Mean Deviation
Jeff Wagner
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Buy *Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal* by Jeff Wagner online

Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal
Jeff Wagner
Bazillion Points
384 pages
December 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Mean Deviation author Jeff Wagner is a hardcore follower of heavy metal, and in this narrative history he details the rise and development of progressive rock in the mid-1970s with the likes of King Crimson and Rush. There are detailed notes on the so-called "Big Three" of progressive metal in the '80s - Queensryche, Fates Warning and Dream Theater - and sections on more extreme prog bands such as Voivod, Celtic Frost, Watchtower and others.

Heavy metal and prog rock were once distinctly different animals, but Wagner explains how the two got together. He even points to Black Sabbath as the first progressive band.

"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath predates Rush's Fly by Night by two years. The band that definied the simplistic appeal of heavy metal - music based on pure blunt force - broke their own mold in a quest for the unknowns that lay around the next corner. Whoever was first, or the biggest inspiration to metal's future progressives, at their genre-blurring best, Black Sabbath deserve to have their name uttered along with that of King Crimson - and the soon-to-arrive Rush - when laying down the bedrock of big ideas to come."
While you could argue that Black Sabbath were about as progressive as The Beatles, Wagner's arguments are backed up with fact - and, more times than not, his own love for the music.

This is a great book for anyone trying to decipher the link between rock and metal and prog. The author has done a lot of work and deserves to be read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2010

buy *Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal* online
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