Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Metal Story

Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Metal Story


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In the early 1990s, Swedish death metal revolutionized the international music scene. Suddenly, the mild-mannered Scandinavian country found itself at the forefront of a new movement with worldwide impact thanks to bands such as Entombed, Dismember, and At the Gates. The birth of black metal drove the culture to even greater extremes, featuring a rawer, darker sound and non-ironic death-worship. Soon churches in both Norway and Sweden were aflame, and be- fore long Satanism emerged as more than just an image. But how did it all start? Why did Sweden become a hotbed for such aggressive, nihilistic music? And who are the people and bands that brought it all about?
Blood, Fire, Death: A Swedish Metal Story recounts the evolution of the genre from the massive amplifier walls of 1970s rock, through the church-burning Satanic 1990s, to the diverse and paradoxical manifestations of the scene today. This book focuses on the phenomena that have propelled the scene forward in an evolution that has not only been musical, but aesthetic and ideological as well. This is a story about grotesque logos and icons that invoke death and darkness, but also a story of dedication, friendship, community, and a profound love for music.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781627310673
Publisher: Feral House
Publication date: 11/27/2018
Series: Extreme Metal Series
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 455,613
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Ika Johannesson has been one of Sweden’s major music journalists for the last 20 years. Mainly as a writer for different publications and editor-in-chief of Tidningen Sex, an interview magazine about alternative popular culture, but also within radio and tv. She is currently the anchor of the culture news on Swedish national television.

Jon Jefferson Klingberg combines his writing with a music career. He plays the guitar for Swedish veterans Docenterna, and used to wield the axe in internationally known Whale and several local death metal bands at the end of the 80’s. His first novel was published in 2008. He has but one tattoo; the Manowar eagle on his lower arm.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1. Fuck Off!

The twins Pelle och Erik Gustafsson of Nifelheim set out to embody the most evil band in the world; but they ended up in an insurance company ad.

2. Too Much Fucking Guck

An upper-class gang of Vikings, paving the way for the first Swedish metal wave.

3. Bathory

How a suburben teenager at the dawn of the ’80s laid the foundation for black metal – with the help of his dad.

4. Pelle Dead

The story of Pelle Ohlin, whose desire to repulse the world set a new aesthetic standard for black metal.

5. Death Metal

How undecipherable band logos, tape trading, and a burning love for splatter movies transformed heavy metal forever.

6. Metal and the Media

The fanzines, magazines, TV shows and other media that brought metal to the public.

7. Black Metal

How the quest for true authenticity made a marginal metal genre a worldwide sensation - via church burnings and murder.

8. Metal and Money

When Dark Funeral took their record company to court for financial mishandling, something strange happened – the band refused to give up.

9. Dissection

The story of Jon Nödtveit’s road from prison to the greatest possible freedom imaginable.

10. By Men, For Men

To be a metalhead - and preferably not female.

11. Entombed

Why the foremost trailblazers of the Swedish death metal scene divided into two bands – of the same name.

12. Well, Sieg Heil Then?

Though many bands flirt with evil and misantrophy, nobody truly wants to be associated with right wing extremism. Or do they?

13. A Lesson in Suicide

The birth of depressive metal, and why Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth sincerely wants to hurt you.

14. Heavy Metal

How the power metal sensation of the late 90’s paved the way for an unexpected revival of falsetto and spandex pants.

15. Watain

Watain tours the North of Sweden, equipped with homemade flame-throwers and rotten animal cadavers.


This is not the definitive history of Swedish metal. Instead we’ve focused on bands, individuals and phenomena which to various extents have propelled the scene forward. This evolution has not only been musical, but aesthetic and at times ideological.

Blood, Fire, Death investigates the politics, economy and gender structures of the scene.

This is a story of grotesque logos and icons, about real death and darkness, but also a story of dedication, friendship, community — and a profound love for music.

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