The Devil’s Cradle: The Story of Finnish Black Metal

Author: Tero Ikaheimonen
Pages: 556
Released: 2017
Buy this book:
Rating: 4/5

Any Black Metal fan will tell you it is a Scandinavian invention, and everyone familiar with said genre will immediately think of the notorious Norwegian Black Metal scene who started off the musical revolution with their violent antics and acts of arson and general Satanic tomfoolery.

But it is never right to associate one particular genre with one particular country. And it will now please a keen fan of the international Black Metal scene that a tome has now appeared about the scene in Finland – the nation ranked as the one with the most metal bands per capita.

This book is by Finnish journalist: Tero Ikaheimonen, who has been involved in the scene since its inception in the early 90s. In summary, it tells the story of how the Finnish scene exploded onto the international Metal market in wake of the proto-Black Metal bands who paved the way for the genre such as Bathory.

Overall in tone, I felt the author’s aim of this book was tell just how varied and versatile the Finnish scene is by interviewing all the major bands who put Finland on the BM map. It involves over 50 interviews conducted between 2014 and 2016 with members of: Beherit, Impaled Nazarene, Archgoat, Horna and many, many more telling the story from the musicians’ perspectives as well as that of the author.

I think it would be unfair to compare this book to Dayal Patterson’s Cult Never Dies series because this book held, in my opinion, a fairly personal take on the music. The effects it has had on the author and those closest to him. There’s a fairly interesting chapter where he talks about Nazism being associated with the scene right from the get-go, and I felt intrigued reading about how a veteran BM fan’s views of the music he loves changes over time when it comes to discussing the politics and outlooks of the bands closest to him.

But as well as discussing common topics associated with Black Metal: Satanism, fascism, violence, the eschewing of modern societal values – The Devil’s Cradle covers some fairly detailed elements of Finnish society that I was very intrigued by.

I had never heard of the ‘Azazelin TahtiStar of Azazel’ society which was founded by members of the band IC Rex. It is an occultist society populated by followers of Satanism, witchcraft or any such occult takes on divinity and pagan-esque beliefs, but completely disapproves of violent activity – which is quite a progressive stance to take when looking at BM’s long association with occult themed violence. It’s quite an eye-opener on numerous pages.

In total, you have plenty of topics discussed by veteran bands, and every sub-genre of Finnish BM is covered in full. This is a very detailed and easy to read book, which explores everything you need to know about the Finland scene, and will make you come away feeling like you’ve learnt more about not just Black Metal, but the Finnish metal society and how such an amazingly dark genre emerged in such a place.

Review by Demitri Levantis