POLISHING OF METAL REVIEWS
A selection of reviews by media who have seen & heard Polishing of Metal.
METAL MAYHEM (UK): March 2007:
The Polishing of Metal
The Polishing of Metal is a multimedia history of heavy metal compiled by Derek McDonald, aka Skel. The Polishing of Metal is a two-disc CD ROM featuring a book on the history of metal, over 900 album reviews, 1,300 biographies, 19 music videos, and 5 and half hours of music. The ROM discs are easy to navigate due to book marks, a start up menu and a guide to using the disc.|
The book portion makes for an easy read due to simplified diction and large font. McDonald begins with a brief history of music, starting with mankind's primal origins, looks at inventions in music style and equipment before getting to Rock n Roll. He spends a short time on the evolution of rock music before getting to the advent of metal. Once metal is introduced, he takes the reader for a ride through each decade, mentioning the most important metal bands of that decade. Most bands he mentions due to their contribution to diversify or expand the genre, creating new sub-genres or styles and the bands that carried the torch lighted by these progenitors. Feature essays dig deeper into sub genres such as black metal and other areas of great concern in the metal universe such as the P.M.R.C. Band photographs provide the reader visual evidence.
The reviews are even more simplified than the history portion. Each review is a brief summary of the album reviewed, stating a couple facts about the band, what type of music each album relates, where the band is from, what he liked or disliked about each album. Each review is alphabetized and links are presented in groups of letters for easy navigation. Also, he lists a table showing how to interpret each review. McDonald does well in reviewing bands of all styles of metal and bands that were instrumental in shaping or expanding the genre.
McDonald does not provide a lot of information concerning the bands he mentioned in the book, which is not really necessary due to the bios listed of over 1,300 bands. He writes more on some bands than others due to their massive influence on the genre or simply because of their longevity. The upper right corner displays icons showing if the band has an album in the review section, a video on this project, a link to buy their album, a link to their website, and if other resources are available for the user on one of the two discs.
The music portion of the project covers a broad musical base with no specific region or style favoured, although 1980s styles like traditional metal, thrash, and power metal are slightly more prevalent than the other styles. The punk, industrial, death metal, black metal, power metal, classic metal, thrash, and Goth styles are all covered through the two discs. Disc two is formatted to play on both a computer and conventional CD deck. If any of the bands caught your ear on this disc, you can check out disc one on your computer for more tracks by most of the same bands. You can browse an album gallery with a song by each artist and MP3s of the same bands and extra bands that are on the second disc. Some of the tracks I liked were Raggedy Aneurysm's "Violent Pop Song", Stroker "Mr. Poizon", Melechesh "of Mercury and Mercury", and Teratism "The Befoulment of Sanctimonious Grace". Like most compilations, there are some tracks that are good and some that are not-so good, but by covering a vast array of styles, the buyer will most likely find a couple tracks that appeal to his/her interests.
The video gallery displays videos by many of the bands found on the music gallery and the CD. Some of the videos have a professional look and sound like Robert Jackson's "Personal Jesus" (also on CD), Melechesh "Genies, Sorcerers, and Mesopotamian Nights" (found on digipack of "Spynx"), Seven 13 "Drink", and User "Cyclops". Videos by Stroker and Lifeend have a cheap, live bootleg-type sound, which is disappointing because they were two of my favourite bands on the disc. However, User's video for "Cyclops" captivated me with its animated, professional look, while their music itself did not do much for me.
If all this is not enough, you can access www.diskery.com/diskery/projects/pom1.html for a massive database of all the bands on the project and more. My bio sheet mentions it's capable of video and audio, so I'm assuming you can view more videos and hear more songs.
When all the media is considered, "The Polishing of Metal" has much value for the ravenous metal head, especially priced at $12.50. The book is a deep, analytic look at the music and culture of one of the most amorphic forms of music this planet knows: metal. McDonald's portion of the book does not quite stand up to Ian Christie's "The Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal", but the multimedia aspect of his project goes beyond a mere text book, creating a sensual experience unlike any other music biography. The only other negative point of this book is that it is on the computer. You can't take it in the bathroom to read or read it in bed if you have a desktop computer, like me. Digital archiving is the wave of the future, though, with many companies and libraries archiving books and files on their computer. If you can afford it, there is already portable computer technology in place. With "The Polishing of Metal" McDonald is ahead of his time. Expect in a few years to see more and more projects being released in a multimedia format such as McDonald's.
Brutalism Magazine: September 2007:
The Polishing Of Metal - Multimedia CDROM
First of all this ain't no review of an audio CD. Like it says in the title it is a CDROM. This CDROM was released in 2006 and it is the 3rd in this series. On this CDROM there is so much information you cannot imagine. It deals with heavy metal and on this double CDROM you find more than 5 hours of music, 1304 bios and more than 900 reviews of metal albums, 19 videos and lots of pictures. Also you can read the history of heavy metal written by this Derek McDonald. He is not only the author of this all but also released this CDOM by his own and independently. The whole is made as a PDF files which navigates easily and quickly. But the problem with this kind of encyclopedia is that it never will be complete. And another thing is that it contains soooo much info that it take a long time till you read it all. Every time you find something else you wanna read. But I think this whole (highly underestimated as you cannot imagine how much time this kind of work takes) should be used as reference. If you encounter a band try to find it with the search option. Visit the website and get an online impression of this massive work and then order it for only 12.50 USD as this is something that could become useful, not only present but also in the future.
Strutter Magazine (Germany): December 2006:
EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA ‘THE POLISHING OF METAL’ (EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA)
The best non-CD/DVD/Audio recording I received was a Boardgame/Trivia from Canada which was actually based on Metal! Furthermore some books are always an interesting read. This time I received a Book onto CD-Rom from a writer called DEREK MCDONALD. Obviously a fan of Hardrock/Metal he published his book as CD-Rom, on which he included over 900 album reviews. Looking back at my 10 years of writing reviews, I think I lost the count somewhere, but be sure I have written over 10,000 reviews (!!!). I think I will collect every review I did and bundle them as a book all together when I am old in 50 years from now, but who knows I will by then have written 50,000 reviews. Anyway, this is a CD-Rom Book review and let’s stick to the subject, which is about Derek’s adventure through the Hardrock/Metal past. Of course he has knowledge, but obviously many bands are missing. The most interesting fact is that Derek included loads of rare underground Canadian Metal. Least interesting is the huge amount of Black/Death Metal reviews. Besides the 900 reviews, also 1600 biographies, 10,000 digital pages and 5+ hours of mp3 and video music is included on the 2 discs of this CD-Rom Encyclopedia. All nicely done, but like always, an encyclopedia is never complete, there’s always stuff missing. This is more the opinion of one person on a lot of Hardrock/Metal related acts and you have to respect that, although I sometimes have my doubts (LEE AARON is classic rock/metal and one of the best female singers, especially during the 1980s, but obviously Derek isn’t that enthousiastic about this Canadian singer!). Anyway, the CD-Rom is available through: https://www.diskery.com
(Points: 8.0 out of 10)