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Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  732 ratings  ·  79 reviews
An epic 600 page tome exploring the history and development of black metal from its beginnings in the early 1980s to the present day. Featuring many dozens of interviews with the most significant protagonists and a wealth of previously unpublished images.

This visually exciting musical genre, known for its extreme views and actions, have finally breached the mainstream in
Paperback, 560 pages
Published December 17th 2013 by Feral House (first published January 1st 2013)
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Ettore Pasquini Absolutely. All the bands presented are fundamental for the genre, whether one likes them or not. I discovered so much music I had completely missed…moreAbsolutely. All the bands presented are fundamental for the genre, whether one likes them or not. I discovered so much music I had completely missed out on. Plus, it is long but moves very fast, because of how is divided in short chapters. This from a very slow reader.(less)

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Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To get the comparisons out of the way first, this is not the infamous 'Lords Of Chaos' by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind. Author Dayal Patterson has not embarked on a personal mission to prove that some sort of global Satanic Network exists and he also manages to get his facts right in a book which devotes almost equal time to both Black Metal music and philosophy. Neither is this Gavin Baddeley's 'Lucifer Rising' - the interviews in Patterson's book having been conducted during the past ...more
Twerking To Beethoven
What I learned.

Mayhem are the Spinal Tap of black metal. Necrobutcher seems to be the most decent bloke in the band. And a funny bastard at that. Euronymous was a basketcase on the very same league as Varg Vikernes.

Blasphemy are hysterical, and are not to be taken seriously, I think.

Fleurety's singer fucked his voice up while recording the first demo, and went from being the "eagles of black metal" - (got it?) - to some sort of alternative band -
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ever since 1998, when a girlfriend made me a black metal compilation tape with the likes of Emperor, Satyricon, Cradle of Filth, Marduk and Dark Funeral, I have remained intrigued by this genre without ever becoming a die hard fan. Besides the church burnings, murders, crime and all controversy surrounding black metal, there has always been a mystical, atmospheric element which strongly appealed to me, a spirituality not found in death or thrash metal.

While my own journey has taken me into
Russell Holbrook
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you’re into Black Metal, this is a must-read, even though you’re probably familiar with some information revealed between the covers of this excellent work. However, the incredible depth and detail given to each of the artists / scenes / sub-genres brings a new appreciation to even the most familiar. For example, I enjoyed the extent to which the author discussed the inner workings of the Norwegian scene, and I went away seeing all the artists in a much more personal light. The sections no ...more
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you want to read definitive, comprehensive book about black metal, this is the book to go.

Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult covers the early pioneers of the genre before it was even named black metal, the second wave coming, central persons, phenomenons inside the genre and ideology, for example. Many notable bands as well as smaller ones are featured. Rather than mainly sensationalizing certain events (we all know what book I’m pointing at here), the central focus is the music, what makes
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Just one page on Satyricon and nothing about Immortal? Not to mention Limbonic Art, Naglfar, Troll, Dismal Euphony....A pretty good read though...
Arnel Šarić
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. This is how you get your homework done.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-books
That fateful 1993 Kerrang! Magazine featuring Norwegian Black Metal movement was conveniently gifted to me by my first boyfriend 3 years after the release date. The first time I heard about the Scandinavian music scene and the vivid picture painted around it. It was music to the ears for a kid who was just out of a Christian school that tortured her soul for not being a Christian whose only escape was Slayer. The hunger I felt for this new form of music was indescribable. Unfortunately, being in ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It doesn't matter how I approach this review. As soon as you hear the term black metal you've already conjured a picture of Satan in your head. It's okay though because everyone does. Black metal has one hell of a reputation but where did it all come from? How did this blackened form of noise catch the ear of metal fans?

That's what makes this book so interesting. Dayal had written a book that is must read for metal fans and it shows just how impressive black metal is. Evolution is a book that
Caroline Åsgård
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A must-have for all black metal fans!

I couldn't put it down again after I found it in the store. It took me ages to read it though, it's so long! 50 chapters between 485 chapters.

In this you can read about all the bands you can think of that can connect to the black metal scene somehow (though I missed Immortal in this one, I find them pretty important, as they have self-irony and don't take themselves seriously and joke around, which I love. You seriously can't think that you have to be so
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having read LORDS OF CHAOS and the beautifully photographed TRUE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL by Peter Beste (well, I did not read it cover to cover--- I got caught up in the pictures, dammit!), I really can't think of ANY book in existence that comes anywhere close to covering the genre of Black Metal as fully and as in-depth and personal as author Dayal Patterson has done. This book is a fucking masterpiece! I dare someone to write a better book on the subject. I took 50 pages of notes while reading ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An expansive, thorough, and totally readable overview of black metal. Ranging from the earliest roots to current bands, Patterson forgoes the easy sensationalism of the early 90's Norwegian scene and focuses more on the records, the evolution of the craft, and the human stories behind important bands worldwide. There is a bit of repetition towards the beginning - with so many bands drawing from the same handful of influences, I've pretty much got the list memorized - the book is engaging, ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult (that should've been with a "K" and a "v" :-p) is definitely one of the most inspiring and stimulating books I've ever read. Being a BM fan since 15 years or so, I thought I knew a lot about this life style, but obviously I didn't. I only had some knowledge about the bands I was listening to and the things I had read on the Internet (e.g. reviews). This book connected a lot of dots for me. It gave me a lot of information I needed to know (and some I maybe ...more
Joe Callaghan
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I've always been fascinated by Black Metal, without really being attracted to the music. I still find a lot of it a little unlistenable to my tastes, and I tend to like the idea of it (the atmosphere and ambience, the passages of repetitiveness, the speed) more than the actual execution of it.

This book has given me a number of artists I need to explore. To supplement this, I watched a couple of BM documentaries on YouTube. After reading this book, all I learned from the docs is that Varg
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
more like 2.5/5
good info, not terribly written, but fairly apologetic when it comes to some absurdly disgusting shit. (inadvertantly?) portrays a lot of the early metal musicians as the ludicrous foreverteens that they truly are.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Six hundred pages! Quite a lot on Celtic Frost, even treatment of Burzum that neither glorifies nor demonizes, coverage of Mayhem that goes beyond the death of Euronymous, and a lot of information on Japan's brilliant, underrated Sigh.
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on

It’s probably bad form to discuss a book in the same way you would an underground record. Typical write-ups consist of comparing a band to a more established act in order to point the reader in the right direction. I don’t think you’re supposed to review literature in that way, but goddamn it if it doesn’t apply in this case.

The elephant in the room… ‘Black Metal – Evolution of the Cult’ is far better than ‘Lords of Chaos’. Dayal Patterson makes a polite
Aniket Bassed
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
What a great book. This all you could want from a book explaining and examining black metal. I'm currently so damn hungry for black metal and i find new bands mostly in the DSBM field all the time. I love the aesthetics of black metal and mostly the ideology as well. This book covers it all. From the roots and beginnings to the period of confusion and semi commercialism until today's lively and truly remarkable scene. The scene is now so diverse and you can find your own niche. I love how ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the most even handed and comprehensive book on the genre of Black Metal. I've seen many nitpicking complaints, such as why there are no chapters on Immortal or Satyricon but excessive coverage of Mysticum (who barely ever released any music) and the "post black metal" movement. These are certainly valid questions, but no book on this subject will ever be truly "complete" or please everyone. This is a huge improvement over the tabloid stylings of "Lords of Chaos" and any black metal fan ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Patterson has a grasp and respect for the style that few others have been able to express so effectively. In an period known for being rife with rumor, he cuts through to a truth derived of careful consideration, letting those who lived it act as the voice. Evolution has taken its rightful spot as the tome of record for anyone seeking deeper knowledge about black metal and the personalities that spawned it.
Garry Byrne
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It’s true – this is the definitive account of the history of Black Metal (thus far, as the series is continuing). I highly recommend this book to not only black metal fans (and metal fans in general), but to anyone who describes themselves as a lover of music – this book is the perfect introduction into a fascinating (and often misunderstood) musical genre and overall lifestyle.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was very informative and easy to read. Although, I'm not that big of a fan of black metal though I like Carpathian Forest a lot and I found out more intersting facts about other bands in the genre and how black metal started. A must-read for every metalhead.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although to a degree, Evolution of the Cult treads some familiar ground for a reader already familiar (potentially via the infamous Lords of Chaos) with some of the most notorious characters and episodes of the black metal scene, it outstrips in virtually all respects any previous works aiming to explain the genesis and continuing growth of this extreme form of music.
With access to virtually all of the key progenitors of first and second wave black metal, who clearly trust in Patterson's
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the most comprehensive and readable music histories I've ever read. Patterson has a strange style at times, which is reflective of the idiosyncratic lyrics of most black metal bands. But he also knows how to convey information effectively and accurately describe sometimes minute differences between subgenres. This book is dangerous, in that it's had me hunting down physical copies of whatever cornerstone releases I can find, while searching message boards and forums for obscurities like ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is as much an encyclopaedia of Black Metal as it is a history; as such, as with all encyclopedias of specialized subjects, its interest is extremely limited. That being said, if you are interested in Black Metal, this book and LORDS OF CHAOS are probably the best volumes available and between them offer a degree of insight into the history, development, and aesthetics/philosophy of the genre.

Fans and practitioners of the various strains of metal are oft depicted as sub-literate cretins: in
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: black metal vets
great book. lots of insight into the history by a scene veteran and obvious die hard fan of the genre. a great foil to Lords Of Chaos which i felt focused too intently on the political spectra and associated media sensationalism (also too much time spent on Mayhem). been listening to black metal for nearly twenty years now and i learned a few new things by reading this. very very strong in the history and the major luminaries but begins to fall in quality slightly when entering "industrial black ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. An authoritative history of black metal bands, musicians, labels, and sub-genres from all over the world. Most of the history is told firsthand by the artists themselves (assembled from interviews over the years). This is by far the best book about metal I've read. It's well-organized (loosely by chronology and country of origin), with all of the most well-known bands and scenes earning full chapters (or multiple chapters). A must-read for fans of extreme metal, and a must-have ...more
Scotty Cameron
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five years. Five years it took me to read this book, cover to cover. But this is because I, in my opinion, read this book the right way: by stopping to listen to the example songs, albums, bands, side projects, et cetera ad nauseum. If you're looking for some light reading about a genre that fascinates you, check out Wikipedia. If you're looking to nerd out over your favorite genre and triple or quadruple your digital music library, read this, and make sure you take five years to do so.
Galih Khumaeni
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In this book, Patterson tries to explain the history of black metal in a chronological way. Every chapter is devoted to a different band or musician and details their influences, philosophies, recording techniques and those whom they have in turn influenced.

Sadly, he skipped Imoortal for some reason.
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