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“We Sold Our Souls” by Grady Hendrix is fucking metal

Have you ever read a book that seems like it was written just for you? Like, you get the feeling that the author sat down in front of their computer, studied your Facebook likes, and came up with a novel revolving around the things they saw? That’s how I felt while I read We Sold Our Souls. I would have wondered if Grady Hendrix had been stalking me if I hadn’t been too busy enjoying the hell out of this book.

I didn’t really know that I wanted a horror story revolving around metal musicians that had sold their souls to an ancient evil entity in exchange for musical prowess. In fact, I decided to read this one last as I worked my way through Hendrix’s work because, after learning the premise, I felt like it would be schlock. I didn’t make me feel much better when I listened to an interview with him on the Audiobooks from Hell podcast and learned that he was not a metalhead and had to research metal in order to write the book.

As it turns out, his research worked. The references in the book aren’t limited to just Black Sabbath and Metallica (as I thought would be the case) and the author mentions acts that I listen to fairly regularly, like Mastodon and Amon Amarth. He has even said that doing this research helped him learn to love metal. That’s fucking metal.

But this is a review of a book, not an author, so I should get to it: I loved this book.

The horror was actually gripping: I’ve thought about the part that scared me the most in this book since I’ve finished reading it and it still sends shivers down my spine. But the part of the book that scared me the most only works because Hendrix spends the entire time before the event establishing paranoid feelings in the main character and the reader. The reader has no idea what characters can be trusted and what characters can’t. Every time the protagonist came across another character, I clenched up. And when that pervading sense of paranoia pays off, it does so spectacularly.

Ultimately, I felt like I was reading a modern take on The Stand, but with more people getting their heads bashed in with guitars. This book was funny, disgusting, and scary – just the way I like my books. I think it even edged out The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires as my favorite Grady Hendrix book. Now that I’m finished reading all of his major releases, I have to sit back and try to wait patiently while he writes another one. In the meantime, I’ll have to check out some of the bands he mentioned that I’ve never heard of before.

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