Dayal Patterson is a photographer, writer and designer who, over the years, has contributed regularly to some high-profile magazines. He is also the author of over twenty books. His most recent endeavour, Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult – The Restored, Expanded and Definitive Edition, was recently released.
Dayal is the founder of Cult Never Dies Publishing and Merchandise. He has even found time to provide guest vocals on a couple of tracks on Rotting Christ’s 2019 album, The Heretics. Despite this hectic schedule, he has still managed to find time for a chat with MetalTalk.
Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult is a superb piece of work. Originally published in 2014, Dayal spent a year dedicating every single day to its recreation, to produce “the restored, expanded and definitive edition.”
The question is, will we see another updated version in a decade’s time? “No, never again,” Dayal says. “The new book represents what I always wanted it to be, a total of five years’ work, and there’s no need for any rewrites in the future. There will likely be more sequels to cover the bands and subjects not touched upon in the new edition or in the other books in the series [Black Metal: The Cult Never Dies Vol. One, Black Metal: Into The Abyss and Non Serviam, the Rotting Christ biography] but as the title suggests, the new Evolution Of The Cult is the definitive edition.”
The rewrite was a serious commitment, driven by the desire to fully achieve how he originally envisioned this volume to be. “I never regretted embarking on the project even though it was ridiculously demanding in terms of time, energy and money,” Dayal says. “I had dreamt of buying back the rights since the day it was released. Unfortunately, the original was quite a long way from what I had envisioned and what I knew needed to be created to tell the story properly.
“It is a huge weight off my shoulders to have this out there. It was incredibly demanding in terms of time, money, energy, and sanity. But I never had any doubt that it was the right thing to do, and it was incredibly satisfying from a creative perspective.”
An often-asked question is, what are his favourite or most memorable interviews? “I’m always asked this,” he smiles, “and I struggle to choose one. Although I would have to mention bands and artists such as Venom, King Diamond, Mysticum, Killing Joke, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Megadeth, Rotting Christ, Thorns, Cradle of Filth, Public Enemy, Arcturus, Sigh, Dodheimsgard, Celtic Frost, Mortiis, Alice Cooper, Gorgoroth, The Damned, Earth… the list goes on and on.
“I think I’m lucky to have met a lot of interesting individuals doing this, and I’m lucky that the music that interests me includes a lot of interesting people.”
For Dayal, Black Metal – Evolution Of The Cult is something like his magnum opus. “Right now, it’s the best thing I’ve created, both in terms of the sheer scope of the finished item and the writing itself,” He says. “Hopefully, you will improve as a writer as time goes by, so I may well write even better things in the future. But I don’t think anything I could create would be as huge and all-encompassing as the new Evolution.
“In a sense, this book lays the foundation for a lot of the other books I’ve written and even some I’ve not written but have published with Cult Never Dies. There are other books that are close to my heart. The Rotting Christ book would be one example that springs to mind. But even that wouldn’t have happened without the original Evolution.”
Dayal has been writing about Black Metal for several decades now. “When I was first writing about Black Metal, it was purely as a fan,” he says, “firstly in my fanzine and then later in Terrorizer and then Metal Hammer. I think when you’re really passionate about a music form and culture, it’s natural to engage with it as more than just a consumer.
“Originally, I started playing instruments like most people do in order to contribute something. When I moved to London around 19/20, it was a bit of a wake-up call. Everyone I met who was into Metal was playing an instrument and wanted to join a band. So, I felt it was more important to contribute something else, and for me, that was writing and photography.”
“The reason I started writing Black Metal books is much more specific. By the 2000s, Black Metal was becoming much more widely known, and a lot of journalists and filmmakers wanted to write about it or make a book or documentary. The problem was that most of these people were curious outsiders. They didn’t have any understanding of, or background in, what is a very broad and complex genre.
“They naturally gravitated to telling the most obvious story and reducing Black Metal to, basically, a story about Norway between 1991 and 1993. So, I wrote my books to show that Black Metal had begun much earlier than that and that it was also an international movement.
“Hence, including bands such Venom, Master’s Hammer, VON, Rotting Christ, Necromantia, Mystifier, Samael and so on, as well as the more famous Norwegian and Swedish legends. I also sought to give the artists a voice and allow them to speak to the reader via extensive interviews rather than have yet another work where the creators imposed their theories on things without real evidence to support it.”
Which Black Metal band’s work had the most impact on Dayal? “I couldn’t choose one,” he says. “It would be like choosing a favourite child or something. I guess if we’re talking the most impact, it would have to be one of the older bands that have been with me since I got into the scene in the mid-’90s. So I guess contenders would be Gorgoroth, Emperor, Mysticum, Cradle, Hecate Enthroned, Impaled Nazarene, Darkthrone, Sigh, Gehenna, and those sorts of groups.”
Black Metal is what most interests Dayal. “But I listen to an extremely broad range of music,” he says, “and yes, that would include other Metal genres. I still listen to quite a lot of Death Metal, Doom Thrash and classic Heavy Metal, although I’m not spending as much time with the genres as a whole as with Black Metal. For example, I only listen regularly to a few Thrash bands as opposed to the hundreds of Black Metal bands. I also listen to a lot of music that is not related to Metal.”
Dayal Patterson stands as a role model of someone who has achieved a lot over the last 20 or so years. He has inspired a lot of people, including myself. Naturally, I tried to push him on his new plans, which are not under wraps. “There are quite a lot of projects that will emerge over the next year or so because they were delayed by the Evolution book,” Dayal says. “In most cases, I’m not working as a writer on those but rather helping release other people’s works on Cult Never Dies.
“The projects that I can talk about are the Petrified fanzine book, the Christophe Moyen art book, and the second Heathen Deity album. Those should all see the light of day in the next year or so, along with three other book releases.”
To keep up to date with Dayal Patterson, Black Metal: Evolution Of The Cult and the books, music and official band merchandise from Cult Never Dies, visit www.cultneverdies.com.