THE MEDIA ON THE BOOK

These are some of the reviews about the encyclopedia...
Note: the words in these reviews are not mine, so I am not accountable for any of its contents.

QUINTESSENCE WEBZINE
dutch internet magazine - reviewed by Pim Blankenstein, March 2004

Vincent Meelhuysen - The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal

This review is a bit different compared to the usual reviews because this is a book, well, like the title states, an encyclopedia. Writer Vincent Meelhuysen has been active within the black metal-scene due to his involvement in bands like Liar Of Golgotha, Funeral Winds and Israthoum. Since I know him personally I already knew he was working on this project and it took him about 5 years to finish it, he had to do this in his spare time and finish his studies as well. Well, an encyclopedia is never finished. At a certain point you just have to draw the line and get it printed. This 102 page thick magazine-like book contains an alphabetic overview of Dutch black metal-bands from the past and the still active ones. I think Vincent did quite a decent job although it's very hard to find information about certain acts. Anyone who can provide some information is asked to contact him so a re-edited version of this book could appear from time to time. It's nicely done and quite informative and a real treat to everyone interested in the Dutch black metal-scene. A great initiative by Vincent. Check out the website for details.

 

OOR
dutch music magazine - reviewed by Wouter Dielesen, March 2004 - translated from Dutch

The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal

Black metal is made in Scandinavia only, is a worldwide misunderstanding. The scenes of other parts of the world are being overshadowed by the attention for Norwegian church burnings, the suicide of Mayhem vocalist Dead, and the murders committed by ex-Mayhem and Burzum musician Varg Vikernes (a.k.a. Count Grishnackh), and Bard G. Eithun of Emperor. Nevertheless a lot of countries have a thriving black metal movement, and so do the Netherlands. Because most activities remain in the underground, there is only little known about the bands. To change that, the Rotterdam-born Vincent Meelhuysen (known from the bands Liar Of Golgotha, Funeral Winds and Israthoum) started working on the english Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal five years ago. It is an overlook from A to Z of almost every band and every project from Dutch black metal history from 1980 until now. Although in the introduction the author understates the book as being 'a collection of largely extended biographies', more than a hundred A4-pages form a very complete and clear piece of work. It is packed with never before published information, and every act is illustrated with its biography, discography, line-up and history. Praiseworthy is the distance and objectivity Meelhuysen manages to keep while compiling his book. The Dutch scene knows a few acts that are screaming for comment; there is the extreme rightwinged band A.I.D.S. (Anti Immigrant Death Squad), the strongly anti-christian Apator (using titles like Bestiality Forced Upon The Christian Liars), or closing act Zwavel that displays a healthy amount of humour with songs like Draai Om Dat Kruis!! ("Turn over that cross") and Six Six Six Flags. But besides these extremes the scene - besides the one-man projects and Dutch based bands like Grafschennis, Haatstrijd and Verdelger - also has some more established names to offer like Cirith Gorgor, Detonation, Sauron and Salacious Gods; which prove that the Netherlands are a serious factor in the worldwide scene.

 

FRET
dutch music magazine - reviewed by Walter de Korver, March 2004 - translated from Dutch

The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal

For various reasons, Meelhuysen's encyclopedia is an impressive book. First, because of the large amount of bands he has recovered. Even the most obscure acts didn't escape his attention and are elaborately described. A good piece of intense work, although an evil piece is a better description. Second, because of the featured acts themselves. The misanthropy is literally oozing from the pages. Especially solo projects like Christfighter and Apator prove to come from sick minds. Because of this, the encyclopedia can be read on two different levels. On one hand it is of course mainly a reference guide in which a subgenre is extensively covered. Bands that were doomed to disappear into obliveon are immortalized in it. Obligatory stuff for those interested in the genre. On the other hand it is a readable book that challenges the imagination with its featured acts, whether they are to be taken serious or not. For your own copy: info@nlbme.nl (replaced my old e-mail with my new one here! - VM).

 

SLAGWERKWERELD
dutch internet magazine - reviewed by Jan Jeronimus, March 2004 - translated from Dutch

A special encyclopedia of Dutch black metal

Vincent Meelhuysen (Rotterdam, 1974) has written a great book: The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal. It is an elaborate english overview of the black metal scene of the Netherlands from 1980 until now. More than five years the author worked on the book. Looking at its subject (black metal, the Netherlands) it will probably not turn into a best-seller, but from a cultural-historical and musical point of view it is a very succesful piece of work.

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of metal that, in the 1990's was mainly exported from Norway. Besides musical style characteristics and a cold lofi production, black metal often profilates itself by Satanic and occult lyrical themes and the use of corpse paint, a combination of black and white make-up to give the musicians a demonic and sinister look.

Of course there are no solid rules and the description above is neither exhausting nor exlusive. Like every genre, black metal has evolved itself. With today's releases there is no guarantee for an underproduced, shrill storm of noise, and there are plenty of bands that do have a black metal sound, but lyrically keep themselves distanced from Satanism.

In an elaborate introduction Meelhuysen explains how he has handled the criteria of the genre, and motivates his procedure and sources. Every band - if possible - has been listed with their name, logo, line-up, biography, discography, remarks of the bands about black metal as a genre and the scene of the Netherlands. Despite the density of information and necessary 'see-elsewhere' references, Meelhuysen managed to keep the encyclopedia clear and readable. Also, the author regularly uses quotes from interviews, which are a welcome change.

Meelhuysen began in 1999 and his research offers a treasure of information. Not only well-known bands like Asphyx, Detonation, God Dethroned, Nembrionic and Occult are mentioned, but acts that are only known by a small group of fans, like Amethyst, Fluisterwoud, Iscariot, Sauron and Warlust. Even better, the staff of Slagwerkwereld discovered a whole lot of unknown names that, thanks to Meelhuysen's precise labour, have been preserved in his book.

Until now Meelhuysen was known for his (bass)guitar in black metal bands Israthoum and Liar Of Golgotha. His interest in metal was born when he saw the painted faces of Kiss on television. His fascination grew thanks to an older nephew, who made him aware that, besides Status Quo, Queen and Deep Purple, there were extremer bands like Venom and Slayer.

Meelhuysen's regular contact with other black metal musicians brought on the idea of showing the face of the growing Dutch scene. The final result is one to be proud of. More than 100 pages and over 200 bands, carefully selected and researched, and brought together with much passion. From Abaddon to Zwavel: every black metal band in the Netherlands seems to be included in this encyclopedia.

Meelhuysen's overlook offers a fascinating look into a small, but very fanatical subculture. The book's lay-out is in a moody black and white, though not bound in a hardcover. For the fair price of 10 euro's (plus postage) everyone can obtain this unique document.
Naturally an encyclopedia is never fully up-to-date, and some information is hard to come by. People that think they can help out with a second, renewed pressing, are therefor asked to contact Vincent Meelhuysen by e-mail.

 

ZONE 5300
dutch internet magazine - reviewed by Stefan Nieuwenhuis, March 2004 - translated from Dutch

To hell with Soft Cell

In February of the year 2004 after Christ the first official Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal was born, written by Israthoum guitarist and black metalhead Vincent Meelhuysen. Covered in grim black, the encyclopedia describes in extraordinary detail the ins and outs of about two hundred (!) Dutch black metal bands. For the musical layman: black metal guarantees things like Satanic worship, extreme hatred, death, Norse mythology, and ordinary provocation. Musicians of bands like Wrath From Below, Winterdood, Salacious Gods, Haatstrijd and Cirith Gorgor are covered in facepaint, like we have seen the softjokers Kiss wear it. In short, it cannot be serious enough. With more than a hundred glossy pages, written in english, filled with terrifying photographs, it serves as a nice window into this country's world of inverted crosses and grave desecrators. It is the reference guide for black metal fans, an ideal book for music freaks that like to know all and - to be honest - to give a few good laughs: great band names, inprobable nasty and rude album titles, and a limitless ambition to shock. What to think of a singalong like Child rape sieg heil, or classics like O Denneboom of Exmortes and Sterf Christenhond of Warlust. For the large amount of labour, the writing of the book cost him five years, Vincent Meelhuysen deserves respect, although he would probably rather see a one-way ticket to Hell, since respect is an invention of dirty christian wimps, and they should burn!

 

LORDS OF METAL
dutch internet magazine - reviewed by Evil Dr Smith, 2004 - translated from Dutch

Vincent Meelhuysen - The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal

A few years ago on Lords Of Metal I reviewed the ‘Death Metal’ and ‘Black Metal’ encyclopedia’s of Garry Sharpe-Young, published by British Rockdetector, and expressed my admiration for those bold publishings to map out these subgenres in detail and that elaborated. Those books have been quite a success, since Rockdetector has already published encylopedia’s about three other subgenres: ‘Thrash Metal’, ‘Power Metal’, and a forced collection of ‘Doom, Gothic & Stoner Metal’, and they will probably update their black metal encyclopedia. I hope - for their sake - they will also look for information in ‘The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal’, because five years of collecting, researching, and archiving by Rotterdam author Vincent Meelhuysen, resulted in an impressive case of heathen monks work, for which I spontaneously do the sign of an inverted cross.

As the title suggests - contrary to the book of Rockdetector and the German encyclopedia ‘The Black Metal Bible’ of Matthias Herr - this publication is entirely focused on one country: our Holland. This sets this publication apart from a lot of the other metal encyclopedia’s I know. It is also limited to ‘black metal’ only, which passionately has been covered with a detailed and thorough knowledge of facts, of which the late Boudewijn Büch would have been jealous.

The alphabetically ordened book is written objectively, devoid of humor, and in clear and simple English, and the structure has been kept simple and includes the necessary see-references. Every chapter gives, as far as Vincent has found information, a general biography, musical references, background about the musicians, band philosophy, and discography (in a lot of cases more a ‘demography’ in the musical sense), including songtitles, and adored with photo’s, coverart, and logo’s. Really positive is the fact that Vincent uses a lot of interview fragments and quotes by people from the bands, which make this encyclopedia a lot more authentic and valuable than te emotionless summaries of Rockdetector or a collection of gathered ‘official biographies’ you can find on websites like Encyclopaedia Metallum and MetalMania. However, compared to those internet databases, a printed book becomes dated. Even though black metal is fast, the present day will always catch up. In this light, Walpurgisnacht, a band that has just debuted, is missing in this book. With a little more freedom of usage of ‘black metal’ the blackened deathgrind band Cardinal and its predecessor Consolation could also have gotten a small space (historically they are similar to Nembrionic and God Dethroned, which have rightfully gotten a place in the book). The reasons why bands were included in the book are well described in the foreword, which also makes clear the ambition of the book, and gives you footnotes and source references. It also gives you the reasons of not including e-mail and internet addresses, and the obvious differences in length between the covered bands (which is not necessary causally related to a band’s popularity).

Which bands do we find here then? Although I am hardly a connaisseur of black metal, let alone Dutch black metal: “Pfff, name fifteen? There are over 200 bands here!” Flipping through the 102 pages, A4-shaped, black and white printed book, I encountered the weirdest, cultiest, most underground, and sometimes very hilarious, names (honorable winner is The Parents Of Oude Pekela, and runners-up are the guys of Utopian Sexgod, in which the author of the book has a place). As said: a lot of bands, in their short existence, have not risen above their demo status, and that’s why this book offers a fascinating view on a small, but highly fanatical subculture. Of course there is coverage of relatively known bands like Cirith Gorgor, Sauron, Fluisterwoud, Liar Of Golgotha, Martyr, Occult, Warlust, Onheil, Pentacle, Salacious Gods, Unlord, and even Ancient Rites (a Belgian band, but closely linked with the Dutch scene, partly because of their Dutch guitarist). The controversial ‘Christian black metal’ of Slechtvalk also has a been given half a page for their bold crusade. There are also a few bands that are better known as death or thrash metal bands, but that have been included because of their influence and textual contents. That’s why you can also read about Bifrost, Asphyx, Detonation, Goddess Of Desire, God Dethroned, INRI, of course Centurian, and to my positive surprise former Israelian and now partly Dutch band Melechesh. Deeper from the underground I have spotted bands like Black Candle’s Mist, Bestial Summoning, Countess, Deinonychus, Heidenland, Iscariot, Imbolc, Botulistum, and a lot of even more obscure names that all get attention.

Still, this thorough information about Dutch Swarte Metael is not perfect. Apart from an incidental spelling mistake, it is sad to see that of some bands there are hardly up-to-date facts (like Nembrionic, which ends rather abruptly in 1998 with their (last?) album, and of some bands there is hardly anything more than a name), and as I have understood, certain quotes by artists have been questioned by those same artists, and I miss a reference list of persons in the back of the book. But this last thing is almost never included in metal reference works (I have only seen that in very dated reprints of the ‘Nederlandse Hardrock & Heavy Metal’ encyclopedia). To keep the costs low, the book looks like a magazine, and some of its corners show that. It’s a pity it isn’t a hardcover book, certainly because it has been professionally printed. Still, for 10 euro (and 2,50 p&p) everyone interested in black metal in general and especially the Dutch scene will receive an impessive reference book that deserves a cherished spot in the grey literature. And on my book shelves.