Black Metal: Beyond The Darkness, Book Review by Jo Blackened

Black Metal: Beyond The Darkness

Reviewed by Jo Blackened

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Released June 2012

Authors: Louis Pattison, Nick Richardson, Brandon Stosuy, Nathan T Birk

Photography by Una Hamilton Helle

Rating: 5/5

 To say I was excited receiving this book is a slight understatement, as it’s no secret that Black Metal is my all time favourite genre, so I REALY couldn’t wait for this to be delivered and I’m even more happy to say that I was not at all disappointed!

On first impression I was surprised how large and heavy packed the book is, with 190 pages and how well it is laid out with some amazing photography by Una Hamilton Helle focussing on the dark but beautiful atmosphere of Norway landscape aswell as the book being filled with gig and promo pictures from various photographers from all over the world, some even based in UK, as I recognised the names, and has 16 contributors in total.

The book starts with a Bio of Black Metal from the very beginning going through the bands involved and how the genre has changed, as well as people’s attitudes over the years.

Black Metal is a genre often associated with nihilism, destructiveness and an insular obsession with Satanism and aggressive nationalism. Whereas, in reality, it is a constantly evolving genre involving bands that are increasingly forward thinking despite maintaining a purity of expression that is tied to the past.

As the book states…’Nobody burns downs Churches anymore’.

Beyond the Darkness features a historical overview of the genre’s developments, from the very beginning to how we see the genre today and includes interviews and views on record labels, the industry aswell as individuals and shops with a range of essays discussing Black Metal‘s regionality, isolationist literature, fine art, sexuality, transcendentalism and theatrics, amongst other topics.

The book itself has a ‘Black and White’ layout and design but does also include colour photos throughout, interviews and press cuttings, unseen archival photography aswell as going into full details of the bands featured, and the people behind the scenes and features Christophe Szpajdel; the Belgian designer, who made the Black Metal logos.

 Bands discussed include; Rotting Christ, Varathron, Ulver, Xasthur, Krieg, Graveland, Darkthrone, Wolves in the Throne Room, the associated artists of the French Les Legions Noires movement, Gorgoroth, Immortal, Opera IX, Mortuary Drape, Skyforger, Burzum, Weakling, Liturgy, Mayhem and Marduk, to name but a few!

This is a fantastic book and one that I could not put down!

Going into so much detail of the history of this genre, the amazing layout and design aswell as the music philosophy, images, interviews aswell as the artwork, I would recommend this book to EVERY metal fan out there.

The book is such an interesting read that metal fans everywhere should give it a read, even if Black Metal is not your favourite genre, but to those Black Metal Fans out there…This book is A MUST!!