English professor and Miami native, Dean Swinford has embarked on the first serious literary treatise concerning death metal with Death Metal Epic I: The Inverted Katabasis. The young novella is picking up endorsements and accolades from both literary and musical circles. Reared in Florida with a solid education in '80s metal in particular, it is no coincidence that the book is set in the Sunshine State during the1980s metal boom.
Tackling this subject matter could easily deviate into the realm of "fanboy cheesiness," but Swinford presents a meditative angle of personal growth and evolution through the protagonist David Fosberg who, not unlike many in the same position, finds himself in a dead-end job, filled with musical acumen and lured by the promise of riches in the guise of a Eurotour, because in Europe, he says, "everyone loves metal."
We spoke with Dean about his first book (of a proposed metal trilogy), academia, and the evolution of the genre. He's a passionate and articulate gentleman who'll impress with his background in medieval and modern literature and with his knowledge of metal album liner notes. And the Miami-Dade Mayor has the audacity to declare the age of the book dead. Oh well, Florida, right?