If you want to know the history of Swedish death metal from those who lived it, Swedish Death Metal is a mandatory read. It was written by Daniel Ekeroth, a Swedish musician who is in Insision and Tyrant. He experienced the birth and growth of Swedish death metal, first as a fan and then as a musician.
Many music books don't really say much about the music, but focus mostly on personalities. Swedish Death Metal
does an excellent job with both. Ekeroth has interviewed most of those who were there at the beginning of Swedish death metal's birth, and their perspective and memories are invaluable. Musicians such as Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth
), Nicke Andersson (Entombed
), Uffe Cederlund (Entombed), Johnny Hedlund (Unleashed), Matti Karki (Dismember), Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates
), Dan Swano (Edge Of Sanity) and many others are quoted extensively throughout the book.
You also get the perspective of zine writers, promoters and record executives. Ekeroth does a nice job getting a wide variety of viewpoints and stories to illuminate the history of Swedish Death Metal. The book focuses mainly on the late '80s through the early '90s, from the birth of the genre to the rise of black metal. Ekeroth comments and reviews the music itself as well.
Swedish Death Metal also breaks things down geographically. There are sections about the scenes in cities other than Stockholm and Gothenburg, such as Finspang, Bergslagen, Uppsala, Mjolby and more. In addition to the history of the genre, the book is packed with photos of rare demos, posters and candid band pictures.
The history part of the book alone makes it well worth buying, but there's also an extensive guide to Swedish death metal bands. It includes a short bio, band members and a discography. It's a great way to discover bands you may not be familiar with.
For fans of death metal and the history of metal in general I highly recommend Swedish Death Metal. The massive amount of information and interesting stories about the rise of death metal in Sweden plus the photos and band guide make it an essential metal book.
(published July 2008 by Bazillion Points)