Martin Popoff (born April 28, 1963)is a Canadian music journalist, critic and author. He is mainly known for writing about the genre of heavy metal music. The senior editor and co-founder of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles , he has additionally written over twenty books that both critically evaluate heavy metal and document its history. He has been called "heavy metal's most widely recognized journalist" by his publisher. Popoff lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Born in Castlegar, British Columbia, Popoff's interest in heavy metal began as a youth in Trail, British Columbia, in the early 1970s, when bands such as Led Zeppelin and Iron Butterfly were in the collections of the older brothers and cousins of Popoff and his friends. Black Sabbath played even heavier music, and became the group his circle of friends thought of as "our band, not the domain of our elders".Other heavy rock albums of the era, such as Nazareth's Razamanaz and Kiss' Hotter Than Hell , further shaped his emerging musical tastes. Angel City and April Wine were among Popoff's favourite bands as a teenager.
Of popular music magazines around at the time, Popoff recalls being a regular reader of Circus , Hit Parader , and later, Kerrang! blew our minds." Popoff does not identify any specific writers as being particularly influential on his own writing style, saying "it never registered who wrote what."
Popoff received a B.A in English from the University of Victoria in 1984 and an MBA in marketing at McMaster University in 1987, working for Xerox before co-owning a print brokering company.For a while in the 1980s he also played drums in a bar band called Torque. In 1993 he released his first book, the independently published Riff Kills Man!: 25 Years Of Recorded Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, a collection of 1,942 critical reviews of heavy metal records. Shortly after its publication he co-founded Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles , which released its first issue in 1994. He soon returned to his reviews book, releasing a revised and expanded version in 1997 titled The Collector's Guide To Heavy Metal, which almost doubled the original book's number of reviews to 3,700. In the book he identifies three major stages in the early development of heavy metal. The first stage, "invention", took place in 1970 with the release of Deep Purple in Rock coinciding with debut albums from Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep. Stage two, "re-invention", occurred in 1976 with Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny . The third stage, "re-intensification", happened in 1984 with the release of Metallica's Ride the Lightning .
In the 2000s Popoff revised and expanded his Collector's Guide one more time, splitting it up by decade into three separate volumes comprising a total of 6,763 albums spanning three decades of heavy metal.Volume 3: The Nineties was published in 2007.
Popoff has stated that he considers the greatest record of all time to be Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti , followed by Black Sabbath's Sabotage .He has also named Queen's self-titled debut as his personal favourite record of all time, and often regards Max Webster as his all-time favourite band. Newer groups that Popoff has spoken highly of include Mastodon, Opeth, Lamb of God and Dark Tranquillity. His Collector's Guide became rather notorious in some circles of rock fans for a particularly scathing review of Def Leppard's worldwide smash hit glam metal album Hysteria , to which he awarded a score of zero (out of ten). Popoff continues to defend his opinion of it years later, citing "just awful production, lyrics, singing, clichés of every musical and lyrical sort."
A number of Popoff's other books are biographies of notable metal bands, including Black Sabbath in Doom Let Loose and Dio in Light Beyond The Black. While the biographies are usually not officially authorized, a large amount of research consists of interviews between Popoff and members of each band. Popoff has said of his relationship with his subjects: "I censor myself because I don't want to write something to hurt people. You write a book on Sabbath and you don’t want to write something to hurt (their) families - I love those guys."A Judas Priest biography, Heavy Metal Painkillers, was published in 2007.
In 2014 Popoff stated that he is working on a new book, entitled Who Invented Heavy Metal?On March 6, 2015 Popoff told Metal Shock Finland's Chief Editor, Mohsen Fayyazi that he had finished writing the book and it will be published in approximately a month's time.
Popoff is a reviewer for BangerTVand also appears frequently on the many shows featured on the YouTube channel of music publication Sea of Tranquility.
Headless Cross is the fourteenth studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released on 24 April 1989, it was the group's second album to feature singer Tony Martin and the first of three to feature drummer Cozy Powell, along with Tyr and Forbidden.
"War Pigs" is a song by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It is the opening track from their 1970 album Paranoid.
Born Again is the eleventh studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released in August 1983, it is the only album the group recorded with lead vocalist Ian Gillan, best known for his work with Deep Purple. It was also the last Black Sabbath album for nine years to feature original bassist Geezer Butler and the last to feature original drummer Bill Ward, though Ward did record a studio track with the band fifteen years later on their 1998 live album Reunion. The album has received mixed reviews from critics, but was a commercial success upon its 1983 release, reaching No. 4 in the UK charts. The album also hit the top 40 in the United States.
Rock in a Hard Place is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released in August 1982 by Columbia Records. It was certified gold on November 10, 1989. It is the only Aerosmith album not to feature lead guitarist Joe Perry, following his departure from the band in 1979. Rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford also left during the recording in 1981. The band spent $1.5 million on the recording of this album, which saw them reunited with producer Jack Douglas.
Fire of Unknown Origin is the eighth album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released in June 1981. It was produced by Martin Birch.
Wings of Tomorrow is the second studio album by the Swedish heavy metal band Europe. It was released on 24 February 1984, by Hot Records. Wings of Tomorrow is the last album to feature drummer Tony Reno.
Europe is the debut studio album by Swedish heavy metal band Europe, released on 14 March 1983 by Hot Records.
The Bell Witch is a short, promotional EP released by Mercyful Fate to herald the band's reunion album. It features two tracks off In the Shadows, of which one is based on the American legend of the Bell Witch, plus four live tracks. The EP was released in 1994. It was re-released in 2004 on Metal Blade Records.
The Revölution by Night is the ninth studio album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released in October 1983. The album was intended to capitalize on the success of Fire of Unknown Origin two years prior, hence the blend of straight-ahead rock and pop elements. This was the first BÖC album not to feature all of the band's classic members, drummer Albert Bouchard having been fired during the previous tour and replaced by roadie Rick Downey.
Club Ninja is the tenth studio album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released December 10, 1985 in the United Kingdom and on February 11, 1986 in the United States. The album was intended as a comeback for the band, whose previous album The Revölution by Night failed to attain Gold status following the success of 1981's Fire of Unknown Origin and 1982's Extraterrestrial Live. Club Ninja sold more than 175,000 copies, falling well short of gold status again, and because of its high cost, Columbia Records executives deemed it a commercial failure. The album was re-issued on compact disc on March 10, 2009, by Sony-owned reissue label American Beat Records, which had also reissued the band's 1988 album, Imaginos.
The Great Radio Controversy is the second album by American glam metal band Tesla, released in 1989. The songs combine 1980s metal with some blues-influenced elements, as well as the occasional love ballad. The record features many two-part counterpoints provided by guitarists Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch, on both electric and acoustic guitars.
Satanica is the fourth studio album released in 1999 by Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. Much of the music in this release is death metal with influences of black metal music, also commonly known as blackened death metal. It was recorded at the Starcraft Stimulation Studios and mastered in Warsaw, Poland in 1999.
From the 13th Sun is the seventh studio album by Swedish doom metal band Candlemass, released in 1999. The CD liner notes say it is "dedicated to the greatest band of all time: Black Sabbath".
Inferno: Last in Live is a live album released by the American heavy metal band Dio. It was recorded on their Angry Machines tour in 1996/97. Released in 1998 on Mayhem Records, it consists of tracks from the Ronnie James Dio eras of Rainbow and Black Sabbath, as well as Dio's own material plus a cover of the Deep Purple track Mistreated.
Act III is the third studio album by the thrash metal band Death Angel, released in 1990 on Geffen Records. This is the band's final studio album to feature guitarist Gus Pepa, their last record before their ten-year hiatus from 1991 to 2001, and their only release on Geffen.
The Ultra-Violence is the debut studio album by American thrash metal band Death Angel, released in 1987. The album was recorded while all members were under 20, with drummer Andy Galeon just 14 years old. The album is considered a classic in the thrash metal genre, listed as number 370 in the 2010 reference book, The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time.
The Best of Great White: 1986–1992 is a compilation album released by the American hard rock band Great White in 1993.
Live is the first live album by Swedish doom metal band Candlemass released in 1990.
"Victim of Changes" is a song by English heavy metal band Judas Priest, featured on their 1976 studio album Sad Wings of Destiny. Adrien Begrand, writing for PopMatters, claimed the song changed the course of metal history. Vocalist Rob Halford's performance is considered one of his finest ever. The guitar work is noted as well; Bob Gendron praised the song's "landslide riffs" in the Chicago Tribune. The song has come to be regarded as one of the band's classics, and Martin Popoff listed it at No. 17 in his "Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time".
Absolutely No Alternative is the eighth studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, released in 1997.