Book Review: Lords of Chaos - The Bloody Rise of The Satanic Metal Underground: no comments

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Lords of Chaos – The Bloody Rise of The Satanic Metal Underground, Micheal Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind, Feral House, 1998

I bought this book a few months ago and managed to finish it a few days after buying it. It was an intense but a good read altogether although the approach, the style of writing is quite academic, necessary, from my point of view, for a book which chronicled the world’s most notorious music since the formation of the hexachord system by Guido of Arezzo, which spurred the unearthing of the satanic chords (diabolus in musica) way back in the 18th century, to be taken seriously. The music they call Black Metal. It requires a tune so that people will take the book seriously.

I have been listening to this kind of tune since primary school and the one accountable for introducing me to this music was not any of my friends or older relatives, but a local Malaysian tabloid. Untarnished still in my hazy remembrance, I was quite captivated by this diabolical music through an article in that particular tabloid that did a 2-page special report on the subject, complete with cool pictures and band logos. They even listed all these so called satanic rock bands for my trouble-free reference. And that was in 1995 if my memory serves me correctly. I was very inquisitive and very much the curious cat. It was like a giant whirlpool sucking me in and there were no ways for me to escape these enthralling madness of sorrow, supremacy and extreme aggressiveness. I got to try this, I said to myself. It took me no more than 5 second to convert myself from a nerd into a metal and hard rock listening nerd. Still a nerd but a different kind of nerd. It took me no more than the next week later for me to buy my first record. Talk about ultra influential. I have been a devoted fan and an avid listener ever since. I live happily ever after and my life has never been the same again.

Enough about my metal fairy tale and lets check this book out. Since the orientation of this book is quite academic, the read was quite deep, hectic and more often than not, quite tiring since the authors have widened their extent of investigation beyond the musician and its miniature circle. This includes outsiders who were directly involved with the satanic scene. Thus giving the reader more elaborative facts from different perspectives and distinguished angles. Although there are several general issues covered and discussed by the authors, I can see that the reason for the publication of this book was more towards exploiting the notoriety of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, the birthplace of what was known to be as the second wave of Black Metal (Mayhem, Burzum, Dark Throne, Immortal, Emperor, Enslaved are all Norwegian bands). A chunk of pages was dedicated to its early inception, the power struggle, suicide, the murders and the church burnings, which all in fact happened in Norway. In case you do not know, Black Metal was once Norway’s main export. Black metal bands being nominated in the Norwegian Grammy is quite normal there. I would like to see that kind of openness here.

Two of the most important individuals, highly influential to the early inception of Satanic Black Metal in Norway, Oysten Aarseth aka Euronymous and Varg Vikernes aka Count Grishnackh, were heavily dealt with in one of its chapters. Besides touching on the history or the early development of the Black Metal sound, the book also features interviews with who’s who from the scene (the infamous members of the Inner Circle. the Black Metal Mafia as the Norwegian press called it) and quite elaborative on the music’s influence through out the world.

It is a good read, highly recommended to those who really want to dig deep into the music judging the music by its cover, since Malaysia had (still having) her fair share of controversy (known worldwide, even Ian Christe mentioned the conservativeness of Malaysia in his book, Sound of the Beast. Maybe we do live on trees) with regard to this highly intolerable form of entertainment (yes, entertainment. Intolerable but still entertainment). At the peak of the second wave of the so-called Black Metal controversy, instigated, by the way, by the very same tabloid responsible for introducing me to this wonderful music 18 years earlier, I found a book about Black Metal written by one Ann Wan Seng, a local muslim author, published somewhere in 2007, simply titled Kesesatan Black Metal (the deviousness of Black Metal) which was totally crappy and nauseating. That guy just copy pasted some crap about Satanism from wikipedia, got some pictures from the net (anything with goats, five down-pointed stars and inverted crosses) and name the book Kesesatan Black Metal to get some extra money for coffee. Pathetic.

Anyway, I got this one from Kinokunia, KLCC, with 394 pages and it costs me RM75.80. My copy was the second edition and was published in 2003.
Editors Note: Original article was taken from Metaforakami, my personal blog.
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