Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hail to Black Metal in Marta Skaði’s Confessions of an Antichrist

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This book was a riot. Confessions of an Antichrist by Marta Skaði follows, well, Marta herself as she regales readers with the tale of Baphomet’s Agony. This black metal band has one goal–corruption. Arriving March 12 from Datura Books, readers will be disgusted and find delight in the antics presented before them. Or should I say, the case? This is, technically, a crime novel after all.

To properly dive in, a quick introduction to the band is needed. Marta, the “author” of this book, is the band’s manager. She gathered together four purported Satanists to create Baphomet’s Agony. The least inclined on all counts is The Exorcist on drums. Decadence, the beautiful hedonist, is on guitar. The Viking, Bolverk, is on bass. Which leaves vocals to a deeply disturbed individual called Suffer. Now, outside of Marta, these aren’t their actual names. But I’m going to stick with their Baphomet’s Agony personas for ease.

This book is, in essence, an interview. Or maybe it’s a confession. Perhaps it is all fiction. Marta certainly wouldn’t tell you what to believe. Except, she kind of would. This Satanic black metal band has… one Satanist in it. The resulting conversations on belief, identity, and presentation are both poignant and hilarious. And all of this, according to Marta, is her design. This girl has goals. 

Confessions of an Antichrist Cover
Confessions of an Antichrist Cover

It is, also, a love story. But this is not a romance. And while, yes, this love story contains people, and those people have relationships together… It also reads as a love letter—to metal music. Luckily for me, I’ve been getting a metal education this year. Z, if you’re reading this, you rock. Now if you haven’t been getting a metal education, or you aren’t already a fan, this may not be as funny to you. But if you are? Prepare for a lot of laughs.

I said earlier this was a crime novel, though, right? And it is definitely a book filled with murder. But not a lot of mystery. As also mentioned above—Marta has a plan. She’s been working on it for a while. But she’s also our narrator. And the question has to be asked, can we trust her? She is telling this story, looking back on events she already lived. It feels like something Poe could have written. If he lived today and wanted to write as a metal-obsessed teenage girl in Norway, that is. 

Metal, though, isn’t really Marta’s obsession. And I know I said this feels like a love letter to the genre. I don’t refute myself. That is how it feels as a reader. As a character, though, destruction and depravity are the true obsessions. This book can be nasty. It is violent, it is explicit, it is gross. It is also irreverent, unflinching, and indiscriminate. But it goes to these places and scenes with such wit and dry humor that the book doesn’t become splatterpunk. 

I had so much fun with this book. More fun than I expected, honestly. And it has to be one of the funniest books I’ve read. At least for a long time, if not overall. It was so over the top while being undeniably clever that I could not help but laugh. And hey, it also made me really want to go find some new music. What more could I ask for in a book like this? 

Confessions of an Antichrist arrives March 12, 2024 from Datura Books and is available for preorder now.

Photo courtesy of Datura Books

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