7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A life dedicated to metal, at a hight price.,
This review is from: Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries (Hardcover)
Great collection of all Slayer mags, which Jon K. published for over 20 years, completely dedicating his life to this. He started with a magazine named LIVE WIRE in the early 80s, covering classic metal bands (Led Zeppelin, Ac Dc, Deep Purple and everything up to that point) and finally evolved into doing Slayer Magazine on his own in the mid 80s. The magazine was the main underground channel though which extreme metal music was documented during the 80s and 90s.
The most important things here are, to me at least, his own personal chapters in between the magazines, chronicling how as years passed him by, he realized he was stuck in the teenage/metal/rock scene, he saw friends and musicians getting older and developing careers, moving on, abandoning the "lyfestyle", or just becoming something. Meanwhile he was stuck basically being an old teenager, with no formal education, no prospects for a life, living doing bits and pieces of work here and there, and basically dedicating himself to going to rock festivals, getting drunk, publishing Slayer and listening to metal. The basic elements of the youth market became his lifestyle, and Jon paid with his life.
He ponders deeply about that. Getting close to his 40th birthday he had a change of life by traveling to New York and putting his life in perspective. Made new friends (Tara Warrior seems to have been pivotal for this change) and decided to get training in photography. His testimony to the depression of being an adult stuck in a hole, surrounded by records and little else, and finally re-discovering himself through a new craft, photography, is really touching. You can't help but to feel good for the guy and give him respect.
Getting rid of Slayer magazine was also a rebirth for Jon, as he conquered his adult life and became a photographer. For over 25 years he dedicated himself to be a metal journalist. He's a great interviewer, don't get me wrong, but this is adolescent journalism, made with drawings of skulls and silly jokes all the way through, it is the same thing I was doing in 1992, I'm not judging the guy, plus he preserved so much history, certainly worthwhile. But this surely is not a healthy way of life, not for one to spend 30 years doing it. I wonder why he never joined a band, he certainly had the contacts and was absolutely immersed in the extreme music scenes.
The most important and beautiful thing in this book is Jon K.'s rebirth as a photographer and his self-discovery as a mature person. By the end of the book he realizes that, sells many of his records, loses all interest in going to Wacken every year and getting drunk all the time, he's focused in leading a productive, meaningful life. He actually says that he looks back on the 25 years of being a "professional metal fan", so to speak and all he sees is "a void".
This is the meaning of this book, and that's why it is important on a human level. That he overcame the hole of being trapped in that scene (Heresy! - the band -) and was really reborn. For me this book is much more important for telling this tale than just because it preserves the Slayer Mags (like everyone else said, the printing is horribly small, it's bad to read like this! I'd gladly pay 10 pounds more for the book in a larger format and font). Of course the interviews and the 80s and 90s material is interesting, but for me this book was a revelation because it is the history of the fall of a man, and his recovery through his inner strength and the love of friends.
Jon's honesty and humble way of writing make me have the uttermost admiration for him. I definitely wish him all the luck on his future, and I thank him for sharing his story and Slayer mag with us.