Sunday, January 31, 2016

The J.G. Clay Interview


The J.G. Clay Interview 

                                                       





     Many thanks to J.G. for taking the time to do this. 




Q: Tales Of Blood And Sulphur is your debut. Where’d you get the idea to do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?
It was out of necessity and impatience to be honest. My original plan was to write and release a novel but the ideas I had at the time weren’t up to scratch. I had a few short stories hanging about, so I decided to write some new ones and release a collection as a kind of showcase, just to show people what I’m about and what I can do. The original version of ‘Tales’, which is no longer in print, attracted the attention of Booktrope and I got a deal on the strength of the book. Rather than re-release ‘Tales’ as it was, I thought I’d put in some extra material and a ‘wrap around’ story to tie everything together. It was more of a happy accident, rather than a pre-planned pre-meditated idea.
I’m glad it worked out the way it did though.

Q:  When did you discover that you wanted to be a writer? What are your main influences?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I could pick up a pen. It’s always been my ambition. At school, I used to write my own ‘Doctor Who’ adaptions. When I discovered horror, it was a ‘light bulb’ moment. I knew that this was the genre for me and I’ve never looked back.  As for influences, I think you’ve noticed who my biggest influences are, judging by your review. King and Barker are definitely the main ones, closely followed by James Herbert, Graham Masterton, Robert R MccCammon and Ramsey Campbell. John Carpenter has also been a huge influence. His films, particularly ‘Halloween’ and ‘The Thing’, kick started my imagination in a way no other film maker has managed. The guy’s a legend.


Q:  As a writer of darker horror where do your ideas come from? 
Everywhere and anywhere, pretty much. It’s a difficult question to answer. Films, the music I listen, the books and comics I read; even day to day life. I think because I’ve been into the darker stuff for so long, my mind always look for the horror in everyday life and somehow I manage to find it. ‘L.L.T.C’, for example, just grew from a normal Friday night in a pub. I think you can find the Dark Side if you look hard enough
Q: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you outline anything or just write as inspiration strikes?
Generally, speaking I try to write for a minimum of two hours a day. I tend to get up early so I can cram in some writing time before work and then there’s a session in the evening. There’s no let up on weekends on either. This writing’s a seven day a week job as far as I’m concerned. But, if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it, so it’s no hardship.
Only novels get an outline, purely because I’d lose track of the characters, what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with. I’ve had a couple of occasions where characters have been killed off only to reappear a few pages later without any explanation. I’m a bit of a day dreamer as well so if I don’t stick to a semblance of a plan, then things get messy. Short stories are done straight off the bat; no messing around, just straight into the mayhem. Any issues are ironed out during rewrites.

Q: Any weird writing rituals?
Ha! None at all, I’m afraid. Does that make me a little dull? 

Q:  Are there any current projects in the works?
Quite a few. I’m currently working on two novels. The first one, H.A.DE.S, will be my debut novel. In part, it’s a homage to the film ‘C.H.U.D’, a film which I still love to this day, but I’m also throwing in racial tension, shady government types, skinheads and the Brixton riots. It sounds like a strange mix and it probably is but it seems to be working. The second novel ‘Fool’s Gold’, is kind of a prequel/sequel to the ‘Tales’ story, ‘One Night in Mumbai’. Sunil and his Elemental friend, Lazlo will be returning and the majority of the book will tell the story of what happened with Lazlo in the Antarctic, as well as shedding some light on The Elementals, Archon Morbius and their histories. Once the two novels are done, it’ll be time for ‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur Volume 2. This time, I’m going for a slightly different approach. Instead of eleven short stories, it will consist of three novellas, each with a theme tying into the subtitle ‘Blood-Oil-Water’. I think there’s enough there to keep me busy in 2016.
Q:  What advice would you give to writers looking to get published or just starting out?
All I can say is write prolifically, read avidly and never ever get disheartened or disillusioned. Writing is bloody hard work but you get back what you put into it. I’ll admit that there’s been a few occasions where I’ve thought ‘bugger this, I’m off to do something easier’, but I’ve kept at it. Perseverance, a thick skin and a massive library are key.
Q: Have you had an opportunity to speak to any of your readers? I have, both in person and on social media. On the whole, my readers have been very positive and enthusiastic about what I do. To be told that your work has terrified someone had a morale boosting effect. It’s the readers that make it worthwhile. If they weren’t so enthused, I’d give it up and go sit up a mountain for the next 20 years not saying a word to anyone haha.

Q: What makes a great story?
The characters. You could have the most implausible plot in the universe, but if your characters are fleshed out and believable, you can pull it off. Conversely, you could have the best plot, one that flows seamlessly but if the characters are stilted caricatures or blatantly unrealistic, then the story will fall apart. That’s my opinion anyway.


Biography


J.G Clay is definitely a Man of Horror. There can be no doubt. Putting aside the reverence he has for the horror greats, such as King, Barker, Herbert, Carpenter, Romero and Argento, there is another fact that defines his claim for the title of the 'Duke of Spook'. He was born on Halloween night. By a quirk fate, it was also a full moon that night. Co-incidence?  Here at Clay Towers, we don't believe in coincidences.

The 41 year old hails from the Midlands in the United Kingdom, is married with one step child and two dogs that bear a strong resemblance to Ewoks. Beyond the page and the written word, he is music mad and can hold down a tune on a bass guitar pretty well. He is an avid reader and also has an enduring love of British sci-fi, from the pages of the '2000A.D' comic to the televised wanderings of Gallifrey's most famous physician. Clay is also a long-time fan of the mighty Birmingham City Football Club and endures a lot of flak from his friends for it.



Blurb



Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur



J.G Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem……

There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin......

A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England. The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!


Links


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jgclay1973


Twitter: https://twitter.com/JGClay1


Website: http://www.jgclayhorror.com/


Available from:


AMAZON


Kindle US : http://amzn.to/1TX8Jhu


Paperback US: http://amzn.to/1CZpm7F


Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1RYqLlM


Paperback UK: http://amzn.to/1KoFNKP


Nook (Barnes & Noble): http://bit.ly/1CUUYMd


And Apple iBooks
















Friday, January 29, 2016

Shout At The Devil

  Queen Of Hell - Jeff O'Brien 5/5

     I have to tell you that Jeff O'Brien gave me an early peek at his latest novella Queen Of Hell. It's a remastered version of an earlier book, and I hear you mumbling. Why in the fuck is Jeff pulling a Stephen King? If you've read Devil Rain why you should you buy this right? Jeff has given this the George Lucas treatment and not only polished it but added some words. I have read both and while I liked Devil Rain I actually like what he did with Queen Of Hell. The story is tighter and flows a lot better so you get a better story. It's the same story but the added content gives you a lot more detail. 

     If you haven't read Devil Rain at all then you should be warned. Queen Of Hell is not the same goofy comedy horror that Jeff usually writes. Hell is is pure dark as night horror. This is a guy that clearly wants to be taken seriously for a minute and as the story unfolds you are front row center for it all. If you ever wondered if O'Brien could ever write a straight up horror novel here's your answer. Gone is the comedy, and in it's place is pure unadulterated evil. Queen Of Hell delivers big time. Jeff crafts a damn fine story and the new content fits right in and tightens up the story. I've always been a fan of his writing style. He writes highly addictive fiction. That hasn't changed at all. Just the content. 

     Queen Of Hell is for those that love occult horror. The stuff that makes you pull out your black metal records and throw up a few devil horns. For those that have read Devil Rain you need to pick this up because while the story itself is the same the new content just tightens everything up and reminds us that as a writer Jeff never disappoints. This is a newly remastered version of one of his earlier works and unlike George Lucas he didn't screw it up. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tales Of Blood And Sulphur

    Tales Of Blood And Sulphur - J.G. Clay  5/5
                                                       
   

     I haven't read a straight up horror novel in a long time. I usually hit the splatterpunk section because it's what I usually navigate toward. I received a copy of Tales Of Blood And Sulphur in exchange for an honest review and dug right in. It reminded me of the first time I read The Books Of Blood. It's that dark visceral horror that lurks just beyond your comfort zone. While it may not be injected with gore, it's still an interesting read due to the fact that Clay is heavily influenced by Clive Barker. It shows in most of the stories in Sulphur. That is where it seems to drag a little. As an occasional fan of Barker I sometimes found that the hype of how great Barker was, was actually better than what I read.

      What makes this a worthwhile read is that Clay does have talent. He has a knack for crafting an interesting story that seems to take on a life of its own. There are several nods to Stephen King as well and stories like L.L.T.C., and Legally Dead make this a must read. It's a nod to classic horror of the early and late eighties. Tales were original and grabbed a reader's attention. With horror writers you can always tell who their influences are. It shows in the way they structure their work. Clay is truly a horror fan that has blended together the best era of King's writing career and a  love of Barker. It sounds as if it shouldn't work,yet it does.

     For those who love dark and gritty horror that tends to run headlong into the obscure and strange this is a must read collection. This is what horror used to look like and it can again if more writers embrace the art of telling a great tale and allow it to grow organically. It may move slowly at times, but in the end you'll be glad you read it. As everyone knows I can't judge books like these on the stories. I also judge them as a whole. How well does it flow, how does each story stack up against the others. In this collection it holds up well and I can't wait to read Volume 2.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Long-form Religious Porn

     Long-form Religious Porn - Laura Lee Bahr 5/5
                                                    

   




      It's a good thing I don't read a lot of popular fiction. There's nothing wrong with it, but sometimes you miss something unique and unlike the other paint by number books by the usual authors releasing the same rehashed idea and premises. I like a little variety in my fiction which is why I read the kind of stuff I do. Mainstream fiction bores me so I tend to read stuff that others find questionable, but the thing is everyone has their own limits and knows that just by looking at a book cover it isn't for them.  It's unfortunate because by limiting yourself to whatever paint by number author happens to be the flavor of the month you're missing out on something great. I have never read Laura's work before but after reading Long-form I am a huge fan. This is a novel that transcends all sort of genres and becomes not only unique, but a great book. 

     Just reading the blurb on the back doesn't do this book justice. Laura has crafted a story that is highly addicting even with a variety of plots interwoven throughout the story never becomes muddles. It all flows seamlessly despite the weird places it goes. This is a story for those that like great stories regardless of the subject matter. You have a murder, a weird vampire cult, and even bondage, but it's not offensive in the least. If anything it's a unique story that pulls you in and takes you on a weird little journey. A great book has that ability to take you wherever it wants and you find yourself strapped in until the very end. Long-form is a unique book that isn't exactly bizarro, but it does border on the outer edges while sprinkling in a hefty dose of black humor. 

     Laura is a talented author that more people should read, and Long-form is the perfect novel to attract fans of fiction who are looking to step outside of their comfort zone and read something unique. If you've ever wanted to read indie fiction this a damn fine place to start. I had received through Fungasm Press' Kickstarter and I'm glad I picked this one up. This is a true classic.   https://www.facebook.com/fungasmpress/

      

      

Thursday, January 21, 2016

All The Hail The Mantis

     Texas Chainsaw Mantis - Kevin Strange 5/5
                                       


      No matter what you may think of Kevin Strange or his writing style the guy is doing exactly what he wants without any care or concern for the mainstream and you know what? Thank God for Kevin because I think Mantis may in fact be the very first splatter/bizarro/insect novel. It seems like the craziest idea, and I couldn't even imagine the time he spent researching the praying mantis. That is true dedication to the craft. You have elements here that take from so many influences and styles that even the most jaded horror fan will actually devour this book. If this didn't feature a praying mantis I bet more people would actually read this. It isn't the kind of story that most horror or even bizarro fans would touch, but you should. 

      Kevin plays this straight and gives his title character human characteristics. We know someone like Matthew. He's the guy that no one notices. The check out clerk at our favorite gas station, that weird waiter at that place we eat lunch everyday. On top of that he has a unique writing style that makes you forget that you're reading about bugs and you become sucked into the crazy story that actually features a world that has been taken over by praying mantises. At its heart is Matthew and his quest for vengeance. The key to all of this is greed. It trickles from the humans right to the mantis' themselves. This isn't by any means a light fluffy book. This is dark and brutal and I have to admit that it's without a doubt one of my favorite books.. 

    This is one indie guy that actually cares about what he's doing. In Mantis we see a writer taking a huge gamble and it pays off. It takes balls to write a book like this and as a fan of splatterpunk and bizarro there's a lot of those elements to it, but in the end it's strictly a Kevin Strange novel. Totally unique and worth a few hours of your time. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019VLNOQA?keywords=texas%20chainsaw%20mantis&qid=1453421093&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Tribes Of Decay

     Tribes Of Decay: A Zombie Novel
                                             




      I received a copy of Garza's latest novel in exchange for an honest review and I've read his work before. This is a talented that continues to release zombie novels that breath life into the genre. While this could appeal to just fans of the genre it also contains a bit of everything that appeals to fans of horror as well as straight fiction. In Tribes Garza presents us with a look at the world after the initial zombie outbreak and the tribes that are fighting to survive in this new world. The problem is that the zombies are evolving and gathering. That's what sets this apart from what you're accustomed to. You have a great story about survival and all the usual rules of the zombies are thrown out. Garza takes a huge risk and it pays off. As the opening book in the series there's a lot to grab your attention and there's a reason to read the continuing books in the series.

     The strength of this is in the characters themselves. They are living in a new world that are thrust into a nightmare and while the zombies it would seem would be the focus, it's the survivors that are put right out in front. It is a zombie novel so expect a bit of gore, and violence. Garza has a unique writing style that pulls you into the story and even as the book is nearing its conclusion he gives you a valid reason to want to read the entire series. I liked these characters and want to see what happens to them on their quest to rebuild their paradise. This is a writer that knows how to effectively tell a story and keeps the pages flying. For those are looking for something unique and addicting you should preorder Tribes Of Decay as soon as you finish this review. The official release date is Jan 31, and then wait patiently for the next books in the series. Many thanks to Michael for allowing to get a sneak peak at his latest release.   http://www.amazon.com/Tribes-Decay-Zombie-Novel-Decaying-ebook/dp/B01A4RA7V0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453355784&sr=8-1&keywords=Tribes+Of+Decay

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Monica Lewinsky And Three Bears

     David Cross - I Drink For A Reason 5/5

                                                                   

   


       I have to get this off my chest because for a long time I've been carrying around this anger at David Cross. The guy is funny, but Alvin And The Fucking Chipmunks?!! Are you kidding me? What kind of sell out, self absorbed bullshit is that? A true comedy genius resorted to doing a shitty kid movie?? What kind of shit is that? I expect that from assholes like Larry The Cable Guy, but not you. I forgive you. We all make mistakes man. Wait, that movie paid for your summer home?? Really? Well shit, I'd do a shitty movie to pay for a house. U feel better now. I can go and do this review without any malice or any deep rooted anger. David fuckin' Cross man. Haven't heard of him? He's done stand up forever. The first time I ever saw him was on HBO in '96 and I laughed my ass off. This is the kind of comedy I like. Sarcastic, inventive and intelligent. In the new days of political correctness there's not many guys like Cross left. Guys like Hicks, and Kinison are gone and all we got to replace them were guys like Dane Cook and that redneck bigot Larry The Cable Guy. 

     As soon as I heard about the book I grabbed it and it took me awhile to actually read it. I'm an avid reader and I have this big ass too read list but the last couple of books I read were super serious and I needed something to take me back to a place where shit wasn't so serious. That's when I started reading I Drink For A Reason. As a Cross fan there's a lot to like here. What you have are essays, memoirs and satires. Everything that makes Cross funny is here but in book form. Is it always funny? Honestly no, but the strength of Open Letter To Larry The Cable Guy and even the rants on Jim Belushi makes this a decent read. It's not going to match his stand up stuff even though there are a few pieces of various bits, but it's not supposed to be. That's kind of the point. 

     You can say what you want about Cross but I Drink For A Reason is a great book for those that find Cross' brand of humor funny. What did surprise me were all the negative reviews. Who cares what those people said, or what they think. This book had me laughing and laughing hard. Do yourself a favor and pick this up and David I'm not mad about the Alvin And The Chipmunks movie anymore. If you've never heard of Cross before you should listen to Shut Up You Fucking Baby or at least watch one of his shows, and then read the book. Trust me it's okay. You'll be fine.

     

   

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I Deem You Clear

     The Church Of Fear: Inside The Weird World Of Scientology John Sweeney 5/5

                                          





     This was my first book about Scientology. It's a good time to delve into what Scientology actually is. If you believe Tom Cruise and all the other celebrities you get the idea that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Under the surface though you can see that something isn't quite right. Why do all of their answers sound the same? What the hell is Scientology anyway? If you want the answers there are a variety of books exposing it and according to those who adhere to the so called religion these are the ravings of lunatics that have some hidden agenda against the church. If you want the official version there's a variety of books on what Hubbard created. Yep, Scientology isn't really a religion. Like everything it has a dark side and its members will fight like hell to keep it under wraps. 

      Church Of Fear is John Sweeny's account of what happened when he did a documentary on the church and what a tale it is. The man was followed, harassed and repeatedly called a bigot. The book raises quite a few valid questions about claims of abuse and even brainwashing. Scientologists say that it's all lies to slander the church but the thing is that there is more than one witness that backs up the abuse claims. The book doesn't set out to attack the church. In the end they wanted to suppress Sweeny's story so they had him followed and there's even proof of them keeping close tabs on him. 

     The book is an interesting look at the realities of what Scientology is and through various accounts from witness after witness that tell you if you say anything bad about the church they will attack your character and do their damnedest to make you look like a lunatic. It's a fascinating read that shows that Sweeney isn't too far off the mark when he asks people if they think that Scientology is a cult. They may say no, but as the stories, and weird behavior escalate you can clearly see that it is. Sweeney does present both sides so that you have the ability to get clear cut answers from both sides but unfortunately the Scientologists come off creepy and a bit psycho which is a claim they level against anyone that steps away from the church or even says anything bad against the church. This is a great book that tells one reporters story about what happened to him when he decided to write an honest story that had two view points. It would have been easy for him to do a fluff piece about Scientology but what he did was far more damaging to the church and the beliefs they hold so dear. This is a solid beginning on what Scientology is and if you choose to go on and read more there are a wealth of books out there that will shed more light on what Scientology really is. 

      
      

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

American Conspiracies

     Jesse Ventura - American Conspiracies  5/5


                                             




      I know that as a lot of people are expecting me to rip this book to shreds and call Ventura a total whack job. The thing is that I'm a thinker and pride myself on thinking outside the box. Those are who follow me on Facebook probably know that I get most of my news from UK sources and I do believe in a variety of conspiracy theories. I guess that too makes me a nut. The thing is that Ventura's book is an interesting read. It's one that urges you to think for yourself and that's what scares people. The very idea that we should think for ourselves leads to a variety of issues. You can wave your American flag pom poms all you what while singing the Star Spangled Banner all you want but here's the truth. You're being lied to. The government is not your friend and will sell you out with out feeling any guilt whatsoever.

     American Conspiracies is a great start to those who want to delve into the conspiracies involving 9/11, the Kennedy assassination and many others, but Ventura isn't forcing you to believe what he's telling you. There are a lot of footnotes that back up what he's saying but if you choose to believe it or delve deeper into the source material there's plenty of directions to go. A lot of what he says makes sense, As you read it you begin to see that sometimes two plus two doesn't always equal four. I've read a lot of bad reviews on this book and I think that most people are too afraid to move beyond what their government tells them. When someone suggests something that conflicts what we've been told those people are crazy. Ventura's book allows us to step outside of our comfort zones and say; “What if?” That's a scary concept and one that most people are afraid to ask.

     This is a book for those who are free thinkers. It's a book for those that aren't afraid to take risks and look beyond what they told you happened. You don't have to believe any of it. Ventura himself tells us that in the epilogue. What he wants to do is present us with plausible scenarios. The key to enjoying this book is that you have to have an open mind. If you can look at this book objectively you may actually learn something. I have been wanting to review a book like this for a long time, but I was always leery because let's face it, after 9/11 it wasn't exactly hip to question the government, or say anything bad about America for fear that you would be labeled a terrorist. I'm not concerned anymore. People are going to say what they want regardless even if it makes them look like puppets. They spout the same rhetoric that the government taught them and they never bat an eye.

     Ventura's book is a way to open up intelligent discussions without feeling as if we've lost the plot. Not all of us are completely nuts. We just have a few questions that will probably never be answered. This is a book that shows us we're not alone, and there are more people out there who are just like us. I'm glad I read this book and found it interesting and it's one that you should read too. It's a chance to look at the world around you and question what's really going on. I promise you we don't wear tinfoil hats or have a secret handshake. We do want you to speak freely and come at us with intelligence and an open mind. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Undead Fleshcrave

     Undead Fleshcrave - Jim Gorforth  5/5  http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Fleshcrave-Trigger-Jim-Goforth-ebook/dp/B01ADNDDZW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452549055&sr=1-1&keywords=Undead+Fleshcrave
                                                           
     



     I received a copy of Fleshcrave directly from Jim Goforth in exchange for an honest review and all I really had at the time to go on was the cover art and the realization that Jim had a new book coming out. If you've followed my reviews on Goodreads or even here you're probably aware that his novel Plebs was one of my favorite novels of 2014. Now I'm looking at Fleshcrave and I can't help but think; What if it sucks? It's a valid question because even guys like Stephen King have a bad year right? Then I began to read it, and I breathed a sigh of relief because nothing has changed. This is one hell of a horror novel and while we all kid Jim about his huge word count the fact is I'm grateful for it. Jim writes novels the size of phone books and that's not a bad thing because the guy doesn't want to feel as if he's shortchanged his readers. His books easily top over 400 pages but there's a solid story that chugs along and the detail that Goforth gives strengthens his work. You're able to immerse yourself in the story and get to know the characters. A simple one hundred page book would not do us or Undead Fleshcrave any justice.

     Zombie novels are a dime a dozen and while most stay true to the mythos, Goforth takes a wide left and injects a huge dose of originality into it. What he's done is merged his love of metal into his horror. If you're a fan of horror and metal you'll love this because as a fan you'll get the death and back metal influences, and if you're not it's okay. It's still a classic horror novel that reminds us that if done correctly you can make any genre seem fresh and new. Jim has given the zombie genre a much needed kick in the ass and has put his own stamp on it and it works. Fleshcrave is the kind of zombie novel that is violent and brilliant in its delivery and execution. As a writer Goforth knows exactly how to tell a story. As you read it your eyes remained glued to the pages.

     All of his influences are present and accounted for so you know that when you read this it feels as if it could have been written in the 80's when horror was exciting and fresh It elevates itself above splatterpunk and just becomes a great horror novel. Goforth writes the kind of stuff that guys like Laymon used to create. It hits hard and fast and drags you along right up to its conclusion. This is a writer who loves horror and he writes for those who carry the horror banner even when it looks as if it's dying out. There are quite a few guys that write not because they think that horror is trendy. They write it because they love it and know that there are quite a few of us who remember just how great horror can be. Zombie purists may get a little butthurt that Jim doesn't follow the rules that others have created but what he's written is unique and a lot of fun to read. Zombie novels don't have to follow the rules. It's okay to be different and Goforth proves that with Undead Fleshcrave.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Black Metal

    Black Metal: Evolution Of A Cult Dayal  Patterson 5/5
                                       
                                                 




     It doesn't matter how I approach this review. As soon as you hear the term black metal you've already conjured this in your head. It's okay though because everyone does. Black metal has one hell of a reputation but where did it all come from? How did this blackened form of noise catch the ear of metal fans?



     That's what makes this book so interesting. Dayal had written a book that is must read for metal fans and it shows just how impressive black metal is. Evolution is a book that explains how the blackest form of metal evolved and also gives us the major players in its evolution. It's a lengthy read but it's never boring. I wasn't all that familiar with black metal's history or how it  came to exist and I'm sure if you ask most people what black is you'll either get satanism, or it's that one form of music where all of the members wander around in the woods. It's extreme and yes, satanic, but look at the state of music when it appeared. It was a way to branch out and try and do something different and that's what makes black metal so good.  As I read it I saw it as it is truly was and Dayal doesn't want to recruit fans and doesn't gloss over its satanic lyrics or other controversial topics because its all a part of the history.

      Being a casual fan of black metal I was able to jump right in because I knew quite a few of the bands and as I write this I'm listening to Dissection's Storm Of The Light's Bane which is a huge record for the growth and importance of black metal. The writing here is easy to follow and broken up by bands and even the notorious church burnings in Norway. Also a lot of time is spent discussing not only Mayhem, but the death of Euronymous. It's a huge thing that had a huge impact on black metal.  For anyone who is afraid of what black metal represents this is not a book you want to read because you'll find yourself not only shocked but unable to grasp most of what these bands represent. They offer no apologies and Dayal chooses a variety of source material that Christians will no doubt find offensive.

      As a whole this is well a 600 page book that flows well. The main complaint I'm sure from most fans is the inclusion of the influential bands, but you'll have that with any book that features some type of music. If you've never listened to black metal before and just want to see what the big deal is you'll find that Dayal has compiled a book from a fans viewpoint. Each band is given a lengthy bit of space and testimonials from other bands on their importance to the genre. It's a damn good book that taught me a great deal and I now have a huge amount of respect for the bands that have given us some of the darkest, and heaviest forms of metal.