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Review: DEATH SS: The Necromancer of Rock: The Origins of Death SS (1977-1982)
Book Review
DEATH SS: The Necromancer of Rock: The Origins of Death SS (1977-1982)
Author: Steve Sylvester with Gianni Della Cioppa
Year published: 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7348950-1-8
Pages: 224

Rating: 5/5

Review online: April 17, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
DEATH SS: The Necromancer of Rock: The Origins of Death SS (1977-1982)

Rated 4.67/5 (93.33%) (3 Votes)

I don't know much about Death SS other than having read some reviews and an interview in the mighty Slayer Magazine more than 20 years ago, which I reread a few weeks ago while reading Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries. Strangely enough, a promo of this book landed in my inbox just a few days after I reread that interview. Anyway, the interview was interesting, so I figured why not read this book?

No. Regrets. Whatsoever. The short version: This is a page-turner, and you should get it whether or not you care about Death SS. I've found it hard to put it down. Most of the book is a narrative by band founder and leader Steve Sylvester (the "SS" in the band's name; no, it has nothing to do with Nazis) and that is by far the most interesting part. It's written in a very engaging way that just draws you in and, really, it's very hard to find a good place to stop because almost every page makes you go, "OK, what's next?" Those of you who have read The Dirt, the outrageous Mötley Crüe biography, may think you've heard everything in terms of what can happen in a band's entourage, but more than once I found myself thinking, "Fuck, Mötley Crüe would run crying to their mommy right about now." There are some really weird, out-of-this-world stories in here that will make you look over your shoulder. I'm not going to say more as I don't want to spoil anything (and I hate spoilers).

The narrative is followed by interviews with band members. I found that a little less engaging, but still very interesting. That includes an interview with Steve Sylvester himself. There are also three comic strips that were done when the band was founded, when Steve left, and when he came back. I did not find that especially entertaining, but I'm sure some will get a kick out of it.

This book covers a band deeply immersed into the occult and satanism and covers a lot of territory into these subjects, but also in the Italian metal scene of the time and its challenges. Steve Sylvester comes off as an intelligent, but above all fascinating character. Knowing next to nothing about Death SS, I found this book extremely interesting and entertaining, and at times a little disturbing. If I ever meet him, I may just have to punch him in the face for killing that cat (don't fuck with cats), despite his numerous apologies, but what are the odds of that? Even if you're not into their music, this is a much more interesting story than you're likely to find of most bands out there, so I can recommend this book without any hesitation.

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