Thierree & Patterson, Dayal – Owls, Trolls, and Dead Kings’ Skulls (Book Review)

Reviewed: July 2017
Released: 2017, Crypt Publications
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP


A lovely coffee-table book of the collected works of David Thierre

Dayal Patterson’s publishing empire continues to grow leaps and bounds. Along with Powerchord Press and Bazillion Points (and maybe Rocket 88) Cult Never Dies is one of the most active and growing Metal-related publishing firms. Their newest book is a sort of joint venture with Crypt Publications and it is a first for them, a new coffee-table art book.

The uniquely and ominously titled, OWLS, TROLLS AND DEAD KINGS SKULLS is a collection of the stellar artwork of David Thierree. You may not immediately recognize his name but fans of more extreme forms of Metal will instantly recognize his work that has graced album covers by Mortiis, Behemoth and many more.

OWLS, TROLLS AND DEAD KINGS SKULLS is very well produced and presented. The oversized soft-back is printed on very thick, glossy paper and is just about 200 pages long. One feature I found especially interesting was a long interview/essay describing the work of Thierree. Many of the pieces had a little comments section giving greater detail about the piece. I really like this because often with many art books the pictures are just presented with little to no additional information. Patterson interviewed Thierree in 2016 and 2017 and laced this long piece in through the entire book giving it far more background. There are also many quotes from bands and record company people singing the praises of Thierree’s style. Interestingly, Thierree is a full-on Metal dude. Many illustrators have an iconic style that is associated with Metal but are not necessarily Metalheads. Thierree grew up in France in the early 90’s and was fully immersed in the extreme Metal scene, tape trading, doing fanzines, and even starting a band. His passion translates into his dark art.

The book follows his career trajectory from an earlier black and white, more Black Metal style to more dynamic, full colour fantasy art. There lots of sketches and representations of his work that have been used on compilation albums, tribute albums, T-shirts and more. I especially like his rendering of owls. Owls are one of the most Metal of all birds, the silent killers of the night, striking without warning, a very Metal creature indeed! The trolls, dwarves and dragons are all a unique and interesting perspective on your classic high fantasy art. He uses whatever medium suits him at the time, watercolour, ink, acrylic and even digital. I’m not an expert by nay means but his vision of folk and fantasy art is dark, earth-toned and rooted in the wild side of nature.

OWL, TROLLS AND DEAD KINGS SKULS is a superb collection, lavishly produced and lovingly presented in a fine tribute to one of the more unique artist working in Heavy Metal today.

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Technical Details:
Format Reviewed:
Publisher: Crypt Publications
Pages: 200