Tales From the Metalnomicon: Dean Swinford’s Summons Death Metal Apocalypse With “Sinister Synthesizer”

From Darkthrone’s Unholy Trinity to Celtic Frost’s “Triptych” to the Reign/South/Seasons pinnacle of Slayer, the trilogy is a powerful — if underrated presence — in an extreme music scene obsessed with six-six-sixes.

Metalhead professor and author Dean Swinford looks to change that dynamic with Sinister Synthesizer — the third and final novel in his Death Metal Epic series. (We covered Death Metal Epic Book I: The Inverted Katabasis in 2013 here; Book II: Goat Song Sacrifice in 2017 here.)

Happily, it is the best, most fun book in the series an absolutely wild and imaginative metal-centered fantasy romp with love-letter-to-the-genre chapter titles such as “Effigy of Cohabitation,” “Proliferation of Ghouls,” “Nekrokorus Mortuus Est,” “They Almost Scored a Yngwie Solo,” and more.

By way of proof, check out this elegant and extreme opening bit — then order Sinister Synthesizer here.

The sages say metal began with the first note played by Black Sabbath on “Black Sabbath,” the first song of Black Sabbath, but the Nekronomikon speaks of those same notes performed, sometimes this way, sometimes that way, in the time before time, the eternal presence of endless aeons, cosmic rumblings cloaked by omnipotent crawling chaos.

Metal preexists metal as surely as the Nekronomicon existed in its completed form, a pale rectangle of unblemished flesh, before the very existence of any tangible form.

The music proclaiming the eternity of the void proceeds from the eternal void itself, so that individual notes exist in time while also signaling eternal timelessness.

Endless tales recount this truth. In one, the first musician pipes this song on the first instrument, a flute fashioned from a brother’s bone, fashioned by the first betrayer. In another, the ocarina sounds the silence of the void, the instrument itself a paradox of excess and emptiness…