Synopses & Reviews
Sweden is a remote country in the freezing northern Europe, with less than nine million inhabitants and a reputation for Volvos, hockey players, cheap furniture, vodka, and blonde women. Since the late 1980s, however, Sweden has produced over a thousand extreme heavy metal bands, creating one of the most respected regional music scenes in the world. This is the improbable history of how a marginalized teen movement crawled from Sweden's small towns and suburbs, and found a lasting place on the world stage. Daniel Ekeroth captures the epic tale with enlightening detail, beginning with Sweden's violent loss of innocence in the 1980s, through the metal's virtual chokehold on the country during the 1990s into the lasting legacy and influence in the turbulent 2000s of the Sunlight guitar tone, the "Gothenburg Sound," and the countless offshoots of Sweden's most lethal cultural export.
This ultimate blow-by-blow account of Swedenand#8217;s legendary death metal underground is based on exclusive interviews with members of Nihilist/ Entombed, In Flames, At the Gates, Dismember, Grave, Hypocrisy, Opeth, Unleashed, Marduk, Morbid, Mob 47, Deranged, Edge of Sanity, Merciless, Therion, Liers in Wait, Carnage, Carcass, Tiamat/Treblinka, Afflicted, Repugnant, and the Haunted.
"Death Metal musician and author Ekeroth (Violent Italy) shows a true fan's dedication in this oral history/band index of the thunderous music scene that emerged from frozen, sparsely-populated Sweden in the '80s and early '90s. In his introduction, Ekeroth explains the youth phenomenon that was Swedish Death Metal (it sounds pretty much like you would think) as natural in a country 'generally made up of extremely small and boring towns.' He writes: 'In the small and worthless town of Avesta where I grew up, there were metal bands in every garage, school, and youth center,' he writes. Without sensationalizing SDM's dark, flamboyant lyrics, Ekeroth traces the movement that produced more than a thousand bands, from proto-genre 'thrash metal' (more punk) to bastard offshoots like 'black metal' (more makeup, less fun), through interviews with the musicians, tape-traders and fanzine writers who were there. The furious scene, made up almost entirely of frustrated and disaffected teenagers, would echo the '70s punk revolution in New York and explode with the same powder-keg intensity, before eventually spawning 'ridiculously well established' years that meant the death of Death. Maybe worth the price alone is the appendix, an 'A to Z of Swedish Death Metal Bands,' which features brief profiles and discographies (with Ekeroth's opinions) of every known SDM band, from world-famous At the Gates ('all their albums are classic masterpieces') to Slakt (just one 2005 demo, 'probably nerds'). More than 500 black and white photos and illus." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book of the Year 2008, Decibel Magazine
"Vastly entertaining"and#151;Time Out New York
and#8221;Finally, the true story of Swedish death metal! This book brought me back to the good old daysand#8221;and#151;Tomas Lindberg, At the Gates/ Grotesque/Disfear
and#147;Death metal ruled my adolescent years. The problem is I donand#8217;t remember half of it! This tome of dark recollections is the chance to set things straight.and#8221;and#151;Nicke Andersson, Nihilist/Entombed/The Hellacopters
and#147;Read this book if you are willing to be subjected to the story behind the extreme face-melting, flesh-ripping, ear-slaying, gut-blasting phenomenon known as Swedish death metal!and#8221;and#151;Chris Reifert, Death/Autopsy
and#147;Ekeroth knows of what he writesand#133;5 of 5 starsand#8221;and#151;Revolver
"An exhaustive, encyclopedic resource for the death metal connoisseur and a true labor of love from someone who was not only there but also was kind enough to document it all for those of us who wished we had been."and#151;Pitchfork
and#147;The charms of Swedish Death Metal are endlessand#133;a highly entertaining story filled with colorful charactersand#8221;and#151;PopMatters
and#147;A sprawling epic of a bookand#133;basically the perfect read for extreme metal fans.and#8221;and#151;Bravewords and Bloody Knuckles, 9.5 of 10
and#147;Death Metal musician and author Ekeroth shows a true fanand#8217;s dedicationand#8221;and#151;Publishers Weekly, Starred Review/Pick of the Week
and#147;Daniel Ekeroth has impressively balanced a high level of raw data with a loving, subjective tone. Aspiring authors of such future volumes are advised to approach their subjects with the same care and passion.and#8221;and#151;Metal Maniacs