(240 pages, 30 x 21, printed, in English)
When I was a teenager, one of the things that made Black Metal so attractive to me was the atmosphere. My family didn’t own a VCR and cinema visits were few and far between, so apart from looking at covers of albums I could not afford in the corner record store, most of my afternoons were spent in said store begging the person behind the counter to let me listen to movie soundtracks on headphones. Soon enough, names like Jerry Goldsmith, Anton Webern, Krzysztof Penderecki and especially John Carpenter became household names for me, right next to the likes of IRON MAIDEN, MERCYFUL FATE or CELTIC FROST. The very moment that the needle dropped on the record was my ticket into another world. The movie that no one would take me to see was now playing in my head. In the early 90s, when I changed from troubled adolescent boy to young adult, Black Metal had a similar effect on me – especially the spooky intros and the ambient interludes. Enter Mortiis. The former EMPEROR member released his first demo “The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost“ in 1993, a whole year before “In The Nightside Eclipse“ – and, let us be accurate here, way, way before Varg Vikernes released his quasi-esoteric prison bullshit albums. Back then, that kind of stuff really had no name… “Dark Medieval“ was written on flyers, the bigger magazines called it “Neoclassical“, mailorder catalogues refered to it as “Dark Ambient“. Fenriz followed soon with NEPTUNE TOWERS and hot on the heels of it all was Satyr with VONGRAVEN. Fast forward to here and now, and all of sudden “dungeon synth“ is a thing. “Secrets Of My Kingdom: Return To Dimensions Unknown“ is an expanded version of the eponymous (minus the ‘return‘ part) book from 2001, released in a relatively small edition because there simply was no market for it. But the times, baby, they are a-changing, and the original book changes hands in the three figures now, so the demand is there. Mortiis plays shows again, concentrating on his “Era 1” material instead of the godawful garbage of his later career – but hey, even MORBID ANGEL took the NIN route… albeit years later. But let us draw a veil of silence of these musical abominations and give credit where credit is due. It was Mortiis and no one else who pioneered these dark territories, so in that sense he is the BLACK SABBATH of dungeon synth. This new version of the book does not only consist of the original material (writings about pretty much every song he recorded and illustrations to go along with it), but boasts more than 100 pages of new and unpublished stuff, ranging from sketches to handwritten lyrics and unused texts), it does a fantastic job of putting everything into perspective. It seems as if Mortiis created a world of his own way back in EMPEROR and took it all with him once he was kicked out. There are countless cross references, a 30+ pages interview with the man himself and with most of the artists who contributed illustrations to the original version, pages and pages of new and unused art, some never published, some seen at recent Mortiis live shows, all beautifully packaged in a heavy as fuck hardcover… and I am not even mentioning the signed, gold embossed deluxe set with art prints, an additional booklet and what not. And yes, before you ask… “I Am The Black Wizards“ is in the book, albeit in a VERY different version. Long story short, if you could not care less about music without guitars, this book will not change your mind. It is borderline ridiculous and immature in places, and even Mortiis himself admits this in the interview… but hey, isn’t this half of the charm? The internet dungeon of Mortiis can be found at www.mortiis.com and www.cultneverdies.com is your pusherman.