We Sold Our Souls: Grady Hendrix
Reviewed by Brian Bogart
With “We Sold Our Souls”, Grady Hendrix brings us a unique tale that takes clever little twists and turns along the ‘Highway to Hell’ of heavy metal.
Along the way, he stops for fuel at your favorite conspiracy theories, flips a bird to the ‘manufactured’ sound of the current music industry and tunes the radio to your favorite rock and roll station, hoping they will play that one song that will speak to you. Better yet, one that speaks to us all.
The story follows Kris, a former heavy metal guitarist who has lost that fire, that passion, stuck in the middle of a nowhere life. Long gone are the glory days in her band, Dürt Würk.
They were a good band, almost great and those contracts were theirs for the taking. They just had to sign. But Terry, the lead singer, wanted more. And he was willing to gamble his band mates’ very souls away to achieve it. Due to a tragedy- the band breaks up, never seeing the success that they deserved. Terry did, though and it has cost the former band members their sanity and more. Terry goes on to lead the band Koffin. Weak, nu-metal and overly popular- they are scheduled to do one final tour, much to her disgust.
But, it is more than just “getting a raw deal”, as far as the music goes.
Kris has gaps in her memory from contract night, foreboding thoughts and uneasiness about everything that followed. She begins to fill in the blanks as the story moves along. Once the Koffin billboards start popping up and the media frenzy begins- she begins to suspect the worst of Terry- and the rabid, brainwashed KoffinHeads who will follow The Blind King Tour to Hellfest ‘19.
A heavy metal music festival in Las Vegas can sell a lot of tickets. That means- thousands of delicious souls to feast upon. All in one place.
Trying to warn the old band proves deadly. Creepy UPS drivers, conspiracy theories and nods to the Satanic Panic craze of the 80s are explored. As the roadtrip becomes more dangerous, she realizes that things are ritualistically spinning out of control. Has been for years. Trust is a commodity not sacred to Koffin and Terry has eyes and ears everywhere…
As a heavy metal enthusiast, I really enjoyed this. I believe the book itself follows a tempo similar to the best of rock and roll. The crunch of the guitar riff grabs a hold of you and builds, the chorus sings phrases that are easy to familiarize yourself with and the bang of the drums and snare build to a crescendo while a guitar solo wails in the spaces between.
High points to the news and radio segment interludes that fill in the blanks and the chapter titles consisting of popular metal songs.
While it may be “light” on actual horror, it more than makes up for it with its reverence for the metal community and the cultural nuances of it. At its core, it’s the tale of a girl and her guitar, pride and greed. When all is lost, plug in that amp and start playing.
The music is bigger than you. In this book, the music is bigger than all of us. But the music belongs to us. You can beat back the darkness- by cranking it to eleven and speaking its own language. Heavier. Louder. Stronger. Together.
If you’re a fan of metal music and grew up in that culture…
Bang your head and pick it up. Just like a guitar, all it takes is a few chords. Then you’re hooked.
The story of a Faustian bargain set in the world of heavy metal. The story concerns a heavy metal band named Durt Wurk. They were big in the 90s but then their lead singer Terry went solo and now, 20 years later, all the other band members are struggling to scrape by in lousy jobs. The heroine Kris soon discovers that this is because lead singer Terry somehow sold their souls in exchange for his fame and fortune. This discovery sends Kris on a cross-country journey to rage against the machine of our bleak society and ultimately reclaim her soul. Like Grady’s earlier books, this book blends pop culture and horror into a story that feels very contemporary.
Brian Bogart is an American author of dark fiction and horror/fantasy. He has written stories most of his life and has been a fan of the genre since the age of seven. His approach to storytelling is a tad macabre at times but tries to capture the nuances of the humanity and sometimes, inhumanity, beneath the surface. He supports the horror community with bloodied open arms and demonic vigor.
Dream Darkly and Keep Writing.
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