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Review: The Devil's Cradle: The Story of Finnish Black Metal
Book Review
The Devil's Cradle: The Story of Finnish Black Metal
Publisher: Svart Publishing
Author: Tero Ikäheimonen
Year published: 2017
ISBN: 978-952-93-9370-1
Pages: 556

Rating: 4/5

Review online: November 12, 2017
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
for:
The Devil's Cradle: The Story of Finnish Black Metal

Rated 4/5 (80%) (4 Votes)
Review


I had just read that a Finnish-language book about Finnish black metal was going to be translated into English, and then I received a PDF promo a few days later. Nice! I was more or less expecting a format similar to the infamous Lords of Chaos, but the author chose to do a band-by-band format, so basically each chapter is about a specific band. Unsurprisingly, I knew most of them and so will most people into black metal, but there were also a few that I had never heard of – or at least did not remember.

The author goes at length for each band – several pages each – and for most of them a band member is interviewed on subjects from touring to spirituality and ideology, with teen years, record deals and various ordeals recounted in several of them. And let's not forget the occasional anecdote, which always makes for interesting reading. What I liked the most about this book is that it feels like a trip back in time, mostly in the 90s since so many of the best-known Finnish black metal bands formed during that decade, and that period of awakening for the genre is most interesting. Mind you, this could end up costing me: Reading about all these bands reminded me of many that I hadn't thought of in many years and I realized I'm missing so many albums that I'll have to check out now. You've been warned. Read at your own risks.

Our very own Luxi Lahtinen is mentioned several times in the book, mostly when referring to tape trading back in the days, and so is his brother who also happens to be the subject of a short interview. It turns out that the Lahtinen brothers are very well known in the Finnish metal scene. I couldn't help but smile whenever I saw the name in the book. There's even a quote of Luxi's 2014 interview with Beherit that he did for The Metal Crypt.

My main beef is the English. I won't claim that mine is perfect, but then again, I don't write books. ;) The book would have needed a lot more editing. It's readable, but there are so many "bad habits" that simply result from it having been mostly translated by a Finn that it makes it hard to read at times. There are even a few sentences here and there whose meaning I just couldn't figure out. Lots of repetition (not sure if that's a trait of the Finnish language) and some really weird sentence construction. Also, the Finnish government should outlaw the use of the word "already". It's just not used properly anywhere in this book. This quality of English would be acceptable for a fanzine, but not for a full-size book. Then again, this is a 556-page behemoth and it would likely require the backing of a large publisher to edit this properly, so... I'd rather have this than nothing. With that said, despite my bitching, this is still quite readable and the content more than makes up for the "Engrish". Once I started reading the book, I could hardly put it down and the only reasons that I did is that I had other things to do. It's 556 pages, after all.

Fans of Finnish black metal or just black metal in general should definitely check out this book to find out more about the pillars of the genre in Finland, as well as a few others that were hiding behind the shadows.


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