MATS E. ERIKSSON - Death: The Antidote To Misery

June 12, 2024, a month ago


Sephora Henderson

Rating: 8.0

review heavy metal mats e. eriksson

MATS E. ERIKSSON - Death: The Antidote To Misery

Meet your favourite heavy metal artists, and several well-known pop-music icons throughout this latest masterpiece by Mats E. Eriksson. This book takes your hand, leads you down the path, knocks you out when you're not looking, and then picks you up again to go wandering some more. Unpredictable, surprising, informative, creative - and literally laugh-out-loud funny, right from the start. I had to put the book down at times, I was laughing so hard.

Mats has once again managed to pair his love for heavy metal with the erudite endeavours of his profession. I found myself wondering over and over, "how DOES he come up with this stuff?" I'd say that I'd like to peek inside Mats' head, but truthfully I feel like this book offers a front-row seat to that show. Mats' impressive knowledge of the heavy metal scene and family is showcased.

Released in late 2023, I took some time to read it cover to cover. A heavy (in both the physical and the metal senses) tome with just over 400 pages of spectacular art and wildly imaginative stories, Death: The Antidote to Misery is an impressive offering. Although it is a standard-sized hardcover, it feels more like a mini-coffee table book for its quality, weight, and eye-catching cover. It is definitely something you want to display, and sure to become a conversation piece the moment it is noticed.

Full of double entendres and mistaken meanings, the puns keep coming and it never gets old. Descriptions of people and situations are vivid and detailed, and Mats' natural talent for telling a good story is evident. He sees the things we all see but also says what we are all thinking and somehow manages to find the most diplomatic way to address them. The elephant in the room is possibly an actual elephant, and Mats finds a way to make it seem very normal.

Some of the most iconic names in heavy metal appear throughout the journey, and the star-studded cast is a true feast for fans. There are also incredibly relatable details for us mere mortals; when Mats talks about people getting his name wrong, I can sympathize as someone whose name has been butchered every which way. Even as I write this, autocorrect is trying its best to change the author's name. Pop-culture references are scattered throughout the stories, but not always in the most obvious way, and for those who recognize these delightful Easter eggs, it adds to the overall enjoyment. The fantastical mingles with the everyday – from a description of waiting for UPS to arrive that will warm you with recognition, to an escorted trek through the underworld by the angel of death (and if that makes you think of Jeff Hanneman, you won't be disappointed).

Imaginative, fanciful, and kooky, prepare to be entertained and also to learn a few cool new things along the way. Hidden passages, chance encounters and growling bats await.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Professor Eriksson in person and spending time with him and his lovely wife. The last time I saw them we were watching the Swedish band Vomitory aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean. I am overjoyed to read this latest creative endeavour and encourage everyone to treat themselves to the experience, as well. Mats and his works are multifaceted gems, teeming with grace, humility, and the most wonderful sense of humour.

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