pure murder - corey mitchellYou may know MetalSucks contributor Corey Mitchell from his awesome day-by-day coverage of this year’s SXSW festival or his recent “Old Fart CD Reviews” column. But it turns out that the San Antonio-based metalhead is not just a writer for a hack blog, but a real, live, published author. His latest book Pure Murder has just hit the shelves, and Corey’s been kind enough to answer some questions for us about murder, metal, and how the two relate. Click through to read the entire fascinating interview

Tell us about your book Pure Murder.

It is the true story of the brutal murders of two teenage girls, Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, who were abducted, raped, strangled, and stomped to death by a group of six teenage boys in Houston in 1993. The girls were running late for their curfew and decided to take a shortcut through a public park when they stumbled across a gang initiation.

It is also the story of the struggle experienced by the parents of the girls and their fifteen-year legal odyssey that continues to this day. In fact, one of the six killers, Jose Medellin, is scheduled to be executed this August.

There seems to be a connection between horror movies and metal. Why do you think this is?

I read a great quote in Terrorizer today about the Dillinger Escape Plan and their live performances. The writer described a DEP show as a place where “it is forbidden to forbid anything.” That is what horror films should provide its viewers and metal its listeners — a sanctuary where anything is possible and rules are verboten.

On a more primal level, the ability of a truly good horror film can evoke feelings in a viewer that are usually only experienced while banging thy head against the stage or during a great sexual experience. The ability to transport you out of your mundane, humdrum existence into a different plane of emotions is a truly powerful rush. A good true crime book can do the same thing if written well, with honesty and passion.

How has metal informed your view of murder?

For me, it was the other way around. I was into true crime before I was into metal. I read Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry’s book, Helter Skelter, on the Charles Manson Family and the Sharon Tate murders when I was only nine years old. It completely fucked me up — in a good way — and I have never looked back.

My musical tastes back then (this was 1975) were more along the lines of Elton John, Boston, Ted Nugent, Sugar Hill Gang, etc. The more I got into true crime books and horror books and movies the darker my musical tastes became. Of course, back then it was mainly hair metal and Motley Crue. From there the progression went to punk rock via Black Flag, Flipper, and Circle Jerks to thrash with Metallica being the biggest influence, followed by the likes of Watchtower, Agent Steel, Helstar, deadhorse, English Dogs, Hirax, and on and on.

Learning about and understanding the darker sides of human beings through true crime books made listening to darker metal much easier. Once you know the utterly despicable nature of what humans are capable of, reading Slayer lyrics pales in comparison.

Do you listen to metal as you write? What do you find to be particularly inspiring?

All the time. It’s either metal (and its myriad of mutations) or instrumental, usually ambient, music. I listen to metal when I first fire up the computer just to get my blood pumping and set my mind racing. I especially crank it when I am writing a particularly gruesome murder scene. In fact, the killings in Pure Murder span eighteen pages and are some of the most brutal, heart-breaking violent scenes you will ever experience. With six killers and two girls there were a lot of bizarre activities taking place and nothing could set the scene more appropriately in my head than a soundtrack of metal. I listened to a lot of Bergraven, Nordic Mist, Waitan, Throne of Molok, Deathspell Omega, Cephalic Carnage, Nachtmystium, Moonsorrow, Pig Destroyer, and old Celtic Frost while writing those passages. I also listened to a lot of dark ambient including Lustmord, Auricular, NIN, and Nortt.

There is something quite perplexing and astonishing when you can sit down, find the perfect piece of music, and can synch up the words in your head with the sounds in your ears and create something frightening and heart-wrenching, as well as something that will get your heart rate racing and aching simultaneously. For me, it’s metal that completes the cycle.

What metal artists or songs would make the best soundtrack to a murder?

The obvious answer would be Burzum, Mayhem, and Slayer, but I would have to go with Bergraven’s Dodsvisioner. I read an article with Par Gustaffson, the one-man genius behind Bergraven, where he stated that the beginning two-and-a-half minutes of muffled screams from the opening tack, “Doende,” which are barely audible then kick into that awesome guitar tone, symbolizes death. In fact, the entire album has the energy and depression that encompass murder, death, grief, the whole spectrum. I highly recommend it. My favorite album of 2007.

What can a reader who is new to your genre expect from your book?

Pure Murder exists on many different levels. The most obvious is a look at one of the most brutal crimes committed in our country’s history.

Beyond that you will experience a gamut of emotions and ideas ranging from race issues, to failed educational systems, oblivious parenting, teenage ennui, the sadistic nature of bored boys, the insanity of the Texas legal system, the pain and suffering of the victims’ families, the joy of capture and conviction, trips through the Supreme Court of the United States, death penalty sentences being meted out, fights in the courtroom, fights in the courthouse, fights outside the courthouse, death penalty protesters, execution dates set, execution dates canceled, death sentences dropped, last minute legal appeals to prevent an execution from happening, illegal immigration issues, additional murders beyond those of Jennifer and Elizabeth, and much, much more.

Any final words?

I am currently working on a major book that involves true crime and one of the biggest names in metal history, however, I am not at liberty to discuss it any further at this point.

I am looking forward to contributing more Old Fart CD, concert, DVD, and book reviews for MetalSucks in the near future.

The latest Jucifer album still kicks my ass!

Happy anniversary to Oklahoma grindcore band Divine Pustulence’s Necrolagnia and Luna C. who were married on 6/6/6. Check out the no-budget horror/gore video I wrote and directed for them here.

The “Word of the Day” is: CRAP

{Be sure to follow Corey Mitchell’s Pure Murder Virtual Book Tour and visit his blog In Cold Blog.]

Tags: ,
Show Comments
Metal Sucks Greatest Hits