Author: Mats E. Eriksson
Title: Another Primordial Day-the paleo metal diaries
Publisher: PMET Publishing House
Reviewed: June 2019
Metal is much more than a musical and cultural phenomena that was spawned in Birmingham on Friday the 13th, 1970. Metal is eternal. Metal will continue to exist beyond infinite dimensions of time and Metal has existed since the dawn of time. How do I know this to be true? Scientists can check the fossil record. This is where Mats E. Eriksson comes in. He has provided definitive proof in his new book, ANOTHER PRIMORDIAL DAY, a book that combines the study of paleontology and Heavy Metal!
I am really enjoying these new styles of writing about Heavy Metal which I have somewhat unoriginally dubbed ‘Metal-mash-up’s’. These are not just academic approaches to Metal, (there are plenty of those books too) but rather when authors mix two seemingly dissimilar topics into one cohesive book. This is when authors take a relatively serious topic and integrate Heavy Metal into the book for context. Examples include, Adem Tepedelen’s book about Metal and Beer (BREWTAL TRUTH), William Erwin’s book on Metallica and philosophy and Philip Moriarty’s recent book on Metal and physics, WHEN THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE GOES TO 11.
ANOTHER PRIMORDIAL DAY is the most recent addition to my library of books in this style of Metal Mash-up’s and it is fantastic. Published in early 2019 by PMET Publishing House and in conjunction with the Lund University in Sweden, is a mammoth book, pun fully intended. Mats E. Eriksson is a professional paleontologist and happens to be a die-hard Metal head. His two loves combined into one truly unique and interesting concept and the result is this book that spans over 450 pages. It is gorgeous hard cover, nicely bound, printed on high quality glossy paper with vibrant colours, and loads of extra bonus features, which I will comment on in a moment.
You might think that paleontology and Metal are not natural bed(rock) fellows but that is exactly the point and Eriksson describes his passion for the topics with charm and enthusiasm in his preface. Somehow it makes total sense and his enthusiasm is infectious. If you are worried that a 450+ page book on paleontology may not be to your liking, fear not, because when you actual look at the breakdown of content, the book is very manageable and broken in to digestible chunks. More specifically, when you get right down to it, it is not that long in terms of academic text. Of the 450+ pages at LEAST 300 pages are colour photos and illustrations. I was simply amazed at the amount of cross-fertilization of the topics then equally amazed at the ability of Eriksson to synthesize all that information and make it interesting into a type of photo collage/ illustrated history of Metal.
I was impressed how many album covers featured paleontological images or references; from Edenbridge to Nightwish and from Sacrilege to Sentenced, images of dinosaurs, fossils, and caveman and more have graced Metal album covers through the ages. This adds credence to our theory that Metal has existed since the dawn of time. Dinosaurs are pretty damn Metal, not many people would argue with that. Even when the ANOTHER PROMORIDAL DAY gets academic and serious, the tone is light, enthusiastic, exploratory and gives an overview of a topic, that I assume most people know very little about. The study of dead-stuff is also very Metal.
At times I am skeptical when people try to mix Metal and other topics, you know, to use the credibility of Metal to increase their own cool factor of their particular topic or event, however, it is plainly evident that Eriksson is a true fan. The entire book is packed, densely packed like layers of regolith (one of the five layers of soil) with hidden references and in-jokes that only Metal fans will get. In fact in the preface he makes at least four hidden references to Heavy Metal album titles and then challenges the reader to find them all and puts the answer key on page 421! It was these little extra things that demonstrated his true love for Metal and also made reading this book a pure joy.
If that was not all, there are tons of extra features as well such as a very comprehensive list of all Metal bands and album covers and titles that reference paleontology, and there are more than you might think…hundreds in fact! There is also a list of fossils named after musicians, again more than you might think. There are interviews with Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), Tim Henderson (Canadian journalist), Snowy Shaw (Notre Dame among many more), Karl Sanders (Nile) and Joe Petagno (artist). Speaking of Petagno, he created the piece of art for the cover of book and Eriksson speaks about this process of the creation of the book cover art at length in Chapter 17.
ANOTHER PRIMORDIAL DAY stands as one of the more interesting and unique books in my library. Metal is everywhere, you just have to know where to look for it, even if that means getting dirty and digging in the dirt.