Released: 2011, Metalphoto/Indie
Heavy Metal has always had a strong visual component and Black Metal especially has lent itself to a visual aspect, so it is not a surprise that more and more books are appearing on the market reinforcing the fact the Metal is something to be embraced, sonically AND visually. CHANTS OF EVIL is one of the latest coffee-table books to document the Metal world and the first photo gallery, I believe, to be published dedicated to the art of Black Metal concert. I use the word ‘art’ specifically because the theatrical aspect of a Black Metal concert very often is ‘art’, however controversial. In fact, one of the sub-titles (inside) is ‘A photobook on the Art of Black Metal’.
CHANTS OF EVIL is a beautiful, oversized hard-cover book, about 100 pages long and printed on really nice glossy paper. This is important because the presentation really brings put the photos. The book consists primarily of live shots of European Black Metal concerts taken by Cherie of Metalphoto. Her colleague Chris Slack adds a few photos from North American performances.
This book is more than just a photo-gallery. It is clear that lots of time and attention went into the creation of this work. There are a dozen mini essays of the nature of Black Metal, some are more detailed comments on the Black Metal scenes in various nations (Sweden, Finland, Germany, North America and of course Norway) It’s a collaborative effort with a few guest writers involved. There are reproductions of lyrics from various bands such as Behexen, Kampfar and Marduk, as well as some poetry. An introduction and epilogue book-end the tome. There are also the various indexes, extensive photo credits (explaining where and when the shots were captured) and some technical camera information.
The photography is most excellent and there are some truly glorious (and morbid!) images sure to enchant and delight Black Metal fans. As mentioned most of the shots are of the live show but there is still a ton of variation in the style of shots, from outdoor daylight gigs with minimal make-up to sweating club gigs, to atmospheric shots with flames, crosses, blood, pentagrams all enshrouded in fog and sweat. Most of the photos are very recent spanning 2009-2011 spread across at least a dozen nations and likely hundreds of concerts.
CHANTS OF EVIL is the perfect companion to Beste’s excellent publication, TRUE NORWEIGAN BLACK METAL. Whereas the latter tended to be older photos, more arranged and posed, CHANTS OF EVIL seems to be a bit more spontaneous, quick little moments in time, captured by Luciferian luck and hard-work. This marvelous work is uncensored, uninhibited and is a fine visual testament to the art of Black Metal.