Eve of Darkness

Editorial design / Graphic design / Ideation

Celebrating underground 1980s music (part 2)

How do you follow up an award-winning book on a pivotal chapter of Toronto’s music history?

By making a follow-up that’s stuffed with even more rare photos, concert posters and eye-popping stories of debauchery. 

Shortly after the successful launch of Tomorrow Is Too Late, an oral history of the hardcore punk scene in 1980s Toronto, our collaborators at UXB Press set out to create a companion volume that looked at the city’s metal scene of the same era. 

The result is Eve of Darkness, a 304-page book that, through more than 1,000 photos and hundreds of hours of interviews, tells the story of the rise of hard rock and heavy metal in Toronto in the late 1970s, its cultural and commercial heyday in the mid 1980s and the eventual atomization and decline of various subgenres by the early 1990s.

With Eve of Darkness (as with the previous book), we aimed to create an immersive, cohesive design that captured the energy of metal music and culture. Our inspiration began with the vast collection of photography and scene paraphernalia—patches, posters, album covers—that brought to life the iconic fashions and aesthetic of the era. From zines to MuchMusic and everything in between, we made room for the groundbreaking media that connected the scene at a time when record labels and radio weren’t keen on headbangers.

Typographically, we paid tribute to the scene’s DIY attitude, filling out the pages with hand-written quotes and typefaces that would look at home in the liner notes of an album from the era. Splashes of red text and an eye-catching, foiled cover married the thrash/doom aspects of metal with its more glam side, helping to convey the breadth and depth of the Toronto scene at the time.

Our editorial team took on the task of copyediting all of the interviews and developing a style guide for a subculture that adamantly opposed such constructs as consistent punctuation or standard spelling. While the UXB team handled the interviewing and narrative structure, both G&S and UXB worked in tandem, draft after draft, to refine the storytelling to the point where even music laypeople could make sense of it all.

The final product hit store shelves after more than a year of intense collaboration and painstaking creation. Check it out for yourself!