Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult Is Beyond Impressive

Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult has been the go-to book for anyone with an interest in Black Metal since it was originally published back in 2014. Whilst its readers, on the whole, have always praised it for its insight into the genre and the scene, the author, Dayal Patterson, never felt it had materialised quite how he envisioned it. Patterson says this was due to word count and other publication and design constraints.

That original publication inspired the birth of Dayal’s own publishing company, Cult Never Dies, giving him full licence to write and publish on his own terms. Now, he has achieved his ultimate aim, to see Evolution Of The Cult written and published as he envisioned it should be.

Patterson has updated the story to a broader viewpoint, given how much the genre has grown and progressed since the original publication was released. Finally, after over a year of dedicating every single day to its recreation, “the restored, expanded and definitive edition” is now once more, further illuminating the minds of Black Metal fans.

Dayal Patterson. Photo: Ester Segarra
Dayal Patterson. Photo: Ester Segarra

This latest version is beyond impressive, not just in terms of content. The initial impact of the book has an immediate wow factor. A4 size, with a high specification hardcover binding, complete with an attached bookmark, now spans over 420 pages. There is also an 85-page photo gallery.

A reimagined cover design reflects the original but delivers more detail. The classical Black Metal corpse paintface of the original is now superbly recreated by David Thiérrée and encompasses various aspects of nature, an aspect that often inspires the lyrics of many Black Metal bands.

This latest edition of Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult is a successfully comprehensive and level-minded cover of the ever-expanding history of Black Metal. It focuses much more on the music aspects of the genre than the crime/bad press associated, largely in the past, with the scene that other publications have tended to focus on.

It also touches on the political side of the genre but only includes aspects of both of these elements for context without sensationalising them or allowing them to overshadow the music aspect.

Black Metal - Evolution Of The Cult
Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult

The new version includes over sixty bands whose impact has had significant importance on the genre.

Consisting of seventy-two chapters covering pretty much every aspect of Black Metal, I haven’t spotted any glaring omission, but I don’t consider myself anywhere near as knowledgeable as Dayal. Everything is backed up by extracts of interviews he has done with musicians across the genre over the last couple of decades.

Dayal includes the origins and darker elements from a range of bands, which, combined, helped create the genre. There are chapters on the undisputed godfathers of the genre, Venom, Merciful Fate, Bathory and Celtic Frost, along with some of the early pioneers.

There are chapters on Black Metal from the underground to the more mainstream (as far the genre can get), and chapters on the Norwegian scene (an understandably substantial section). The other Scandinavian countries, Hellenic and Polish Black Metal, are also covered. The book also branches out into the experimental, progressive and industrial realms.

Black Metal - Evolution Of The Cult
Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult

But regardless of what’s included or how well presented a book is, the most important factor is how well it reads, and Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult makes a superb read.

It’s easy to follow and understand, written in plain language with well-stated and supported facts. It’s hugely engaging, and that it weighs “a ton” is not remotely off-putting, quite the opposite, in fact.

It’s a book that is hard to tear yourself away from, such is the level of engagement. There is a strong sense of love, passion and attachment with Dayal on the subject, woven within the whole fabric of the book.

The photo gallery midway through brings a welcome break from reading, although I confess to skipping forward temporarily to have quick, repeated browsing of those pages on several occasions before reaching their point in the book. There are other black and white images throughout, adding extra interest to an already fascinating work.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a superb work. I don’t feel my words do it justice, so go buy a copy, read it and find out for yourself, then leave it on your coffee table to impress your visitors. Whether they like the genre or not, it will be a conversation starter.

Demand for the new book has exceeded expectations and all of the 2023 delivery from the factory is now pre-sold. Cult Never Dies will be receiving the rest of the order in early 2024 and is available for pre-order for delivery in January or February (more information to be confirmed via Cult Never Dies channels). The pre-order price of £35 remains and will increase after January/February. 

Pre-orders are available from the following links: UK/ROW or EU. North American Orders can be pre-ordered from here.

However, you may be lucky and find stock at places such as Van Records, Darkness Shall Rise, Napalm Records, Black City Records, Consouling, Katakomben, Vrijheid Records (China), as well as the likes of Amazon and Waterstones. 

Sleeve Notes

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