Review: Brian Barr – Metal Magic

Review: Brian Barr – Metal Magic


Genre: Horror
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 9th March 2017
Pages: 45




A copy of Metal Magic was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Brian Barr, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is self-published.

Brian Barr is like a bus. You wait for ages then he comes along two at a time! This is the second short story I have read from him in as many weeks. The last one was about a talking head so I had no idea what to expect from this one.

After checking out the synopsis, it looked like something I might enjoy so decided to give it a go. I do enjoy a short story on its own rather than being in a collection or an anthology sometimes.

This is what I thought.

Kevin is reminiscing about his dad. He wishes they had had more time together and maybe been able to iron a few things out.

His dad taught him all about metal music and how to play a guitar. He would never let him near those Metal Grimoires though. They seemed to play a part in his dad’s death.

Maybe he could look into them now with his girlfriend, Cassie. Maybe he would get a chance to say the things he wanted to with his dad.

Kevin is the main man in this story. It’s almost told through his eyes so you get to grips with his feelings and thoughts very easily. He seems to be a decent young lad who just misses his dad. His dad was a real rebel, according to Kevin’s memories. But his dad seemed to hold a lot of secrets from his family. Cassie is Kevin’s new love and seems to be totally devoted to him as well. She aims to help Kevin with the magic to see if it works and to see if he can use it to speak with his dad again.

And that is also the plot. Kevin aims to use his skills at the music to work some spells from the grimoires to see if he can contact his dad from the other side. Things do not go to plan though.

The concept behind this story is great. Having a wife who is a medium, it’s something I believe in, to a certain degree. I have seen and heard too many things not to. Combining metal music with the magic to get the spells to work is certainly something new to me and made the whole idea fresh in its appeal.

Brian Barr’s writing in this one is certainly a lot more proficient than it was in say, The Head. I struggled with that one a bit and was wary going into this one but it was certainly much better.

As Kevin is recalling his childhood with his dad and things about his dad’s character, the story is full of emotion and it is very effective at drawing you into the story and keeping you glued to it.

You reach a part in this story where it totally blows up in your face and veers off in a direction that you never saw coming.

This is what I love about Mr Barr’s writing. Everything is relatively calm and then it explodes and takes off and you are left wondering what just happened and even where you are.

The same thing happened in The Head and I loved it. In Metal Magic, it builds and builds the tension as you find things out about Kevin’s dad at the same time he does. It is done in such a way that you can’t escape it. You can’t get away from it and you can’t ignore what is happening even if deep down, you never thought it was possible, as Kevin doesn’t either.

There are a lot of pluses for this story. To me, there was even scope for it to be made into something much longer. It had enough legs to possibly make a novel but definitely to make a novella.

Good work Mr Barr. I can see a definite style developing in your writing and I like it rather a lot.

To summarise: a short story combining the love of metal music and magic and brutal secrets and even more brutal outcomes.


General rating:
★★★★ Getting better.

Horror rating:
★★★★ Creepy as hell in parts


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Book Synopsis:

A metal guitarist is gifted with a guitar grimoire, which he inherited from his late father’s library. With careful reading, practice, and commitment, this strange occult book could make him the greatest musician in the world… if the magic works in his favor.




My name is Brian Barr. I am a published fiction author. Along with novels and short stories, I’ve also written comic books, including the Empress series with Chuck Amadori. I am NOT the author of God’s Plan for Us, written by some other Brian Barr.

My debut novel, Carolina Daemonic Book I: Confederate Shadows, is out now. My second novel will be Psychological Revenge: The First Super Inc. Novel.

Carolina Daemonic is a dystopian alternative timeline urban fantasy-horror with LGBT, steampunk, and occult elements.

Psychological Revenge is a fun, campy superhero novel with zany villains and lots of action.

Be on the lookout for my stories and thank you for visiting my page.

I am also a proud member of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop.

And for more about Brian, visit his site or find him on social media:


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