{Book Review} Corpsepaint: David Peak

Corpsepaint: David Peak

Reviewed By Steve Stred

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Word Horde (30 April 2018)

I think after reading this book as well as ‘We Sold Our Souls,’ I’ll need to take a break from horror books based around heavy metal. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a metal fan for so many years and have seen the old guard, who believed in church burnings and the anarchy age and either say what they did years ago was a mistake or simply fade away to the mountain regions in France, but I really struggled to enjoy this.

The story itself is basically three different books mashed into one. One story follows Max and Roland as they head into the hostile Ukrainian wilderness to try and record a comeback record. The second story follows Seph and her band, in Ukraine and their desire to live off of the grid and prepare themselves for an impending collapse of society. The last story is a creation/cosmic horror tale that frequently cropped up. Most of the time it was mentioned, was during hallucinatory periods by Max or Roland so I wasn’t sure if it was actually happening or imagined.

I personally got off on the wrong side of Max at the beginning. The description of him and his band and what he’d done to fans reminded me far too much of Blake Judd of Nachtmystium. You see a number of years ago, Nachtmystium were supposed to be the saviour of American Black Metal. They arrived, put out a trilogy of albums that were revered and everyone was waiting for their return, for their next album to be the album. I personally didn’t mind them and I was supposed to see them four different times. But each time they had to cancel because their singer and founder, one Blake Judd, kept screwing up his life. Whether from drugs or whatever, it just kept happening. Then reports started to trickle out that Blake had ripped off fans and other bands. He’d taken pre-order cash for himself and not sent the merch. He was paid money to appear on another bands album, took the cash but never appeared.

The similarities described between Max and Blake had me repulsed from the start and I just couldn’t care about Max or his redemption. With Max being the main character and focal point of the synopsis I felt let down that the character I was supposed to put my hopes on was just a piece of garbage.

I enjoyed Seph and the compound storyline to a degree, but wished more about her band’s stuff would have been described, it seemed to be an afterthought. Her band was this mythical band that was supposed to have created this following, but then found that was never fully detailed or realized.

As for the cosmic horror part of the story, this was the most intriguing part and Talas’ arrival in the book always had my attention. If the entire story had been focused on the mythology and folklore aspects I would have been all over this.

As I said earlier – I think as a lifelong metalhead I just struggled to connect with the distinct lack of realism in certain parts. While I know I needed to detach and suspend some belief, the real world ties just wouldn’t allow me to shut that off. The music part of the book was either over marketed or just omitted for the final release. At the end, we do arrive at something with the music, but when you can’t hear or feel the riffs from a black metal song and have to read about it, it becomes tough to believe just how emotive the song can be. I’m not sure if the author is a metalhead, I would think so with some of the details thrown in, but I’m not totally sure.

I think if you are a moderate fan of heavy music and don’t spend much time reading the behind the scenes stories or anything you’ll enjoy this. But if you own a significant amount of auto-biographies and documentaries you’ll struggle at some of the portrayals in here.

I wanted to like this one more but it still was a page-turner for me, as I wanted to find out just what would happen and how it would be tied together. While it ultimately wasn’t a top-notch read for me, it was a fun tale, which may be up other people’s alleys!


It’s been years since the groundbreaking debut of black metal band Angelus Mortis, and that first album, Henosis, has become a classic of the genre, a harrowing primal scream of rage and anger. With the next two albums, Fields of Punishment and Telos, Angelus Mortis cemented a reputation for uncompromising, aggressive music, impressing critics and fans alike. But the road to success is littered with temptation, and over the next decade, Angelus Mortis’s leader, Max, better known as Strigoi, became infamous for bad associations and worse behavior, burning through side-men and alienating fans.

Today, at the request of their record label, Max and new drummer Roland are traveling to Ukraine to record a comeback album with the famously reclusive cult act Wisdom of Silenus. What they discover when they get there will go far deeper than the aesthetics of the genre, and the music they create–antihuman, antilife–ultimately becomes a weapon unto itself.

Equally inspired by the fractured, nightmarish novels of John Hawkes, the blackened dreamscapes of cosmic-pessimist philosophy, and the music of second-wave black metal bands, author David Peak’s Corpsepaint is an exploration of creative people summoning destructive powers while struggling to express what it means to be human.

You can buy Corpsepaint from Amazon UK Amazon US

Steve Stred

Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.

Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the TreesWagon BuddyYuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.

On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.

Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.

Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.

You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred

You can visit Steve’s Official website here

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