Not to worry if you heard a guttural, bellowing ho ho hughhhhrrrrrrrr coming down your chimney over the holidays -- it just meant that Santa was about to make the metalhead in your house smile for the next several months. Fans of extreme music might take issue with how this book focuses on a mere eight bands (Napalm Death, Carcass, Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse), but what it lacks (intentionally, by the way) in comprehensiveness, it makes up for with a breezy writing style. It was only a matter of time before a rock journalist canonized his version of the death metal-grindcore story into "official" historical scripture, but Mudrian's unpretentious approach is a marvel. He could have challenged the bands more on their subject matter, but he's not exactly a cheerleader either, and there's nary a moment of self-stroking on his part. He also does a great job of moderating conflicting accounts of various disputes that occurred along the way. A great addition to your coffee table or travel bag long after you've read it once, Choosing Death is a fitting benchmark, signifying for this music the respect it has long deserved.