Released: 2009, FAB
I don’t even know where to begin! This is by far one of the most interesting books I have ever read. I’ll try not to let this review degenerate into a gushing fan-boy tribute, but it won’t be easy.
First the basic information. UK Scholar Gavin Baddeley has written the definitive study of dark culture. It is presented in three formats. The ‘Bible’ edition of 1150 copies, leather bound, is now sold out. Response was overwhelming so now there will be a limited run of a hard cover version. And finally soon to see the light of day in quantity in shops around the world will be the standard edition, less a chapter and about half the price. For the record my review is of the ‘Bible Edition’. This monster tome clocks in at 546 pages a weighs a ton. The regular version will be about 510 pages. It’s big, it’s beautiful and the hundreds of photos and pictures bring this massive grimoire to life.
Several years ago Baddeley established a relationship with Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth and the pair collaborated on this essential and definitive guide to counter-culture. Using the bands discography as a skeletal framework the author (with frequent guest commentary from many dark personalities) has presented 10 chapters each delving into a historical review and analysis of various darker facets of human existence. For example, Chapter Two ‘The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh’ is an analysis of the Femme Fatale in history, culture, literature, stage and screen and naturally Heavy Metal. Other chapters deal extensively with Gothic culture, sex, drugs, alcohol, Heavy Metal, Satanism, the occult, crime, lust, perversion and all the things that make life worth living.
A massive amount of research and work went into the presentation and design of the Gospel. It delves into the early origins of sin (broadly labeled) in Western European culture and traces the development, rise and fall and rise again of certain aspects of social behavior, the norms, mores, morality (and lack thereof at times!) without being preachy or self-righteous. Naturally there is a favourable slant towards the appreciation of the dark culture and this book is strictly NOT for children (or close-minded adults). It is graphic, brutal and honest in it’s verbal and visual depictions of the actions and attitudes of humans in culture through the ages. All the good stuff is here, rape, murder, incest, torture, execution, drug-abuse, and many helpful hints along the way for music fans to understand some of the origins of inspiration that many metal bands have used lyrically and visually.
As I was enjoying landmark work I was continually surprised to pick of great bits of Heavy Metal related trivia, how bands got their names, lyrical ideas and so on. Dani and Gavin have triumphed and I can easily see this book being part of educational curriculum in University course in the future. Fantastic work and utterly mandatory for all Metal fans. It will educate, delight, entertain, broaden your mind and provide you with countless examples you can use in intelligent debate, defense and enjoyment of our favored genre of music, Heavy Metal.