...God And The Devil (Book Review)
Released: 2008, Independent
I’m a fan of Dead Jesus. I know that might sound just a little blasphemous and odd coming from a guy who also likes Stryper but this now defunct Alberta band had been a fixture on the scene for years. This blackened Death Metal band had it all; energy, image, attitude, a great stage show and a lot of hate. I have seem them many times and always enjoyed their visceral live shows and own all their albums. However there is one little piece from their catalogue I did not own, the book version of the album…GOD AND THE DEVIL. There could be some debate if this is the album with the book or the book with the album but for our purposes I am calling it a book and I’m not reviewing the album, just the book.
Originally released in 2008 as an independent product, this is probably one of the best independent publications I’ve ever come across. The packaging is simply superb. The book is designed to look like a hotel bible and is a hard-bound, leather covered book with the CD’s housed inside the front and back covers. The are almost 50 pages of glossy thick, paper all in full colour with all the lyrics, liner notes, and tons of artwork about God and the Devil, the central theme of the album.
The book itself is actually a piece of fiction written by bassist Lord Bedingfeild IV. This is unusual in itself because I think I can count the number of heavy-metal themed fiction books on two hands. The book is the centerpiece, printed on standard black and white and the story is about 250 pages long. The story is starts on a farming community in rural Alberta back in 1980 and from the opening sequence that describes in some detail a group of boys torturing a chicken to death you know that …GOD AND THE DEVIL going to be morbid and macabre tale. Moments later we are transported to Africa in 1992 and the scene of zombie/voodoo death ritual…well…I know it’s not actually voodoo, that is Haiti, but you get my point and the story truly begins from there. The story could perhaps be best described as horror-fiction and does not really have that much of a Metal theme at all. In fact if this book wasn’t connected to the Dead Jesus double album set of the same name I would not have bothered to read it or review it.
…GOD AND THE DEVIL settles back into the story of the main character, a photographer living a simple life in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in the year 2000. The setting is familiar and the author drops names of actual places I recognize so it adds an air of authenticity for me. The story progresses developing a few characters and takes it time with descriptive prose and perhaps a slow, dreary tone making for nice atmosphere. I was just wondering when the book was really going to ‘get going’ when suddenly about 50 pages in, it takes a huge turn and one of the relatively minor characters is suddenly revealed to be one of the primary bad guys…bad being defined as indulging in necrophilia at an abandoned farm, which happens to be the farm that the main character just inherited. To me this whole scenario brought back shades of the story of real-life serial killer Robert Pickton and the murders of many prostitutes in on a pig farm in rural British Columbia back in 1997 through to 2002 when he was caught.
The photographer through fate and circumstances gets involved with some old friends, who are of questionable character and gets drawn into a shocking, dark scheme that he is able to rationalize…until everything goes wrong. The tale gets progressively more morbid and chilling until the final page dramatic scene which I will not spoil.
…GOD AND THE DEVIL was an effectively creepy and engaging piece of modern horror-fiction. MY score reflects the total quality of the overall presentation, tempered by the fact that the book is not really about ‘Heavy Metal’ per se, which is perhaps one the main criteria to have a book reviewed in our Library Of Loudness. However any person, Metal fan or otherwise, could enjoy this tale and just perhaps fans of Death Metal might have a greater inclination to enjoy this very grim tale, but what do I know, lots of housewives who in their entire lives have never heard a Metal album heavier than Bon Jovi, read Stephen King, so the audience for good horror fiction is universal. The book is rare and very limited so hopefully you can have a chance to find it and enjoy it yourself.