(400 pages, A4, printed, in English)
When Steven Willems told me about his idea to write a book about the Dutch Death and Extreme Metal scene a while ago, I knew right from the start that the result would be nothing but great. I mean, if you’re familiar with some of his work (first through his own fanzine SLEEPLESS, later on through his contributions to Belgium’s ROCK TRIBUNE magazine or our own VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE), you will easily agree that his interviews are always very interesting and in-depth. So, in my opinion he was the perfect guy for such a project. But the final result, which is finally out now via Cult Never Dies, even exceeded my already high expectations a lot! The visual side alone is already totally impressive. “Streams Of Ancient Wisdom”, fittingly subtitled “The History Of Dutch Death And Extreme Metal”, is a 400 pages hardcover book, graced with a fantastic cover artwork from the highly talented artist Richard Schouten, that offers excellent printing quality, a clean layout and tons of old unpublished pictures, flyers, demo covers, ads etc. The content is chronologically seperated in no less than 71 chapters, starting with the years 1980 – 1985 and ending with 1994 – 1995. Apart from all the highly interesting interviews with almost every Dutch Extreme Metal band that you can imagine (from very obscure, rather unknown demo acts to the bigger names of the scene), you’ll also get interviews with people who worked for magazines and fanzines, labels, radio shows, recording studios and venues. And even though I’m still reading the book while I write this (otherwise the review would only be published in a few months), to me personally, those are the real highlights of “Streams Of Ancient Wisdom”. Through people like Mike van Rijswijk (AARDSCHOK magazine) or André Verhuysen (Dynamo Open Air), who both were probably two of the most important forerunners of a very strong underground scene, you will find out in detail how everything really started in the Netherlands back in the days when the Internet didn’t exist yet and music was still spread on old cassettes via snail mail. All that alone would already justify the price of the book, but for Steven that obviously still wasn’t enough, since he also included statements from international established musicans such as Jeff Becerra (POSSESSED), Steve “Zetro” Souza (EXODUS), Mille Petrozza (KREATOR), Jeff Walker (CARCASS), Gregor Macintosh (PARADISE LOST), Ross Dolan (IMMOLATION), Demonaz (IMMORTAL) and many many more, who all share their views on the Dutch extreme Metal scene in six additional chapters (“External Perspectives”) that are spread throughout the book. The foreword was written by Martin van Drunen (ASPHYX, ex – PESTILENCE) and as you can probably imagine already, he also had some interesting old stories to tell. If you ever conducted interviews yourself or even released a whole zine on your own, you’ll know how much time goes into research of interesting questions and how much additional time is needed afterwards to proof read everything, not to mention the formatting of the whole piece. So, the amount of work that Steven has put into this project, must have been massive (with a capital “M”)! But like I already mentioned in the beginning, the result is absolutely stunning and definitely worth the effort, so to me “Streams Of Ancient Wisdom” is without a doubt in the same league as Daniel Ekeroth’s great book “Swedish Death Metal” (which, by the way, was a big inspiration for Steven, as he mentions in his book himself) and a must read for every underground loving extreme Metalhead. I know that books are pretty much out of fashion these days, especially to the younger generation, but the amount of information included in here, you will never find online, so this is an essential purchase! For more information about the book please visit www.facebook.com/dutchmetalbook. If you would like to order a copy in Europe go to https://store.consouling.be. People from the UK can order it directly from Cult Never Dies.