Book Review: An Augmented Fourth

Tony McMillen’s An Augmented Fourth is a swelling of everything great, wonderful, and utterly sadistic about the world of heavy metal. And not “Nue Age” heavy, either, but the old school, when Sabbath and Zeppelin took the Fourth to the mainstream and shoved our faces in sex, darkness, and its contrasting brilliance. This is the world of music that Punk evolved from, and even in the waning years of Metal, the glorious upstart could only fling its boogers at the legend that Metal was.

After reading McMillen’s graphic novel, “Oblivion Suite,” I knew I needed more about the world of music. These are clever pastiches of what might have been, could have been, and probably actually damn were in the lives of people like Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, and a score of other musical geniuses that had absolutely no right whatsoever to ascend the stairs to Valhalla and dine long before they died away. Hell, most of these succubuses of soul are still alive and kicking the shit out of their fans with as much coke-infused love as they always have been. And may they continue doing so long after I have moved off this mortal coil.

If you want a taste of the sheer amount of meta fun that this tale throws up on our feet, here’s a quote. “A fresh hideous bouquet of corruptions blossomed forth from out the rainbow oil slick bramble, metastasizing into billowing diaphanous limbs. Proving to me yet again that even when utterly terrified I could at least be comforted knowing I’d never have need for a thesaurus.”

This is just a glimpse of how insightful McMillan’s tale is: it makes fun of the madness while also celebrating the art of creation, and in doing so, allows readers to enjoy the zaniness of the ride.

To say I loved this romp is an understatement. Can’t wait to see what Tony does next!


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