Reviewed: July 2022
Published: Heavy Music Artwork, 2021
Heavy Music Artwork has been creating some very fine, high-end collectible magazines. Over time they expanding from periodicals to books, especially high-quality coffee-table books. I took this directly from the official web-site. “Heavy Music Artwork is devoted to increasing awareness and understanding in the alternative culture, supporting record labels, publishers, music and graphic artists.” Founded in 2012, the organization has used the web, books and magazines to achieve this noble goal. It was almost inevitable that over the years they would amass quite an archive of material. Much of that material has made into this two-book collection of interviews called MONDO DEATH and MONDO BLACK. I’ve reviewed both of these books this month so please feel to enjoy both reviews. In my mind the books are very similar in style and presentation so my apologies if these reviews seem repetitive but they really are a perfect set in my mind.
The luxury, hard-cover book MONDO DEATH has a dust jacket and is a heavy beast at over 230 pages long printed on high-end glossy paper. There are many extras features in terms of layout and design that really make this publication stand out. For example, it may not seem like much but the blood smear, for lack of a better word along the edge of each page gives this tribute to Death an extra appeal visual element. There are experts from poems and writings about the nature of Death from such literary giants as Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake, William Bryant and some guy named Shakespeare. There is even a list of recommended reading.
The artwork is magnificent, hundreds of images, all meticulously credited in the back. The images range from public domain pieces to band photos, occasional live shots, and many, many album covers.
In terms of contents, broken down to its core element, MONDO DEATH is a collection of 157 interviews with Death Metal bands. Only about two dozen of these interviews have been published previously in various issues of Heavy Music artwork, so the bulk is new, never before seen material. The bands range in style from melodic Death-like bands such as popular acts, Arch Enemy and Children Of Bodom, to old school titans like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Nile to many new, young bands. All styles and eras are nicely represented in these interviews with bands from around the world.
The thematic thrust of all of the interviews is the artist are asked about Death and art; the importance of album art, the creation of art, the artistic temperament in creating art that may be viewed by some as less palatable. The interviews range from rather lengthy to just quick introductory statements. Each interview follows a similar pattern, each person being interviewed does a quick introduction and then a monologue about art.
I don’t think that MONDO DEATH was fully intended as an anniversary celebration/collection but it fits the bill nicely as at very least a very comprehensive compendium of the current state of Death Metal. It almost acts as an encyclopedia of Death Metal art.
This gorgeous book is designed for the collectors’ market, limited in print-runs and is a very special representation of the modern state of Death Metal.