n. 1. The act of throwing up froth or scum, separation of the scum or impurities from liquid, scumming, clarification
Or the title of a spankin’ new literary journal. Despumation Vol. 1: Issue 1 is a collection of short stories, poems, and art. Not being terribly familiar with literary circles, the closest comparison I can draw would be Weird Tales Magazine. However, what makes Despumation unique, and pertinent to this site, is that the creativity found in these pages owes its inspiration to the glory of our beloved heavy metal.
As editor Kriscinda Lee Everitt explains in the introduction, literature has inspired metal for decades and the stories found in lyrics can be interpreted in ways only limited by your imagination. Therefore, Despumation‘s aim is to collect literature instead inspired by the vast world of metal.
This initial issue consists of 12 contributions by 13 writers as well as macabre illustrations from Everitt herself, and a creepy, provocative, “don’t let the kids see that” cover by Rachael Deacon. The whole thing looks slick, evil and like what could be the start of a nice section on the bookshelf.
I don’t want to give too much away, as any literate metalhead should read the material themselves, but allow me to highlight some things.
Our first cut, if you will, is actually an excerpt from Dean Swinford‘s next book. Last year the first in his Death Metal Epic series was released. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and this tale only makes me more anxious for the next, entitled The Goat Song Sacrifice. Knowing the storyline at the end of book, this excerpt doesn’t directly fall in line with the main character in an obvious way. But that’s ok. What I like about Swinford is how he is just descriptive enough that your mind’s eye can piece together a scene, but not so detailed that every reader’s vision is the same. I’ve read this excerpt (“The Necronomicon Eucharist”) three times and the scene looked different to me each time. It’s inspired by a Candlemass tune but I’ll let you guess which one. Knowing now that Swinford uses direct inspiration from specific songs in his work, a re-read of The Inverted Katabasis should prove enlightening.
Aspects of Swinford’s writing show up with the other contributors as well in that they are able to immerse the reader in the scene with a limited number of words. I’m familiar with Swinford’s work so I spent a little more space on that excerpt but each writer deserves the same attention. Metal inspiration may be the common denominator but each has their own style and angle.
Pieces about hardcore brotherhood (Dustin LaValley’s “Brothers and Sisters”), fictional band dramas, murder, psychosis, more murder and psychosis, war, an excerpt from a book by Stephen Jansen and Harvey Bainbridge (Hawklords, ex-Hawkwind) and some inspiring poetry fill out the middle of the issue. I particularly liked Jesse Bullington‘s take on “Holy Diver” and Micheal J. Riser‘s “Cradlesong.”
Thinking of the journal like an album, which is a pretty good analogy, I think, the closer comes in the form of “Rrroooaaarrr,” inspired by none other than Canada’s own Voivod. It’s a good one too!
Despumation Press has done an excellent job bringing a new facet to metaldom with this journal. Some stories will hit home with readers more than others but there isn’t a dud in the bunch. Each one is a page turner and much of the fun is discovering the muse at the end (if there is a specific one), although some are quite obvious from the start.
The whole concept is novel (the other meaning) and exciting. Everitt is open to submissions for future issues (link below). Hell, I might even try my hand at it. The goal is to make this a quarterly release so put on your thinking caps!
What’s most interesting about Despumation for me is that this serves as an outlet for expression for those who may not be musically inclined but still have metal pulsing through their veins and a desire to share their creativity.
The stories are compelling, excellently written by (at least in this issue) a number of accomplished authors. This could be the start of something awesome. Kudos to Everitt and all those involved for creating something so unique and, let’s face it, cool.
Despumation Volume 1: Issue 1 is available now from Despumation Press. Do it.
Dean Swinford, Dustin LaValley, T.J. Tranchell, Mary Goff, Jesse Bullington, Ben Gwin
Jason Jack Miller, Michael J. Riser, Mathias Jansson, Stephen Jansen
Harvey Bainbridge, Nathan Meyer, Sean Moreland
Click here for the submission guidelines.