The darkly handsome, brilliantly iconoclastic Adam Parfrey passed away from a series of strokes in a medical facility in Seattle on May 10, 2018. Although you may not recognize his name, worldwide culture has been provoked, elevated, and challenged from the underground by books he published for decades from his ranch with his sister Jessica in Port Townshend, WA. The imprint was called Feral House, and Parfrey helmed several generations of authors who were “deep heads” about politics (radical on both Left and Right and right around the corner from each other), freak spiritual movements (cults), and obsessive about extreme forms of music — whether it be extreme in sound and viewpoint, such as Black Metal or skinhead rock — or just extremely cool: swinging, singing French women from hipper times.
Parfrey and Feral House published far more than five books about music, but here’s a sampling of what I feel is a quick, tip of the tongue greatest hits when publishing in that field (in other words, these are the first ones that come to mind when talking to other rock writers and music scribes). Click on my name in the review to see my other reccos.
Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Søderlind is probably the best known Feral House music book, but also the one held with the most fear, respect, and contention, the 2003 edition has been amped with lots of new pages and details, and an expert reporting of how Black Metal changed both the music and inspired bizarre, fatal crime. The story travels over Finland, Germany, and the United States; and deep into the underground including glimpses of the mindset of “Varg Vikernes’ promulgation of bizarre Aryan UFO theories, and material on the career of Hendrik Mobus, an international neo-Nazi fugitive.” Many interviews with committed, intelligent, and/or unsavory artists who created alchemy of dark art and personal vendettas are focusing on the history of occult rock and the origins and weirder fringes of Northern European-based ultra-heavy rock.