Ghost Cult had the honor of speaking with Decibel Magazine editor-in-chief Albert Mudrian for our latest podcast. Albert previewed the upcoming Metal and Beerfest III, taking place this April, 13th, and 14th at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA. Albert discussed his approach to curating the fest, booking bands like Baroness, Triptykon, Obituary, Enslaved, Rosetta and more, plus the many talented young bands from the Philly area, working with the best and most metal craft breweries (and meaderies) in America, the Decibel Magazine Tour 2020 and more! There are only a few tickets left for this weekend, so get yours here! Continue reading
Released twelve years ago, Albert Mudrian’s anthology of Death Metal has stood the test of time; an engaging read taking you on a loose zig-zag through the birth and, um, death of Death Metal. Unveiled through the eyes of its’ progenitors, there is method to the tale that begins in England, moves to Tampa, takes in Entombed and Scandinavia and reserves a special mention for the oft overlooked Dutch input of Gorefest and Pestilence.
Undertaking a task as complicated as trying to find the true source of the Nile (Karl Sanders – badoom tish!), Mudrian begins his tale by trying to uncover the birth of what became known as Death Metal, settling on Napalm Death and their 1985 era hybrid (Siege meets Discharge meets Celtic Frost) of hardcore punk, thrash and a desire to be harder, faster, sicker than everyone else. The book then focuses on the influence of their Scum release (Earache) on other vital artists, like Morbid Angel (via Pete Sandoval, then in Terrorizer) and the incestuous, small nature of the scene where, due to tape trading and pen palling, most of Death Metal’s predominant protagonists all knew and inspired each other.
As the tales unfurl, you find yourself swept up and wanting to revisiting all the classic albums that are mentioned – Possessed ‘s Seven Churches (Combat), Pestilence Consvming Impvlse (Roadrunner), Massacre From Beyond (the story of Massacre’s signing to Earache being another fun aside revealed in the book) and Master Master (Displeased) forming part of my own soundtrack while reading.
The re-issue picks things up as the roots of recovery were just sprouting through the top soil at the tail end of the 90’s, highlighting the rise of a new DM general in Nile. After touching on the diversification of Death Metal of this millennium, including the mind-sucking brilliance of Portal and their focus on eldritch, dark atmospheres, Mudrian covers the popularity of technical Death Metal (a section that introduced me to Necrophagist and Obscura as you can’t help but be enthused to check all the recommends as you go) over the last decade. The tome now concludes by covering the return to the scene of the apex predators with Carcass, At The Gates, Death (DTA) and others reforming to reap the benefits of their respective legacies and the rewards of the now lucrative and high profile festival market, and to satisfy an urge that, in the case of Bill Steer, they didn’t even know they had. If you read the original, the added content is an agreeable appendix.
Peppered with short anecdotes, but above all an informative and enjoyable potted history of Death Metal, all imparted with the enthusiastic love that a doting parent has for a child, Choosing Death is an affectionate, if whistlestop, walk through of the story of Death Metal to date. In the authors’ own words, he is “Just a fan. Just like you.” He just happens to be a damn good writer who has written The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore. And updated it.
Author Albert Mudrian (also editor in chief of Decibel Magazine) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Choosing Death: the Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore with an expanded and revised edition, flaunting 100 additional pages of new content.
This fully redesigned hardcover version is the inaugural release of brand-new imprint Decibel Books, and will be limited to 3,000 hand-numbered copies. It boasts three new chapters (with new material interspersed among the original 10 chapters), over 50 new interviews (for a total of 200) and a new cover painting by legendary death metal artist Dan Seagrave, recalling elements of his classic Entombed and Morbid Angel album covers.
Now out of print, the original Choosing Death has been translated into seven different languages around the world. This exciting history, featuring an introduction by famed DJ John Peel, tells the two-decade-long history of grindcore and death metal through the eyes and ringing ears of the artists, producers and label owners who propelled them. Phil Anselmo (Down, ex-Pantera) called it “something special. This is a must-read for anyone who wants a comprehensive ‘who-did-what-when’ book. Thumbs up.”
The revised and expanded Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore is available for pre-order exclusively HERE. Books will ship the week of April 12th.