John Darnielle is the singer and songwriter otherwise known as the Mountain Goats.
Mountain Goat John Darnielle's off-stage literary proclivities are
no secret, which makes us all the more excited for his first novel,
a paean to Black Sabbath's Master of Reality. The book is the
latest in Continuum's 33 1/3 series ultrasmart series of elegant,
pocket-size appreciations of rock albums as diverse as the Beatles'
Let it Be and My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Darnielle unpacks the
classic, riff-erific album as a scrabrous series of diary entries
written by a teenager in a Southern California mental institution.
Those curious to see the budding rock critic off-stage or who are
simply bonkers for Sabbath are advised to check out this
reading.--Tayt Harlin "New York Magazine "
John Darnielle is the single constant behind the group the Mountain Goats and arguably the most rewarding lyricist working today. Taking into account his prolific wordsmithery ("Laugh lines on our faces / scale maps of the ocean floor") and affinity for horror both cinematic and literary ("Heretic Pride," the most recent Mountain Goats album, has song titles naming Fu Manchu creator Sax Rohmer and H.P. Lovecraft), it shouldn't come as a surprise that he'd contribute to Continuum's "33 1/3" series of short books pegged to iconic albums. But "Master of Reality" departs brilliantly from the typical "33 1/3" format, not just by choosing fiction over criticism or recording history, but in its structural gambits and unwavering sense of purpose.--Ed Parks "Los Angeles Times "
This is a masterly look at the corrosive emotion of youth, and the invaluable solace that music gives. Read it, even if you'd rather stick knitting needles in your ears than listen to the album in question. Because its about you.--James Mann "The Big Takeover magazine "
This is not the first time Darnielle explores these dark waters. In fact the text is a retelling, if not an extension of "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton," the first track on the Mountain Goats' 2002 album, All Hail West Texas. As both the text and the song are meditations on the redemptive aspects of heavy metal, the depravity of institutional authority and the refusal to forgive, the reader who is familiar with either Darnielle's musical work or Black Sabbath will find the text particularly rewarding.--Christian "enoughcowbell.com "