A new book charting the history and development of death metal and related genres is set for release through Feral House this autumn. Entitled Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore, the book is the work of longtime extreme metal journalist Albert Mudrian and features an introduction by legendary DJ John Peel. Spanning 20 years, Choosing Death tackles the difficult task of telling the story of the underground through interviews with some of the scene’s most esteemed names, from musicians to producers and label bosses, and will serve as both cultural history and invaluable reference point.
To accompany the publication, Relapse Records will issue a compilation entitled Choosing Death: The Original Soundtrack, a 20-track illustration of the book featuring tracks from the most influential bands. Among the highlights slated to appear are never-before-heard songs from Nihilist, Suffocation and Pig Destroyer, plus classic tracks from Morbid Angel, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse and many more. A September 28 release is expected.
“It probably sounds clichéd, but I did it just because I’m a fan,” Mudrian told Terrorizer. “And honestly, I couldn’t believe no one had previously taken the time to document the history of this music.”
On why the history is “improbable” he explained, “I don’t think anyone could have predicted that John Peel would be so supportive of Napalm Death on national radio, or that Morbid Angel would release a pair of albums on a major label in the United States. That global success and acceptance for music so extreme is still pretty shocking even today.”
On the state of extreme music journalism he added, “It’s far better in Europe than it is in North America. Hopefully, Choosing Death can give them a point of reference—and those overpaid journalists will eventually stop doing things like referring to Mudvayne as a death metal band.”
Mudrian also feels that the book can appeal to a wider cross-section of the public. “Ultimately, it’s very human story. It’s quite easy to root for these kids as they enter the music business, most of them so naively and innocently. And I think anyone can empathize with their plights when their dreams don’t go according to plan—as is often the case throughout the book. In fact, I think just about any devoted music fan can enjoy the story.”
The companion CD was the author’s idea as he explained. “This compilation will help raise the profile of the book, but I don’t see it as just some marketing gimmick mix CD. I really wanted to assemble the definitive death metal and grindcore compilation, which is why, in addition to the obvious classics from Obituary, Morbid Angel and Carcass, I managed to round up things like that rare Nihilist track and the comp-exclusive Pig Destroyer song. Also, in the booklet you’ll find quotes from every artist on the CD discussing the particular tracks on which they perform. It’s a really unique package.”
Despite the fact that Choosing Death is billed as a “history,” Mudrian is confident that there’s a healthy future for this type of music. “You needn’t look further than last year’s Terrorizer albums of the year list, where Akercocke topped the rankings to see that the genres are still producing great music. Yes, death metal and grindcore have likely reached their commercial peaks, and while I’m personally most fond of the older stuff, I absolutely love the current generation of bands, especially Pig Destroyer, Hate Eternal, Nile and, of course, Akercocke. I think there’s still plenty of life in the old dog.”