From Publishers Weekly
Gangsta Rap's white-kid counterpart, black metal music enjoys a continued obscurity that is baffling in light of the made-for-tabloid events detailed in Moynihans's and Soderlind's book. Their book is a sort of guide to the Norwegian black metal scene, where, the authors claim, this latest, more rebellious form of heavy metal music originated. Moreover, Norway is the recent setting for the burning of numerous churches, and for two gruesome murders for which a small group of black metallers have been convicted. Whereas gangsta rappers might cite ancient African traditions that have been violently uprooted as a cause for their crimes against society, Norwegian black metal-heads cite the slaughter of their pagan traditions at the hands of early Christians as their justification. For most readers, such rationalizations will fall apart as they note that black metal kids murder their own kind (as, often, do gangsta rappers). It does not require 344 pages (plus appendices) to become disenchanted with the authors' rather disorganized history, but rabid fans will find much to savor here, such as lengthy interviews with the scene's icons. This is an exhaustive look at a few, extremely disturbed young men who, tragically, did not get Ozzy Osbourne's joke.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Committed campaigners against rock culture excesses may enjoy this look at the weird world of black metal as much as the local goth contingent will. Centered in Norway, though not confined there, black metal is a refinement of heavy metal, the genre minions of decency loved to hate before the rise of gangsta rap. Combining the lyrical stance of death metal with the melodic stylings of thrash, black metal takes its name from the English band Venom's second album. But what distinguishes black metal from, say, Marilyn Manson, is that the Nordic tunesmiths aren't kidding. The ones cited here openly advocate and occasionally admit to suicide, murder, and church burnings. Satan worship and its trappings are important to the black metal ethos, yet many musicians and fans aren't Satan worshippers but Odin devotees, and some seek to revive notorious Norwegian Nazi puppet Vidkun Quisling's Universism. Though the prose is stiff in places and the presentation desultory at times, this is gripping stuff, a book about scary rock that is really scary. Mike Tribby