Reviewed: May 2021
Released: 2021, Lohengrin Productions
It’s not too often I’ll buy a book I can’t really read but in this case I made an exception. I’ll explain more in a moment.
Black Metal Media is a hard cover, coffee-table book that is not really the kind of book you read, but it is more of a collection of historical documents. At 150 pages in length Lohengrin Productions handled the publishing. I have read that it is almost sold out as well.
The story is well-worn and a seemingly endless source of curiosity and inspiration for fans and academics alike, namely the story of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene, more specifically; the crimes committed by the various individuals. I’ve noted this before, that four-year span of Metal history in Norway has generated more books, films, documentaries and papers than any other genre or timeframe. I guess crime sells. It is a fascinating story, no doubt.
Hermann C. has collected (with permission) and re-printed all the original articles about the Black Metal crimes that appeared in print between 19922 and 1994 in Norwegian newspapers. That is it. It is a strictly historical document. There are about 275 articles reproduced in black and white. Hermann did a phenomenal job synthesizing the raw material into a comprehensive, linear time-line. Every article is meticulously credited, with source and date.
The narrative starts on June 6th, 1992 with the arson of the Fantoft Stave church in Bergen and follows the media coverage through to the end of the trial of Kristian ‘Varg’ Vikernes in 1994.
As I alluded to in my opening paragraph, I can’t read the articles but thankfully Hermann has added some translations of important paragraphs, headlines and key points into English. There is little else. Aside from a brief disclaimer and introduction there is no additional supporting material. No index, no timeline, no discography, no list of people involved so unfortunately there is no context. The reader is assumed to know the historical events. I suppose that is a reasonable assumption, as BLACK METAL MEDIA is an extremely specific book with a very narrow focus. Your average Metal fan may not likely gravitate to this collection of old photos of newspapers when they could just as easily go read LORDS OF CHAOS or watch UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US.
I would not go as far as to say that I have buyers remorse but I’m not sure how often I’m going to look at this book. It reminds me of the old days in university scrolling through micro-fiche. The collector/librarian/archivist in me, snatched at the bait and while it is nice to own, BLACK METAL MEDIA is probably going back on the shelf. My high grade reflects the superb effort put into the book and the historical value of this work, rather than my own recreational reading enjoyment.