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Review: Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore
Book Review
Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore
Publisher: Bazillion Points
Author: Albert Mudrian
Year published: 2016
Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 12, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (4 Votes)

I had a hard time getting into this book as it is written in such a way that they can be talking about a band in one paragraph and another one in the next without much warning–hell, it can happen in the middle of a paragraph. Once I hit cruising speed, however, Choosing Death turned out to be a page-turner.

This is an expanded edition of a book first published in 2004. Unlike most of the books I've read about metal, there isn't all that much author commentary: almost all of the text—at least that's what it feels like reading the book—is quotes from band members, label owners and other people involved in the death metal and grindcore scene since the beginning. I found that took a little getting used to and must admit that, at first, I didn't like the approach too much. Once I got used to it, it just felt natural.

Choosing Death covers death metal and grindcore from their very beginnings, mostly with known bands but also a few not so well-known ones here and there. It's mostly about the Swedish and American scenes, though they do cover a number of Norwegian, Canadian, Brazilian and Dutch bands, among others. There's a lot of first-person accounts here, sometimes with people having different recollections of the same events. Whether it's label woes, band's infighting, inspiration, life on the road, fans' reception, or revivals, it's all in here.

As I mentioned previously, I had a hard time getting into the style of the book. I even thought I'd never get through it. But I eventually got sucked into it and in the end, Choosing Death almost felt like watching a documentary with dozens of death metallers and grindcorers sharing their experiences through the years. If those genres are of any interest and you want to hear from the people who were there, this book will just get you started.

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