Prelude to the cult is an interesting companion piece to the much more expansive tome, EVOLUTION OF THE CULT. If you are not familiar Dayal Patterson has been publishing a series of books about Black Metal. This is in a sense almost a prequel to his debut book, however in his introduction he advised to read the main book first. When compiling the material for his first book he found he had too much material. He also found he had some of his earliest interviews with some of the progenitors of Black Metal archived. Accordingly he decided to publish this ‘prequel’ in a fanzine format.
Published in a mini-fanzine format with about three dozen black and white photos, PRELUDE TO THE CULT is essentially about 13 interviews with Black Metal bands and/or performers. I’d say that about 10 of them are ‘household’ names (if you are a Black Metal fan, as he interviewed some of the big guns, Mayhem, Gorgoroth etc.
Cutting to the chase, this is a collection of interviews plain and simple. In that sense, there is not a ton of extra value. This is pretty cool but I probably would not rush out and buy this on it’s own. It is an interesting but incomplete part of a larger whole. The interviews are interesting, informative and at times slightly controversial, but that is the nature of black Metal. Many of these first appeared in Patterson’s own fanzine.
I’d recommend this for most Black Metal fans as it covers certain bands at a fragile time in their career arc, Mayhem just before Maniac was fired, Gorgoroth before the big legal split/fight and some nice inclusions of bands like Sigh. It’s not expensive and it is worth getting this little dark slice of Metal publishing history as it is the first self-published book by Patterson, Cult 001!