October 2004



If Metallica’s recent unravellings in the dignity-shy Some Kind of Monster has left you with the sense that nothing with a guitar is now safe from the therapist’s chair, then this just might be the antidote.

Tracing the rise of the death metal and grindcore movements—whose respective leading lights (Morbid Angel, Death, Deicide, Carcass, Napalm Death) plundered punk, metal and hardcore to produce ever more extreme mutations in the late eighties and early nineties—Choosing Death heralds back to a time when band ‘issues’ were solely centred around just how filthily obnoxious a set of riffs could sound. Which if you were Napalm Death was very.

Devoid of any psycho-dramas or obvious sensationalism to sell it (Feral House also published Lords of Chaos’s bloodstained black metal odyssey), it’s to Mudrian’s credit that Choosing Death is such an enjoyable read. Part of this is down to presentation—extensive interviews (including a forward by DJ legend John Peel), well-organised chapters, a deluge of (often hilarious) pictures breaking up the text. Part of it is down to the sheer absurdity of the music (anything from 1 second songs, over-complicated guitar solos, satanic undertones, or if you’re Deicide, overtones). And, the biggest part of all, is that this disregard for convention and decency has created some of the most influential landmarks in heavy music.

A must for the purist and the novice.