Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book
by Aye Jay
Published by ECW Press
48 pages, 2007
Reviewed by David Middleton
All right junior metal heads and novice headbangers: crank up the tunes, get out your red and black crayons and dive into Aye Jay’s Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book. Is it a coloring book? Or maybe it’s a puzzle book. Could it be a book about blackness, Satanism and playing a mean power chord? Wait, it’s all three!
Heavy metal music was never my thing. In fact I’ve never even heard of bands like Obituary, Bolt Thrower, Disembowelment or Goatwhore. (Goatwhore? Really?) But I think I’ve just discovered an element of heavy metal that I was previously unaware of: its sense of humor.
You don’t tend to think of heavy metal music as a genre that is filled with an overabundance of jocularity or frivolity, but as I flip through Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book I must reconsider my position. Metal can be fun, silly and -- yes -- perhaps even thoughtful and educational. So on page eight, after you have played connect the moles on the face of a prominent member of Motorhead, go to page nine and do a brain teasing heavy metal sudoku -- with all the sixes filled in, of course. Color Glenn Danzig, do the Monsters of Rock Crossword then guide Ozzy Osbourne through a maze in order to get him to Ozzfest. More than just a coloring book, Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book is designed to improve your drawing, math, pattern recognition and language skills all while testing your knowledge of the metal canon. I failed miserably, but those of you who know and understand this world of pentagrams, strange hand gestures and occultish symbology will zip through the book as you laugh your leather and metal studded ass off.
Though I may scoff, author Aye Jay is hardly making fun of the genre. It’s more like he’s just having fun with it. And as silly as the book may at times seem it never comes across as a parody or disrespectful. Even in the book’s introduction Andrew W.K. extols the philosophical virtues of metal and the connection we all share regardless of musical taste:
“The energy in Heavy Metal Music (whatever Heavy Metal Music is) is the same energy that makes us tap our feet to drum beats, or bang our heads, or play instruments, or go to concerts, or look at books. Let us all develop and cherish our love for this energy, and let us realize that it is this energy -- this force -- that defines our love of Heavy Metal, and all of the great loves of our collective life.”
At just 48 pages, Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book gives readers a meager taste of things metal, but it really could have been much more substantial. Like any other genre of music, metal is filled with colorful characters and interesting trivia, tidbits and lore. I’m sure Aye Jay could have filled hundreds of pages with even more fun but all that would have done is create a shortage of black crayons. So even if you don’t know the difference between Rigor Mortis, Ratt or Dark Funeral, Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book will be loads of fun. For those of you who do know the difference, party hard! | September 2007