basically we're a metal band, so we thought "what's brutal?" What's metal ya know something that says tough, epic and screams metal? So, Thulsa Doom is the name of the bad guy in Conan the Barbarian starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bad guy, Thulsa Doom, is an ancient Snake God with unlimited power and has no mercy for anyone. He is played by James Earl Jones in the movie.

UGLY KID JOE (Hard rock) (Vista, USA) (Formed in 1989)
We had a gig booked in Hollywood opening up for Pretty Boy Floyd. Klaus and Whit didn't like their own band name Overdrive, so they thought it would be funny to spoof PBF's name. The advertisement for the show came out in the paper, the show got cancelled, but the name stuck.

With a book like this, it’s impossible not to come off as more of a reference versus something you crack open on a Sunday afternoon. This book is going to be for rock historians, fans of the music, or anyone looking to find hundreds of ways to come up with a band name.

Spoiler Alert: There is no exact science.

Highs: A thorough book that accomplishes what it wanted to do, give bands a place to voice how their band name originated and the story behind it.

Lows: There is so much information and common themes (movie titles, tv characters) that the stories begin to bleed into one another.

Bottom line: For metal heads that love band history with injected humor, From the Minds of Madness: Origins of Heavy Metal names, is a great read.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)