Desolation: A Heavy Metal Memoir

Hachette. Jun. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9780306830983. $32. MEMOIR
Music memoirs and reflective titles about substance disorder can sometimes describe similar arcs. That’s the case with Morton’s memoir, which chronicles both his musical career, primarily as a guitarist for heavy metal band Lamb of God, and his simultaneous experiences with a substance-use disorder and recovery. It’s written with the help of Ben Opipari (founder, Persuasive Matters), and it’s an affecting and largely sympathetic narrative, chronicling Morton’s early, heady ascent, thrilling ride, and a make-or-break moment when his music and substance use came to a head. Many things turn in Morton’s life when his newborn daughter, Madalyn, dies after developing an infection during her delivery. His memoir opens with her death and then progresses chronologically. Heavy metal as a musical genre is characterized by catharsis and a propensity for melodrama, but Morton is a down-to-earth and plainspoken narrator of his own story. It concludes with an expression of gratitude for where he’s managed to arrive.
VERDICT A highly readable and often touching memoir about Lamb of God’s guitarist and lyricist.
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