A warning: leafing through the revised edition of Ramón Oscuro Martos’ “…And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers”—co-published by Dark Canvas and Martos himself—may make you feel old. Not Saxon’s Biff Byford old, mind you, but like part of the upper-middle tier of the metal generation who came of age in the era when album purchases depended at least partway on album cover art. Sometimes, you tanked, but sometimes, you scored big time. It was the luck of the draw, kiddos. The only way you could hear what a band sounded like pre-purchase was if one of your friends had a dubbed copy of their record—likely fourth generation, sent through the mail from a country you’d have to consult an encyclopedia to find on a map.
To this end—and since the first edition was snapped up quickstyle—the revised edition of “…And Justice for Art” is a treasure trove of memories for metal geriatrics. Wanna know the story behind Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time cover? Death’s iconic Scream Bloody Gore imagery? The book also features just enough newer blood in the form of Lamb Of God, Cattle Decapitation, and the like to make it a worthwhile investment for the younger recruits.
Martos has said he did not want to print more of the first edition when he had the opportunity to include new material. He sought to honor the original version of the book and compares the new release to the special edition of a film, replete with bonus features. With the spotlight shone on over 400 albums interspersed with 100-plus reflections from both the bands and artists involved, “…And Justice for Art” deserves this revision. It joins
“Choosing Death” and “Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult” as books worthy of display on your coffee tables and sacrificial altars—and just in time for Christmas!