Review: ‘Goat Song Sacrifice (Death Metal Epic II) by Dean Swinford

Goat Song Sacrifice (Death Metal Epic II) by Dean Swinford
Atlatl Press (May 2017)

201 pages, $13.00 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Welcome back to the continuing adventures of David Fosberg, intrepid aspiring purveyor of the metallic arts most black. If you read Book One (The Inverted Katabasis), that is. If not, you’ll probably still be okay. We start off with Davey living la vida nekro in Belgium with his new bandmate, Svart. Surfing couches, drinking beer and playing only the most kvlt riffs as a part of Desekration. New members are discovered and more things happen.

I wanted to be much more excited about this book. I was initially. The first Death Metal Epic was pretty amusing, full of pretty much every in joke about death metal a guy who has been listening to the stuff since Death kicked out Human and Carcass made their first blasphemous steps away from Grindcore. This has a lot of the same, aimed more at the early days of the Black Metal resurgence. Mixed with Swinford’s easygoing, conversational style, this should have been a fun little jaunt.

It doesn’t quite pull it off, though, mostly due to the lack of a narrative. I get that this is basically a memoir, and I think he may have been trying for an On the Road for metalheads, but it doesn’t pan out. The characters are too thin to care about, when they aren’t being absolutely despicable, and there is no through line. It’s just a series of things that don’t carry any sense of weight to them. There’s also a sex scene which uses a warm jar of mayonnaise as the central simile.

Fans of mid-nineties underground metal will giggle at some of the in-jokes and maybe some bros will dig the gags about fat chicks and how “girls be crazy, yo.” I just wasn’t feeling it.

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