Lord Of The Logos (Book Review)
Released: 2009, Gestalten
I have a bit of a soft spot for this book. I feel time and place can influence one’s opinion of a book or album depending on circumstances that are not directly related to the content. For example, in October of 2013 I was the recipient of a gift from my radio station to commemorate 25 years of our Metal radio program, Megawatt Mayhem. The station, out the kindness of their hearts commissioned Christophe Szpajdel to create an original piece for us, my co-host and myself. Christophe created a classic Black Metal logo and the station had it engraved and mounted on a metal-like sheet. It now hangs proudly on my wall. A few weeks later I was on holiday in Vancouver, Canada shopping and I found a copy of Christophe’s book LORD OF THE LOGOS. It was metallic destiny and I had to get it despite a very high price tag! So already my review of this book is somewhat biased, based on my personal experiences, that really have nothing to do with the book itself.
LORD OF THE LOGOS was published by Gestalten in Germany in 2009, the book is an oversized, semi-hard cover all in black. Printed on nice glossy paper the 240 page book is essentially reproductions of Szpajdel’s logos. In case you are not familiar with Szpajdel’s work he is well…the lord of the logos. You know all those illegible, spiky, wiry logos that Black Metal bands use? That is Szpadjel. He developed the style and this collection has hundreds of logos he has done. You name the Black Metal band, they are here; Alestrom, Old Man's Child, Kampfar, Enthroned, Moonspell, Impiety and Emperor and dozens and dozens more. Each logo is reproduced black on white (or sometimes, white on black) and you could spend hours looking at the intricate designs. As far as I can tell there is no formal order, alphabetical, chronological or otherwise. Some of the band names are quite elaborate and the logo matches the name…for example the bands Cobwebs of Deception and Under The Forest Floor (p. 185).
There is a common misperception that Black Metal logos are unreadable. I don’t agree. With some experience and time, you can learn to read them, like any symbol and is stylized. However, there is a nice feature included, which is basically a legend at the bottom of each page naming each logo, just in case you can’t figure it out for yourself. Szpadjel also includes some of his photography that is quite grim and ominous, mostly nature scenes which fir nicely on any number of Black Metal albums.
My rating of 3.5 may be a bit high for people who are not black Metal fans. I really like this collection and I have an affinity for Metal themed coffee-table books, I have many of them. Adjust your personal rating accordingly, but for what it is a represents, LORD OF THE LOGOS is a stunning and surreal collection of dark art.