Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal

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Overview


Revered former Metal Maniacs editor Jeff Wagner analyzes the heady side of metal in this exhaustive narrative history of a relentlessly ambitious musical subculture. Beginning with the hugely influential mid-1970s efforts of Rush and King Crimson, Wagner unfurls a huge tapestry of sounds and styles, including Queensryche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater; extreme prog pioneers Voivod and Celtic Frost; Norway’s post-black metal avant garde acts Ulver and Arcturus; and the 1990s global movement that spawned ...
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Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal

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Overview


Revered former Metal Maniacs editor Jeff Wagner analyzes the heady side of metal in this exhaustive narrative history of a relentlessly ambitious musical subculture. Beginning with the hugely influential mid-1970s efforts of Rush and King Crimson, Wagner unfurls a huge tapestry of sounds and styles, including Queensryche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater; extreme prog pioneers Voivod and Celtic Frost; Norway’s post-black metal avant garde acts Ulver and Arcturus; and the 1990s global movement that spawned Ayreon, Pain of Salvation, and others.

Fighting a tide of tradition and conservatism, progressive metal has proven to be one of the most viable, malleable forms in all of modern music; here its preeminent scholar tells the tale.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Mean Deviation zeroes in on heavy metal’s more cerebral, challenging, and even geeky side.”—Ghetto Blaster

“Fans of prog metal would be wise to learn more about Mean Deviation…”—Guitar World

“A focused, well-organized narrative from the combined musical output of over 40 years and scores of bands from across the globe…excess comes with the territory.”—Library Journal

“Jeff goes deep into this much maligned music form and presents it with fervor”—Vice

“An extremely fluent read…sits high on the list of canonical metal texts”—PopMatters

“An expertly researched love letter to the largely misunderstood and often maligned progressive metal scene”—AOL Noisecreep, Holiday Gift List

“An impressive historical work”—Chromatique [9/10 review]

“What a massive undertaking… knowledge, passion, skills, and class… this book should be required reading for any metal follower.”—Blistering.com [9.5/10 review]

“Mean Deviation is an amazing compendium of everything weird in the world of metal—a book as grand and unlikely as the music it documents.”—Hellbound.ca

“The book looks and feels fabulous. Thank you, Jeff Wagner, for this massive information highway for all things progressive metal.”—Paul Masvidal, Cynic/Death

“The book is awesome. I read it in two days.”—Glenn Harveston, ProgPower USA

“Looks cool! I’m looking forward to digging in.”—Jim Matheos, Fates Warning

“This goes beyond being well-informed…kudos for great work!”—Vorph, Samael

“We now have a definitive book on the relationship between metal and progressive music.”—Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree

“Another winner from the folks at Bazillion Points!”—Sea of Tranquility [4.5/5 stars]

“An invaluable compendium”—Nuthousepunks.com

“Mean Deviation is a comprehensive history of the genre that fans will enjoy, and future music scholars will use as an essential reference guide.”—Aboutcom

“Jeff Wagner nailed it…another triumph for Bazillion Points”—Metal Rules.com, 4.5/5 review

“With great passion and attention to detail…a colorful read… an impressive achievement”—Joel McIver, Record Collector

“Breathtaking… pick it up and get lost in another dimension”—Terrorizer

Library Journal
When it comes to musical genre histories, deciding what groups to include or leave out can be more difficult than writing about them. That goes double for subgenres, in this case the fusion of progressive rock and heavy metal. Wagner (former editor, Metal Maniacs magazine) shapes a focused, well-organized narrative from the combined musical output of over 40 years and scores of bands from across the globe. Drawing on a wealth of exclusive interview material with the likes of Dream Theater, Voivod, Black Sabbath, and Celtic Frost, he gives the big names of the genre their due, but even hard-core fans should discover several groups new to them. Stylistically, the repeated descriptions of technical wizardry and occasional overwritten phrases can be forgiven; we are dealing with prog metal after all, and excess comes with the territory. VERDICT Essential reading for prog metalheads but unlikely to win many new converts. For dedicated music collections only.—Neil Derksen, Gwinnett Cty. P.L., Lawrenceville, GA
Staff Reviewer
Breathtaking… pick it up and get lost in another dimension
Steven Wilson
We now have a definitive book on the relationship between metal and progressive music.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979616334
  • Publisher: Bazillion Points
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 537,276
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    For all the Metal Nerds!

    Great book! I remember reading Jeff Wagner when he wrote for Metal Maniacs, his knowledge cannot be questioned. He gives an excellent overview of band both famous and obscure who expanded and added to the boundaries of Metal. My only complaint is that like other Nook books the formatting for the digital version is fractured, but that doesn't distract the reader too much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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