Simoulin, Jean-Analogue Black Terror (Book review)

Spread the metal:

November 2019

Released: December 2019

Publisher: Nuclear War Now

Rating:  4/5

Reviewer:  JP


This month I reviewed Peter Beste’s photographic visual history of Battle Vests, called DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH.  In that review I said it had to be one of the most colorful books about Metal in my library.  By stark contrast, this book, ANALOGUE BLACK TERROR has to the LEAST colorful book about Metal in my library.

Published by the grim and true Necronauts at Nuclear War Now this is a black beast of a book.  Clocking in at a generous 260+ pages, this is a Black Metal fans heaven (or hell?) depicting demo after demo after demo.  Presenting one per page, we get to see the at times incredible detail on these most unholy creations. Aside from a band index in the back, this is just a straight-up photo essay-style coffee table book.   It is organized chronologically starting with the 80’s and moving chapter-by-chapter, year-by-year capping off in the year 2000.

The book starts strong with a double dose of legendary cassettes, Mayhem’s  PURE FUCKING ARMAGEDDON and DEATHCRUSH demos and never looks back.  All your favourite Black Metal bands are here, Darkthrone, Emperor, Enslaved, Rotting Christ, dozens more that you may have never heard of, and all it reproduced in glorious black and white.   This is a far superior method of looking at these photos instead of looking at small, blurry images on the popular metal websites.  The styles range from pretty well done looking tapes (in terms of layout and design and typing) to badly drawn images and hand-scrawled addresses.

I would have liked to have seen maybe just a bit more context, some commentary about the evolution of the demo tape and it’s role in the spread of this underground form of music.  Or perhaps some discussion of the distinction between the DYI ethic and they ‘pro’ demo’s that were being produced in other less extreme genres, but the book still feels comprehensive.  I hope it is not limited to 12 copies like the Frost rehearsal tape!   It must have been an enormous amount of work to collect and/or scan all of these and present them so professionally.  Even those who are not die-hard could enjoy looking at this book, it almost becomes art unto itself.

I can’t imagine the collective value of all of these demos, although that is not really the point.  It is a testament to a time when Metal really was underground and cutting edge and the creativity of a few dedicated individuals who made this music and traded it with a small cadre of like-minded fans around the world.   ANALOGUE BLACK TERROR is the ultimate compendium of these by gone times, when analogue was king and cassettes ruled the netherworld.

Watch for my interview with author Jean Simuolin this month!