Dayal Patterson‘s immense tome, Black metal: Evolution of the Cult, is a book you appreciate more than enjoy. In terms of exhaustive interviews, historical detail, and organization, it’s absolutely on point. The organization of Patterson’s book is spot-on. Breaking everything down band-by-band, yet keeping everything in a linear timeline, allows the reader to see the evolution of this music from artist to artist. It’s also absolutely necessary for the casual metal fan such as myself. While acquainted with black metal’s other seminal work, Lords of Chaos (also released by Feral House), I’m by no means well-versed in many of the bands presented here, to say nothing of the myriad name changes and lineup shifts.
Name changes, by the way, are not just something which bands experience, but individuals, as well. It’s necessary to remember the birth names of these Norweigian, Swedish, German, Austrian, Greek, and Italian musicians, as well as their nom de metal, which in some cases can be more of a mouthful than the umlauts and ‘ø’s which they replace. The author does an excellent job of picking one descriptor by which to refer each musician, however, allowing the reader to keep everything straight.