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Fireaxe

Fireaxe
February 06, 2005, 11:00:12 AM
Subversion is what I do best…

                      The Burning Blade

              Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 8.2

                      Feb 4, 2005

            http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

              "Force your will upon the world
              and enslave us to your dream."
                              - Fireaxe "River of Madness"

      We are all told to follow our dreams, strive to satisfy our
desires, and fight hard to keep what is ours, but what happens when
achieving those goals is unrealistic or simply impossible?  Few of us
like to admit defeat or part with our highest aspirations and so when
our dreams come into conflict with reality it is often reality, or our
perception of it, which is altered to accommodate the dream.  We
try to imagine a reality in which our dreams come true and thus,
truth is often the first casualty of desire.
      Take, for example, our civic responsibilities.  We all want
the things that the government provides for us, police protection,
good schools, better roads, and assistance for the unfortunate, and we
want to see these things improved and better funded.  But whenever
new taxes are proposed to pay for those improvements we flatly refuse
to pay and vote them down.  Do we think that the money will come
out of thin air?  Of course not.  We want everyone else to pay more,
believing, generally without any factual support, that we're paying
enough, or too much, and others aren't.  We don't bother examining
the issue since we might find out that we are wrong, and when we do
stumble upon facts, we accept them selectively, based on what it is
that we want to believe.  The end result that we collectively want more
than we are willing to pay for and we all live in our own little worlds
with our own ideas of what government needs to do to fix the problem.
And so even in a crisis, which inevitably results, there is little consensus,
and any way that we end up settling things appears unjust to many of
us, ensuring future conflict and dissent.
      In this example it is easy to see that we are collectively acting
in a way which makes things harder for ourselves.  That much is simple.
Figuring out a system for calculating each individual's tax burden
fairly is not simple, and getting everyone to agree that the system is
just is virtually impossible.  The basic problem is that we all feel
entitled to more than we can collectively have, an attitude that extends
to far more than just taxation and civic improvements.  It is a simple
truth that we cannot all be above average although we can all want to
be.  And though while a few of us actually make our wildest dreams
come true, the vast majority of people who dream of winning a Super
Bowl, getting elected president, or becoming a big rock star have those
dreams dashed sooner or later.  But since dreams don't die easily, the
demand for special things far outweighs the supply, guaranteeing
conflict, and not always in the form of healthy competition.
      Collectively we invite trouble by chasing dreams and shooting
for the stars, but individually it is the best way for us to achieve those
goals.  The more you want something, the more motivated you will be
to achieve it, and the more likely you will push yourself to become the
best that you can possibly be.  As individuals it is better for us to lose
our larger perspective, pushing aside the possibility that we could lose
and ignoring the plight of those who inevitably will.  We benefit from
focusing solely on achieving our personal goals for holding back in
any way results in losing ground to those who do not care about the
impact their intense desires cause.  We try so hard because we know
that when the day of victory occurs the winners will take all and the
losers will be sent home in shame.  To work hard and fail is the worst
possible outcome, so we push ourselves to extremes to succeed.  Extreme
rewards invite extreme competition and all the ugliness that surround
such behavior.  And it isn't just those who push too hard who deserve
the blame, all of us support the system in our attitudes towards the
winners and losers, and thus we encourage the system towards
extremes.
      Such a highly competitive system produces great champions,
but it also has the severe drawback of being stunningly myopic.  Having
a larger perspective on competition, life, and the world we live in is a
liability and as a result many of us do not even bother gathering a deep
understanding of things.  Our personal goals become all-consuming,
and anyone or anything that gets in our way is viewed as being an
enemy to be defeated.  Long term planning is cast aside for greater
returns on short term goals for if you are not sure that you will be on
top for long, why plan for something that will be of greater benefit to
the one who beats you and takes your place?
      Such systems are not stable due to lack of foresight on the
part of those within them.  To some degree that is a good thing, since
all will be given a respite from the madness as the system collapses,
but a catastrophic collapse is far from enjoyable and often we choose
to support the system since it is the lesser of two evils.
      Speaking of evil, I, as well as Octavio Ramos, are hard at
work writing material for the new project "Eternal Devotion to the
Dark Goddess".  Although many miles apart, thanks to the internet
we are busy co-authoring what promises to be one of the hottest tracks
on the disk.  I plan to write out all the tracks before starting the
recording process, so it will be a while before I'll have cuts from the
new CD for you to hear.  Stay tuned.
      A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.

Some good reviews and a hearty hail to Fireaxe's biggest supporters

      More reviews of "Victory or Death" have come in and the
new ones have been more positive than the older ones.  As before, the
reviewers don't go into depth about the music, sticking mainly to
reporting who Fireaxe is, which bands Fireaxe sounds like, and
giving the music an overall rating.  That's pretty much what every CD
gets except for those the reviewer either loves or loathes, so I'm not
getting, nor am I demanding, special treatment.  But what disappoints
me about webzine reviews is how little publicity they have generated
for Fireaxe.  I have yet to have a single person tell me that they found
out about Fireaxe through a webzine demo review of "Victory or Death".
It makes me wonder if anyone bothers reading them at all.
      So is it all wasted effort?  Probably not, since publicity of any
kind is beneficial, even bad press.  A few years back someone who ran
a site where every week he posted a "worst of the internet" award along
with a ridicule-filled rant stumbled across the Fireaxe site around the
time that "Lovecraftian Nightmares" was in release.  The guy did a
pretty nasty write-up, although he was so uninformed about Fireaxe
that his cheap shots completely missed their target.  But not long after
that I got an e-mail from one of his readers who had decided to listen
to a few Fireaxe mp3s, liked them, and wanted to order a copy of the
CD.  Mind you, that's not the kind of attention I'd like to get, but it
just goes to show that there is some truth behind the adage that
"any press is good press".
      But it seems like in the super-saturated market for new music
that good press doesn't get anyone's attention unless it's extremely good
press, and I am thankful that Fireaxe has a number of people who have
been so inspired by my music that they've written glowing reviews of
Fireaxe in high traffic areas on the internet.  They have been the ones
who have spread Fireaxe around the world, encouraging many to at
least listen to what I have to offer and decide for themselves if they
like it.  A hearty hail goes out to Lord Vic and his constant praise of
Fireaxe on metal-rules.com.  About 90% of the people who contact me
about buying CDs tell me that it was Lord Vic who prompted them to
sample Fireaxe mp3s.  I also owe a great debt to Bim Landers and
Nicolas Bonneau for their ongoing support.  Hails to you guys, and
many others, for keeping the spotlight on my works.
      Nicolas is my French distributor, and he'd be spreading CDs
across that beautiful country if there hadn't been a postal breakdown
along the way.  No one knows what happened, but somewhere between
here and there an uninsured, unregistered package containing ten copies
of "Food for the Gods" almost got lost in the mail, never to be seen
again.  After submitting a formal complaint to the postmaster the
package was returned to me more than three months after I sent it out,
along with a bill for the return postage.  Where had it been?  We are not
sure, but one of the stickers on it said that it had been through Germany.
Germany?  Exactly how the international postal service could take a large
package with the destination clearly written on it in big letters (FRANCE)
and send it to the wrong country is beyond me.  But at least I got the CDs
back, and soon Nicolas will be able to go about his work spreading the
anti-gospel.

The oppositional nature of consciousness

      In edition 7.6 of this newsletter I wrote a short essay which
probed the oppositional nature of ideologies.  I made quite a number of
points, the main ones being: that all ideologies are defined in opposition
to some threat to their existence; that they are at their most powerful and
motivated when fighting against that threat; and that in the absence of
that threat they seek out other rivals which can take the place of the
vanquished opposition.  In this newsletter I will make similar arguments
concerning consciousness and how people behave in much the same
way as ideologies.  But first there are a few things about ideologies that
I would like to comment on as they relate to the post-election period in
the U.S.  Note that I wrote about ideologies before the last election.
      In George W. Bush's second inaugural address it almost
seemed as if his speech writer was an avid reader of my newsletter,
using my theories to construct a speech which would motivate all
Americans to destroy our adversary, tyranny, in the name of our god,
Freedom.  Everything that I wrote about was in evidence in the address:
the warnings of complacency, the morphing of the dictatorships of old
into current world powers, and the depiction of the entire world as a
desperate struggle between good and evil.  It remains to be seen just
how much those ideals are put into actions but the "Freedom Crusade"
is certainly on the march.
      In BB7.6 I wrote, "In their quest to destroy their adversaries,
ideologies can turn inwards upon themselves, conducting a campaign
of ideological purification.  This often becomes necessary when a
substantial number of followers cannot make the connection between
the current adversary and the original adversary of the ideology."
By the time of the inaugural address this had already happened to a
great degree in the one area that President Bush had the most control
over, his cabinet.  Out went the last of the moderates and in went the
extremists and yes-men, or rather yes-persons.  Furthermore, in the
preceding months there had been an ideological purge at the CIA
with a number of senior officials being forced into retirement.  Added
to that was an expansion of an intelligence gathering group headed by
the pentagon which has no congressional oversight and is completely
controlled by the executive branch.  Even though it is this sort of
consolidation of power that the U.S. was created to oppose, as long
as the true believers in charge see a difference between themselves
and their enemies they will continue to seize power, in ways much
like their foes, to use against their enemies, foreign and domestic.
      I'd be very worried about this situation if it weren't for the
fact that control of the U.S. economy has been placed squarely in the
hands of foreigners, some of whom are run by the very governments
that the U.S. opposes.  With a massive debt and a constant need for
more loans, the U.S. government and its citizens can ill afford to
push their drive for "A New American Century" too far.  Foreign
investors can pull the plug at any time.  The only trouble is that if the
U.S. economy falls, everyone's economy falls, and so foreign lenders
see pulling the rug out from under America as a tool of last resort.
Nonetheless, I feel that time is getting close.
      Now, turning towards the oppositional nature of
consciousness.  In the Fireaxe theory I made the following
contentions regarding consciousness: that consciousness is created
by instilling within a person a permanent sense of inadequacy, in
essence a state of constant fear; and that the deeper the sense of
inadequacy, the stronger the person is motivated, generally to
serve their ideology.  It is here where we can see the reason why
both ideology and consciousness share an oppositional nature: an
ideology is much more unified if it, and its members, all stand together
in opposition to a similar foe.  It benefits an ideology to force its
oppositional nature on individuals.  Thus, within every ideology there
are a great number of lessons that are taught to its members about the
dangers of its adversary with the intent of crafting the consciousness
of its members in such a way that they fear and oppose it.  This unity
of vigilance solidifies the structure of the ideology as newly made
conscious members conform to the ideological system.
      I view consciousness as being a state of hyper-vigilance
necessary for survival within a modern society.  I've discussed my
theory on consciousness elsewhere and so I will only go over it briefly
here.  The demands of the modern world require each person to have
an internal model of the world which includes a model of himself or
herself which they can use to perform long term planning.  Long
term planning is critical in today's world, since without it you must
always react to things as they occur, which, in our modern society, is
often far too late.  You need to be able to plan for the future and
visualize yourself testing out various options to be able to make a
good choice.  Once you have such an internal model, you can see
yourself in your mind's eye, know that you exist, and thus are
conscious.
      There are many dangers within our society despite its calm
appearance and overly-publicized sensational crimes.  Most of these
dangers come in the form of victimization and exploitation with
a great many of them being perfectly legal.  As a child you must
conform to avoid humiliation at the hands of your peers and work
hard to live up to the expectations of your parents and teachers.  As
an adult you face those same pressures and more, including living up
to the expectations of your boss and spouse, providing for your
family, and fending off the constant assault on your wealth from all
directions.  Failing in any one of these areas can result in anything
from mild discomfort to a major personal catastrophe, so we try hard
to succeed.  Successful defense requires consciousness so that we can
think through all the problems that we face and avoid falling for the
tricks and traps of clever con artists.  But consciousness is more than
something which forms when dangers are imminent and then goes
away when they are distant.  Consciousness is a permanent state, and
that implies a continuous source of danger.  I think that consciousness
is made permanent by repeatedly exposing someone to sometimes
traumatic failures until the fear of failure has been made indelible
in the mind of the individual.  This can come about as a series of
lesser traumatic events, a single very traumatic event, or some
combination of the two.  It matters not how it comes about, since the
important part is that the individual will always feel the fear of failure
and thus will always work towards preventing it.
      We don't set out to traumatize our children and peers, in fact
we usually set out to do the opposite since we love and respect them,
but both we and our society have expectations for our children that
they need to live up to or else they will suffer both in the present and
in the future.  So in order to help them to meet those expectations, we
are forced to motivate them to achieve.  We try to use the "carrot only"
approach, but that can only get us so far.  Punishment is required to
prevent our children from doing things that we don't want them to do
and also to prevent them from becoming spoiled, lethargic, or content.
So when they fall short, and they inevitably do, the hammer comes
down.  Punishment isn't necessarily a physical beating.  In fact, that
is not the most effective form of punishment.  Far more powerful,
and potentially traumatic or damaging as well, is some sort of
deprivation, such as taking away a beloved possession, social isolation,
or withholding affection from the child.  We don't want to do these
things, but we do them because we they work: motivation is increased
and expectations are often reached where the "carrot only" approach
had failed.  But there are dangers.  It isn't easy to get exactly the results
we want, usually because we are not in a rational state when we are
applying punishment, and severe trauma leading to mental disorders
can sometimes be the result.
      This may sound like I am contending that consciousness is
some form of insanity.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but due to
the similarities between consciousness and dissociation disorders it
seems that consciousness is in essence a mild form of dissociation
with similar causes and mechanisms.  Dissociation is a form of mental
paralysis, temporarily disconnecting mind from body, which stops the
person from moving or acting in any way.  It is the "freeze" part of the
instinctive fight, flight, or freeze reaction to dangers and served our
ancestors and predecessors well during encounters with predators who
located their prey primarily through detecting motion.  I think that in
conscious people, this dissociation mechanism enables us to stop and
think whenever we encounter dangers, serving as a layer between the
outside world and our thoughts, and as a layer between our thoughts
and our actions.  Since most of the dangers we face are not immediate,
we can afford the luxury of waiting and thinking through our options.
And since many of the dangers we face are complicated, we need to
prevent ourselves from acting reflexively or impulsively lest we do
the wrong thing.  Also, with practice, I think we are able to relax the
total paralysis part of the dissociation mechanism so that we can think
and act at the same time.  We can also learn to be thinking about one
thing while we are doing another, allowing us to deal with dangers
full time while going about our daily lives.  That is pretty much the
definition of dissociation, a sharp division between mind and body,
but not so sharp as to inhibit all action.  Thus, in my view, as conscious
organisms we are constantly in fear, to a degree, and constantly trying
to work our way out of that fear.  I think that the conscious state is one
of mild, controlled panic.
      The goal of child rearing is to place the child into this state
of controlled panic by applying punishment until the state becomes
permanent.  Now, it would seem that this type of child rearing would
result in the child having an adversarial relationship with the parent
since the parent is the one who applies the punishment.  Of course,
this is not desirable since the member of an ideology shouldn't come
to view a surrogate of that ideology as their adversary.  So instead,
the force which is responsible for a child's failure in meeting social
expectations is said to be something other than the punishing agent.
In most cases the child itself is blamed, or at least the part of the
child associated with the ideology's adversary.
      In Christian mythology, bad behavior is either blamed on the
devil, or stems from the evil within us all as a result of original sin.
This ties bad behavior to the abstract adversary of the ideology and
results in the process of socialization being portrayed as a battle
between good and evil for the child's soul.  In more secular ideologies,
bad behavior is seen as stemming from the child's animal instincts
which must be purged so that one can become civilized.  Note here
that seeing a part of one's self as being animalistic or evil and trying
to distance yourself from it contributes to the dissociative feature of
consciousness: the child tries to dissociate his mind from his body.
But regardless of ideology, during child rearing the adversary of the
ideology is always connected with the force which causes the constant
state of fear in the individual.  Furthermore, it is that constant state of
fear which drives consciousness, giving it a reason for being.  A child
is made constantly afraid of something and is constantly trying to figure
out a way to make the fear go away.  But the child cannot, as the fear
is a permanent feature, and thus so is conscious.  The adversarial
relationship lasts a lifetime.
      But it is not always the case that a child accepts the ideology's
adversary as his or her own.  In some cases the child will see his
punishment as unjust and see authority figures as adversaries.  This
form of anti-authoritarianism can also be bent to the will of the
ideology if the person can be made to see that the authority figures
he or she has contempt for are those of rival ideologies or are corrupt
members of the current ideology.  I think that the majority of people
have more than one adversarial prototype inside them, having
experienced different forms of at least minor trauma at the hands of
many, and that people have a mixture of both types of adversarial
relationships: the weaker adversary which needs to be controlled or
purged, and the stronger adversary which needs to be overthrown.
I also think that the mixture isn't always balanced with people
tending one way or another.  Putting terms to these two archetypes
I could call one conformist and authoritarian and the other rebellious
and anti-authoritarian, but in real life the labels will be blurred as
people share both forms and express them in different situations.
      In the essay I wrote on the adversarial nature of ideologies
I made a rather disturbing contention that in the absence of a rival
ideology which serves as an adversary, an ideology will either find a
new adversary or turn inward on itself, indulging in either purification
or ideological mutation.  I think  that the same premise is true for
consciousness.  Although the state of fear that drives consciousness
is permanent, it can grow stronger or weaker depending on external
forces which are perceived as threats.  Since this force directly drives
our consciousness, our drive and energy grow stronger as our fears
become greater.  Fear can be very motivating, and can propel us to
great heights, allowing us to reach our true potential, and thus it is
in our best interests not to live in peace, but in a manageable state
of fear.  And so, like ideologies, we make war on our adversaries
and seek out new adversaries to replace those that we have either
vanquished or are no longer a part of our lives.  And sometimes
we find surrogate adversaries to take the place of adversaries who
we cannot oppose in real life.  The reason is simple: the struggle
makes us strong.  It makes us who we are.
      This quest to defeat adversaries can take a socially positive
form, such as taking on great challenges, replacing them with
greater challenges after we've succeeded and the luster wears off our
past glories.  But the quest can also take on a socially negative form,
such as individuals seeking to re-live their past traumas in search of
revenge and finding new adversaries which will play the role of their
old ones.  Since past traumas deal with adversarial relationships with
authority figures, loved ones, and peers, re-living these events often
takes the forms of crime and disobedient behavior, deliberately
causing harm to a spouse or loved one, searching for or simply
provoking fights with others, or engaging in the same traumatic
behaviors experienced earlier in life, either from the submissive
side or the dominant side.  The abused becoming the abuser is a
common example of reliving traumatic experiences from the past.
Furthermore, since the adversary can never be truly beaten (it is
permanent in the mind) the struggle is often played out over and
over, becoming pathological, as if a person was addicted to the
experience.
      We can see this more easily in extreme cases, but the
mechanism of re-living past traumas applies to milder traumas
as well.  How many of us know of others who always seem to get
themselves into the same situations or conflicts over and over?
And how many of us seem to find ourselves re-living past traumas
or acting as those we once despised?  Doesn't it sometimes seem like
we are actively trying to bring these things on ourselves?  We are.
Although these are sometimes dangerous or self-destructive behaviors,
we do them because they reinforce our identity and make us feel
conscious and alive.  We are at our best when we are fighting tooth
and nail against our adversary although our "best" may be a shocking
display of cruelty or pathological behavior.  We do these things
because our alternative is to turn inward on ourselves, engaging in
self-hatred and a desire to change or purify ourselves.  But either
way we are driven by a desire to find and defeat new adversaries
be they others or ourselves.
      The concept of adversaries in the mind is nothing new.
They're also called "inner demons", "voices in our heads", "monkeys
on our backs", or simply "issues".  We all have them, to one degree
or another, but only see them as a problem when they cause very
anti-social or self-destructive behaviors.  The field of psychotherapy
is focused around ridding people of their worst adversaries or at least
allowing people to control them.  Since the Fireaxe theory states that
since adversaries are permanent, trying to rid yourself of them is
an exercise in futility.  However, it is possible to change the form
of your adversary by throwing off the old perceived causes of your
worst fears and adopting new ones.  This is what religion has done
for centuries.  Conversion is the process of freeing people from past
adversarial relationships while remaking those adversaries to be those
of the religion.  Though religious converts may claim to be free, they've
really only traded in their old inner demons for new ones.  But
conversion techniques are hardly restricted to religion, and you can
see examples of ideologies, advertisers, cults, and other institutions
using fear to sell their message.  And while sometimes they seem to be
selling only beautiful dreams, beware of the adversary coming in
through the back door.
      Consciousness and the permanent state of fear have a
symbiotic relationship.  We seek out new adversaries to make us
stronger, and we need to defeat our adversaries to make the pain
and fear go away, at least temporarily.  In essence we are trapped in
a continuous cycle of creating and destroying rivals, much like how
police shows require their writers to produce an endless succession
of criminals to be put behind bars.  Indeed, those shows, and movies,
that we love to watch are like surrogate experiences for us.  We
meet an adversary, he is built up into a fearsome force, and then
he is brought down to earth.  We feel uncomfortable when the fear
grows and relieved when it goes away, at least for a little while.
Sports contests act in a similar way, as do soap operas, reality
television, and especially computer games.  We become addicted to
these things, and our society's tremendous desire for such surrogate
experiences is strong support for an adversarial relationship lying
at the core of our being.
      If there is nothing that we can do about changing our
mental state, the question becomes how can we focus people towards
more socially positive behaviors rather than pathological ones.
I think that the key lies in a contention I made about ideological
struggle: that aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face
internal strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other
to satisfy their needs.  Contentment is a behavior that is universally
viewed as bad by all modern societies and thus we are unable to
rest on our past achievements.  Growth is all important, and only
in a growing society it is possible for each person to reach a greater
height without taking away from someone else.  Without that
growth there will be internal conflict and pathological behaviors
of every kind.  So we are compelled to grow, sometimes at great
cost.  The trouble is that we live in a world which is both rapidly
expanding its population and rapidly exhausting its resources.
We cannot grow at this rate for long, and thus the future does not
look at all peaceful.

The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it

How to order Fireaxe CDs:

      Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

      Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12     $14
Victory or Death                $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares $5      $7
A Dream of Death        $5      $7

      Send everything to:

      Brian Voth
      1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
      Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

      If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
      The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
      Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.

The Future

      I’ve been focusing so hard on “Food for the Gods” that I’ve
had little time to think about what I’d like to record next.  Over the
past few months I’ve tossed around some ideas and have come up
with a working title and theme.  The next Fireaxe work will dig even
deeper into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth
the myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what
they are.  While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams,
and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth
by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the
psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times.  It will
be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.  But don’t put your order in just yet.
After wrapping up “Food for the Gods” I’ll need a while to rest and
upgrade my studio.  I’m spent.
      My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.

Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

      Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
      less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
      profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
      I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
      like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
      gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
      link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
      samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
      you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
      not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. You are food for the gods.
6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
      as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
      THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
      CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
      mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
      other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
      I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
      of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
      to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
8.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
      institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
      mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
      Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
      song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
      if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
      if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
      the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
      Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
      would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
      trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
      effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

      The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.

Ending Comments

      Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                              Brian

--
"You shall break down their alters,
and dash into pieces their pillars,
hew down their asherim,
and burn their graven images with fire.
For I am a jealous god and I shall have no rivals."

                                      - Fireaxe "The Covenant"

              http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

The Burning Blade: Fireax Newsletter
June 05, 2005, 09:59:22 AM
Standing on top…

                       The Burning Blade

                Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 8.4

                         June 3, 2005

            http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

      "It is not possible to manage something you cannot define."
              - Alan Greenspan, referring to the money supply,
              and in essence stating that he cannot do the job that
              he was hired to do

             "But out of control and it swallows us whole.
              A ravenous abomination. A death machine."
                                      -Fireaxe "Death Machine"

      Many systems, political, economic, and religious, tend towards
greater and greater complexity as they are required to do more and more
things.  Examples are ever-present: the EU's proposed constitution with
hundreds of articles, the US's tax code with thousands of pages, and the
Catholic church's endless reams of doctrine.  All require experts to study
them for years to try to fathom out what they mean, and even then experts
often disagree.  And to make things even more difficult, when such codes
are enshrined into law they often have many problematic unintended
consequences which force politicians, lawyers, and priests to add yet
more rules in the hopes of fixing the system.  Over time, complex systems
grow beyond anyone's ability to understand them let alone control them,
and yet those systems are the ones that control our lives.  That's hardly
a comforting thought.
      Sitting at the top of each pile of doctrine we generally have a
person or persons who we regard as the masters of the system.  The
Pope presides over the Catholic church, the Supreme Court presides
over US law, and Alan Greenspan presides over the US dollar.  Each
wields great power over the system and speaks with great authority.  We
like to think that they can control the complex systems that we have
entrusted to them, but in truth each system has a great degree of
independence from its master.  At the core of each system lies a mass
of individuals each making independent decisions without necessarily
considering the impact of their decisions on the rest of the system.  If
only one or two people show poor judgment, or proceed in a novel and
potentially dangerous manner the system will usually manage just fine
with few disruptions.  If a larger number of people do the same, the
system can become destabilized, but it can usually be brought back under
control when the masters of the system create more laws, adjust certain
factors, or add more doctrine to the holy texts.  But if a large mass of
people test the very limits of a system, the results can be catastrophic.
It is at those times that the masters of the systems can only watch
helplessly as the system collapses.  Their control is not absolute.
      Throughout history this has happened over and over.  Each
time we come up with a new set of fixes to correct the failures of past
systems and everything seems to be working once more.  However, years
later the system inevitably fails once again, but this time in a new way
that no one could have predicted or prevented.  The pattern is cyclical
in nature.  After each major collapse, people behave conservatively for
fear that another collapse will happen again.  Slowly the new system
inspires confidence, and caution is set aside in favor of risk and novelty.
Stability gradually goes from being something that is cherished and
protected to being something that is taken for granted.  Eventually risk
and excesses rule the day and the system is ripped from its stable
moorings. Destabilization follows and there is no way back.  Despite
some often extreme attempts to save it, the system collapses, spreading
chaos on destruction in its wake.  Then the cycle begins anew.
      I see the current cycle coming to a close.  There are few who
are still alive during the economic collapse of the 1930's and the world
war that followed.  Not many are left in power who have lived through
that era and thus few truly understand that the stability that appears to
permeate our financial and political systems could suddenly disappear
and plunge the world into chaos.  Many simply take it for granted that
it could never happen again and that we're too smart to allow it to do so.
I see a number of leaders taking great risks and using their power in
ways that are destabilizing the current system.  It appears like a global
game of chicken, but there is a method to their madness of our leaders.
If you push farther than the other guy, but don't go too far yourself, you
win.  But how far is too far?  I think that we will find out soon enough.
      Speaking of new and destabilizing ideas, "Eternal Devotion
to the Dark Goddess" is slowly coming to fruition.  As my health is
improving, the tracks are forming, and the recording process may
be in full swing before the end of the year.  Of course, if the global
economy collapses this year or the next, all bets are off concerning
a release date, but as long as there is life within my body, there will
also exist the will to deliver the darkest Fireaxe CD of them all.
      A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.


Fireaxe salutes Wikipedia and Perry Grayson

      Only recently have I been made aware of Wikipedia, an
internet based encyclopedia, and I have to say that I am impressed
by what I've seen so far.  Unlike other internet encyclopedias, Wikipedia
is an open book, meaning that it allows anyone at all to add, update, or
correct information for any given entry.  This enables it to have hundreds
if not thousands of authors, each experts in their own field, adding to a
massive knowledge base which covers everything from history to science
to pop culture.  It also allows you to add external links to the pages so
that it can connect the entire internet to its knowledge base.  It's powerful
and its scope is vast.  Just search for "Where's the beef?" and you'll see
what I mean.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

      I know what you're thinking, that having Wikipedia open so
that anyone can make changes is dangerous or ill-advised.  Anyone can
vandalize or delete anything that someone else has contributed, or simply
post a bunch of nonsense that sounds authoritative.  But Wikipedia also
stores the history of changes for every entry, so if you find a page that
has been vandalized you can easily roll it back to the unblemished
version.  It's not a perfect system, but I am surprised how good it is.
      One day I decided to do a search for Fireaxe and discovered
that there was no entry for my musical project.  No problem.  With just
a few clicks and I added the entry along with a link to the Fireaxe home
page and a brief description.  If anyone of you wants to add your two
cents to the entry go right ahead.  Learning the form is pretty easy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireaxe

      You can also search other entries just like any good search
engine and when I searched for Fireaxe I stumbled upon a very good
write-up of horror author Frank Belknap Long, one of H.P. Lovecraft's
circle of fellow pulp sci-fi/horror authors.  The Fireaxe song "Hounds of
Tindalos" was close enough to Long's vision to merit a reference on the
page.  I quickly added a link where Fireaxe was mentioned and wondered
who would have thought to include Fireaxe in the Frank Belknap Long
entry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Belknap_Long

      Reading farther down the page I discovered that it was probably
my friend and fellow metal musician/Lovecraft enthusiast Perry Grayson.
He'd included a link to a biography that he'd written on Frank Belknap
Long which was too long to be included in Wikipedia, but which fits in
perfectly as an external link:

http://www.thevine.net/~fortress/fblhist.htm

      If you're a Lovecraft/horror enthusiast, give his article a read.
And to Perry, if you were the one who wrote Fireaxe into the Frank
Belknap Long entry, a big thank you to you.  Wikipedia rocks.


Top of the Rock

      If you don't have your health, you have nothing.  Sure, it's a
tired old cliché, but there will very likely be a time in your life where
you realize that nothing is more true.  Protect your health, preserve it,
and when it tries to get away, fight as hard as you can to get it back.
I know that from experience.  I've written about my struggles with my
health over the past three years: about how a malignant tumor nearly
did me in and left me with only one kidney, and about how the sutures
from that operation caused me a lot of pain and prevented me from fully
healing the seven inch scar until I paid to have them removed.  Now I
have another chapter to add to the saga.  I'd like it to be the last.
      At the end of last year I had the sutures from my surgical scar
removed, which solved the problems I was having there completely.
Note that those were internal sutures.  They held the muscles together,
not the skin.  After six months of healing I didn't need them anymore,
but removing them would require another surgery, something that was
rarely ever done.  The sutures were meant to be permanent.  The trouble
was that the surgeon had sewn them in using an outdated technique.
As a result the sutures dug in and caused sharp stabbing pains whenever
I used my abdominal muscles.  It was frustrating, and what was worse
was that all the doctors and surgeons that I saw told me that the problem
was due to scar tissue, not the sutures, and that my troubles would slowly
go away over time.  They were all wrong, completely wrong.  But I still
had to pay to have the sutures removed.  My insurance wouldn't cover
the procedure.  The bastards.  But anyway, I'm just glad that I could
afford it.  It needed to be done.
      In the months that followed I found myself in a similar
situation once more.  My abdomen was fine, but my energy levels had
dropped again.  They'd been down ever since I first got cancer and
had been drifting between low and very low ever since.  Something
was wrong with me but all the blood tests and scans showed nothing.
My doctors had no idea what the problem was and told me that I
would either get better with time, or suggested that I was depressed
and needed something like Prozac to make me feel better.  I would have
been insulted by the idea that depression was causing my fatigue, but I
know that doctors sometimes get kickbacks for prescribing popular
drugs.  My doctors simply had no other answers for me.  So once
again I went back to the internet to try to figure out what was wrong
with me.
      I began to wonder if I was going to have to actually become a
doctor in order to find a cure.  I was already taking over part of the
job that my doctors and specialists were supposed to do.  They could
only give me fifteen minutes of their time every month and that is not
enough time to look into something that doesn't immediately show up
on the standard tests.  As a result, "Do no harm" became "Do nothing".
I was on my own.  Like it or not, that is the direction that our health
care system has gone in recent years.  If you have something that modern
medicine has identified, like cancer, you get prompt and powerful
treatment.  But if you have something that is unusual and difficult to
diagnose, you might have to do a lot of the legwork yourself, especially
if it is a chronic lack of energy.  Most people will write you off as
mentally ill, a malingerer, or a lazy slacker if you complain about
being fatigued all the time.
      None of those labels stick to me save for the "mentally ill"
one (he he).  And although I may be a number of things, depressed
isn't one of them.  Sure, I write depressing music and I may not have
a positive outlook on the future and the world, but I have always had a
strong drive to do my best with whatever hand I get dealt.  I look at it
very simply: there is no alternative, so always fight hard.
      I'd taken up cycling back in the late 90s.  That was when I
moved out to California and noticed that there were all these bike lanes
everywhere.  That was a huge change from Michigan, where your
only riding choices on city streets were an irregular sidewalk and a
pothole-ridden gap between speeding pickup trucks and the curb.
Once in California I broke out my old ten-speed and whipped myself
back into shape.  In time I fell in love with the sport and increased the
distances that I would go on my rides.  By mid-2001 I was able to ride
over a hundred miles in a single day and did that on most weekends
during the summer.  It was great.  In July I'd watch Lance ride live on
TV in the Tour de France in the morning, and then cruise up into the
hills for my own stage in the afternoon.  Lots of Fireaxe tracks got
written while I was out on those long rides, "The Citadel Must Fall"
and "River of Madness" being two of them.  During the summer of
2001 I rode long and I rode hard and I enjoyed every minute of it.
      That was when cancer struck.  No one knows how you get
kidney cancer, but I suspect that it was because I was drinking the
filthy California tap water and breathing filthy Saddleback Valley
air on those long rides.  The air is cleaner where I live now, but the
tap water is even worse.  The stuff tastes like jet fuel.  I'm not kidding.
I drink distilled water now exclusively and when I get a mouthful of
southern California tap water I want to spit it out.  It's disgusting.
      But along with cancer, something else struck me that year
and the next as I slowly lost my ability to ride long distances and then
lost the ability to ride at all.  My immune system was getting more
and more taxed by the cancer and ended up seriously weakened.  That's
never a good thing because there are dormant infections in our bodies
that are held in check by our immune systems.  When our immune
systems become weakened, those infections wake up and spread around,
making you sick and lethargic, and some of them have adapted to have
such survival mechanisms as triggering the hyper-coagulation of your
blood.  Hyper-coagulation is where your blood gets thicker and the walls
of your capillaries end up coated with a layer of fibrous tissue.  The
infections then hide in that layer which protects them from your
immune system.  The layer even protects the infections from antibiotics
and thus you relapse after taking courses of them.  It's nasty shit and I
had it bad.  But as I said, none of it showed up on the standard tests
my doctors performed.  Of course, neither does cancer until it is just
about to kill you.  So I wasn't going to wait around and do nothing.
I had to find out what was wrong with me.
      Without the internet there would be no Fireaxe.  And to be
honest, without the internet there might be no Brian Voth anymore.
I'm not sure if it has saved my life, but the internet has helped me
improve my health on numerous occasions.  This is another one of
those.  While searching for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome the following
link came up:

http://www.hormoneandlongevitycenter.com/cfidsfibromyalgia/

      It was written by Dr. Holtorf who came to realize that
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was a very real and very devastating
syndrome when he came down with it many years ago.  I'm glad that
he did, in a way, since he has figured out a cause and treatment for
the syndrome.  His ideas are new, and not yet accepted, but I was
willing to try anything that was scientifically sound and his theory
certainly is.
      Of course, I don't believe without proof and neither does Dr.
Holtorf's clinic.  So we got proof.  Independently performed blood tests
showed that I was suffering from everything that his theory predicts:
hyper-coagulation of the blood, no less than five chronic infections,
high values of reverse T3 - a measure that escapes most thyroid
doctors, and a weakened but highly active immune system.  Dr. Holtorf
has his shit together.  The best proof of all has come recently after
several months of treatment.  My energy is coming back and I'm back
on my bike.
      I'm not all the way back.  Maybe I'll get there.  Dr. Holtorf
doesn't guarantee 100% recovery.  I think that's because once the
infections get into your system you can never completely get rid of
them.  So you need some kind of continuing maintenance.  It's also
possible that Dr. Holtorf is holding back on the final piece of the
cure so that he can rake in extra cash in treatment.  I don't really
know.  But a few weeks ago I was feeling good and so I set my sights
on a milestone that I've wanted to achieve ever since I had cancer
surgery in March of 2003.
      There's a climb sixteen miles east of where I live.  The
road goes up for more than seven miles and the grade averages
about five and a half percent.  It's not quite an Alpine climb, but
it's long and nasty and takes about forty-five minutes to get to the top.
Of course, Lance could do it in twenty-five, but most people can't
even push a bike to the top let alone ride all the way up.  It's hard.
      After cancer surgery I had started riding again and I had tried
to get to the top of that climb.  I got close twice, but never all the way.
Then the Chronic Fatigue rose up and slowly shut down my ability to
exercise.  I had to stop trying and I wondered if I'd ever be able to
get to the top of that hill again.  I kept telling myself that I would.
I imagined myself at the top, holding my bike over my head and
shouting victoriously.  Getting to the top was going to be a symbol
of my victory over cancer.  But as the fatigue grew and grew, I began
to doubt if that would ever happen.
      Dr. Holtorf's treatment turned my body into a war zone.
I was taking a handful of pills every day.  I was taking drugs to tear
down the fibrin linings on my blood vessels, drugs to kill bacteria,
viruses, and fungi, drugs to strengthen my immune system, and a
whole gob of anti-oxidants and other pills to clean up the carnage.
The infections took their toll, but after weeks of struggling I was able
to exercise again without feeling like a basket case for days afterwards.
So I began to get myself back into shape.  My body was responding
once again and slowly I was getting stronger.  I took longer and longer
rides and one day I felt strong enough to climb a mile up that steep hill
to see if I could handle the strain.  I could, and so I decided that the
following week I would make another attempt at the ascent.
      Perhaps I wasn't ready.  Perhaps I was too ambitious.
Pushing myself is one of my faults and it may have contributed to
me getting cancer in the first place.  Still I had to try.  I loaded up
with gear, carbs, and clean water and headed towards the big hill.
It was more brutal than I remembered.  That was because I wasn't
in as good a shape as I had been years before.  But I took things slow
and kept telling myself that if I felt that I couldn't make it that I could
try again next weekend.  The sun was pounding and I was sweating
profusely.  By the time I got three-quarters of the way up there was no
dry spot on my shirt to clean my glasses.  I had to stop and rest and I
wondered if I could finish the climb.  I was tired, but I still felt like I
could go farther.  The last mile and a half of the climb was the hardest.
The grade there is seven percent and it doesn't let up.  I hadn't been
past that point since I got cancer.  But now I felt better, and so I went
for it.
      It was hot.  I had to go slow.  But my legs kept churning.
I kept waiting for my body to give up and tell me to stop but it
never did.  I didn't want to give up but I was ready to if I felt that
I had to.  I kept going.  I didn't need to get to the top that day, but
somehow I did.  Yes, I made it.  I had returned to a place where I
hadn't been for almost three years.  It felt fantastic.
      At first I was too tired to celebrate.  I had to wait a few
minutes before finally hoisting my bike aloft and screaming out
my victory over cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the doctors
who were wrong, and the many problems in our health care system.
I finally felt like I had won.  And as I came flying down out of the
mountains at a modest 30+ miles per hour with the wind rushing
past and my legs pushing me faster I began to remember who it
was that I used to be.  Victory at last.
      Maybe this is a short-lived recovery.  Maybe there's
something else inside me that I'm going to have to battle in the
near future.  Maybe the next time I have to fight I'm not going to
be able to win.  But there is one thing that I know for sure, that I
will always be fighting: fighting to stay alive, fighting to get what
I want, and fighting to be who I am.  And to be honest, I wouldn't
have it any other way.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

      Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

      Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12     $14
Victory or Death        $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death        $3      $5 - slim only - booklet out of print

      Send everything to:

      Brian Voth
      1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
      Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

      If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
      The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
      Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

      I’ve been focusing so hard on “Food for the Gods” that I’ve
had little time to think about what I’d like to record next.  Over the
past few months I’ve tossed around some ideas and have come up
with a working title and theme.  The next Fireaxe work will dig even
deeper into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth
the myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what
they are.  While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams,
and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth
by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the
psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times.  It will
be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.  But don’t put your order in just yet.
After wrapping up “Food for the Gods” I’ll need a while to rest and
upgrade my studio.  I’m spent.
      My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

      Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
      less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
      profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
      I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
      like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
      gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
      link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
      samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
      you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
      not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. You are food for the gods.
6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
      as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
      THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
      CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
      mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
      other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
      I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
      of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
      to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
8.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
      institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
      mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
      Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
      song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
      if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
      if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
      the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
      Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
      would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
      trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
      effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

      The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

      Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                              Brian

--
"Maybe God wants us to fight.
To spill each other's blood and take our brothers' lives.
Sitting there in heaven with a smile on his face.
Our wars are his sport as we kill in his name."

                                      - Fireaxe "River of Madness"

              http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html


Fireaxe - new recordings, tour, merch
December 03, 2005, 10:09:47 AM
The Burning Blade

               Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 9.1

                         Dec 2, 2005

            http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

      "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before
      being dishonored anymore."
              - military ethicist Col. Ted Westhusing's suicide note

      "Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values
      could outweigh moral ones in war. This, she said, was a flaw.
      'Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that
      profit is an important goal for people working in the private
      sector was surprisingly limited,' wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach.
      'He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of
      completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change
      his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right
      thing to do should be the sole motivator for business'."
                              - The L.A. Times, reporting
      a military psychologist's evaluation of Ted Westhusing
      revealing a disturbing tolerance for military contractors
      who flout ethics, morality, and the law in the pursuit of profit.

      Many times during history class, reading through the vast
volumes of past events, and watching documentaries on some of the
more educational television stations I've asked myself the famous
rhetorical question, "What were they thinking?".  I mean, honestly.
It is as if you could replace the title of any college level history class
with something like, "Extreme Human Stupidity 101".  Spending twenty
years dragging enormous rocks across the desert to build a pyramid is
almost completely futile, but at least when you're done you have a
pyramid to admire and it sure beats being buried alive with the corpse
of the pharaoh.  Compare that with the endless succession of wars
through the ages fought for reasons that seem trivial today where all
your hard work, risk, and sacrifice ends up merely relocating gold and
riches from one king's palace to another's.  (To be fair there is the joy
of rape and plunder along with the feeling that you're somehow special
because you survived the fighting, if you survived that is, but is it worth
spending ten years away from your family, land, and loved ones for a
few nights of revelry?)  How easy it is to look back at all that chaos
and struggle and rest happily in the belief that we have overcome all
those idiotic obsessions.
      Easy indeed.  We can look back on the Crusades and the
Inquisition and the witch trials and shake our heads. We can wonder
what church leaders were thinking when they tortured people into
confession and what crusaders were thinking when they murdered
Jews for pleasure while on their way to Jerusalem.  Those people of
the past were certainly nothing like us.  We are enlightened.  We can
look back on the madness that possessed the people of Germany in the
1930s as they went from building a magnificent new nation from the
ashes of the old to building a war machine that killed tens of millions
and exterminated millions more in cold blood.  Those evil Germans
were nothing like us, but their descendants have seen the light and
now they're free.  And we can laugh at the follies of the stock market
speculators and the greedy bankers who brought forth a world wide
economic disaster in the 1930s with their voracious appetites for yet
more money.  They must have been blind not to have seen the dangers.
It's a good thing that we have learned from their mistakes so that things
like that can never happen again.
      Yes, there's nothing like a good bout of relative peace and
stability to make us all believe that we've entered a new age of prosperity.
The arguments are persuasive: nuclear weapons and mutual assured
destruction have forced the major powers away from war and towards
negotiation to settle disputes; computerized banking and interconnected
world markets have integrated the world and brought about major
improvements in efficiency and productivity; and the internet itself has
brought forth a global social revolution that is only beginning to unfold.
With a little spin and a few well picked statistics our global future can
be made out to look like utopia is finally in our grasp.  World War Two,
the great turning point in history according to many American Pundits,
is behind us and civilization has won.  World Peace is now upon us for
good, provided that we exterminate all those pesky terrorists who hate
all this wonderful progress.
      Like the grossly over-priced real estate all around me, I'm not
buying it.  The closer I look at the events unfolding, the more I see all
the signs of humanity falling into the same traps of old albeit in new
and different forms.  I see truth withering on the vine as people seek
out those who tell them what they want to hear.  The entirety of the
news media market, consisting of television, radio, the internet, and
word of mouth, is becoming like a modern day Tower of Babel and I
see how each of us holding a well established version of the truth
which is incompatible with other people's versions is preventing us
from communicating with each other.
      I see lofty ideals cut down by the power of fear, loathing, and
a desire for revenge.  Christians are acting in appallingly unchristian
ways, those sworn to uphold the constitution are shredding it instead,
police state apologists who say that they're patriots write that torture is
necessary to defend us from tyranny, respected investigative journalists
betray our trust by presenting forgeries as fact, and the act of forcing
democracy down people's throats seems to be perfectly fine with most
people as long as we don't lose too many soldiers in the process.  It's
fine if those other people die, but not if we do.
      I see common sense and respect for one's neighbor sacrificed
on the altar of greed.  We export our good jobs while "importing" cheap
labor to do the jobs that "Americans won't do", bankruptcy is now a
legitimate business strategy to force unions into deep concessions, war
and disaster profiteering are reaching epidemic levels, and we buy SUVs
so that if we get into a serious accident we will be more likely to survive
(and, incidentally, the other guy is more likely to die - but, fuck him!).
      I see how these things fan their own flames.  People who get
victimized often have to adopt the same devious methods as their rivals
to compete in a world of sleeping or partisan watchdogs.  The constant
struggle incites the masses to form into mobs, deepening the divisions
between social, racial, religious, and political classes.  History is speaking
louder and louder but we refuse to listen.  Indeed, the question: "What
were they thinking?" has become "What are we thinking?".  Now that I
can see it happening I know the answer: we aren't thinking.  We've let
our dreams, our emotions, and our desires give us tunnel vision, at least
those of us who have a choice about what we do, and the big picture is
only a distraction which can lead us astray.  After all the "big picture"
is just someone else's opinion, isn't it?
      So like the noble Col. Westhusing it's difficult for me to sit
by and watch the world slowly disintegrate while being powerless to
prevent it.  Of course, I'm not about to kill myself as he did.  I don't
consider myself responsible for the actions of others and I don't feel
dishonored by the actions of thugs masquerading as mercenaries and
soldiers.  Well, actually I do feel dishonored, just not to the point of
shame as deep as Col. Westhusing felt.  But I always thought that it
was me who was flawed for not feeling so strongly about American
ideals, not the Colonel, who volunteered to go to Iraq and fight the
good fight.  It seems as though the American ideology born after World
War Two has finally died with Col. Westhusing.  Where once we had
presidents like Truman, who denounced war profiteering as treason
and stamped it out, and Eisenhower, who warned of the influence of
the military-industrial complex, we now have presidents who green
light unethical behavior and shirk accountability.  The new American
ideology has been decades in the making and the unethical and
irresponsible behavior which characterizes it has penetrated deeply
into every corner of this nation and beyond.  I'd like to see it all go
away, but I know that it won't until the next example of Extreme
Human Stupidity reaches critical mass and teaches us all a long
overdue lesson.  Like I've said before, I'd love to be wrong and I'm
not looking forward to the future if I'm right, but like hell if I'm
going to just sit here and hope that everything will work out nicely.
      Speaking of critical mass, "Eternal Devotion to the Dark
Goddess" is now completely written.  Recording will begin shortly
as soon as I plunge some hard earned dollars into some choice new
gear and whip my voice and fingers back into shape.  It looks like
2006 is going to be a productive year for Fireaxe.
      A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.


Recording set to begin on "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess"

      It's been over two years since I flipped the last few bits on
"Food for the Gods", backed up all my files, and put away all my
recording equipment.  At that time I was wondering if there was
even going to be another Fireaxe CD after the massive triple-disk
effort since my health was continuing to deteriorate even after my
cancerous kidney was removed.  I've documented those struggles in
past editions of The Burning Blade and it has been a long hard road
back to good health, or at least to good enough health.  It's been a
long time since I've felt as good as I do now and I'm very happy to
be able to get back into the musical grind.  It's time to throw down
the gauntlet once more and let fly with another screaming CD.
      Fireaxe music is challenging music and "Eternal Devotion
to the Dark Goddess" will not be an exception.  In fact it will likely
be the most challenging Fireaxe CD of them all both musically and
thematically.  Like "A Dream of Death" and "Food for the Gods",
"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" will be a concept album
with each track building upon the last and until the crushing final
act has left the listener both satisfied and blown away.  I've always
been partial to concept albums, especially those that could be
described by the term "rock opera".  Sure, heavy metal is great music
to bang your head to or fire you up before a big event, but metal can
also be much more than just another form of modern music.  Metal
can aspire to greatness.
      I haven't watched very many plays, operas, or movie musicals
in my life, but they have always struck me as being strongly expressive
in a way that non-musical productions cannot.  Music can convey raw
emotional power and metal is no exception especially when it comes
to focused anger.  But in the hands of a fine musician, metal can
capture a wide range of emotions and be as expressive as any form
of music.  I've always wanted to be that kind of musician and put the
stories that I wanted to tell up on stage backed by the kind of music
that I wanted to hear.  That vision has been the driving force behind
Fireaxe and is why the music sounds the way that it does.  Fireaxe
songs are rather long and flow through a number of movements and
moods.  This is because I want to say something more than what a
few verses and choruses can deliver.  Thus I find myself recording
concept albums, which are probably the closest that I will ever get
to producing my own rock opera.
      I'm not saying that I've achieved greatness, or that Fireaxe
is so much better than all the other metal bands.  I'm just saying that
I've been setting my sights a lot higher, or at least in a different
direction, than where the vast majority of musicians set theirs.
Whether or not I hit my mark is up to the listener.  I know that for
at least some of you, I've hit that mark, and hearing and reading your
feedback is a very rewarding feeling.  Now I take aim once more.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

      Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

      Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12     $14
Victory or Death        $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death        $3      $5 - slim only - booklet out of print

      Send everything to:

      Brian Voth
      1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
      Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

      If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
      The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
      Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

      For the rest of this year and part of the next I will be recording
the next Fireaxe CD entitled "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess".
I'd like to have it complete by the end of 2006.  The new CD will dig
deep into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth the
myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what
they are.  While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams,
and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth
by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the
psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times.  It will
be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.
      My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

      Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
      less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
      profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
      I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
      like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
      gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
      link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
      samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
      you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
      not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. You are food for the gods.
6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
      as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
      THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
      CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
      mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
      other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
      I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
      of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
      to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
8.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
      institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
      mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
      Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
      song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
      if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
      if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
      the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
      Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
      would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
      trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
      effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

      The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

      Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                              Brian

--
"Another hungry god tries to devour the earth.
Its followers more voracious than the last,
Both sides push each other to a more brutal extreme.
And in the wars and resistance the suffering festers and grows.
The gods promise salvation, but none can deliver for long.
And when the suffering becomes unbearable life goes for naught."

                                      - Fireaxe "A New World Order"

              http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

Fireaxe: The Burning Blade
April 02, 2006, 10:50:19 AM
The Lukewarm Butterknife

               Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 9.3.1

                         Apr. 1, 2006

           http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html


      "Let us review.  Heavy Metal in your music collections,
      good.  Heavy metals in your safe deposit box, good.  Heavy
      metals in your food, water, and bloodstream, bad, very, very
      bad.  Now, it would seem to be reasonable to retaliate against
      those who put heavy metals into our bodies by putting some
      heavy metals into theirs but I'm told that this is illegal, unless
      of course you're the vice-president."
                              - a KTLB special report on the
                              real dangers of Heavy Metal

      Fireaxe shattered commercial radio's glass ceiling and
stampeded through the payola patio this year by finding a new way
to get music from "Food for the Gods" and other Fireaxe CDs played
on the airwaves.  The trick?  Fireaxe founder Brian Voth became a
radio talk show host.  After being bitten by a rabid wombat and forcibly
deprived of balanced news sources for a month, which is the industry
standard procedure for training new pundits, Brian was ready for his
first broadcast.  Reproduced here in "The Lukewarm Butterknife" is the
transcript from his first show.  Play the music as you're reading if you
want a more complete experience.
      A big "Hello" to anyone receiving the Lukewarm Butterknife
for the first time.  If your "Hello" feels to be too big after a close self-
examination, or you are having trouble issuing a big "Hello" to your
friends and family and it is causing embarrassment, you might be
suffering from EGS, or "Enlarged Greeting Syndrome".  Please contact
your doctor, but instead of asking him his opinion about your condition,
immediately demand that he prescribe U-Rapture, the latest drug
available from Pfireaxe.  Free yourself from the dreadful embarrassment
of EGS with U-Rapture, the natural way to better health.  Warning, side
effects of U-Rapture may include dizziness, nausea, hearing loss, sudden
loss of interest in popular music, heart palpitations, 'air-guitar' style
epilepsy, high blood pressure, atheism, and violent outbursts (from
parents and neighbors).  Repeated exposure can result in partial or
complete immunity to bullshit.  Increase the dosage as necessary.  Gods
should not take U-Rapture as it is known to cause spontaneous divine
combustion.  As you may have guessed, this is the official parody of the
Fireaxe newsletter.


"Secrets man was not meant to know" - Transcript of the first KTLB show

Musical Interlude: "I wish that someone would come along and set things
right." <Church organ plays loudly in the background, fades into…>

Brian: Welcome to KTLB. I'm your host Brian Voth and this week, like
every other week and every other radio talk show host, I AM OUTRAGED!

Paid Sycophant: What's this week's outrage, Brian?

Brian: Excuse me, I was pausing for dramatic effect. That's one of those
talk radio tricks, it's called the "Paul Harvey Pause"…

Paid Sycophant: Oh, sorry.

Brian: That was another one…

Paid Sycophant: Damn. Oh, was that…?

Brian: Yes. And you know what that means.

Sound Effects: "You're Fired!" - spoken by Donald "The Donald"
Trump followed by the whining of a young man insulting the
egotist's ridiculous hairdo.

Brian: And if you're new to the show, yes, we really did fire him.
That's our shtick and we're shticking to it.  Anyway, as I was saying,
the "Paul Harvey pause" is used to focus the audience's attention on
what you're saying, thus adding tension and interest to a story that
in reality is either pretty mundane or outright boring. And that…

<Radio silence - aren't you dying to know what he's going to say next?>

Brian: …is the rest…

<Radio silence - aren't you just dripping with anticipation?>

Brian …of that crap.  Another trick that we use here in the radio biz
are voice effects to make my voice sound deep and rich.  That gives it
an authoritative tone that people will unquestioningly believe no matter
what kind of gibberish comes out of my mouth.  It's simple, but it works.
Honest.  I'll demonstrate by browbeating the next caller like your typical
right wing wacko.  And I'll use another trick known as "focusing in on
something where I'm undeniably right no matter what the argument is
really about".  Ready?  Okay.  First caller.  Hello, you are on the air
with Fireaxe.

Caller number 1: Hello, Brian?  I was looking for some mp3s…

Brian: You mean stealing.  That's what that is.  Stealing food from
out of the mouths of starving artists and bankrupt record executives.
Stealing is what you were doing.  Oh, but it's all just harmless fun to
you isn't it?  You're not breaking the law, you're sticking it to the man.
Right, sticking it to your favorite bands is more like it.  How do you
expect them to keep making music if you steal it from them?

Caller Number 1: Uh, don't the record companies screw the artists
anyway, no matter what sales are like?

Brian: No, no, no!  You're wrong!  You're a liar and you're a thief.
You're no better than a shoplifter or a former Bush policy advisor.
Just tell me one thing, just one thing, are you paying for the songs
that you download?

Caller Number 1: Well, I…

Brian: ARE YOU PAYING FOR THE SONGS?!

Caller Number 1: Um, no, but…

Brian: So there.  You admit it.  You're a thief.  I win.  Ha ha ha.

Caller Number 1: But I was looking for Fireaxe mp3s.  Aren't
those free?

Brian: Hang up on him!  Hang up on him!  <Brian's voice can be
heard in the background> Look, when I've won the argument, cut
the caller off.  Do you understand me?  When I say "I win" I've won.
How do you expect me to be a pundit if…wait, are we still on?  Cut!
Cut!

<Commercial break>

Musical Interlude: "The Failures of the Fathers! The lies of the priests.
The Failures of the Fathers! Betrayals of the leaders…"

Brian: Okay, we're back.  As I was saying before we experienced some
technical difficulties, there are a lot of these little things that work
wonders for your credibility that anyone can learn.  Simple speaking
techniques like voice roll and rhythm can turn you from just another
opinionated whiner into a charismatic ideologue with a cult following.
Just watch the "Colbert Report" and you'll get the idea.

Paid Silly Broad: Woohoo!  Colbert is way hot!  I would so do him.

Brian: Ahem. Miss, that's not nearly loose enough.  You're a woman
on a talk radio show targeted at guys.  Now ditch the self-respect and
try again.

Paid Silly Broad: I mean, I'd love to go all Monica Lewinsky on him.
He can stain my dress any time.

Brian: Much better.  Let's go to the next caller.  Hello, you are on the
air with Fireaxe.

Caller Number 2: Hey, Fireaxe dude!  I've been reading a lot about
conspiracy theories on the internet and I was wanting to know what
you thought about the one about how Israel and AIPAC are controlling
congress and making us fight for their interests.

Brian: Good question.  You know, with the advent of the internet a
lot of people are getting exposed to all sorts of conspiracy theories
and many of them can seem very reasonable provided you don't go
to any sites which hold contrary views.  Now in this case there's
no doubt that AIPAC is a powerful pro-Israeli lobbying group which
had several spies as members who were caught stealing highly
classified documents.  And it's true that AIPAC appears to exert
substantial influence over a rather large number of senators and
representatives.  And also, it does seem like current U.S. policy is
completely supportive of Israel while public opinion is somewhat
less so.  Therefore, as the case goes, Israel controls the U.S.

Caller Number 2: Yeah, that's what I was thinking when…

Brian: Now what have I been talking about with the "Paul Harvey
pause"?  This is my radio show and I get to talk as much as I like
and about whatever I want to and cut anybody off whenever I want
to as long as my ratings stay high.  Those are the rules.  Now,
understand that I'm not picking on you.  One of the techniques of
being a radio talk show pundit is that on the air I always have to be
in charge and that means showing people who's boss.  My job is to
make you look stupid.  That's how I look smart and in control, see?.
In other words, I get paid to be an asshole.

Caller Number 2: Well, you're doing a good job.

Brian: Thanks.  Now here's where you're being a tin foil hat wearing
lunatic.  First of all, it's not a conspiracy theory, it's all out in the open.
Second, it's not just Israel buying votes, it's corporations, privately funded
groups, foreign governments, basically anyone with a lot of money.
U.S. taxpayers cough up two and a half trillion dollars every year and
everyone on the face of the earth wants a piece of that action.  It isn't
just AIPAC, which pries three billion dollars a year out of taxpayers'
hands and gives it to Israel, it's hundreds of lobbyists all bribing
government officials and trying to get similar "returns" on their
"investments".  Now, what usually happens is that everybody gets what
they want, except the American people of course.  I mean, congress has
already got our money so why do they need to please us?  Are we going
to stop paying taxes?  Ha, just try it.  But that's how it works, everyone
else gets what they want, which is usually more than the budget allows,
so our noble leaders just borrow hundreds of billions more, pay off all
their "campaign contributors", vote themselves pay raises, and pat
themselves on the back for what a great job they're doing.

Paid Silly Broad: You are so right.  Congress is a bunch of weasels.
Everyone except the guy from my district. He's okay. The rest are losers.

Brian: Exactly.  That's what everyone thinks because our congressmen
love to get out in front of reporters and talk about how outraged they
are, you know, they pretend that they're Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith
Goes to Washington".  They say that they're fighting the good fight and
how everyone else is a corrupt bastard, and so when we see our guy on
television we say, "Give 'em hell!", but when they go back to work,
it's just sleaze as usual.  Check their voting records and you'll see the
truth.  It’s all about pork, payback, and partisan politics.  It's a scam.
But it really doesn't matter what we think of them.  They don't care.
You see, these congress-scum are allowed to draw their own districts,
or at least their fellow party loyalists do.  Yeah, you heard that right,
our "elected officials" get to decide who gets to vote for them.  Honest.
Now if they're really bold, they can do what the Republicans did in
Texas, which is where they redraw the districts in such a way that one
party gains a lot of seats in congress.  That's called gerrymandering
and it's supposed to be illegal, but the only thing that happens is that it
makes the other party really mad.  So what both parties usually do is
compromise.  They redraw the districts so that about half of them are
heavily pro-democrat and the other half are heavily pro-republican.
What that means is that each member of congress runs basically
unopposed in their district year after year. And third parties?  They
don't have a prayer of winning.  That's why our "professional"
representatives get re-elected at a rate in the high ninety percents.
Think about it.  If you don't like your congressman who are you going
to vote for?  The guy from the other party?  Hardly.  You have no
real choice.  And the wheels of campaign finance make the point all
but moot.  You have one guy representing the party of most of the
district with name recognition and oodles of cash running against
someone from the minority party with no name and no money.  About
the only way that someone can lose their seat is if they get caught in
a scandal, and even then he will usually just be replaced with another
candidate hand-picked by the ruling party of the disgraced politician.
We need to face the facts that our democracy is broken.

Caller Number 2: Woah, dude.  I was going to ask you about the
voting machines too.

Brian:  They're easily rigged, that much is clear, but they're not the
big issue, so let me answer your first question completely.  The force
controlling our government isn't AIPAC or lobbyists or scumbag
campaign managers.  The force that's running out of control in our
government and pretty much everywhere else is greedy people.  Now,
I'm not talking about a few obvious examples, I'm talking about just
about everybody.  Everyone wants more than they already have.  The
rich want to be richer, the powerful want more power, and everybody
else wants a bigger piece of the action.  Enough just isn't enough.  And
a lot of people feel that it isn't enough that they succeed, but that others
must fail too.  Everything becomes a battleground and politics is where
a lot of those battles are fought.  Now, these days the rich and the powerful
are well represented by both parties, and they're been winning handily.
I'll explain how.  We all know that war is a great way to stick it to the
poor and the middle classed.  Wars are treated as big emergencies and
all the programs that would normally benefit the rest of us have to be
put on hold while huge amounts of cash are shoveled into the bank
accounts of people connected to the military industrial complex.  Again,
this isn't a conspiracy theory, it's all out in the open.  Look at our history.
We fight war after war after war, non-stop, and military spending is
through the roof.  Furthermore, the poor end up fighting the war since
they have no other way to earn a living, which is adding injury to insult.
And worst still, war makes the population both scared and nationalistic,
so they will be more likely to surrender the power their forefathers fought
for and gave to them, like their constitutional rights, to the government
so that they can believe that they're better protected.  So what I'm saying
here is that Israel isn't the only beneficiary.  A lot of people are making
out like bandits and it's in their best interests to keep the war wagon
rolling right along.  They aren't starting wars or engaging in any
conspiracies, they're just whispering in politicians ears that war is good
for America and what's good for America is good for them, wink wink.
Got it?  Cool.  Next caller please.  Hello, you are on the air with Fireaxe.

Caller Number 3: Hi Brian, I read your newsletter every two months
and it's great, but…

Brian: Hold that thought while I gloat for a while.  <a pause here
where finally no one says anything> Thanks.  Go on.

Caller Number 3: What I was going to say was that you're good at
saying what's wrong with everything but you never say how we can
fix it.  How about offering some solutions?

Brian: Well, I…well… <another pause here, but not one that Brian
did on purpose> You know, I think that you're right.  I should offer
some kind of answer to the problems that I point out.  Now I'll admit
that without having all of the facts and without doing any experiments
I can only guess at something that will work, but I'm willing to give it
a try.

Caller Number 3: Alright!  So let's hear how you'd fix the deal with
corruption in congress.

Brian: Well, the problem is people wanting more, and there's a
limited supply of everything, which is why there is so much fighting.
We're all competing over the same things.  So we've got too many
people and not enough to go around.  So if you rule out the wholesale
slaughter of greedy people, and I'll do so here just for the sake of
argument, I mean, it's not that it's a bad idea, it's just that it's been
tried in the past at it doesn't seem to work out, so then the only other
solution is to create more things that people value.  This isn’t as difficult
as it sounds, I mean Alan Greenspan has already shown us the way.  One
thing that we can do is to print lots more money.  Well we don't need
to print it any more, these days money is just numbers in a computer
somewhere.  So whenever people feel too down or depressed we just
have the Fed Chief wave his magic wand and Presto!  Everybody's bank
account goes up**.  Congratulations, you're richer, now go out and buy
something and stimulate the economy.  And virtual money is just the tip
of the iceberg.  In addition to virtual cash we need virtual everything.
We need virtual reality and we need it to be a lot more satisfying than
it already is so that people will spend even more time in the computer
world.  I mean, it's already starting to happen and that's a good thing.
Why?  Because things aren't so limited in virtual reality, and in fact
some things are actually infinite.  For instance, maybe you can't have
a mansion in real life, but in virtual reality you can have a mansion, or
a castle or the freaking Taj Mahal if you want.  The sky is the limit,
just let yourself go.  Plant a virtual garden and walk your virtual dog
across your own virtual ranch.  Don't like the view?  Change it.
Push a button and presto, you live in the Himalayas, or the Bahamas,
or in some wild metaphysical paradise.  Drive an exotic car of your
own design to work every day, or ride a horse, or fly over fantastic
vistas on virtual wings if you like.  And every day can be an adventure.
Be Harry Potter one day and Frodo Baggins the next.  Live out your
action hero dreams and your every romantic fantasy.  There is truly
nothing that can't be done in virtual reality.  Does it sound too easy?
It doesn't have to be.  The virtual world can make you work hard for
everything if you want a challenge.  What if things are too hard?  No
problem.  Turn down the difficulty level and reach all of your goals.
And if you get bored, in a flash your entire world can transform into
the next fad that catches your interest.  There's no need for a closet
full of recreational equipment that you don't use anymore.  And
there's no need for a lot of the expensive crap that clutters up your
home.  Virtual reality is fully recyclable.  After all, it's just bits
spinning around on a hard drive.  Welcome to the great green dream
machine.

** How this really works is that the Fed creates money in its own bank
account and loans it to the government.  More money goes into the
system and the rich end up with most of it.  But they're nice and so
they'll let you borrow some of their booty, and Presto!  You're richer.
Kind of.

Caller Number 3: Uh, so everyone is plugged into virtual reality all
the time? That sounds a lot like "The Matrix".

Brian: And that makes it bad?  Look, I spent plenty of my youth
chasing after virtual rewards and trying to complete virtual quests.
It's fun and rewarding and so I know that this is what people want.
We just have to make it about something more than virtual knights
whacking the crap out of virtual orcs.  For instance, speaking of "The
Matrix", if you want to live out your Neo fantasies, that can happen
in the virtual world too.  Choosing the red pill can be just another
computer simulation.  And think about this.  How do we know that
Neo really did find "reality" when he chose to see it.  Maybe what he
was really choosing was his own virtual adventure of rebellion against
the system since that was more rewarding to him.  Maybe he never left
the matrix at all.  Now, I don't want to sound like a pimp, but, virtual
reality can give you anything you want.  So why not go for it?

Caller Number 3: Yeah, but, it wouldn't be real.

Brian: For all intents and purposes, it would be.  Look, all that reality
does is stimulate neurons in your brain.  If virtual reality can be made
to do the same thing then your brain won't know the difference.  It
won't matter to you which world you are in and there's no question in
my mind that the virtual world can be made a whole lot better than the
real one.  Everything can be made more intense, more exciting, and
more satisfying, easily.  Just boost the signal.  And what's more is that
we won't have to force people into the virtual world.  All we have to do
is just give them one taste of it and they'll want to spend their whole
lives in the dream machine.  And here's the real beauty of this solution,
when you're in the virtual world, you're using up a lot less resources
than you'd be if you were trying to live out your fantasies in real life.
That's the problem with reality, we're so greedy that we're sucking the
life blood out of the world.  But in the virtual world you can have wealth
without taking it from others, you can have all the sex you wanted
without any risk of disease, and you could pretend to be the leader of the
world and conquer your enemies without real people dying trying to make
your dream come true.  So I say we create a virtual reality simulator for
everyone on the planet, lock everyone inside, and enjoy the rest of our
lives in the limitless world of virtual dreams.

Musical Interlude: "Drink deep from the source of all dreams.
Feel the madness birth a new dream."

Caller Number 3: Wait, what about children?  How do we survive as
a species?

Brian: The answers are virtual children, and, we don't.  We simply
program our virtual reality to make us think that we've got all of our
problems solved.  In less than one hundred years we'll be all gone
and we won't care.  Plus, the earth will thank us for it.

Caller Number 3: You're kidding, right?

Brian: No.  Now, I just described what people tell me heaven is like.
Infinite joy forever.  And virtual reality can get us there, or at least as
close as we'll ever get.  People live for the dream of heaven and they
die for it too, so of course people will embrace a virtual world.  I mean
seriously, what is religion if it isn't a primitive version of virtual reality?
What, with heaven and hell and reincarnation and all of those gods and
angels and demons running around, it's pretty much Diablo II without
all the cool special effects.  And what's more is that spiritual experiences
are all in the brain.  We've known that since the 70's.  All it takes is a
few jolts of electricity in the right spots and we experience all sorts of
"divine" sensations.  You don't need to use drugs or go insane.  If you
want to talk to your god you can easily do that in virtual reality, and it
would feel just as real as the religious experiences that the Apostle Paul
and Joan of Arc had.  How does that measure up to drab old reality?
And no more waiting for Jesus to come, it would actually happen, in
virtual reality that is.  We could just whip up a Revelations simulation
for Christians and they'd be in total bliss.  Think of how righteous they'd
feel watching all their favorite sinners burning forever.

Caller Number 3: Sure, but no more humans?

Brian: Well, okay, there are a few of us who don't always have to have
more, more, more, and have it now, now, now.  We could live out our
lives like our ancestors did: hunting, gathering, and treating the earth
with respect.  And if anyone started to build something out of stones,
well, we'd just have to take them down into the secret cave and hook
him up to the dream machine.  Then he could live out his pyramid and
ziggurat dreams to his heart's content without messing everything up
for the rest of us.

Musical Interlude: "With ziggurats so high that they will touch the
clouds…"

Caller Number 3: Nah, that's not for me.  Oh, wait, I'm getting a call
on my other cell phone.  Hang on, I gotta take this…

Brian:  Yeah, sure, the dream machine's not for you. <laughs>  Of
course, we could always be less greedy, but you can't sell the urge to
not want.  It's a contradiction.  Next caller.  Hello, you are on the air
with Fireaxe.

Caller Number 4: Hey, Brian.  I was reading The Burning Blade and
I wanted to know why you're such a loser.

Brian: Thanks for calling in you insipid worm.  For those of you not
sure of what he's talking about, in edition 9.2 of "The Burning Blade"
I revealed that in my thirty-nine years on this planet that I'd only had
sexual relations with one woman.  Just one.  And also in that edition I
described her as "a woman whom no one wanted".  In other words I'm
one year and one woman away from being a forty year old virgin.
Which, come to think of it, probably would have been better because
that movie looked like a lot of fun for the guy.  Just kidding.

Caller Number 4: <laughs> So, it's true?

Brian: It's true.  Let me make a few important points first though
before I try to explain why it happened.  First of all, don't cry for me.
From what I've seen in my thirty-nine years, my relationship with my
friend/lover was as good or better than what most people experience
in their lifetimes.  We shared ten wonderful years, and a couple not
so wonderful years too, but those ten years were what most people
refer to as the 'honeymoon period'.  We had common interests and
common views and we got along very well.  The sex was fulfilling and
plentiful, and I never had any desire to chase other women, ever.  To
be honest I wouldn't trade my lone relationship for a series of stormy
hookups with highly desirable women.  So if you haven't spent ten
wonderful years with a woman, any woman, then maybe I should be
calling you a loser.

Caller Number 4: Hey, banging lots of babes makes you a man.

Brian: Quantity over quality?  Get serious.  What makes you a man is
knowing when to say no, not spewing your juices into every hole that
lets you inside.  Got it?  Now, I see three strong reasons for my lack
of experience.  The first is simply that I have standards.  I stay away
from loose women and vulnerable women and I have no interest in
trying to get laid just to get laid.  What I want is a serious, long term,
exclusive relationship and I'm not willing to compromise.  The next
two reasons are far more complicated.

Caller Number 4: Let me guess, you can't get it up and you need
roofies to score?

Brian: Listen up punk, and you might learn something.  One of the
more disturbing modern trends is something that I like to call the
"Commodification Of All Things".  Now, most people will agree
that something becomes a commodity when it can be purchased,
for instance, mail-order brides make marriage a commodity.  But
I would contend that anything that lends itself to marketplace
dynamics can become a commodity, and that when the marketplace
for that thing includes a large share of all that is out there, the thing
in question has essentially become a commodity, even if it isn't bought
and sold for money.  What I am seeing is that, and I really don't know
a good word to describe it but I'm talking about the rush of love, sex,
intimacy, and joy that comes at the beginning of a new relationship,
that feeling has become a commodity.

Caller Number 4: How about calling it f@&&!^$?

Brian: Watch your language, this isn't satellite radio.  Anyway, it's
more than that.  It's basically that honeymoon period I referred to
earlier where you feel that tingling of anticipation, you dream of an
ideal future with the target of your affection, you fall head over heels
in love, or lust, and everything seems to be wonderful with the world.
I think that everyone would agree that it's one of the best things that
anyone can feel.  So for lack of a better word, I'll just call it 'bliss'.
Now in the past you'd feel bliss only a few times in your life, such as
the first time you fell in love, the first time that you had sex, umm,
make that the first time that you had good sex, and you'd feel bliss
on your wedding day and when you had children.  After that your
honeymoon fades and being with your spouse isn't so blissful anymore.
You get into the day to day grind, year in and year out, and bliss is
only a pleasant memory or something felt vicariously.  In the past it
seemed that people were satisfied with that, but today I think that the
situation has become dramatically different.  I think that due to a
growing feeling of dissatisfaction in the general population, which
I'd refer to as a general deepening of the permanent psychological
deficit, people desire and even require the feeling of bliss far more
strongly and frequently than before.  So when your lover or spouse
no longer gives you those wonderful, blissful feelings that you long for,
your relationship begins to sour and you start looking for someone new
and exciting.  A number of modern trends appear to bear this out, such
as the rising divorce rate, kids not waiting until they're older to have
serious relationships, adults waiting longer to get married if at all, and
the wild proliferation of infidelity.  A lot of people blame the media for
these trends and they do much to sell the dream, but I think that the
media is just a reflection of our inner desires.  Sex is fast and loose in
movies and on television because we love that feeling of bliss and want
to feel it vicariously as well as in real life.

Paid Silly Broad: Viva la sexual revolution!

Brian: Right.  Now, in the past, and I'm speaking in general terms
here, people would only play the field for a few years in high school
or college and then pair up for life.  In any given area there would be
a dwindling supply of eligible men and women as people got married.
This makes the less desirable people relatively more desirable and
over time most people would end up getting hitched.  Everyone would
have their moments of bliss and then they'd get on with the important
business of supporting the community and raising their children.
Today, we play the field for a lot more than a few years.  In fact, we
don't have to stop playing the field, ever.  We can keep ourselves "on
the market" for most of our youth and even well into adulthood.  And
with divorce and infidelity so commonplace people aren't necessarily
off the market even when they are married.  If you are seeking bliss,
it can potentially be found anywhere with anyone at anytime and thus
the marketplace is always open, twenty-four seven.  You don't have
to settle down if you don't want to and you don't have to stay married
if it doesn't feel good anymore.  You can just keep going from one
lover to the next in a wide open market, living off of the current feeling
of bliss for as long as it lasts.  Lifelong bliss seems to be within our
grasp.  Now, like any other market you have buyers and sellers and
some sort of pricing mechanism based on desirability.  Despite women's
liberation, men are still pretty much the buyers and women the sellers
and because of the additional urgency placed on men by their more
active sex drive it's basically a seller's market.

Paid Silly Broad: <in an Asian accent> They so horny. They so horny.

Brian: Exactly.  Of course, some women are driven by their biological
clock as they get older, but the general rule holds.  The more desirable
you are the more buyers you attract if you’re a woman, or the more
"purchasing" power you have if you're a man.  Now, desirable men
often make a whole lot of purchases, and with the sexual revolution,
so do desirable women.  As a result, most of the action in the market
is dominated by those with greater desirability who can hook up
frequently and who have a wider choice of partners.  For those with
less desirability, hookups are fewer and farther between and the pickings
can be slim.  Now, that's no different than in high school or college, but
since today's market never truly tightens up, the least desirable people,
mostly men since the market favors women, end up on the short end
of the stick for a long time, sometimes indefinitely.  Think about it.
Why should anyone settle for less when there are new people coming
onto the market all the time?  And why take yourself off the market by
settling for less and miss your chance with someone more desirable?
Thus, market forces play out, bliss is bought and sold as often and as
easily as a Miami condo, and the 'poor' end up getting screwed, or
not getting screwed as the case may be.

Paid Silly Broad:  So wait, you're telling me that you're one of those
undesirables?

Brian: The empirical evidence states that clearly.

Paid Silly Broad: Umm, huh?

Brian: Let me rephrase that. Chicks don't dig nerds.

Paid Silly Broad: No, you're wrong. I totally want Bill Gates to
plug his hard drive into my mother board.

Brian: Let me rephrase that again.  Chicks don't dig nerds who
aren't billionaires.

Paid Silly Broad: Well, yeah, you're right.

Brian: Thank you for being so honest.

Paid Silly Broad: You're like Dilbert with a guitar.

Brian: You can stop being so honest now.

Paid Silly Broad: No, wait, you're more like Charlie Brown. Yeah,
that's it.  You're Charlie Brown and you want that little red-haired girl
so bad, so you're outside her window playing your heart out and singing
"Earthbound Goddess" and she's inside with Schroeder getting her brains
bonked out.

Musical Interlude: " You're my earthbound goddess. You're my heavy
metal. You are all I wanted, and above you there's no other." <is
interrupted by> Unh, unh, unh, unh, unh, yeah!!!!

Brian: Good Grief.

Paid Silly Broad: <laughs>

Brian: Thanks for that lovely visual.  I'm sure that you just traumatized
half of my audience, and you know what that means.

Sound Effects: "You're Fired!" - spoken by "The Donald" followed by
the hissing of a young woman bragging to the egotist about how much
Playboy is going to be paying her for doing a nude photo shoot now that
she's famous.

Brian: Okay, next caller. Hello, you are on the air with Fireaxe.

Caller Number 5: Hi Brian, so what's the solution?

Brian: Excuse me?

Caller Number 5: Whenever you mention a problem you're supposed to
offer a solution, right?

Brian: Oh boy. Let me think about that one for a moment.

<Commercial break>

Musical Interlude: "Searching for love. Searching in vain. The promise
of pleasure delivering pain. The closer we came, the more we could feel,
the wounds of the past, wounds that never heal."

Brian: We're back. Let's go to the next caller. Hello, you are on the air
with Fireaxe.

Caller Number 5: Hi Brian, so what's the solution?

Brian: Not you again.

Caller Number 5: You never answered my question.

Brian: Well, I think that the whole virtual reality thing covers it pretty
well.  I mean, you can have a virtual lover, or more than one come to
think of it, and then it doesn't matter what the market does, you're set.

Caller Number 5: Hey, quit dodging the question. Sure virtual reality
is going to be great, but what do we do in the meantime?

Brian: Okay, you got me.  Here goes.  In the past we've tried to go back
to forcing people to pair up for life.  We're basically talking about religion
and guilt and shotgun weddings and everyone looking down their noses
at those home-wrecking divorcées.  Repression city.  Now, as much as
all the lunatics on the religious right think that this will solve the
problem it never has, ever.  We always end up right back where we
are now where humans indulge in all the wild, promiscuous, and
deceitful sexual practices typical of Chimpanzees and Bonobos.  So my
solution is to say, "Why fight it?".  In fact, we should go for it.  I propose
that we out-monkey our nearest relatives and turn the world into one big
sexual free-for-all.

Caller Number 5: All right!

Brian: First of all we need a fair marketplace, and that means equality
of the sexes.  Now, currently men's sex drives are far more powerful
than women's and that's what makes it a seller's market.  So that is what
needs to be fixed first.  Now, the sexual revolution and its droves of
mindless boomer followers have done a good job of making women
think that sexual promiscuity is both fun and empowering.  To that I
say, praise to Ishtar!

Brief Musical Interlude: "Praise to Ishtar. She is clothed in pleasure
and love."

Brian: Oh, you bet she is.  Thanks to the influences of feminists and
free love advocates, millions of women are discovering their inner slut.
Now this was all starting to even the playing field but then some drug
company goes and invents Viagra and the next thing you know a whole
bunch of horny old baby boomer dudes come roaring back onto the
market, messing things right back up again.  Yeah, you know who they
are, these fifty-something guys who've been ogling the low-rider and
thong wearing skanks that their daughters hang out with, and now
these pharma-pimps want to relive the summer of love without all of
that hippie crap about not trusting anyone over thirty.  Thanks Pfizer,
you Pfuckers.  So now we need a version of Viagra for women that's
twice as strong as the male version just to try to even things out.  I know,
they could call it "Niagra" or something.  But we'd probably have to force
women to take it or trick them into it.  Maybe we could put it in chocolate
or cheesecake or something like that.  That ought to work.  But when we
finally have a balance between the sexes we might stand a chance of
living up to those ridiculous feminist ideals where women actually
pursue men and ask them out as much as men pursue women.  And
if that happens then finally all us undesirable men will end up getting
some action, even though it will generally be with undesirable women,
which isn't bad at all, really.

Caller Number 5: Yeah, it sounds awesome.

Brian: I'm not done yet.  Even with Niagra the market is still going to
be top heavy, with the most desirable people getting the most action,
and that means that the undesirables aren't going to get enough sex.
So the answer is that we need to rig the free market, and the best way
to do that is to get the government involved.  Now, I'm no communist
and I'm not one for quotas, but what I think would work the best is for
the government to assess a sex tax and re-distribute that money to
undesirable people in the form of redeemable coupons.  It's simple.
The more undesirable you are the more coupons you get.  Now here's
the genius part.  When anyone has sex with someone who's undesirable,
they'll get a coupon as a reward, and then they'll be able to trade that
coupon in for cold hard cash.

Caller Number 5: <laughs> So it's like prostitution in reverse?

Brian: Exactly.  Think about it.  You've got one person who's hard up
for cash and you've got another person who's just hard up, and bang,
the problem takes care of itself.  Government sponsored sex coupons.
Well, we could use a catchier name.  I know, fuckbucks, or just
F-bucks for short.

Caller Number 5: <laughing uncontrollably>

Brian: I'm telling you, fat chicks and bald guys would rejoice.  I mean,
someone like me would go walking into a singles bar and all the pretty
ladies would turn their heads and be like, "wow, look at the huge glasses
and shiny cranium on that weirdo, I'll bet that he's loaded with F-bucks".
I'm telling you it would be like Las Vegas every night.  And just think
about what a Star Trek convention or ComicCon would be like.  Babe
city.  And hey, ladies, there would be a line of studs outside of every
Cinnabon and Krispy Kreme store just waiting to lick the powdered
sugar off of your lips.  Just imagine the possibilities.  Get ready for the
New World Or-gy.

Caller Number 5: Yeah, and there'd be lots more hot high school
teachers going after zit-faced teens. Ch-ching!

Brian: And all perfectly legal, but only if the teacher is a woman that is.
We'd still have to enforce that double-standard.  But this would change
everything.  Instead of looking at ugly women and thinking "dog" or
"cow", guys would be thinking "cellphone" or "iPod".  I mean, we'd be
stimulating the economy.  Literally stimulating the economy!  And it
would work, I mean, people marry for money all the time, we'd just be
formalizing and subsidizing the arrangement.  If you marry an ugly
dude or an ugly chick, you'd be set for life.

Caller Number 5: So how about this, if Jessica Simpson walked into
NASA…

Brian: It would be like she won the lottery.


Ending Comments

      The solutions given above are not serious suggestions.
However reasonable they may sound do not try these at home, at
your office, in your country, or anywhere, especially the thing about
the F-bucks as they're probably illegal.  Plus, there's a serious risk
of Alan Greenspan showing up at your door with his hands full of
freshly printed Federal Reserve F-bucks and demanding sexual
favors from you and your neighbors.
      Yuck.  I think that I went one hideous visual too many.
Maybe.  Well, let me try one more: Jessica Simpson and Alan
Greenspan…uh oh, feeling queasy…and George Lucas…urp…no,
still okay…on the floor and getting all nasty and sticky and…
      <sounds of horrendous vomiting>

                                              Brian
              http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

The Burning Blade 10.4 - Fireaxe News
June 01, 2007, 10:52:41 PM
But you must lie steal and cheat, in a world made of meat, and repent
at the end of your life…


                 The Burning Blade

           Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 10.4

                 June 1, 2007

           http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

     “I have taken doping. I have taken EPO."
           - Bjarne Riis, 1996 winner of the Tour de France,
           adding that he had his winner's yellow jersey in
           a box at home and that Tour officials were,
           "…welcome to come and get it."

     Humans make the rules and humans break the rules.  And
although professional sports has often been closely associated with
athletes trying to game the system in order to achieve victory, the
problem of cheating, corruption, and the collapse of the system is
something that occurs in every arena from politics, to religion, to
the marketplace.  To understand it in one arena is to understand it
everywhere, but merely understanding why it happens doesn't enable
us humans to find a lasting solution to the problem.  Nonetheless it's
a good place to start.
     It's not exactly clear why Bjarne confessed when he did, no
French lab had suddenly announced that a urine sample that he'd
given years ago contained a banned substance, but perhaps watching
the twisted saga that is the Floyd Landis doping investigation filled
him with enough guilt to overcome the shame that came from
confessing.  Athletes are notorious for denying that they've cheated,
even when the evidence is as iron clad as it can be, so his confession
is remarkable because it is so rare.  In Floyd's case, the recent Tour de
France winner was "super-human" for a day and his urine tests concurred
with that assessment, but he is desperately grasping at straws for any
angle that will let him keep his title.  If he's innocent, it's a great story
of a man struggling to clear his name and sports is nothing if it isn't
about human drama, but if he's guilty, and I see little chance that he
isn't, it's a sick spectacle that makes a mockery out of professional
cycling.
     Nobody wants to see their heroes fall.  Nobody likes finding
out that their idol is a cheater.  I'd like to think that Lance Armstrong
is clean, after all he inspired me in my fight against cancer and his
training methods helped me to ride faster, but after seeing all of his
old rivals drop out of last year's Tour de France under the cloud of yet
another doping scandal, I have found it very hard to believe that Lance
could have beaten those riders as soundly as he did for seven years.
Simply put, if his rivals had all been doping, the only way that Lance
could have beaten them riding clean is on a motorcycle.  In cycling,
doping gives you a huge advantage, one that genetics and working
extra hard cannot overcome.
     And in Major League Baseball, where the home run record
was broken numerous times during what is being called the "steroid
era", there is the ongoing pursuit of the game's most prized record by
a man who had all but admitted that he has cheated.  Yet when you
bring all these cheaters before congress, they will lie through their
teeth and profess their innocence.  A few years ago we got to witness
men with freakishly huge biceps and who'd hit spectacularly long home
runs deny that they'd ever injected testosterone or used any banned
substance.  It was a joke, just like the hearings where tobacco company
executives lied about what they knew of their product's addictive nature,
and like the hearings for cabinet members, justice department officials,
and of course, members of the NSA when they were brought to testify.
Why do we even have public hearings anymore?  Did someone ever
confess to being guilty at a hearing in the past or are my only memories
of such admissions actually recollections of movies that I've seen?
Are people getting less honorable or has it always been so bad?  It's
hard for me to tell since I've only been alive for forty years.
     When most of us think of cheating, we think of a situation
where everyone is playing by the rules except for one greedy and
unscrupulous player who wants to win at all costs.  This is not a
very realistic scenario, but it appeals to those of us who indulge in
hero worship.  We want to think that the game is clean, that the
system isn't corrupt, and that our heroes are winning through sheer
will and determination.  This fits in perfectly with the "Protestant
Work Ethic" and similar notions in other ideologies that success is
earned through hard work and diligence.  The notion that a game
is rigged, or that cheating is widespread, not only dethrones our
heroes, but attacks the very ideologies that we hold dear.  But every
now and then some brave soul tries to pull back the curtain and
reveal the sordid reality behind the things that we want to believe
are noble and pure.  Usually those in control react by trying to kill
the messenger and apply as little damage control as is necessary to
make the faithful feel good about things again, but every now and
then the messenger succeeds and a true revolution takes hold.
     The truth is that cheating is contagious.  It's difficult if
not impossible to catch someone cheating, but it is often the case
that the first people to realize that someone is cheating are the
cheater's rivals.  Sometimes they see an obvious quantum leap in
their rival's abilities that can't be explained through other means,
and sometimes, if the players are on the same team, they know that
their teammate is cheating and will simply look the other way since
they benefit from the rule-breaking as well.  But if you suspect that
someone else is winning by cheating and you want to win instead,
you will realize that the only way for you to win is to cheat also.
This type of cheating can be seen as acceptable on an ethical level
since it can be viewed not so much as cheating, but as leveling the
playing field.  Furthermore, in a very competitive field, it can be the
case that when cheating becomes widespread, the only way to compete
at the highest levels is to cheat.  At that point, cheating simply becomes
a part of the game.  You do it because you have to no matter how you
feel about it.
     So where are the watchdogs?  Usually they are a step behind.
First they need to figure out if someone is cheating, then they need to
find out how they are cheating and then they need to figure out a way
to catch that person with proof that will stand up in court.  It's a cat and
mouse game that has been going on in sports for decades and in society
ever since the first laws were written.  But there is also the case that
the watch dogs have a conflict of interest, such as when Major League
Baseball revenues went way up when home runs starting flying out of
ballparks, or when political parties appoint cronies into watchdog
positions where they can prosecute members of all parties.  In those
cases policing can become lax, non-existent, or applied selectively
since the watchdogs benefit as much as everyone from rule-breaking.
Rules may exist on the books, but there can be an understanding that
they will not be enforced in certain cases and thus the cheating has
spread to those who are charged with preventing it.  Conflicts of
interest can develop in every oversight position and the people in
charge are only human, so corruption always tends to find a way
into the system.
     So why do athletes, and so many others, cling to the story
that they aren't cheating?  The logic seems clear.  If everyone is
doing it then the playing field is back to being level and the winner
truly did earn his victory.  It makes sense that the winner would be
adamant about defending the hard work and sacrifice that were most
definitely a part of winning.  Also, even if the accused wanted to come
clean, trying to defend one's own cheating by accusing everyone else
of cheating, especially when you have little or no proof that they did
so, is doomed to fail and will make you look even worse.  And
sometimes there are extenuating circumstances which make cheating
feel ethically sound to the cheater, such as in Floyd's case, where
bonking on one stage, through no fault of his own, knocked him out
of the lead and could have given him the justification to make up his
lost time on the next stage by using testosterone.  Before he bonked,
he was going to win, and he certainly deserved to win since he was
the best rider in the race, but fate had other plans.  Life isn't fair, but
can you make it fair by cheating?  And how about in Lance's case?
Having a very promising career destroyed by cancer would seem to
provide a compelling reason for him to do whatever it took to get
back to that competitive level and achieve what he felt he deserved.
And lets not forget the influence of big money and sponsorship deals
that come in professional sports.  Sometimes it is the owners and
team managers who condone and encourage cheating as a way to
improve the bottom line and these forces could have also played a
role for Bjarne, Floyd, Lance, and many others.  Sure, these are only
speculations, but when I think about the times in my life where I bent
the rules it was in similar situations and my thinking fell along similar
lines.
     Yeah, I've cheated.  Not on anything major, like school
or work or personal relations, but if the things that I cheated on
weren't major, why did I feel the need to cheat?  The truth is that I
wanted to win too much in my younger years.  I blame myself for
my inability to restrain my ego, and have done my best to play on
the level in the years since, but I can also point the finger at ideologies
which honor greatness with such tempting rewards.  Of course,
ideologies abhor cheaters, but when ideologies imbue their followers
with such a strong sense of entitlement that a large number of them
feel that they deserve things that are only available to a few, the fact
that some of them will end up cheating is inevitable.  And when
someone decide to cheat, the cheating will often spread to others
until it engulfs the system and corrupts the ideology.
     In sports, in politics, in the financial sphere, and everywhere
else it seems, we have a deep need to get what we feel we deserve and
if that means that we have to cheat then we often end up changing the
definition of what cheating really is.  Often it's easy to discard the
rules altogether and say that "all's fair in love and war, and this is
both".  Another way is to campaign to change the rules so that they
permit whatever cheating is going on.  But the problem with cheating
is that it is self-defeating.  In pursuit of what we must have we end up
devaluing that which we treasure so much.  We debauch the very system
that we use to measure our self worth.  This seeming paradox reveals
the self-destructive nature of ideologies, which need to survive in the
present, even if it means sacrificing the future to do so.  While clouds
of suspicion will follow some of our greatest heroes around for the rest
of their lives, there is no way to go back in time and bestow glory upon
those who should have been our heroes if the game had been played
straight.  This is the way of the world, the notorious fiends are well
known while the unsung heroes are forgotten.
     Long in appearing but not forgotten is, "Eternal Devotion to
the Dark Goddess" of which all but the final track has been recorded
in final form.  It won't be long before the CD has entered the mixing
and mastering stages, and the cover art is well on its way to completion
as well.  I don’t think that it will all be ready by the next edition of
The Burning Blade at the end of July, but by then I should be close to
putting the final product into your hands.  I'll include another sneak
preview in two months.  I appreciate your patience.
     A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.


"Black Knight" and Virginia Tech

     Those of you who've been Fireaxe listeners for a long time
know that I have more than a little amount of sympathy for the all
too many malcontents who found no better course of action than to
go on a killing spree inside the hallowed halls of their educational
institutions.  By sympathy I of course don't mean to suggest that I
approve of their actions in any way, but you will definitely not find
me among the shrieking chorus of people excoriating these "school
shooters" and trying to affix the most abhorrent labels next to their
names.  Indeed, it appears that the violent revenge that these killers
sought resulted only in an amplification of the treatment that they
received before they even considered buying a gun and taking it to
school.  Even in death these individuals are hated, smeared, insulted,
marginalized, and shunned, the very things that they experienced for
years which compelled them to do what they did.
     The media spewed out the usual tripe after the latest tragedy
at Virginia Tech university: focusing on the anguish of the victims'
friends and family, telling tales of heroism and sacrifice, finding
evidence of an unstable personality and wondering why the telltale
signs of a potential mass murderer weren't picked up on, and of course
there were the obligatory cries for more pointless gun laws.  Every
now and then some media talking head would ask a mental health
professional why the shooter did what he did, but their answers never
seemed to touch on the things that I saw as being critically important.
Why did Seung-Hui Cho kill thirty-two people?  The blame went in
the usual directions: violent video games, violent movies, psychiatric
drugs, easy access to guns, the coverage of other school shootings and
the copycat syndrome, PTSD from coverage of things like 9/11, the
Challenger disaster, and the Oklahoma City bombing, speculations
that he was sexually abused, and simply proclaiming him to be
mentally ill and leaving it at that.  The media made him out to be a
madman, and that's certainly what he became, but how he got to be
that way was left as an open question, one that needs to be answered
definitively if any progress is to be made.  I'll try to make some
progress on this issue, drawing from the Fireaxe theory and my
own personal experience.
     The massacre at Virginia Tech is the first major school
shooting since I wrote the song "Black Knight", which is a song
about someone who experiences alienation and persecution at the
hands of others and fantasizes about putting them to death.  As I
watched the coverage I have to admit that I was a little nervous that
some reference to Fireaxe would turn up, like a CD, mp3s on his
computer, or lyrics from "Black Knight" written over and over again
in a notebook.  But the only band that was mentioned was Collective
Soul, and since they are neither rap or heavy metal, no one tried to
pin the blame on the type of music that the shooter listened to.
     The bulk of the song "Black Knight" comes from personal
experience, which is why I have a lot of sympathy for those who've
gone through a similar ordeal as the character in the song but ended
up turning their revenge fantasies into reality.  Regarding my own life,
I never came close to going on a violent rampage.  Although I didn't
have many friends when I was young,  the ones I had, and still have
are wonderful people who make life very much worth living.  And
being able to get good grades gave me hope that when I graduated
I would be able to prosper in the real world and leave the ridiculous
joke of high school far behind.  Things worked out for me and I'm
glad that I didn't sacrifice anything in exchange for petty, but perhaps
gratifying, revenge, but I can't say that I didn't leave a valuable part
of myself behind in the uncaring halls of my educational institutions.
I learned lessons that caused me to question just about everyone and
everything at some point, which is not necessarily a good thing.  I
wasn't born a cynic and a subversive, that's just how you end up when
the system betrays you.
     Trust in the system is the first casualty when the bullies
select you as someone they're going to pick on.  Nothing you do can
stop the abuse.  If you do nothing and just take it, it just gets worse.  If
you fight back you only get in trouble for your courageous efforts.  And
though the bully gets in trouble along with you, you get punished worse.
The principal, and your parents too, will all give you that sorry line
about how they expect better from you.  Sure, the bully is a troublemaker,
they say, but you're an honor student, and you shouldn't sink down to his
level.  But their words are empty and their suggestions for what you
should do are useless.  You wonder if they truly care about you since
they don't do anything to help, and you just get picked on more since
the bully knows that if you fight back that it will hurt your future a lot
more than it will hurt his.  So you're trapped, and that's just how it is,
day after day, week after week, and year after year.  Time travels slow
when you're young, and things like high school and college seem to take
an eternity to get through.  That's just a reminder to us older folks who
think that telling someone to put up with the abuse is reasonable advice.
Sure, the vast majority of people who get bullied and abused in school
don't go on killing sprees, but that's mainly because they see the wisdom
in not throwing their whole life away in an act of vengeance.  In the end,
most of us are left with no good options.  So you keep going to school
and you keep taking abuse and hope that your psyche can endure it.
     Bullying is one well-known trigger, and some schools have
tried to crack down on the problem, but if you dig a little deeper into
the lives of many school shooters you'll find that the absence of a
girlfriend plays a far more important role.  Television, books, movies,
and the occasional story told by an elder mostly tend to romanticize
the high school years as being that wonderful time in your life where
you fall in love and experience so many joyous "firsts" (your first date,
your first kiss, etc.) with that special someone.  Well, it doesn't happen
for everyone, and the feelings of loneliness and despair that come from
a mixture of sexual desire and emotional longing is something that you
simply can't escape from.  Bullies don't follow you home and mock you
when you lie awake on weekend nights, but every time your natural
desires are aroused by the sight of a pretty girl, and every time you try
and fail to make a good impression on one of them, you feel that hole
in your heart grow a little bit bigger, and it hurts worse with each
passing day.
     As if the absence of love wasn't enough, a loner must endure
the even more painful experience of watching a girl who they can love
only from a distance fall for someone else.  When you have nothing
a fantasy is more than just a daydream.  Your fantasies of love are
powerful dreams which take away the pain of loneliness, if only in a
limited way.  Still, they are far better than nothing, and seeing the
object of your fantasy in someone else's arms tears away that special
dream that covers up your emotional wounds.  Worse still, when you
see the object of your desires get abused, dumped, and wind up heart-
broken it adds rage to that mixture of sickening emotions that roil
inside of you.  After all, you know in your heart that you would never
have treated her that way if she had fallen for you.  You would have
cherished her like a rare jewel if she had only given you the chance.
But even after her break-up the target of your unrequited love still
turns you down and finds love in the arms of another.  To you it
makes no sense, and it doesn't seem fair at all.  But you watch as
girl after girl passes you over only to be deceived and discarded by
guys who care only about sex and little about love.  Slowly but surely
the dream of finding that special someone and experiencing true,
pure love, is strangled to death by lies, lust, and loneliness.  And
when the dream dies, there is nothing left to hold back the pain.
     Now, some of you might answer that we all experience those
things in high school.  We all get picked on.  We all get heart-ache.
We all get depressed.  But we are all strong enough to get through
those times, and if someone has to go and shoot up his classmates,
then it is all his fault for being weak.  After all, we endured all that
stuff and we made it through just fine, so obviously there's something
wrong with the killer.  I think that people who think that way fail to
understand the degree to which some people suffer at the hands of
others and may be trying to wash their hands of the abuse that they
used to heap on misfits and malcontents.  The Virginia Tech killer,
Seung-Hui Cho, was bullied not only at his junior high school and
high school, but he was picked on in his church group by rich kids.
Honestly, in church too, where was his god then?  And for years he was
picked on relentlessly.  Also it wasn't that he suffered from the painful
but short-lived heartache that comes when you break up with your
sweetheart, it was that he never had a sweetheart to begin with, ever.
In the aftermath of a breakup some people moan that they will never
be loved again, but when you have lived a life of emptiness, the idea
that you may never find someone who loves you is not just the product
of a fleeting bout of depression, but a cold hard reality that grows more
probable with each passing day.  Yes, growing up is hard and often
painful, so much so that it can push people over the edge without any
help from violent images in the media, anti-depressant drugs, or the
second amendment.
     The last casualty is one's faith in justice.  No one can stop the
bullies, no one can warm your heart, and no one truly seems to care.
Everyone else seems to get what they need and some get far more than
they deserve, but you get little or nothing.  Where is justice?  It is
simply nowhere to be found.  No god comes down to punish those
who bullied you or abused the girl you loved from afar, and no parent,
principal, authority figure, cares enough to try to set things right.
There is no one there to punish the wicked, and thus there is no justice
in the world.  Unless, of course, you take matters into your own hands.
     Here are parts of Cho's manifesto, which was delivered to a
television station after he killed the girl he loved from afar and her
lover, but before he went on his killing spree.  After knowing more
about what he went through, does what he said make any more sense?

"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today.
But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and
gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have
blood on your hands that will never wash off."

"You just loved to crucify me. You loved inducing cancer in my
head, terror in my heart and ripping my soul all this time."

"You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my
conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were
extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire
generations of the weak and the defenseless people."

"Do you know what it feels like to be stood on your face and have trash
shoved down your throat?  Do you know what it feels like to dig your
own grave?  Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed
from ear to ear?  Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive?
Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and bleed to death
for your amusement?"

"You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life.  Did you
want to inject as much misery in our lives because you can?  Just
because you can?  You had everything you wanted.  Your Mercedes
wasn't enough you brats. Your golden necklaces weren't enough you
snobs.  Your trust fund wasn't enough. Your vodka and your cognac
weren't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't
enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything."

     It all seems perfectly clear to me.  Cho bemoans the rape of
his purity, which comes from the feeling that he will never be able
to experience love in a pure and innocent way.  He emphasizes the
degree of his suffering since he was exposed to so much and since
that is what had consumed him.  And he laments the lack of justice
in the world which not only allows the rich to have so much, but which
allows them to take even more from others and leave him with what
he feels is nothing.  I find his manifesto to be clear, honest, and an
accurate description of his past.  The world craps on people like Cho
and this is how they feel inside.  In my opinion the television station
did us all a service by broadcasting Cho's manifesto.  Perhaps
watching it or reading it will make a few more people stop abusing
others and thus make a few less people act out in a violent and self-
destructive way.  Of course, I had those same hopes after Columbine.
     The Fireaxe theory asserts that ideology plays a role in the
development of consciousness by creating a permanent sense of
inadequacy in the mind of its followers.  The purpose of this state
of mind is to motivate the individual to perform tasks that benefit the
ideology and the ideology then rewards the individual with temporary
feelings of increased self esteem.  In this way the ideology thrives by
enslaving its followers and channeling their actions towards productive
pursuits, but the process of indoctrination is not always perfect and
sometimes the result is a broken mind.
     Cho was made to feel inadequate in a number of ways.  His
parents instilled within him a sense that academic excellence was of
primary importance and the example set by his gifted and successful
sister would have made him feel even more inadequate even though
he was of above average intelligence.  Bullies relieve their own sense
of inadequacy by picking on others, which makes those who they pick
on feel even more inadequate.  When you're at the bottom of the food
chain, like Cho, you have no one to pick on in turn and so that outlet
is closed to you.  Also, ideologies instill a sense of conformity which
prompts their followers into picking on those who are different or who
do things which are not in line with what the ideology teaches.  Even
though western ideologies values individualism and freedom, they still
demand a high degree of conformity from their members and Cho was
outside the norm in many ways.  The public humiliation of outcasts
is an ideological ritual which benefits the group by instilling a sense
of solidarity in the majority and encouraging conformity, but there is
always a need for someone to play the role of whipping boy and that
person ends up getting continually picked on in order to pacify the
inadequacies of the group.
     Lastly, Cho felt desperately inadequate in the realm of love.
In the past, marriages were either arranged or social pressures forced
people to pair up during their teen years and stay together for life, but
in modern times dating follows the rules of the free market with those
who are more desirable getting most of the attention and those who
aren’t getting little to none.  In such an environment there will be
people who end up without someone with whom they can express
their most profound and personal feelings and desires.  Now, one
could argue whether being trapped in a loveless marriage is worse
than being adrift in loveless loneliness, but in either case, inadequacy
is instilled as a result of ideological forces and people are compelled
to find other ways to satisfy their needs.
     There are a lot of people like Cho out there, but most of
them endure all the hardships of growing up as an outcast.  The
strong sense of inadequacy inside them can often inspire them to
do great things in order to feel adequate.  When this happens it is
very beneficial to the ideology, which rewards those who make it
stronger.  But in some cases the hardship is too great and a person
loses their faith in their ideology.  They can no longer attain a sense
of adequacy by following the rules of the ideology and so something
must give.  The result is often ideological mutation on an individual
scale.  In Cho's case it appears that he created a new personal
ideology that was a hybrid between Christianity and Rambo style
action-hero revenge.  He envisioned himself blazing a path to salvation
for himself and other downtrodden souls by punishing the wicked.
     Given this analysis, can future outbreaks of suicidal revenge
be prevented?  Well, if the pressure that an ideology puts on its
members is decreased, it will reduce the number of people who end
up cracking, like Cho, but at the same time it will reduce the amount
of motivation instilled within others, which will make them less likely
to do the great things which support the ideology.  Note that Seung-
Hui's sister grew up in the same crucible as he did, yet she is a very
successful Princeton graduate.  It would seem that we cannot have
one without the other.  The forces that produce greatness are also
those that produce mass murderers.  Furthermore, if the forces that
produce motivation in the population are reduced, the ideology will
grow weaker and be less able to reward those who excel, which would
add to the general dissatisfaction and thus add to the risk of internal
struggle and ideological mutation.  This is undesirable for the ideology
and thus the reaction will generally be to increase, not decrease, the
pressure during indoctrination.  This was seen in the crackdown after
Columbine and is likely to be seen again after Virginia Tech.
     In other words, Seung-Hui Cho and his innocent victims
were, in essence, sacrificed for the greater good of the ideology.
They died as the result of being part of a high pressure system of
indoctrination which not only produces the best and the brightest
people in the world but which inevitably produces people with
shattered minds and dark desires.  The struggle is for a stronger
ideology and the victims were merely collateral damage.  They are
food for the gods.
     I think, however, that such a conclusion is completely
unpalatable to most people, and thus the question of why things
like Virginia Tech happen will always be left inadequately answered.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

     Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

     Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12      $14
Victory or Death            $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares      $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death      $3      $5 - slim only - booklet out of print

     Send everything to:

     Brian Voth
     1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
     Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

     If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
     The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
     Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

     For the rest of this year and part of the next I will be recording
the next Fireaxe CD entitled "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess".
I should have it completed by the middle of 2007.  The new CD will dig
deep into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth the
myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what
they are.  While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams,
and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth
by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the
psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times.  It will
be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.
     My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

     Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
     less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
     profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
     I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
     like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
     gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
     link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
     samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
     you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
     not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. You are food for the gods.
6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
     as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
     THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
     CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
     mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
     other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
     I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
     of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
     to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
8.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
     institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
     mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
     Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
     song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
     if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
     if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
     the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
     Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
     would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
     trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
     effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

     The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

     Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                   Brian

Re: The Burning Blade 10.4 - Fireaxe News
June 13, 2007, 05:41:46 PM
Now that was a good read. I think however that you should give the will to power more study than the pseudo-Darwinian causal logic, and that you should note that "coming right back at you with hollow points" is a masculine statement in an emasculated world.

I <3 school shooters, too, not because it's how I want to go out but because they're raising the flag of "this place is fundamentally corrupt" in a way even the stumbling idiots have trouble ignoring.


The Burning Blade 10.5
August 03, 2007, 10:37:47 PM
Absolute power corrupts absolutely…


                 The Burning Blade

           Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 10.5

                 August 3, 2007

           http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

     “…a world in which there is one master, one sovereign----
     one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of
     decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious
     not only for all those within this system, but also for the
     sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.…
     What is even more important is that the model itself is
     flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral
     foundations for modern civilization."
                             - Vladimir Putin

     As correct as the Russian president may be regarding the
uncomfortable reality that centralized power, while often purporting to
be the defender of morality, inevitably becomes corrupted from within,
his own actions in consolidating power within his ruling party put the
lie to his noble sounding words.  However, it would be a mistake to
simply write off Putin's observations as mere hypocrisy, as so many
pundits in the west do, since they reveal a deep and uncomfortable
truth.
     However moral they may begin, centralized institutions
which consolidate and exercise power will always tend towards acting
in ways which expand their power base, often at the expense of their
high-minded ideals.  Though morally repugnant, this makes perfect
sense.  Institutions which are the best at accumulating power will
continue to accumulate power, beating out all of their rivals in the
process regardless of ideals.  If an institution's ideals restrain it from
the pursuit of power, that limitation will make it less likely to obtain
and hold on to power than other institutions with no such limitation.
Thus, natural selection in the realm of political and social power
promotes the growth of institutions which are unrestrained by
morality.  Furthermore, if an institution can create the impression
that it is more moral than it really is, that works to its advantage by
gaining more support from the general public.
     The only solution to the problem of the rise of institutions
which are solely focused on the consolidation of power is one that
Putin has used himself, one must assemble an institution which is
more powerful than any rival and use that institution to squash those
rivals before they can spread corruption.  This is why it is often declared
that a strong central government is necessary to protect the social
order, and indeed without such an institution a nation will generally
descend into warlordism, making it vulnerable to both infighting and
invasion.  However, the problem of a strong central government is
that it will eventually become corrupted, often with those in charge
being blind to their own excesses.  In the pursuit of fulfilling its duty
of defending the nation against all foes, foreign and domestic, the
government becomes its own worst enemy.
     Putin's solution on the global front is that there should be no
single, all-powerful nation, but that power should be distributed more
evenly between two or more nations so that no nation can act without
the consent of a majority of the others.  This system is reminiscent of
the three-branch system of government of the United States and its set
of checks and balances which were intended to ensure that corruption
could not manifest inside the very institution which was entrusted with
preventing corruption.  It's not a bad idea, preventing instability by
pitting institutions or nations against each other, provided that
everyone plays by the rules and no nation or institution is able to
achieve dominance over the others, but throughout history such stability
has never lasted for very long.  Also, "stability" is a relative term since
rival institutions and nations are constantly vying for dominance and
clash on numerous fronts: sometimes in the form of proxy wars,
sometimes through economic competition and coercion, and all too
often in morally indefensible ways.
     To the second part of Putin's statement, regarding the moral
basis of modern civilization, certainly trust is at the heart of morality.
Modern civilization is immensely interdependent and thus economic
and political systems need to be stable and only change at a slow pace
in order to support the billions of people cohabiting the planet.  When
the needs of too many people go unfulfilled, due either to disruptions in
or inadequacies of the system, their trust in that system will falter and
morality becomes a casualty.  Why should one follow the rules when
the system punishes them for it?  So stability is one key for morality
provided that the system works well for everyone.  Another key is, of
course, justice.  A single, dominant institution or nation must obey laws
and norms and must not act exclusively for its own interests and against
those of all others.  Such actions destroy trust and promote instability,
which is the point that Putin was trying to make in regards to present
conditions in the world.
     There are obvious differences and surprising similarities
between the U.S. and Russia.  On one hand you have a country with
a track record of being tyrannical trying to appear egalitarian and on
the other you have a country with a track record of being egalitarian
acting tyrannically.  Both can twist the language of their high ideals in
order to claim the moral high ground, often hypocritically criticizing each
other for offenses of which they themselves are guilty.  Whether it be
interfering in elections, excesses in wars against insurgents, economic
arm-twisting, and self-righteous rhetoric, the two former superpowers
are using every part of their Cold War arsenals to gain power in the
world, causing death and suffering to many in the process.
     Deciding between them, or objectively pointing out the flaws
in the behavior of these two rivals would be a simple, objective exercise
if it wasn't for the fact that morality is not an objective term.  Every
ideology has its own unique moral code as well as caveats that allow it
to break that code when necessary.  In fact, there is nothing that cannot
be justified when viewed through the prism of ideology.  One only needs
to present a case where an immoral act is required to prevent far greater
immorality to turn an immoral act into a rational, pragmatic, and indeed
moral one.  Most people would sacrifice one life to save a hundred, and
so selling the idea of "virtuous immorality", realistic or not, is one way
that a nation can maintain the support of its power base while freeing
itself from the constraints of its own ideals.
     Make no mistake about it, Russia and the United States are
continuing to struggle over control of the vast energy reserves of Asia
and the Middle East.  Oil is power as is natural gas and both are needed
in large quantities to keep modern nations running at top speed.  The
economic, political, and rhetorical conflicts between modern nations are
simply surrogates for, and possibly precursors to, violent and devastating
conflicts.  Simply put, the words that our leaders spin are the tools of war.
Whether they are doing so intentionally or not is irrelevant, if their words
have power, they will continue to use them to garner more support for
their position.  The battleground of ideas is critical in an ideological
struggle.
     So to Putin I would say that a world with two, three, or
many masters is no more immune from the corruption that inevitably
plagues a world than one with only one master.  Morality will be
discarded in the pursuit of power and hypocrisy will run rampant until
such a time that the world ceases to function well and the lack of trust
and decency becomes intolerable.  It is then that the masses will make
an about face and tear down their corrupt institutions, with those "quaint"
notions of accountability, responsibility, and honor becoming the traits
that they seek and around which power is accumulated.  We will likely
fight over which brand of these virtues we will rally around but in the
end they will be accepted, worshipped, and finally taken for granted
once more, opening the way for the abuse of power and trust and starting
us on another cycle of social and political revolution.  Such is the way
that things appear to work.  Of course, I'd say the same thing to Bush,
but I doubt that he would understand what I'm talking about.
     Speaking of things that Bush wouldn't understand, recording
for "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is finished save for a few
parts which will be performed by a guest vocalist.  Since the time of the
last newsletter the final track fell into place and a number of touch-ups
were done.  Mixing and mastering will soon begin and the artwork is in
process, but it is all taking too long, and so, as promised, here is another
sample from the new CD.  Viva la Revolucion!

http://www.neptune.net/~bev/vivarough.mp3

     A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.



Economics and the Fireaxe theory

"Yeah, Bernanke.  Another baby-boomer mush head screwing up
a perfectly good system of transferring wealth from the middle
class to the investors.  I mean seriously.  Enough with the boomers
already!  They're incompetent!  They can't win wars, they can't rig
the stock market, and they sure as heck can't stand a little Gen X
competition on the internet."

           - The Lukewarm Butterknife - Tenth Edition

     Ben!  Ben!  I was joking, Ben!  Honest!
     For those of you who have been following the rise and
fall of the global markets you might have noticed that after I sent
out the April Fool's Edition of the Burning Blade this year that the
markets lurched upwards faster than Alberto Contador on steroids.
And if you're following the independent tracking of the M3 measure
of money in the United States you know that while the measure was
going up at 7.6% before the Fed stopped reporting it, that it has been
going up by over 13% for most of this year.  Contrary to how I
portrayed things in the humorous version of this newsletter, Ben
Bernanke has been hard at work pumping up the stock market and
with the exception of the last two weeks, he's done a heckuva job.
     Of course, my savings account is getting a meager 4%
interest, which, if you subtract the inflation in M3, is actually losing
money at a nine percent clip against the growth of the money supply.
&#%@!!  Somebody call the cops!  I'm getting robbed!
     Back to being serious.  Sure, money is important, you might
say, but I feel that many of you out there are wondering why I discuss
economics fairly often in the Burning Blade.  I can sympathize.  It's
a boring subject that most of us take for granted and ignore.  After
all, for almost everyone alive on the planet, their money has always
been good and has always lost only a little bit of its value each year.
There's no reason to think that will change.  And furthermore, to
focus on money beyond that which you need to get by at an acceptable
standard of living is often taken as a sign of greed.  I always used
to think that money matters were the exclusive realm of accountants
and money-hungry MBAs, but the more that I examine the world
through the prism of the Fireaxe perspective the more that I realize
that economic systems are part and parcel of ideologies and that one
cannot understand politics, religion, and how people get along with
each other without knowing how modern economics works.
     In ancient times, religion was the law.  There was no
separation of church and state.  Thus, in various religious texts
you will find laws governing property rights and the repayment of
debts right alongside laws dictating how witches are to be dealt with
and the proper way to worship one's god.  Usury for example, usually
defined as charging excessive interest, is regarded as a sin in most
religions.  But in modern times, where religion's power to enforce the
law has been taken over by secular and pluralist ideologies, and
where advances in mathematics and communications have made
economic systems vast and complex, economics has risen up to
become an extremely powerful force in the world, one that ideologies
must account for and control.  Furthermore, economics has become
so powerful that it has even had more than a minor influence on
ideological thought.
     Like it or not, modern civilization has deprived us of our
independence and ensnared us in a vast network of inter-dependence.
Almost everything we need is brought to us through that network
which relies on a multitude of logistical, contractual, and financial
relationships to function properly.  Most of us are far away from
anything resembling subsistence farming and we rely heavily upon
the network to support us.  This can be seen in any area where war
breaks out or a disaster takes place.  The support system breaks down
and instantly there is a humanitarian crisis which needs both immediate
attention and long term planning to resolve.  Without assistance, the
crisis will quickly devolve into immorality and anarchy as desperation
overrides social conscience.  We need the system to work, and the
rules which the system follows are governed by economics.
     The economic system, through market forces and regulation,
satisfies our physical needs, but more importantly from an ideological
standpoint, it influences our role in society and determines, to a large
degree, our sense of self worth.  Most of us have jobs, and our jobs have
a certain income which is determined by the economic system.  Our
income is the primary determinant of the lifestyle we lead, whether
we can afford luxuries or we struggle to get by.  Our incomes also
convey status which has far-reaching social repercussions.  The rich
have far more opportunities than the poor beyond merely their ability
to buy more and better things.  These are things we all know and
accept, but does income really translate into a sense of self-worth?
     The answer is yes, but not entirely of course.  A person's
place in society is determined by a number of things: how they treat
others, how honorable they act, and how wise they are, but also by
what they do for a living.  The whole of society benefits when each
individual contributes to the system in some way and thus it is vital
that the system reward individuals for their contributions to keep them
working to support it.  But while non-monetary contributions and
rewards are important, they cannot replace economic ones, and so
professions and incomes are a vital part of the social order.
     In modern times the importance of a functional economic
system has grown as the importance of family and social ties have
diminished.  Sons seldom follow in their father's footsteps and take
over the family business anymore and seeking employment via familial
connections is frowned upon in modern, merit based societies.  Today
most people are expected to find their own way in the world, choosing
paths that can be quite different than the ones which their parents took,
and prospering by doing good, professional work.  Thus, it is no longer
the community which is expected to take care of individuals, but rather
the economic system, which provides opportunities and rewards hard
work.  Being able to hold a job is a rite of passage in modern society.
It represents an individual's coming of age.  It shows that they are
responsible members of society.  It gives them a feeling of self-worth
and rewards them with money, which imparts no small amount of
freedom along with it.  Earning money translates into independence,
provided that you earn enough of it to get by at the standard of living
that you are comfortable with.  But when you achieve that goal you
feel like you are a part of a larger whole, like you're earning your keep.
     As a part of the community most people take an interest in
making sure that their town, state, and nation is the best that it can be.
They identify with their community and take pride in it.  They support
their community and it supports them and everything is as is should be.
At least, that's the way it's supposed to work.  But an economic system
is just like any other system created and maintained by humans, it isn't
perfect, and it is vulnerable to dysfunction and corruption.  One of the
most common dysfunctions of an economic system is the misallocation
of resources, which is a fancy way of saying that too much money gets
spent on things from which too few people benefit.  Market based
systems are supposed to work against such misallocation but the
markets often fall victim to manipulation and herd mentality.  When
the economic system becomes dysfunctional, it has the collateral
effect of eroding the self-worth of those who are not benefiting as
much from their labors as they should be.  An economic system which
has high unemployment, or which forces people to work at jobs
which are below their level of talent or expertise, or prevents too
many people from realizing their potential, or deprives people of the
things that they need, is one that disrupts the connection between the
individual and the community.  When the system treats someone poorly
and unfairly, that person will find fewer and fewer reasons to support
the community in return.  They will cease to identify strongly with their
community and regard it with contempt, anger, or simply not care
much about it at all.  They may turn to crime, drug use, or other
anti-social behaviors which hurt the community and the economy.
One can argue that having a functional economy is the foundation
of any community, of equal or perhaps greater value than religion
or a political system, since immorality and intransigence will result
when the economy does not work for all.  Preachers can preach and
politicians can make promises, but if neither can put food on the
table then their words will not find the ears of the masses.  If the
bad times persist, revolution becomes inevitable.
     Thus, modern ideologies, such as Democracy, Communism
and Fascism, must incorporate methods of managing or controlling
the economy of a nation so that dysfunction is prevented and revolution
is avoided.  Economics is too important a factor in a post industrial
society to leave unattended.  But economics is more than just a way
of managing limited resources.  Economics reflects and influences
the values of a society.  Communism is focused on both social and
economic equality which requires a totalitarian government to ensure
that economic inequalities do not occur.  Democracy is focused on
freedom and independence and regulates the economy as little as
possible, allowing market forces to determine merit.  Fascism seeks
a middle way between the two, allowing the government to have far
reaching powers to prevent dysfunction but still allowing enough
economic freedom to reward those who perform the best.  All three
ideologies seek to manipulate the economy so that it reflects their
basic ideals regarding a person's relationships with other individuals,
the community, and the state, but as long as people have at least some
freedom on how to spend their money the economic system within any
ideology will tend to shift and change.  Sometimes these changes will
result in a less productive economy which the state needs to step in and
correct, and sometimes these changes will result in a more productive
economy that can force a change in the laws of the state and even
in the ideology itself.  A perfect example of this is China, where
the recent opening up of the economy of the communist state has
resulted in massive changes in both the economic and social order
and left over a billion people confused about what ideology they
are actually following.  Is it Capitalism?  Communism?  Some odd
mixture of the two?  The Chinese government is trying to stay
in control of the economy, but it is finding it difficult to reign in
the ravenous beast without causing bigger problems in the process.
Indeed, a nation's economy can be like a frisky young stallion,
sometimes it goes where the rider tells it to go and sometimes it just
goes where it wants to go.
     No ideology has solved the problem of how to prevent an
economy from becoming dysfunctional.  This is due to the fact that the
falsehoods that make up ideologies permeate their economic systems.
I've discussed ideological falsehoods in editions 8.6 and 9.6 of the
Burning Blade.  Those essays can be summarized by stating that
ideologies must provide powerful incentives in the form of future
gains in order to motivate their believers.  In economic terms this
means that ideologies must deliver increasing growth in economic
measures such as income and gross domestic product.  These numbers
are used as proof that things are getting better and can be used to
maintain the faith of people who are not personally doing well by
showing them that the overall economy is expanding and that good
times will be heading their way soon.
     A functional economy generally grows at a steady pace over
time due to innovation, increases in productivity, and population
growth.  While this progress is encouraging, the main focus of a nation
is not on absolute gains, but on relative gains against its rivals.  If your
nation grows at a 5% rate but the average gain worldwide is 8%, then
your nation has actually declined 3% relative to all others.  Not only
does this represent a loss in a nation's power and influence but it brings
into question the competence of the government and even the efficacy
of the ideology.  No one wants to see their nation go into decline, even
in relative terms.  Such a thing makes a nation more vulnerable to
foreign interference, in both economic and military terms, and doubts
are cast on the beliefs of the people that their nation's ideology is truly
superior and that it will eventually achieve global dominance or at least
last a very long time.  If your nation grows at an above average rate, or
higher, all is well, but for those nations which are below average, their
populations will believe that something is wrong.  For those unfortunate
nations the fault must be placed somewhere, such as on the unfair
practices of a rival, the poor performance of the government, or in the
flaws in one's ideology.  Of these the easiest for people to accept is that
the fault lies outside one's own nation.  However, blaming the government,
especially the members of the "other" political party, is also quite popular.
     The central problem is that while not all nations can grow at an
above average rate, all are expected to do so (an inherent property of
ideologies), and the populations of some nations demand that their nation
be the best every year.  These unrealistic expectations cannot be met by
all nations, and so many seek ways to make it appear that their nation is
doing well despite the truth that it is not.  Fudging the numbers is one of
the best ways to create growth out of nothing, such as getting creative
with inflation figures so that it is much lower than it really is.  Since
all economic statistics are compared against inflation, making inflation
seem low makes everyone seem richer, especially when money is being
borrowed or printed at an exceptional rate.  Making credit more available
is another way of making people seem richer than they are.  This allows
people to borrow more of their future gains for enjoyment in the present,
but if the risk of defaults is not adequately accounted for this guarantees
economic shocks down the road as promises fail to be delivered upon and
dreams crash to the ground.
     Both of these gimmicks represent moral failings in the realm of
economics.  One is simply bald-faced lying and the other is yielding to
temptation.  The problem with these types of moral failings is that they
solve problems in the present at the expense of causing greater problems
in the future.  This presents a moral dilemma.  If your focus is on survival
in the long term, allowing such moral failures to occur is unacceptable,
but if short term survival is of the utmost importance, then these moral
failings are not only tolerated but encouraged.  In democratic systems,
where politicians must be reelected at frequent intervals and where many
of them do not serve for long terms, one would expect to see politicians
accepting economic malfeasance as being vital to their careers.  This is
not to say that democracies are uniquely vulnerable to economic
malfeasance as the leaders of all nations must show economic growth
or be called to answer for the decline.  No one wants to be the one stops
the printing press and calls for restraint.  Politicians who tell the people
that everyone is going to have to suffer through some bad times while a
recession runs its course are seldom popular and rarely remain in office.
So there is an extreme temptation to indulge in immoral economic
practices to meet the demands of the present and let someone else deal
with the consequences.  Of course, after this process has been repeated
a number of times, and the future consequences of past bad decisions
have grown to epic proportions, it becomes more and more important
to a nation's leaders to push the bad times off just a little farther so that
they occur on someone else's watch.  No one wants to appear responsible
for bringing down an economic house of cards.  So higher and higher it
goes.
     But once the tools are in place to make the economy of a nation
appear to be stronger than it is, dysfunction in the economy can flourish
with the general population being none the wiser.  If growth appears to
be strong and everyone feels richer, the balance of how economic rewards
are distributed throughout society can become extremely skewed without
the people realizing that they are becoming effectively poorer.  While
one's income may appear to be going up as fast as the reported amount
of inflation, the real rate of inflation will eat away at one's income,
degrading one's standard of living making it difficult to bargain for
better raises since their bosses will just point to the government's
figures as proof that the raises they have given are fair.  To make ends
meet many people often have to turn to borrowing to get by.  Borrowing
just adds another drain on one's income and can only be considered a
short term solution, but for those who need the money there is no
alternative.  Like their governments, they push their problems off to
the future and hope that it will all turn out for the better.  Also, the
government's unemployment statistics can appear to be quite low, but
not indicate that the high paying jobs are being moved overseas and
replaced by lower paying ones.  Slowly but surely wealth gets transferred
from the masses to the rich while the widely reported economic statistics
tell a story of growth and prosperity.
     The result of all this is moral decay, both in economic terms
and in social terms.  The immorality on Wall Street is frightful, with
the global marketplace appearing to be more and more like one gigantic
Ponzi scheme teetering on its last legs.  Greed has run unchecked for
decades and the world has collectively borrowed deeply into a future
that has no chance of being realized.  Unfortunately the powers that
be continue to kick the problem down the road with many of them
refusing to believe that a problem even exists at all.  After all, the
system hasn't crashed yet, maybe it will all work out.  But more
importantly is the moral decay on Main Street.  Here I'm not referring
to gay marriage, flag burning, nudity and profanity in popular culture,
or abortion rights which are moral issues in name only.  The true moral
decline in a nation is rooted in the bond created between individuals
and their communities through economic contributions and rewards.
When standards of living decline and needs go unmet it's no surprise
to see people caring less and less about their nation and the law.
When the promise of good employment after attaining a degree in
higher education evaporates and only far less palatable opportunities
remain it's hard to keep believing in the work ethic.  Gambling, in
casinos, public lotteries, and the stock market becomes endemic as
people strive for that lucky strike which will allow them to lead the
kind of life that the economic system denies them.  Certainly a few
individuals can prosper, even in the worst conditions, through hard
work and taking initiative, but if the system does not work for the
majority of people there will be breakdowns in morality across the
board.  When people lose their self respect they will not respect
others.  When people lose their sense of self worth they will treat
others as if they were worthless.  Relations of every stripe break
down, not just economic ones, and trust is replaced with lying,
cheating, and doing whatever it takes to get what you want or need.
     Moral decay also occurs among those who are rewarded
handsomely by the system, particularly when wealth and income
come too easily.  It is common for the rich and powerful to lose their
respect or concern for the community since treating others well can
become irrelevant to their well being.  Also, those obsessed with
accumulating power and wealth, who generally obey few or no morals,
prosper in environments where economic malfeasance is rampant.
When immoral people become powerful, they open the door for further
immorality.  Cheating is contagious.  And once an economy begins
to become dysfunctional, moral decay on both the rich and poor ends
of the spectrum tend to push the system towards more dysfunction
rather than righting the ship.  It's not inevitable that the system
proceeds to a complete calamity though.  One solution for several
nations has been to elect what is essentially a dictator, someone who
seizes power with the goal of correcting the system, such as Putin
has done or as F.D.R. and Hitler did during the 1930s.  Of course,
such a solution has potentially serious repercussions.
     Thus, economics is important, both to the Fireaxe theory and
to people in general since it controls our fates more than we realize.
Taking it for granted is a mistake as it does not always function in
an honest manner, and leaving it in the hands of the politicians, the
wealthy, and the herds of investors has always ensured dysfunction
and the eventual breakdown of the system.  In the end we all suffer,
not just the rich, the powerful, and those who owns stocks and bonds,
but everyone who is a part of the economic network, so it's necessary
that we all make sure that problems are stopped before they grow to
epic proportions.  Unfortunately, this time around it appears that I,
and many others, are too late.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

     Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

     Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12      $14
Victory or Death            $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares      $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death      $3      $5 - slim only - booklet out of print

     Send everything to:

     Brian Voth
     1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
     Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

     If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
     The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
     Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.

Re: The Burning Blade 10.5
August 05, 2007, 12:30:38 PM
Quote
Absolute power corrupts absolutely&#8230;


Depends on who wields it. Absolute power corrupts people without something to believe in than themselves. Small degrees of power, like money and authority, corrupt the peasant-minded masses.

That's why metal isn't right or left... we don't accept the easy answers!

The Burning Blade 10.6
September 28, 2007, 08:42:56 PM
Suffering at the hands of an angry god…


                 The Burning Blade

           Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 10.6

                 September 28, 2007

           http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

     "In Indian mythology, we are in the Age of Kali -
     the last age. The world ends when Kali dances the
     dance of death. There are no such clear markers in
     markets. Recently, we came close - Jim Cramer, a
     CNBC pundit, launched a 'we’re in Armageddon'
     tirade on air. Embattled Bear Stearns’ CFO Samuel
     Molinaro pleaded: 'I’ve been out here for 22 years,
     and this is as bad as I’ve seen it in the fixed-income
     markets.' Kali had begun to shake her booty. The
     credit bubble was finally deflating."
                              -  Satyajit Das


     The writing is on the wall.  The emperor has no clothes.  The
mountain of strength and power that is Wall Street has been revealed
to be an illusion: a computer generated image of a thing that exists
only in the minds of true believers.  But optimism is a difficult thing
to kill, especially after a decade of bullishness that was rewarded by
unprecedented profits, and so the vast majority still believes what they
most want to hear: that all is well, that the Fed is in control, and that
if there is a downturn that it won't be very bad.  It's a wonderful story,
if only it were true.
     The believers can't be blamed for their optimism.  After all,
in every financial crisis over the last two decades or so, and there have
been many, the depressing forecasts by "gloom and doomers" have
never materialized, at least in the United States.  Bubbles have come
and gone, leaving only a couple of minor recessions in their wake, so
how could anyone believe that this time will be any different?
     The answer is that each bursting bubble of the past was
"fixed" by the creation of a bigger bubble, which allowed the debts
of the past to be rolled over into the newer schemes of the present
and future.  Sure, there were always a few casualties after every
bursting bubble, but the powers that be are very adept at staying afloat
while passing the bill on to investors and taxpayers.  And even though
the loopholes that allowed those lucrative bubbles get plugged by
regulators, new ones are found or created, and the great game of
milking the bubble is kept going for another few years.  In essence
this "serial bubble blowing" process is not much different than when
you max-out a credit card and "solve" the problem by getting a new
credit card.  You can keep doing that for as long as you can keep
getting new credit cards, but eventually you will run out of credit
and the party is over.  Of course, when you stiff the credit card
company, only you and it suffer, but in the case of bubbles, the
damage can get spread far and wide, and today that is true more
than ever.
     National borders and tight regulations used to isolate
bursting bubbles in various nations from the rest of the global
economy, limiting their damage, but over the last few decades of
deregulation and globalization this is no longer the case.  Loans in
California can be made by banks in New York and then repackaged
and sold to hedge funds in Europe and investors in Asia, which is
why defaults in Indiana can cause firms in Germany to go under.
Now with a fully integrated and loosely regulated global marketplace,
bubbles can grow to monstrous proportions, infecting every corner
of the world while resisting all efforts to contain them.  Such is the
case with the ravenous "credit bubble" of today, which was born in
the wake of the bursting dotcom bubble and which has no equal in
size and scope in all of recorded history.  It is beyond anyone's ability
to control or to fix and when it finally bursts, as it appears to be doing,
the suffering will affect everyone on the face of the earth.  This time
though, there appears to be no "next bubble" into which to sweep the
massive fallout from the current one.  The world is tapped out and the
debts are past due, but that hasn't stopped the central banks from trying
to delay the inevitable once more.
     It should surprise no one that the central bankers of the world
were revealed to be hypocrites early on.  The doctrine of leaving the
free markets to work things out on their own is only adhered to when
things are going in favor of the financial giants.  When the markets
drop and the losses mount, the capitalists suddenly transform into
communists and the invisible hand of the marketplace is shoved
aside by the inflationary hand of the Federal Reserve.  Their remedy
is the same as always: a quick, and this time enormous, "liquidity
injection" to keep the money flowing; which, last month, served only
to prop up a foundering system of financial malfeasance and moral
decay.  After all, the central bankers cannot afford to admit that the
system that they preside over is dysfunctional and rotted to the core
so they must do whatever they can to maintain the facade that all is
well.  While it is true that central banks must act to save the markets,
their jobs would have been much easier if they had exercised stricter
monetary policy and tighter lending standards, nipping the bubble in
the bud at the expense of slower growth or a recession.  Unfortunately,
as explained in the last edition of The Burning Blade, a nation's
leaders must preside over growth and progress every year or risk
being deposed and thus bubbles, debt, and short term solutions are
encouraged, even when they come at the expense of future growth.
And so as long as central bankers are appointed by politicians, the
tight-fisted economists will rarely reach the top post while those that
give speeches about fighting deflation by dropping money out of
helicopters are fast-tracked.  But those who advocate loose monetary
policy are not necessarily scheming profiteers.  In reality most have
simply embraced the ideology of Neo-liberal economics which
downplays the negative side of running debts and champions
deregulation.  Many Neo-liberal true believers are convinced that
bubbles are really just signs of true economic strength and prosperity
rather than problems of a loosely regulated financial market and
have put forth convincing arguments that far-above-average growth
is sustainable indefinitely.  They claim that the central bank's role
is essentially to nurse bubbles along rather than pop them and prevent
them from recurring.  It's hard to argue against them.  After all, until
the bubble bursts, the evidence is on their side, and with each money
making deal and trade, more converts are made to the god of eternal
wealth creation.  It's truly a case of the blind leading the blind: those
blinded by ideology leading those blinded by greed.
     Despite how it may appear today, the crisis is far from over.
It's not about a few sub-prime loans gone bad, but about the magical
creation of trillions of dollars of housing equity through the
manipulation of interest rates and the leveraging of trillions of dollars
of loans against those homes into gargantuan sums that sent every
global market skyrocketing.  The practice of leveraging, one of many
dangerous financial gimmicks that has been abused to an extreme,
turns small gains into large ones, but now it is turning small losses
into potentially fatal ones which can bring down major firms overnight.
Anyone paying attention to the housing market knows that the losses
due to foreclosures have only just begun.  Rates are resetting, prices are
dropping, and the economy is costing people jobs.  In regards to the
marketplace spasms that we've seen over the last two months, there's
a lot more where that came from, and as the collapse continues, it will
pick up speed.
     In the past, financial collapses have played out over months,
not days, and generally take more than a year to hit rock bottom.  These
descents are neither constant nor gradual and over the period of the
collapse a number of false bottoms are reached where the markets turn
upwards and everything seems to be over.  But after each rebound
comes another, deeper drop, followed by another rebound and another
drop.  Over and over the process repeats, punishing anyone who dares
to invest in what seem to be bargain basement deals, until finally
equilibrium is established once more.  If the collapse has truly begun,
then the world will be a very different place a year from now.  Very
different indeed.  And, as usual, I'd love to be wrong about this as
I'm doing well in the current financial climate, but when I see how
many of those that I care about are faring, and witness how the reality
of a dysfunctional economy - not the fiction that the well known
economic indicators suggest - is grinding down upon them, I realize
that what we need most of all is change, even if that means slogging
through another Great Depression to get to better times.
     Speaking of impending doom, you won't have to wait too
long to hear the latest Fireaxe CD "Eternal Devotion to the Dark
Goddess".  The mixing is nearing completion and is gelling nicely,
yielding a full, rich sound that both sounds and feels good.  Also,
the artwork is almost complete and it too is a healthy cut above that
which has been previously released.  Click the link below to view
what you will soon see spinning around inside your CD player.  It
seems that I'm getting better at this whole artist/musician/sound
engineer thing.

http://www.neptune.net/~bev/Eternallabel.JPG

     Those are the wings of the Dark Goddess.  You'll get to see
her in all her malevolent beauty in the fold-out booklet.  I think that
you will all be very pleased if not blessed (cursed?) to own it.
     A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.


Did I say "Guest Vocalist"? - Oops

     In the last edition of The Burning Blade I mentioned that
I was going to have a guest vocalist sing on a few of the tracks for
"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess".  That was certainly my
plan, it just didn't turn out that way.  There were a few parts which
I felt would sound great with a soft, feminine voice and I felt that
it wouldn't be too much of a problem to find a local singer with a
great voice who could do those parts.  So I laid down the final
versions of the tracks with that in mind and then went online to
look for possible candidates to finish things up.  In retrospect I
pretty much painted myself into a corner since there was no way
that I could get the tracks to work right without female vocals,
that is without making some major changes to the songs and
delaying the release even more.
     The initial results of my search were depressing.  It turned
out that the pool of women who were available for studio work was
smaller than I thought, and it got even smaller when I ruled out those
who were simply not very good at singing.  Now, I wasn't looking for
the next Celine Dion by any stretch, but they had to be able to at least
sing on key.  Slowly I began to realize that my falsetto voice, one that
I used in "Lovecraftian Nightmares", sounded better than many of the
singers that I heard.  That was a shock.  But thanks to a little luck I
finally found a singer who could do the parts how I wanted them done
and who sounded good doing it.  I had her record a sample track
and she nailed it.  Praise to Ishtar!  We agreed on a fee for the work
to be done and everything seemed to be coming together at last.
     Unfortunately, I never heard from her again.  I left a
couple of messages for her but got no reply.  Now, I know that I'm
world class loser when it comes to women, which means that I'm
very familiar with the whole concept of women seeming to just
disappear off the face of the earth when I try to get in contact with
them.  But, I mean, how big of a loser do I have to be such that I
can't even pay a woman to come to my apartment and sing a few
verses for me?  Seriously.  It's not like she had to let me take her
out to dinner or let herself be seen with me in public or anything,
and I wasn't going to force her to pose for a "band" picture if she
didn't want to.  It was just a professional relationship, that's all,
and not professional in the oldest profession sense either.  So am I
truly so repulsive that women don't even want to be around me?
Alright, I'm definitely getting carried away here. he he he
     I'm not certain why she didn't call me back.  However, when
I think back to our negotiations I remember that she and her friend
brought up the idea of getting a piece of the profits if the CD went
big.  It was hard but I was able to keep a straight face.  But when they
brought it up more than once I had to say something.  I guess that they
didn't know much about Fireaxe.  But I didn't want to come out and say
that I'm dedicated to not turning a profit on my music no matter how
many CDs I sell.  I was afraid that they might have walked out the door.
("What? You're just doing it for fun!?")  So instead I explained that
none of my previous CDs ever sold more than 120 copies and that
there was little chance of that ever changing.  They didn't seem to be
satisfied with that but everything seemed fine when they left.
     To be honest I was willing to negotiate on a "royalty" of
twenty-five cents per CD sold after the first 200 copies if it seemed
like I needed to throw that in.  In retrospect I probably should have
brought that up during our one and only meeting, but I thought that
all was well and I really didn't want any strings attached.  Yep, I can
read women like a book.
     I also remember the singer's friend telling me that the singer
had auditioned for "American Idol", that she'd made it through the first
round, and that she was waiting for the second round to start.  So maybe
one of you will see her on that show some day.  I won't, since I don't
watch the show, but it reminded me of how far out of step what I am
doing with Fireaxe is with the rest of the music profession.  The
recording industry has been all about finding the next big thing since
as far back as I can remember and it probably all started when the
Beatles achieved mage-fame.  This is not to say that music was pure
before 1960 and that popular demand never influenced what musicians
composed or played, but since that point the Rock Star image: the wild
lifestyle and easy money; has been the dream that has driven many a
youth down to the local music store to buy their first guitar, microphone,
or drum set.  As the number of garage bands multiplied and the recording
industry became highly profitable, music turned from being a legitimate
profession (albeit a difficult one that didn't pay well) to the equivalent
of the lottery, and when the big prize is so desirable, people will do just
about anything to get it.  Selling out, getting exploited, trying anything
to get your big break, etc., etc., we all know what the business has
become, have become far too common and in the process music was
reduced to being a means to an end, not an end in itself.
     Fireaxe, on the other hand, is all about the music, or more
specifically, all about the theme that I'm trying to express.  The reason
that I first picked up a guitar was that I could write songs in my head
but I didn't have the skills to play them.  They were good songs, or at
least I thought so, and I wanted to be able to get them out of me so that
others could hear them and so that I wouldn't forget them over time.
Fireaxe is the result of a long journey to achieve that goal.  My music
is an expression of what I want to say and what I want to play.  Fireaxe
is what I think and what I feel.  It is nothing more and nothing less.
I care nothing about becoming rich or famous and would gladly trade
a platinum selling CD for profound conversations about the subject
matter involved.  I'm also not out to change the world, I'm just enjoying
the process of creation, and creating something that I can be proud of.
It's what I do.
     But the singer that I tried to hire didn't seem to care what the
CD was about or what the meaning was behind the words that she was
singing.  That was fine with me as long as she sung them, but it seemed
that all she cared about was whether singing for me would help to further
her musical ambitions.  If that was her goal then I can say that she made
the right decision.  Fireaxe wasn't going to break down any barriers
for her and her time will be better spent doing something else.  But
the whole experience did serve as a disheartening reminder of how
idolatry and the profit motive have perverted and perhaps destroyed a
perfectly good form of art.  As it is what we call music these days is the
artistic equivalent of advertisements since they essentially both serve
the same purpose.  Both try to shock you, surprise you, titillate you, or
do whatever it takes to grab your attention and then they attempt to
stick a catchy tune or clever slogan in your head so that you'll remember
them and feel compelled to buy the product that they're selling.  Of
course, it's not just music that has suffered from this disease.  Movies,
television shows, video games, and other forms of "content" have
merged with advertising to become one and the same thing.  On the
plus side, one side effect has been that commercials have been getting
more entertaining as of late, but the downside is that everything else is
becoming more and more generic, vapid, and devoid of meaning.
     This trend has even larger social implications, but I will
leave that discussion for a later time so that I can get back to work on
the new CD.  But to finish the story, absent a viable female vocalist I
decided to give my falsetto voice another try and practiced for several
weeks before laying down the final tracks.  Don't worry, the good news
is that I sound pretty good singing like that and the new microphone
certainly helped me to get solid sound quality.  I have no regrets about
releasing the CD with me singing those delicate parts. I do regret that
it is so difficult to enlist the services of professional musicians to help
out with my projects.  Without the dream of stardom to dangle in front
them, it seems that you can't even pay them to play for you.  It's a
bummer.  But if the promise of great riches is the only thing that
motivates us, no wonder we have bubbles, tunnel-vision, and the
inevitable crashes.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

     Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

     Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12      $14
Victory or Death            $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares      $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death      $3      $5 - slim only - booklet out of print

     Send everything to:

     Brian Voth
     1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
     Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

     If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
     The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
     Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

     For the rest of this year and part of the next I will be recording
the next Fireaxe CD entitled "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess".
I should have it completed by the end of 2007.  The new CD will dig
deep into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth the
myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what
they are.  While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams,
and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth
by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the
psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times.  It will
be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.
     My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

     Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
     less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
     profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
     I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
     like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
     gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
     link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
     samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
     you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
     not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. You are food for the gods.
6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
     as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
     THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
     CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
     mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
     other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
     I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
     of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
     to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
8.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
     institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
     mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
     Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
     song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
     if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
     if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
     the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
     Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
     would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
     trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
     effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

     The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

     Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                   Brian

The Burning Blade 11.1
November 30, 2007, 09:25:07 PM
Subversion is what I do best…


                 The Burning Blade

              Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 11.1

                 November 30, 2007

                      neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

     "I watched my beloved angel shed a tear for my lost love,
     and become a demon goddess with wings of burning fire."
                        -  Fireaxe "Black Knight"


     It was four years ago when the mighty Santa Ana winds blew
hot and dry, sweeping down out of the hills and driving ravenous
flames towards the Fireaxe studio in eastern Chula Vista.  At that time
I jokingly wrote that it was a divine attempt to prevent the release of
"Food for the Gods" because of all the blasphemy and heresy that it
contained.  But this year, as "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess"
neared completion, the Santa Anas rose again and raged more powerful
than ever, scorching hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying thousands
of houses, and forcing evacuations on the outer edges of my fair city.
Coincidence?  I think not.  Someone up there doesn't like me or what
I'm doing one bit.
     I suspect that it's the Christian god.  He's the deity who caused
the great flood, wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah, and told George Bush
to attack Iraq.  He's also the one that I used to believe in but now enjoy
exposing as a fraud.  Sure, I hear some of you out there saying that no,
the Christian god is all about love and forgiveness and he would never
do such a thing as burn down half of Southern California in an attempt
to stop a single CD from being released.  Well, I've read the bible and I
can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.  That Christian
god is one petty, violent, and childish deity who's not afraid to slaughter
innocents and destroy cities just to punish a few who refuse to do what
he says.  I mean, it only stands to reason.
     However, another thought did occur to me as I was busy
mixing in my humble apartment while watching the news reports of
fires getting closer and closer to me, and that was that perhaps this was
not the work of the Christian god at all but rather it was the acts of the
Dark Goddess herself, celebrating the release of another Fireaxe CD
which portrays her in a positive light.  That made sense too, and I can
imagine her frolicking in the parched hills of Southern California,
setting the chaparral ablaze with her burning wings as she rocks out
to my music with pleasure and abandon.  In fact, I'd be pretty honored
if that was the case if it wasn't for the fact that over two thousand
families lost their homes due to the booty-shaking of the goddess of
death and destruction.  Worse still is the notion that there may be
liability issues involved if my music had something to do with it so I
feel compelled to issue a disclaimer.  Folks, it's not my fault.  Honest.
I'm not trying to summon up malevolent deities from the nether world
and I'm not trying to get revenge on all the people whose house prices
tripled while I sat here renting for years.  All that I'm doing is delivering
a message that death is real, that we should accept it, and that we should
live our lives accordingly, and if that makes the Dark Goddess want to
burn a path of devastation across my state then maybe you should listen
to my message instead of trying to shut me up.  Furthermore, if I really
do have some kind of control over the Dark Goddess, do you really want
to mess with me?  I thought not.
     Then I had another thought, and that was that the fires weren't
happening because the Dark Goddess was celebrating the release of the
CDs but rather that they were a message from the Dark Goddess telling
me to hurry up and release them, or else.  Point well taken.  I've spent
nearly as much time on "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" as I did
on "Food for the Gods" and the latter project was 3 CDs long.  Am I lazy
or a perfectionist or what?  Sure, the new CD looks and sounds really
good, but I have to admit that it did take me a lot longer than I wanted
to get it out the door.  So maybe you can take comfort in the fact that it's
not just you who are tired of waiting, the goddess of death wants a copy
of the CD too and she's going to make sure that the pressure is on.
     All in all I really don't know what the divine message is in
regards to the fires.  It could be one of the things that I mentioned above
or it could be something else that I didn't think of.  Of course, it couldn't
be that the fires were just the result of dry weather, high winds, fallen
power lines, and arsonists.  And the fact that both fires happened when I
was about to release a new CD couldn't be just a coincidence.  That's
neither interesting nor meaningful.  So it had to be a message from one
god or another.  I suppose that I could ask one of the "experts", like the
Pope or Billy Graham or the guy down at the corner who hands out
homemade pamphlets, as to what it all means but since the experts never
agree on those kinds of things I suspect that none of them would know
for sure.  And their followers?  Please.  When an image of Pope John
Paul II appeared in a bonfire on the second anniversary of his death
Catholics couldn't decide whether it meant that he was in heaven or hell.
Seriously, how much more obvious does it have to be?  Does he have to
appear holding a pitchfork, breathing fire, and be shouting "Don't think,
just obey!  I'm infallible!  I'm the infallible Pope!  I speak for God and
doubt comes from the devil!  Genuflect you bastards!  Muahahahahaha!"
     Now, the Fireaxe theory tells me that I should interpret such a
divine message in a way that motivates me to work harder towards the
goals of the ideology that I follow, but since I don't follow one I'm at a
loss to adequately explain the coincidence.  So I'm left with simply
coming up with an explanation that makes me feel good, which is the
modern way, and in that regard I feel that the image of the most powerful
goddess in the universe being driven into a state of total ecstasy by
Fireaxe music and dancing naked in the hills while leaving a trail of
despair and destruction in her wake, is the most satisfying one of all.
Praise be to Kali!  And to you, oh great goddess of death, remember
that if I die the music dies too, so don't let those flames get to close to
me, okay?
     A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.


"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is finally finished

     The parts have all been recorded and put in their places.
The tracks have been mixed and balanced and equalized and the
composition has gelled into 100% pure power-prog.  The mix has
been mastered with a light hand and attention to the dynamic as well
as a desire for a heavy and powerful sound.  And the artwork, oh man
the artwork, is probably good enough to sell a hundred discs on its
own.  The wait has been worth your while.
     The CD is out of my hands now and in the hands of the
men who are going to crank out the copies of the best Fireaxe work
to date.  If all goes well I should have the finished products back in a
couple of weeks, but there always seem to be complications and so
I won't accept orders until the CDs meet my standards.  I'll send out
a short e-mail when they are ready, so for now you will have to be
satisfied with reading about the new CD instead of hearing it.


The Artwork

     After ambivalent reactions to the covers of the last two
Fireaxe CDs, "Food for the Gods" and "Lovecraftian Nightmares",
I realized that the problem was that I needed to get my ugly mug
off of the cover and replace it with the visage of some incredibly
beautiful woman, such as the case was with "A Dream of Death".
So instead of a portrait of me getting sacrificed to various ideologies
or one of me about to get eaten by something which must not be
named, this time you will be treated to a stunning and fiery portrayal
of the Dark Goddess herself in all her malevolent glory, painstakingly
illustrated by none other than yours truly.
     I know what you're thinking, that perhaps I should have
shelled out some cash and had a professional artist do the cover art.
I concur.  After taking a lot of flack over the cover art for "Victory
or Death" it was clear that I either needed to work a lot harder at
being a better artist or hire someone who did that kind of thing for a
living. I asked an old friend if his wife would be interested since I'd
seen a number of impressive color pieces that she'd done on her
website but unfortunately that didn't go anywhere, so I took a crack
at it myself, figuring that if I fell short of what I wanted that I could
hand it off to someone else to transform it into something awesome.
Well, to my surprise I didn't fall short.  I'm not sure what happened
between the release of "Food for the Gods" and when I started work
on the new CD but apparently I acquired some serious skills in the
graphic arts category.  Okay, maybe they aren't that serious, I mean,
I'm not going to make anyone forget Frazetta or Vallejo, but I'm
pretty sure that the days of getting snide comments about the cover
art are over.
     Simply put the Dark Goddess is beautiful.  She looks like
a combination of Kali, Pele, and a drow priestess with eight arms,
jet black skin, and a pair of brilliant burning wings.  She might make
you think about the line from "Black Knight" that I quoted at the top:

"I watched my beloved angel shed a tear for my lost love,
and become a demon goddess with wings of burning fire."

     After which you might pull out your copy of "A Dream of
Death" which has an angel shedding a tear on the cover and place
them side by side.  Nifty symmetry don't you think?
     Anyway, I didn't want to try and squeeze the Dark Goddess
into the puny 5" by 5" space provided on a standard CD insert.  Such
a tiny portrait would probably be considered an insult and you do not,
I repeat, YOU DO NOT want to get the Dark Goddess angry at you for
any reason, so I decided to go with a six-panel foldout booklet and allow
her to luxuriate inside a generous 15" by 10" domain.  That's roughly
the size of an old album cover for those of you who are old enough to
remember them and also those of you who've seen any of those ancient
artifacts.  I always loved it when bands put out albums with brilliant
cover art since it added to the listening experience.  I've wanted Fireaxe
CDs to be the same way and I've tried hard to provide artwork that
matched the style and themes of the music even if the result was a
little too amateurish at times.  This time around I think that I nailed
it, but I'll let you be the judge.
     If it helps loosen up your purse strings, the Dark Goddess
appears completely nude, save for her necklace of skulls.  Don't worry,
they don't cover anything up and neither does her hair, which is
another trick that artists use to frustrate their male viewers.  Also,
she does not look like the statue of Kali that appears in the "Food for
the Gods" booklet in the section containing "The Servant of Pain".
No, in my imagination the Dark Goddess is not a skinny old hag,
instead she is beautiful enough to appear in the pages of Playboy,
which is the source of the pictures of the women who I modeled her
after.  Of course, I had to use magazines for that purpose considering
that it's nearly impossible for me to get a beautiful woman into my
apartment for any reason let alone have her take off her clothes and
stand still for hours while I draw pictures of her.  But then, one of the
benefits of using magazines was that I could raid the stash that I
collected as a teenager in the eighties.  That was back when the
magazine took pictures of  "the girl next door" instead of "the ho
down the street".  So, needless to say, the Dark Goddess does not
have implants.


The Sound

     Between the time when I recorded "Food for the Gods" and
"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" I made a few upgrades to
my digital studio, most notably the addition of a Neumann TLM-103,
one of the best cardioid microphones in the business along with a
state of the art vocal processing unit.  That was a big step up from my
old microphone and the result was that my vocals on the new CD
sound extremely clear, warm, and strong.  That combined with a solid
year of practice resulted in a dramatic improvement in the quality of
Fireaxe vocals.  I no longer see my singing as a liability to the music
and in fact in many places I feel that it is an asset.  As usual I do a lot
of different styles of vocals on the CD, from clean to gruff to quiet to
screaming and everywhere in between.  I even had to do a few parts
which I wanted to have sung by a female vocalist and I feel that I
pulled them off pretty well too.  So maybe, just maybe I'll be free of
reviewers' snide remarks about Fireaxe vocals once and for all too.
     Another improvement was the guitar sound on the CD.
In the past I had a strong tendency to pump up the high-middle
frequencies on the guitars so that I could get the sharp, crisp sound
that I wanted.  The trouble with that was that the sound often ended
up too thin and "crunchy" and didn't sound too good on some speakers
and systems, especially cheap ones.  So this time around I put a lot of
work on trying to clean the "muddiness" out of the guitar tracks
without sacrificing the sharp sound that I was looking for.  It's not
as easy as it seems.  There are about forty different knobs, sliders,
and buttons that you can tinker with between the guitar and the final
mix so triangulating on the correct formula takes a long time.  Plus,
since I need to record directly into the board instead of through an
amp and microphone I face the additional problem of needing to
clean all of the fuzziness out of the signal that an amplifier does
naturally.  It's quite a challenge, but this time around I feel that I've
got a really strong and balanced sound from the guitars, especially
in the solos, where the tone is rich and smooth.  I was also able to
get the bass guitar sound to emerge out of the mix without being
intrusive or overwhelming and it rounds out the sound rather well.
Slowly but surely I'm learning all the tricks of the trade.
     The final mix flat out rocks.  It sounds much, much better
than the rough cuts that I released earlier this year.  I made good use
of the limiter to get the volume up but stayed away from compressing
the mix so that the full dynamic was left intact.  That was critical
in achieving the "Rock Opera" feel of the CD which has a lot of
transitions between heavier parts and lighter movements and needs
to have the volume fluctuate between them.  Compression will just
squash everything up to full volume and crush the dynamic.  I'd
advise other bands out there to avoid compressing your mixes, even
a little.  It only sounds good that way for about twenty seconds, after
which you just wish that the music was out of your face.
     I also worked hard on getting the levels balanced between
the individual instruments so that the emphasis shifts around from
one instrument to another throughout the songs and the harmony
blends nicely.  That was one of the reasons why the mixing and
mastering took so long.  Each time I listened to the music I found a
few more things that I could change to make it sound better, and with
each change I got more confident that I could produce something that
sounded just as good as professionally recorded music.  After a couple
months the tracks were really sounding good and I fell victim to the
curse of rising expectations, trying to squeeze a little more out of the
tracks than what I could accomplish.  By that time the CD was almost
literally burning a hole in my studio.  It desperately wanted to get
out and be heard and so I set aside my perfectionism and cut a final
mix.  The CD isn't perfect, but it is really good, and not just "good
for music recorded in a home studio".
     The best part about the mix is that it sounds good on just
about any platform without needing to make any adjustments to the
equalization.  So far I've listened to it through three widely different
sets of speakers and three pairs of headphones from the cheap ones
that come with your iPod to a pair of two-hundred dollar Sennheisens
and in each case the music came out sounding clear, well-balanced,
and strong.  I didn't have to make many compromises, it sounds how
I want it to sound.  And while I know that I can do better with better
equipment and more experience, I am proud of what I've accomplished.
Also, I have to give credit where credit is due and thank you all for
your support over the years.  Those of you who've related to me your
honest criticisms and sung my praises with ringing endorsements
have given me confidence that I can compete alongside the "big boys"
and inspired me to work all the harder to match that level of quality.
You have personally made me a better musician/producer/artist.  I thank
you deeply.


The Music

     Fireaxe continues to evolve.  Within "Eternal Devotion
to the Dark Goddess" you'll find all of the elements of Fireaxe music
that you've come to appreciate, from simple soft verses to  towering
stacks of harmony, from ferocious driving riffs to methodical power
ballads, from scintillating guitar solos to calmly plucked melodies,
and all of it wrapped around a central theme that cuts brutally across
the grain of the modern landscape.  Told in nine parts and filling
almost every available second on an eighty minute CD the work is
another epic tragedy that explores the ideologies of today and foretells
a dark and dreadful future.
     Of course, that's what you've come to expect from Fireaxe.
So what's new about this CD?  Well, of all the tales that I've told
through my music, "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is
without a doubt the darkest and most disturbing story of all.  I'm not
going to go into detail about it so as not to ruin the impact of your
first listen to this work, so instead I'll just say that any search within
this CD for an uplifting or positive message will be completely futile.
The protagonist is anything but heroic and the antagonist has gaping
character flaws as well, and their conflict is summed up well in a quote
from the final track, "The world is not black and white, it is black and
black."  The tale is a journey through our modern world where sadism,
deceit, and exploitation lay waiting behind every shining promise.  It
is a tale of cut-throat capitalism, of torture and abuse of power, and of
the desperate struggle to preserve love and purity in a world of lust and
debauchery, but mostly it is about lies and how they used to create and
destroy.  In the CD I unravel the fabric of our ideologies, institutions,
and dreams and reveal the base threads that form the core of our society.
As always I leave nothing sacred and if I didn't get around to tearing
into your particular beliefs in this CD then you'll just have to wait for
the next one.
     Those of you who have the first Fireaxe CD "A Dream
of Death" may notice a number of plot similarities between it and
the new CD.  That's a sign that I'm running out of ideas.  He he he.
No, while there are similarities between the two stories, it is the
differences which are most important.  While "A Dream of Death"
had a protagonist which was idealistic and hopeful, the protagonist
in "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is anything but.  And
while he does begin the CD with youthful ambitions and a naïve
view of the world those traits are stripped from him very early on.
Instead he takes the listener on a tour of the dark side of the world
where aggression, greed, and ruthlessness are the traits of the victors
and in which he rises to power by embracing those ideals.  The CD is
somewhat like "A Dream of Death", but with the lovely blue, yellow,
and white colors obliterated by a convulsing mixture of black and red.
This is no dream, it is a nightmare from start to finish.
     Those of you who've heard a lot of Fireaxe know that I don't
use profanity very much in my music.  I feel that it generally detracts
from the lyrics and that there's usually a more intense way to capture
the same feeling, but in the new CD I use profanity a lot more than
usual.  Of course, the point is not to sell more CDs.  There are a few
reasons why I loosened up my standards, the most important of which
being that vulgar words were often the best ones to use in many of the
passages.  When used judiciously, one "f-bomb" can go a long way,
and there is simply no better term to use to describe politicians than
the one that suggests that they are having sexual relations with one
of their parents.  Secondly, not only do I use profanity in the CD but
I get pretty graphic in a lot of places, often using words that are going
to get bleeped out if the songs ever make it to the airwaves.  One reason
for that is that the profane words greatly increase the emotional impact
of the events I describe, but I also wanted to capture the general vulgarity
of the time period that we're living in, one that I will not mind seeing
come to a close.  Too many things have become saturated with vulgarity
to excess which has made anything subtle become all but invisible.
Nuance is dead and extremism rules the roost.  I tried to capture that
modern decadent feel in this CD and I think that I have.  Be warned,
you might find yourself grasping for the lyrics sheet asking yourself,
"did he really say THAT?"  Yep, I probably did.
     Also new in this CD is a bona fide love song, or rather a
lengthy section of a longer track where I put away the guitars and
weave a elegant tapestry of love and romance with only my voice and
my keyboard.  I'm very pleased, and more than a little relieved, that it
turned out as good as it did.  It's so sweet and innocent that it feels
out of place in the rest of the CD, but the contrast is what I needed
to make the song work.  The track, "My Angel", is perhaps the most
emotionally intense Fireaxe song ever, which saying a lot, so you don't
want to miss it.  It's also the longest track on the CD, weighing in at
nearly sixteen minutes.  The song is an epic tragedy in and of itself
but it fits in well with the rest of the tale, speeding the protagonist's
descent into hell.
     Overall I feel that the music is more "mature" and refined
than that on previous Fireaxe CDs.  By that I don't mean to imply that
the previous CDs were "immature" in any way (it's not adolescent
rebellion, it's pointed social commentary), but that the new CD has
a more confident and relaxed feel to it.  That is probably due to me
growing as an artist and getting a firmer command over the medium
that I'm using.  Maybe some of the mature feel is due to the better
recording and production quality too.  It's hard to tell for sure, but I
do know that this CD sounds terrific.
     Anyway, enough about me going on and on about my music.
I'll go back to going on and on about the sorry state of the global
economy next year.  Until then, praise be to Kali, may she continue
to frolic down Wall Street with reckless abandon and may she keep
dancing and grooving until each and every one of the "Masters of the
Universe" are humiliated, penniless, and begging her to release them
from their wretched lives.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

     Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

     Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods:      $12      $14 - 2 copies left
Victory or Death            $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares      $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death      $3      $5 - slim only - booklet out of print

     Send everything to:

     Brian Voth
     1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
     Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

     If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
     The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
     Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

     In 2008, Fireaxe will take a step back and work on a couple of
projects from the past.  First of all, "Food for the Gods" has sold out
and will be re-mastered before a second printing run is made.  Also, it
may also be re-mixed for even better sound quality depending on time
constraints.  Secondly, the first Fireaxe CD, "A Dream of Death" will
be getting a complete overhaul before it is re-released.  Everything will
be re-recorded using much more modern equipment and with everything
that I've learned over the last ten years going into it to make it better than
ever.  Also, since it was recorded at a time when CDs had a 74 minute
limit instead of the current eighty, I will add six more minutes of music
to the work in which I will explore a number of musical themes and make
the CD that much better.  So it looks like a year of sequels for Fireaxe.
I'll probably leave the names the same but I've been kicking around a few
new ideas for the CDs, such as "Food for the Gods - Regurgitated", "Desert
for the Gods", and "A Dream of Undeath", "The Morning After Death", or
"I'm Dreaming of a White Strait-Jacket - a Fireaxe Christmas in Hell".
     My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

     Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
     less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
     profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
     I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
     like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
     gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
     link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
     samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
     you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
     not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. You are food for the gods.
6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
     as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
     THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
     CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
     mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
     other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
     I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
     of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
     to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
8.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
     institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
     mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
     Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
     song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
     if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
     if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
     the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
     Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
     would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
     trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
     effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

     The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

     Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                   Brian

Re: The Burning Blade 11.1
December 02, 2007, 07:52:44 AM
Quote
The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of [ systemic logic ]
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans [ in civilizations ]
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology [ or organic group ] is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation [ or affirmation ]

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death


The selected bits represent the best translations of Nietzsche-cum-Schopenhauer to hit heavy metal in some time. (Some critical marks added)

The Burning Blade 11.1.1 - CD release!
January 08, 2008, 07:44:54 PM
Pain is my mistress and revenge is her desire…


                 The Burning Blade

           Fireaxe newsletter - edition 11.1.1

                 January 8, 2008

                 neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html

     "And as the Dark Goddess descends, you will bid her welcome.
     For by the Dark Goddess' hand, all your pain will disappear."
                        -  Fireaxe "I Used to be Young"


     "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is finally ready.
     Yeah, I know.  It's about damn time.  Four years is a long time
to wait between releases, but keep in mind that don't make music for a
living and thus I need a full time job to pay the bills.  The down side is
that I can't spend as much time making music as I want to, but the up
side is that I have full creative control over every part of the music and
art that go into Fireaxe.  I feel that it's worth the trade-off.  But even if
I were independently wealthy and could spend as much time as I wanted
making music I don't think that I could write and record more than one
CD every two years.  Inspiration is critical to the creative process and
good ideas don't happen on demand.  You can't force a good song out
of you.  If you try it generally sounds derivative and flat.  So part of the
reason that Fireaxe releases don't happen very often is that it takes time
for me to collect and assemble enough cool ideas to produce a work of
art that measures up to my standards.  I'm not going to produce junk.
And yeah, I do other things besides just work and create music, so
sometimes by favorite hobby has to be set aside now and then.  But now
the wait is over.
     A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is a special CD release issue of the Fireaxe newsletter.


"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is available for purchase

     The new CD is ready and waiting for your orders.  It looks
great, it sounds great, and if you're not careful it's going to knock you
smartly on to your backside.  Prepare yourself for the deepest Fireaxe
descent into hell to date.
     More good news is that I finally broke down and started up
my own PayPal account, so now you will be able to buy Fireaxe CDs
through the internet instead of sending checks, money orders, or cash
through the mail.  This is not such a big deal for U.S. residents, but
for people living in other countries and using other currencies, PayPal
makes things a lot simpler and cheaper.  Wire transfers are too costly
when the amounts are less than $20 and money orders are a pain.  So
now you can pay just by clicking a mouse.  What could be simpler?
But please finalize your order with me in e-mail before sending any
money.
      In the past I used to charge $5 for the single CD Fireaxe
releases.  Unfortunately this low, low price is a thing of the past now
that I am producing pressed CDs with fancy full color 12-panel fold-up
booklets.  Add to that the cost of oil going up and inflation in general
and you can see that I have to charge more than in the past.  Brace
yourself for a massive 20% price hike.  Yes, "Eternal Devotion to the
Dark Goddess" is going to cost $6 per copy.  Sorry, there's nothing
that I can do about it.  Personally, I blame Alan Greenspan.
     However, because the replication houses aren't able to
control the exact number of CDs they print in any run, I ended up
with 20 extra copies of the CD complete with booklets and jewel
cases.  So I've decided to give away a free CD to the first twenty
people who order "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess".  Also,
because replication houses don't press CDs in any quantity less than
five-hundred, which is four hundred more copies than I sold of
"Food for the Gods", I've got a lot of CDs which need to find good
homes.  So the more that you all can help me to spread the word the
better.  Thanks for everything you all have done so far in helping me
get the word out and thanks in advance for everything to come as well.
     Also available for purchase are a couple of full-size posters
of the cover art.  I wanted to make one poster for myself to hang on
my wall and show off the long hours that I spent slaving over a hot
Mac, so I blew up the cover art to three times its original size and
took it to Kinko's for printing.  The poster looked great when it came
out of the printer, but they had some trouble with the lamination
process and they had to try it a few times before they got it right.
That left a few defective copies lying around that they were going
to throw away.  Now, while the "rejects" are flawed, they still look
really good, and you can only see the defects if you look closely at
them.  So I asked if I could have the defective prints as well as the
original in case anyway wanted one.  Well, they couldn't just give
them away, but they sold them to me at a huge discount, so now I
have a couple of slightly flawed posters to offer to you.
     These posters are big, 48" x 32", printed on glossy paper,
which made the colors turn out brilliant, and laminated so you don't
have to worry about them getting scratched, scuffed, or torn.  Plus,
you can see all of the details that I put into the artwork, which makes
it look that much better than the CD booklet.  I really love mine.
Anyway, the price I paid for each defective poster was $15.  The
cost of shipping will be a little more since it requires a large mailing
tube, so I will offer the two posters that I have for $20 each.  That
price might sound steep, but printers charge $12 per square foot
for oversize prints, so the total price for the flawless copy hanging
on my wall is over $100.  Ouch.  But I was willing to pay that much
because I wanted a lasting copy of something that I was very proud
of.  Now, I wish that I could get that price down to what you pay for
regular band posters, but until Fireaxe becomes popular enough so
that mass production is viable, which doesn't seem very likely, there's
really no good cost effective option for stuff like posters, T-shirts, wrist
bands, pendants, or a wall mount display that features a pair of chrome
plated crossed axes with an electric "eternal flame" pattern roiling over
them and a glowing "Forever Vigilance" motto framing the piece.
You'll have to make stuff like that yourself.  However, JPGs of the
cover art are available on request.
     Check out a small version here:

neptune.net/~bev/Eternalposter.jpg

     A close-up is here:

neptune.net/~bev/FireEternal.html

     By the way, I've had to chop the first part off of the links
that go into the e-mails that I send since URLs usually get flagged
by spam filters and returned to me.  So if you want to go to that link
you'll have to add in the http part and the : and the // and the www.
     Now, I thought that the new CD would be ready before
Christmas but the first replication house that I went to turned out to
be considerably less professional than they let on.  I'm not too surprised
since something always seems to go wrong when it comes time to make
copies.  I gave the shop a week to print up some swatches of the artwork
so that I could verify that all was well but after trying a few things out
they were unable to produce anything that they wanted to show me.
Maybe they were incompetent or maybe they were spiritually opposed
to printing up a satanic-looking CD.  I don't really know.  All I know
is that after a few more days of getting nothing back from them I
had to find another place to do the replication.  So two weeks simply
disappeared in a puff of smoke.
     As it turned out things worked out for the better.  I made a
few slight but beneficial changes to the artwork before taking it in to
a much more competent outfit.  Everything went like clockwork at
the new place and it looked like they would even be able to squeeze
my order in so that it would be done before I went on vacation.  That
would have been great since it would have allowed me to hand deliver
a number of CDs to family and friends.  But after taking one last listen
to the music through my three-way speakers I heard something in the
mix that bothered me a little too much.  I tried to resist the urge to
make any more changes so late in the cycle, but I was overcome and
I just had to fix it.  So I had them pull the CD out of the replication
queue, which they were able to do just in time, but that caused me to
miss my deadline.  I don't regret it though, ending up a few days late
is better than delivering a flawed product, especially a pressed CD
which is going to last a long time.  Enjoy this one, it's a keeper.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

     Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

     Or if you want to do PayPal, just send me the answers to
1 and 2 above in an e-mail and I'll tell you where to send the money.
     Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Eternal Devotion            $6      $8
   to the Dark Goddess
Food for the Gods:      $12      $14 - 1 copy left
Victory or Death            $5      $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares      $5      $7 - Sold out
A Dream of Death      $3      $5 - Sold out

     Send everything to:

     Brian Voth
     1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
     Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

     If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
     The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
     Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

     In 2008, Fireaxe will take a step back and work on a couple of
projects from the past.  First of all, "Food for the Gods" has sold out
and will be re-mastered before a second printing run is made.  Also, it
may also be re-mixed for even better sound quality depending on time
constraints.  Secondly, the first Fireaxe CD, "A Dream of Death" will
be getting a complete overhaul before it is re-released.  Everything will
be re-recorded using much more modern equipment and with everything
that I've learned over the last ten years going into it to make it better than
ever.  Also, since it was recorded at a time when CDs had a 74 minute
limit instead of the current 80, I will add six more minutes of music to
the work in which I will explore a number of musical themes and make
the CD that much better.  So it looks like a year of sequels for Fireaxe.
I'll probably leave the names the same but I've been kicking around a few
new ideas for the CDs, such as "Food for the Gods - Regurgitated", "Desert
for the Gods", and "A Dream of Undeath", "The Morning After Death", or
"I'm Dreaming of a White Strait-Jacket - a Fireaxe Christmas in Hell".
     My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

     Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5 or $6, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
     less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
     profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
     I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
     like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
     gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
     link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
     samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
     you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
     not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. Do not fall in love with the Dark Goddess.  I mean, seriously.  She's the
     goddess of death after all.  It's not a good idea.  Furthermore,
     do not have sexual fantasies involving the Dark Goddess.  She
     does not have a womb and thus lacks the entrance to that
     particular organ.  Also, attempting to use other entrances will
     likely result in castration.  Again, it's not a good idea.
6. You are vehemently discouraged from doing anything depicted in the
     CD "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" such as: torturing
     someone, lying for corporate profit, rationalizing greed, beating,
     raping, and murdering your girlfriend, destroying the lives of
     those who wronged you and their families, corrupting the
     government, trying to kill yourself with pleasure, kidnapping
     and ransoming people, committing atrocities, cutting someone's
     face to pieces, destroying half the world as revenge, and especially
     stating that any of these things are okay because "God is on your
     side."  Please, think before you act.
7. You are food for the gods.
8. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
     as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
     THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
     CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
9. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
     mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
     other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
     I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
     of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
     to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
10.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
     institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
     mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
     Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
11. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
     song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
     if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
     if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
     the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
     Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
     would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
     trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
     effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

     The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

     Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                   Brian

The Burning Blade 11.3
March 29, 2008, 01:01:54 PM
The citadel must fall…


                 The Burning Blade

           Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 11.3

                 March 29, 2008

           neptune.net/~bev/Fireaxe.html


     "In the past, financial collapses have played out over
     months, not days, and generally take more than a year
     to hit rock bottom. These descents are neither constant
     nor gradual and over the period of the collapse a number
     of false bottoms are reached where the markets turn
     upwards and everything seems to be over. But after each
     rebound comes another, deeper drop, followed by another
     rebound and another drop. Over and over the process
     repeats, punishing anyone who dares to invest in what
     seem to be bargain basement deals, until finally equilibrium
     is established once more. If the collapse has truly begun,
     then the world will be a very different place a year from
     now.  Very different indeed."
                       - The Burning Blade 10.6


     Twelve months ago the consensus was that the sub-prime
problem was contained.  Six months ago the consensus was that while
the problem had grown that it was now contained and that a recession
would be avoided.  Today the fifth largest bank in the United States
stands in ruin, a recession, if not a depression, is staring us in the face,
and the global markets are thrashing around like epileptics on meth
despite the best efforts of those in charge to bring stability to the global
financial system.  But once again the markets are responding to the latest
shock treatments by the Federal Reserve and many are saying that the
problems have finally been solved and that the crisis is over.  Praise to
Ishtar!  Well, we've all heard that song and seen that dance before and
some of us never bought into it in the first place.  And when the Fed is
using methods that it hadn't needed to use since the Great Depression it
is definitely time to set aside one's faith in the powers that be.  But it
must be nice to be a true believer and never have to face a painful truth
or admit that you were wrong.  Willful ignorance is bliss.
     It is comical, although in the dark sense, to watch the
world's foremost financial experts attempt to solve the problem of
a deflating credit bubble by adding yet more credit to the system, but
that is exactly what they are doing.  In this sense they are making the
same mistakes as so many believers down through the centuries have
made before them who never stopped to consider the idea that the
truths that they held most dear were based on false assumptions.  Yes,
the madness all starts innocently enough, with a problem that is
successfully solved by the gentle application of force, or some other
taboo method which raises moral and ethical questions.  But with
success that method becomes less taboo and more acceptable and
more likely to be used again when similar problems arise, which they
inevitably do.  Then comes the transition period, when the questionable
method is used more frequently to snuff out problems that now occur
increasingly more often and are more severe when they appear.
Taboos are brushed aside and more force must be used each time in
order to make the newer, bigger problems go away.  Objections are
often raised, but the success of the method is unquestionable and its
use becomes not only policy, but is embraced as dogma by the ideology
which wields it.  At that point, the end result becomes inevitable.  All
problems are addressed using the application of that highly successful
but ethically questionable method which eventually gets used with such
forcefulness and frequency that it becomes a moral hazard unto itself
and winds up creating more problems than it solves.  However, the true
believers, who've been conditioned to think that their methodology is
infallible by years if not decades of success, will continue to pound
away at every problem that arises with it regardless of the damage that
they cause in the process and in spite of the fact that their method no
longer produces the desired results.
     Welcome to the worst case scenario.  Whether it be a man
beating his wife, a state torturing people for information, an addict
seeking another fix to calm the shakes, a politician telling another lie
to win another vote, or a central banker extending another vast loan
to prop up a corrupt system, the repeated use of such measures always
ends in escalation and tragedy.  Of course, we've all heard many
stories of this nature and we all know that buying into bubbles and
abusing one's power is wrong and self-destructive, but no matter
how much we swear to never allow ourselves to be as stupid as
our predecessors we make similar mistakes and suffer similar
catastrophes.  The reason that we do these things is that the immediate
gains of doing something immoral outweigh the long term risks of
repeatedly doing that thing, at least for awhile, thus allowing us to
believe that we can quit at any time and permitting the conditioning
effect of getting rewarded for doing something self-destructive to grow
and strengthen.  Eventually this conditioning will grow strong enough
to overcome the most disciplined minds and the path to disaster is all
downhill from there.  So in the end we will have a dead wife, a police
state, a homeless junkie selling their body for drugs, a corrupt politician,
and Ben Bernanke, a man who refuses to administer the necessary but
painful economic medicine to reform a broken system and chooses
instead to administer morphine until the patient dies.  Another
predictable tragedy unfolds.
     Of course, an even worse scenario is that somehow the
central bankers of the world manage to save the current monetary
regime, as dysfunctional and corrupt as it is, and keep it alive for
a few more years or longer.  The system is increasingly benefiting
the few over the many and preventing the judicious use of existing
resources in favor of overconsumption and wasteful excess, not to
mention the utter destruction of any sense of morality and ethics in
the financial realm and beyond.  I would not want to see the current
system continue as too many are suffering enough as it is.  To be
honest, I wished that the correction could have begun ten years ago,
but it wasn't allowed to happen then or any time since and now the
collapse will regrettably be much, much worse.  So please mister
Bernanke, stop feeding our bodies into the voracious god of neo-
liberalist capitalism.  Let it die, and let us all come together to bury
it and rebuild upon a solid foundation.
     Speaking of "Food for the Gods", the three-CD work is
undergoing an overhaul in the Fireaxe studio.  Not only will all the
tracks be remixed with an ear to make the sound more balanced
like "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess", but the vocals are
being re-recorded as well.  So far the change is like night and day
and songs like "My Name is Joshua" and "Chariot" sound as fierce
and strong as they were meant to be.  And oh, wait until you hear
"Malediction", it will have you praying at the feet of the dark goddess
herself.  Well, actually I don't want you to start worshipping her or
any other god or goddess for that matter.  Please see past the hyperbole
to the intended message: the new "Food" will rock harder than ever.
     A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the
first time.  This is the Fireaxe newsletter.


The Meaning of the Songs - Masters of the Universe

     Before I get into the descriptions of the individual tracks I'd
like to take a moment to talk about the CD in general and some of the
early feedback.  Overall the responses are very favorable with the
consensus being that while it is another great Fireaxe epic it is not
quite as good as "Food for the Gods".  I can understand that for the
most part seeing as how it is impossible for a single CD to measure
up to the epic nature of a concept work nearly three times as long.
However, I do think that "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is
better than any single CD from the previous work considered by itself,
so please don't be disappointed.  My intention was to create an eighty
minute story, similar to the fourteen epics on "Food for the Gods",
and specifically one that contained a more in depth look at the modern
world than I was able to portray in "Waiting for Tomorrow".  So, in
essence, the new CD is more like a part of the larger themes explored
in "Food for the Gods" and so it naturally can't be as epic, but I feel
that it is certainly more refined, profound, and well produced than
any previous Fireaxe work.
     Also, there is a difference in the feel of the two projects.  In
"Food for the Gods" there were a lot of aggressive "testosterone driven"
style tracks, like "Chariot", "My Name is Joshua", "Where Eagles Fly",
etc., where the protagonist is a highly motivated and ruthless
conquering hero.  In contrast, on the new CD only "Masters of the
Universe" contains that style of music, although "Viva la Revolucion"
is close to imitating that form.  Instead, the new CD is more subtle
with the protagonist doing much more suffering and much less
winning than the protagonists in the previous work.  While that may
be a let down, it is by design.  "Eternal" was intended to be a long
descent into a personal hell that ends in a type of triumph that only
a nihilist could love.  But the protagonist doesn't have a "Sum of
All Fears" or "Cut or be Cut" moment at the end of the new CD
which is what some of you might have been expecting.  However, I
intentionally avoided putting such a moment in the CD because that
was not the direction that I wanted to go.  In "Eternal" the protagonist
has been denied triumph and glory all his life.  His victories as an
executive are tainted and incomplete, the woman he loved was defiled
before he could win her hand, and his "revolucion" was merely a
cynical ploy to help him exact his revenge.  There is no big bang at
the end, just a number of defiant verses and an initially confusing
final passage.  When the last track draws to a close you might find
yourself asking "what just happened?" but upon closer examination,
and I'd like everyone to examine Fireaxe music closely, you will see
that his plan was a carefully orchestrated ruse intended to draw the
antagonist into making a terrible blunder using the principles discussed
in the previous tracks.  I'll go into further detail in later editions of the
Burning Blade, but I did want to point out the reasons why the CD is
how it is for those of you who have already had a chance to listen to it.
Anyway, on with the song descriptions.
     The second and third tracks of "Eternal Devotion to the Dark
Goddess" are what I like to call my one-two punch, where I lay siege to
the ideologies of our modern world on both the left and the right.  As
much as the CD, and all Fireaxe in general, may sound like a typical
antiwar leftist screed, the more that you look into it the more that you'll
see it is a balanced attack along a number of different fronts.  Ideology
in general, or at least the inevitably corrupted versions of them, was, is,
and always will be the primary target of Fireaxe both in music and in
writing.  The new CD is no different, and this theme is clear in the
second and third tracks.
     "Masters of the Universe" is a scathing attack on cutthroat
capitalism with numerous and often vulgar references to various
deceptive, unethical, and brutal business practices which have once
again risen to prominence in the modern corporate culture.  The
arrogance of the protagonist saturates the song as well as his extreme
aggression in the pursuit of profit.  I've got a lot of favorite lines in
this song but perhaps the one I like best is the spoken part where he
says, "R.O.I. Look it up."  For those of you not economically literate,
the abbreviation stands for Return On Investment, which is another
way of saying "profit".  It's simply the amount of money that is returned
to you when you invest in a particular project, asset, or company.  I
like the line because it captures the protagonist's attitude so well, as
if he is saying, "If you don't understand what I'm talking about then
you're an idiot and you deserve to be poor".
     That attitude personifies the modern right wing, although
there is little which resembles true conservatism in today's version
of economics.  The protagonist's harsh attitudes towards bleeding
heart liberals, the poor, and the working class are shared by many
"conservatives" and find sympathy in the halls of right leaning
institutions.  And although he does attack organized religion it's
only to point out that it's all a big scam, just like the ones that he runs
with his business.  The critique here is that organized religion isn't
about morality, it's really all about power.  And while there are a few
stabs at leftist ideas here and there, the song mainly assaults the right
by showing the extreme side of that perspective and how corruption
has turned it into a voracious monster.
     Another aspect of the song that I like is the similarity
between the world of cutthroat capitalism and the domain of street
gangs.  This track compares well with the typical egotistical machismo
and disrespect for others that can be found in a large number of "gansta
rap" songs.  From the rhyming to the profanity to the rapid-fire lyrics
the rap and metal genres merge in what I believe is a completely
unique way.  Although the musical style is all metal, the influence
of the rap culture and its reflection in the modern business culture
come together to reveal that high brow and low brow are not necessarily
two completely different things.  Both the street thug and the young
executive can embrace similar strategies and attitudes towards rivals
and have the same success in their rise to the top.  Add to that the
fact that both corporations and gangs are highly motivated to sell
product and eliminate competitors and one can see that the "law of the
jungle" applies similarly to both cultures.  The closer that you look,
the less of a stretch comparisons between the two become.
     Now, the depiction of corporations in the song is extreme
and I do not believe that it is typical of what goes on in the average
company, large or small.  Likewise, "gangsta rap" music isn't an
accurate portrayal of a typical day in the inner city, but both do a
good job of capturing the part of both cultures that is pulling them
in a sociopathic direction.  There have been many times throughout
history where the cultures of the boardroom and the mean streets
have turned from civil to brutal and back again and these days it
appears that egotism, greed, and a win-at-all-costs attitude has
pervaded too much of our society.  But beyond just pointing a finger at
all that is wrong with cutthroat capitalism, "Masters of the Universe"
delves deeper, unearthing the driving forces behind the madness.  The
song reveals how the protagonist began humbly, trying to play by the
rules in a culture where backstabbing, cronyism, and deal-making
are the preferred methods of advancement.  It doesn't take him very
long to realize that he is going nowhere and so he puts his drive to
succeed ahead of his personal ethics and grabs for the brass ring.
Who can blame him though?  If breaking the rules and chucking one's
morality have no consequences then aren't the rules really that there
are no rules?  The protagonist is merely adapting to his environment.
     In the middle of the song there is a slow part which digs
further into the issue of how the protagonist got to be where he is.  His
success bore great fruit, even though it came at a price, but we find
out that it is not his personal ambition that drives him as much as it is
his desire to be a success in the eyes of his parents.  His inner conflict
rages as he sees how happy he has made his mother and father, hiding
the fact that he had to use methods that they would not approve of to
attain his position.  But were their expectations reasonable given the
ends that he had to go to in order to achieve them?  The great moral
questions of our age abound here, especially when the protagonist
utters the following lines:

"This is what you wanted.
This is what we dream of.
This is what we worship.
This is what brings us closer to God."

     Capitalism has become the dominant ideology in the west
and indeed the entire world, replacing democracy which had made all
religions subservient to it.  Capitalism is more than a monetary system
though, it has become a system which assigns value to things beyond
that which are considered commodities and services.  At this point in
history it should be obvious to even the most pro-growth proponent
that the excessive and growing consumption by the vast majority of
the world's inhabitants is evidence that the many values systems of
a variety of cultures, traditions, and religions have been supplanted
by what can be measured in monetary terms.  Success is defined by
terms like "bigger", "better", and "more" rather than by more aesthetic
qualities.  This is not to say that we are focused entirely on getting rich,
but rather that wealth is the measure by which we evaluate too much of
our world.  If someone is rich we assume that they did something right
to become that way, and if they are poor we assume that they made
mistakes or did something wrong and deserve their status.  Thus,
wealth becomes a measure of morality as well as success.  Also, we
judge ideas, talent, skill, and a great number of things by how easily
those things are translated into wealth.  The mark of a good idea or a
good performance is revealed by how many people are willing to pay
for it since money has become the measure of quality.  One dollar
equals one vote in the "democracy" of capitalism.
     Think about how you see the world.  If someone says that they
have a good idea, is your first thought that they should try to market
it or that the proof that it is a good idea is how well it sells?  Such a
standard makes Fireaxe an utter failure.  When someone says that they
graduated from a prestigious university do you assume that they will be
able to land a well paying job or think that something is wrong with them
if they do not?  Do you see your job more as a way to make money than
as a way to do your part in our society?  And if you became rich, would
you quit working?  Most people would argue that while they do enjoy
material things that their values system is separate from economics, but
after the grotesque spending and consumption spree that I've witnessed
over the last decade or more all that I can say to that is that most people
are completely full of shit.  If our values were strong we would laugh at
advertising rather than embrace its irrational context.  No, instead we
have been sold a make-believe world of achievement, enjoyment, and
self worth defined in monetary terms that is every bit as virulent and
absurd as any dogma put forth by any of the world's religions.  Our
ideology has become capitalism, or perhaps more accurately,
Consumptionism, which is a heresy of overindulgence that lacks the
discipline of the notion that debts must be repaid and the tenet that a
stable and well regulated money supply is essential to social well being.
Thus, when the protagonist in the song declares that becoming rich
"is what brings us closer to God" he is referring to the worship of a
new religion called Consumptionism.
     There is one more bullet left in "Masters of the Universe"
and that occurs in the very next verse.  Before we hypocrites do our
customary "tsk tsk" dismissal of the protagonist's perverted values
system, which of course we do not share, the protagonist reveals two
very inconvenient facts about why we accept things the way that they
are.  The first is that most of us have few issues with someone doing
immoral things so long as they are serving our interests, especially
when it is our leaders doing those immoral things.  Instead we make
excuses for them and don't try to reign them in like we do others who
break our code of ethics.  This type of moral relativism is practiced by
many and especially by those who claim to have strong morals.  The
second inconvenient fact is that even if we don't suffer from moral
relativism, we must still align ourselves with someone whom we may
not approve of so that we do not suffer under the rule of an even more
malevolent leader.  This is not to say that all leaders are despicable
tyrants, but in the absence of an ethical standard which keeps the
ruthless out of power there inevitably manifests a "race to the bottom"
where sins committed by one ruler effectively permit other rulers the
leeway to do the same.  And so, down, down, down we go.
     Now, about the music on the track.  "Masters of the Universe"
was the most troublesome song that I've ever written as far as getting
it to sound and feel the way that I wanted it to.  Over the course of the
writing and recording of the CD I changed the tempo of the song at
least twice, reworked the drumming several times, altered the guitar
parts more times than I care to remember, and recorded the vocals in
a number of different styles before finding something that I liked.
For some frustrating reason the song just kept coming up flat.  I'd
record it one way and then on subsequent listens it would sound
lifeless.  So I would make some changes and think that I had it
rocking and then discover later that it still hadn't gelled right.  I
could have given up and stayed satisfied with what I had at any time,
but my perfectionism took over and the end result is what you are
hearing on the CD, which is pretty much exactly the feel and flow
that I wanted when the lyrics were first written.
     The end result is fantastic.  The music is aggressive and
relentless, matching the protagonist's approach to business.  The
thrashy guitar work and syncopating rhythms scream "Fireaxe" at
the top of their lungs and I am glad that this song is well liked by
many a faithful listener.  I now know for a fact that all my work
putting this song together was worth it.  I love just about everything
about it, including the style, which is reminiscent of the formula
that worked so well for metal bands of the eighties.  Yes, the solo,
the breakdown into the slow part, and the ABACAB format aren't
exactly breaking new ground, but given the unique directions taken
in the rest of the CD it's not a bad thing to have a well placed
throwback to the era of foot-stomping, head-banging metal as part
of "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess".
     Regarding the lyrics, Octavio Ramos and I teamed up to
co-author this song and I feel that it contains some of his best and
most brutal analogies to date.  What can I say about my friend
Octavio?  He was truly inspired when he wrote this song, and the
vast majority of the lyrics came from his hand.  Not unlike the way
that the music went, the lyrics also took several iterations before
they reached a final form.  Octavio would send me something and
I'd slice it and dice it and send it back and then he'd work on it and
send me back something which was even better than before.  The
final product is simply filthy.  It's sharp, vicious, and oh so very
corporate.  The age of modern capitalism is well represented by
"Masters of the Universe".
     Which brings me to the final question to be answered
about this track, what exactly is FUD anyway?  In the song there
is a line about "gonna FUD you in the ass" and you might be
wondering if that's a typo or that I meant to write another word
beginning with 'f'.  The answer is no, I meant to say FUD and it
is very much a euphemism for the corporate version of sodomy.
FUD is an abbreviation which stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and
Doubt.  It is a tactic that originated in the software industry a few
decades ago and takes advantage of the fear, uncertainty and doubt
in computer users about whether or not a new application, game,
upgrade, or download will work with their system or potentially
screw things up beyond repair.  A lot of people have a least one
horror story about how when they installed something on to their
computer that something else stopped working or that their computer
would crash or lock up on them at inconvenient times and as a
result they did not want to re-experience the pain of reformatting
their computer or paying the expense of having someone else fix it
ever again.  Thus, people will tend to want to buy only reliable
software and equipment.  This is where the FUD strategy comes
in.  If a large corporation, like say, Microsoft for instance, wanted
to sell its applications over those of its competitors, it could do so
by implying that installing non-Microsoft products on a Microsoft
operating system might result in compatibility issues and other
problems, while using Microsoft products for everything ensures
that everything will work perfectly.  Then, out of fear of a computer
crash, uncertainty that third party software would install correctly, and
doubt that tech support would be able to help them fix any problems,
users would be more prone to choose Microsoft.  Voila!  FUD!  Of
course, in reality Microsoft went much farther than simply implying
that there might be problems when using third party software.  In
fact they were caught altering the way that their operating system
supported certain applications so that their competitors' products
would not work correctly while Microsoft products would.  This
strategy was named "embrace, extend, and extinguish" and in
essence allowed Microsoft to wield its position of having a
monopoly on operating systems as a weapon against those who
tried to write software that competed with their products.
     In any event, that is just a taste of the some of the unsavory
tactics practiced at some of the largest corporations in the world.
Investigate others at your own risk as you might lose faith in the
system and in humanity in general as a result.


The Meaning of the Songs - My Angel

"And though my hands were far beyond cleansing,
I kept my heart pure. What a waste."

     And with those words the most intense Fireaxe song of the
CD, and perhaps of all time, was launched.  One listener commented
that I wasn't able to keep up the intensity after the third track and I
have to begrudgingly agree with that, I mean, how can I follow "My
Angel" with anything that sounds nearly as powerful?  This is not to
say that the second half of the CD is weak by any measure.  In fact,
there were times during the recording where I thought that the first
half was weak in comparison to the second and figured that I needed
to work more on the first four tracks to balance it out.  In any event,
if this track moves you more than any other you are not alone.
     To me, "My Angel" is one of the many "stories which must be
told" which aren't being told for one reason or another.  "Black Knight"
is another one of those stories as well as the entirety of "A Dream of
Death".  I say this because these stories tell of life from a perspective
that doesn't get a lot of attention, mainly because the main characters
are nerdy outcasts like yours truly, and also because they end in tragedy,
not in triumph.  Not surprisingly, the "nerd tragedy" genre is not alive
and well, except on Fireaxe CDs and perhaps between the lines of
many a Dilbert cartoon.  Still, there is an audience for it, however
small, so I will continue to serve it.
     I remember once reading a story written by a young man whose
girlfriend was raped.  I can't remember whether he had tried to defend
her and was beaten up or whether he was simply not there when it
happened, but I do remember him write that his girlfriend was never the
same afterwards.  She was traumatized, distant, frightened of intimacy,
and her relationship with the author slowly disintegrated despite the
author's devotion and willingness to accept her.  In his writing I could
feel his sense of anguish, despair, anger, guilt, and most of all a sense
of powerlessness that struck a chord with me.  He described how he
had a strong urge to buy a gun and kill his girlfriend's rapist after the
man was released from prison but didn't go through with it because he
didn't want to throw his life away for nothing.  After all, revenge wasn't
going return his beloved girlfriend to being the way that she was before.
In the end he was broken, she was broken, and lives were pointlessly
destroyed.  His was the kind of story that I wanted to tell with music
and with the types and intensities of emotions that I wanted my
listeners to feel.  And so I wrote "My Angel".
     The song is not autobiographical in any sense except that I
delved into my own emotions to give the song its character.  The ladies
of the world have decided that they do not like me and so I've never
actually gotten a romantic type relationship to the point where it could
be destroyed as painfully as the one in the song, but I have had a number
of friends relate similar experiences to that of the protagonist to me and
so this song is dedicated to all those who've suffered through this sort
of powerless, frustrating agony.
     The protagonist in "My Angel" seems very different than the
one in "Masters of the Universe".  Where he is strong, aggressive, and
relentless in the previous track, he is soft, caring, and unsure of himself
in this one.  However, the key lies in the opening spoken verse where he
expresses his desire to keep his heart pure.  The protagonist knows that
he has cast aside his ethics and honor to become rich and powerful in
the business world, but he doesn't want the entire world to be that way
for him.  Sure, he could go after women like he goes after profit, and
would easily be able to seduce as many as he wanted given his position,
but what he desires is to have some place in the world that's free of the
"lust and envy" and immorality that have polluted the rest of his life.
He wants to have something that's "pure and undespoiled", a part of his
heart to share with another whom he can shelter from the ravages of
a world of animalistic drives.  This idealism is very much right wing in
as much as it champions a traditional view of sex roles and the dating
ritual.  He places his angel on a pedestal and woos her with charm,
romance, and an offer that few women could refuse.  To be quite honest,
the first part of the song is so sweet and innocent that it sounds almost
bizarre when viewed from the perspective of our modern sex-obsessed
culture.  That was by design, contrasting the sexual mores of an age
long gone, if it ever truly existed, with that of the post-feminist reality
of today.  Indeed, the ideology of the left wing, with its insistence on
destroying traditional sex roles, enforcement of equality, and endless
mockery of modesty and chastity has created an environment where
instant gratification and serial monogamy are the norm and where the
idea of building a solid relationship that can endure hardships is
pointless, dull, and doomed to failure.  It is this facet of left wing
ideology that comes under fire in "My Angel", one which is essentially
Consumptionism applied to sex and relationships, and which is vulgar,
animalistic, and devoid of meaning.
     In the first part of the song the protagonist overcomes his
fears and reluctance and approaches the woman he desires.  He is then
rewarded for his sincere and romantic efforts with a pair of promises
that she makes to him, revealing that their relationship is probably
just one question away from marriage.  Perhaps the protagonist intended
to ask that question at the celebration that he takes her to in the second
part of the song, but we will never know for after the protagonist leaves
his angel for "just a moment" she is swept up into the arms of a handsome,
smooth-talking liar who seduces her.  The protagonist is overcome with a
desire to step in between them and assault his rival, but the thing which
holds him back is the look in his angel's eyes when she stares into those
of the intruder.  Indeed, she is swooning, enraptured by the liar's spell,
and she surrenders to him body and soul as we find out later.  And so,
realizing that he does not measure up to his rival's charisma and charm,
the protagonist simply swallows his anger, as he has done so many times
before, and walks away.  Inside he is seething, and in an extremely intense
section of the song we hear his anger turn inwards and become self hatred
and finally depression.
     Now, I realize this part of the song is loaded with profanity, but
in light of the context I felt that it would be disingenuous not to use such
language.  How many of us have been in that position before?  Were our
thoughts clean or were they profane like the ones expressed by the
protagonist?  In any event, I didn't try to hide the vulgarity of the scene
or the profane words or the graphic nature of what happened and instead
put it all out on display.  This is the hideous face of reality. Look at it.
See it.  Understand it.
     The third part of the song begins slowly.  Things seem like
they might finally be over but the emotional turmoil has only just
begun.  The protagonist's "angel" visits him after getting dumped by
the smooth-talking liar and she confesses her sins, all of them, and in
painful detail.  Meanwhile the protagonist just sits there, holding his
angel, trying to make her feel better, but all the while the anger inside
him is growing.  He hates the liar for what he has done to his angel and
regrets not doing anything to stop him, but when he realizes that his
angel hasn't truly come back to him and in fact still loves the man who
treated her so badly his anger breaks free of its chains and he starts to
lose control of himself.  It is here where his emotional churning begins
in earnest.  The protagonist is tormented by the thoughts of what could
have been but was destroyed by his angel's flight of fancy.  He screams
at his angel, calling her hateful names, and barely stops short of hurting
her physically before somehow managing to calm himself.  Then, once
again he tries to swallow his anger and just accept things the way that
they are rather than the way he wanted them to be.  He almost manages
to do so but his heart just won't allow it.  No, he has been hurt too deeply
and the realization that not only can he no longer feel love for his angel,
but that he will never be able to love anyone else so passionately again,
pushes him over the edge.  The protagonist can no longer control himself
and his full fury is unleashed upon the woman he once loved with all of
his heart.  Here I spare most of the details of what he does to her in the
final part of the song, alluding to his actions without describing them,
and instead I focus on the very dark emotions that the protagonist feels
as he stares down at the lifeless body that used to make him feel so
wonderful.  In the end he sees her "for what she was…just another
promise…betrayed."  This, in a nutshell, is the story of the protagonist's
life.  The dreams he chased and the promises that they held all end in
misery and betrayal.
     One possible perspective on the song "My Angel" is to say
that the protagonist got what he deserved.  After all of the lying and
cheating and treachery that he used to gain power and riches in the
previous song he loses what he held most dear as the result of someone
else using those very same tactics albeit in the art of seduction.  While
that is true, that was not my primary intention for the song.  Instead,
I was trying to show how the innocent and idealistic facets of life are
destroyed by the corrupted versions of ideologies from both sides of the
spectrum.  In "Masters of the Universe", cutthroat capitalism destroys
the protagonist's sense of fair play and the value of his hard work.  In
"My Angel", promiscuity destroys the protagonist's innocence and his
capacity to love.  But what has been utterly destroyed though is the
"American Dream".  You know, the one where a man gets a good job,
works hard, is successful, and marries a loving woman who raises
their children in a comfortable home in the country with a white
picket fence and a dog and so forth.  That America is long gone,
shoved aside by the new America divided by two radical ideologies
raging out of control with lust and greed.
     The music in the song had to match the emotional content
and thus it ranges everywhere from soaring and beautiful to hideous
and intense.  The latter I knew that I could do well, but the former
was quite a challenge.  At first I was very worried about putting five
minutes of little more than vocals and keyboards into a Fireaxe song,
especially with the "new age" sounding synthesizer parts and the
naïve nature of the lyrics.  From a metal perspective this part of the
CD is completely wussified.  And while a minute or two of that kind
of thing would probably be tolerable to most head-bangers I wasn't
sure if I should have trimmed it down or not.  Yet the flow of the song
demanded the length of the part as well as its pure innocence and so
it ended up mostly unchanged in its final form.  Another concern that
I had was that there was no distortion to cover my voice and that with
the new microphone that I was using that everyone would hear all of
the mistakes and inconsistencies in my singing.  It felt like I was
taking a huge risk, but that's what I do when I record music, and so it
was full steam ahead.  The good news is that I feel that I was able to
not only whip the part into passable form, but that it is has become one
of my favorite parts of the entire CD.  It is hauntingly sweet, and when
listened to with the knowledge that it will all end horribly it becomes
tragic as well.  In the middle where I sing "My angel. My angel."
it sounds so nice that I can't believe that it is me doing the singing.
I've come a long way since the "Unholy Rapture" days, that's for sure.
So all seemed well until my search for a female vocalist came up
empty and I had to sing her part or figure out a way to leave it out.
The former option was easier as cutting out her part was going to put
a big hole in the song, but singing female vocals was a challenge that
was almost monumental.  This wasn't like the part in "Black Knight"
where I could get away with whispering the parts of the "demon
goddess" in a feminine voice.  No, I had to pull out my best falsetto
and try to sell the lines as if I were a love-struck young woman.  I
tried my best and I feel that it almost sneaks past the listener without
raising a flag.  Well darnit, it just isn't easy trying to make your
musical vision into reality.
     When the song moves into the second part the music
captures the feel of ballroom dancing as it gently sways to a duet
between a piano and bass guitar (a first for metal?).  Then the
rhythm guitars come in and build the intensity to match the mood of
the music.  It builds and builds until finally reaching the crescendo
where the full power and intensity pound away with the same ferocity
as the rage in the lyrics before giving way to a dark emotional mood.
The transition through the second part is grand, capturing everything
wonderfully, or at least I think so.
     The third part of the song grinds away at your emotions,
switching between soft, delicate parts, strong, forceful parts, and
crushing parts with pulsing intensity and screaming vocals.  Back
and forth the music goes, rising and falling with the turmoil of the
protagonist until it finally reaches the emotional climax of the song…

"and forever there'll be a hole inside me,
bringing me pain, and screaming your name."

     After which it descends into one of the most powerful
riffs on the CD topped with a piercing guitar solo and finishing
with a low end, flowing riff to carry an exhausted listener home.
It is a special track in many ways.
     At the end of the "My Angel" you've listened to only about
thirty-six minutes of Fireaxe but you might feel as though you've
listened to the entire CD.  The first three songs are very taxing in
an emotional and even physical way and I wouldn't be surprised if
you might be worn out after hearing them.  I don't blame you if you
are because when I listened to the CD all the way through for the
first time rather than just song by song. "My Angel" had the same
effect on me and it kind of left me emotionally numb for a while,
allowing the next few tracks to slip by without raising my interest
too much.  Did that mean that those songs weren't as intense as I
thought?  Well, no.  I knew for sure that some of my favorite parts
of the CD were on the second half but they didn't sound so intense
on my first listen.  What I realized was that I'd been emotionally
drained by the first three tracks and that I needed time to recover.
So if you've been feeling the same way after listening to "Eternal
Devotion to the Dark Goddess" consider pausing the CD halfway
through as kind of an intermission to let your batteries recharge.
There's a short break at the end of the fourth track "The Evil Men
Do" which works well as a break between halves.  Pause your CD
player, take off your earphones, walk around, relax a bit, and think
about what you've just heard before diving back in again.  Then you'll
be ready for the second half of this darkest of all Fireaxe CDs.
     That's all for this edition.  More to come next time.


The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the
interactions of simple things
2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete,
with the "losers" becoming extinct
3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function
according to the rules of conditioning
4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases,
which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising
in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical
interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological
interactions of conscious humans
4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much
the same way that organisms do
5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an
ideology's survival
4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a
permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person
is motivated  - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including,
but not limited to, war and enslavement
2. That aggression is a survival advantage
3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies
feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive,
thus creating a vicious circle
4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal
strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy
their needs
5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply
that continuous growth is not sustainable
2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus
suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of
a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by
destroying it


How to order Fireaxe CDs:

     Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling
them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which
contains the following:

1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

     Or if you want to do PayPal, just send me the answers to
1 and 2 above in an e-mail and I'll tell you where to send the money.
     Here is a price list.  The first number is the cost for U.S.
based customers, the second is for outside the U.S.  The prices
include shipping and handling.

Eternal Devotion            $6      $9
   to the Dark Goddess
Food for the Gods:      $12      $15 - Sold out
Victory or Death            $5      $8
Lovecraftian Nightmares      $5      $8 - Sold out
A Dream of Death      $3      $6 - Sold out

     Send everything to:

     Brian Voth
     1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
     Chula Vista, CA 91911    USA

     If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one
of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in
exchange for the review.  In this case all I need is a request by
e-mail.  Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your
magazine with the review in it when it is done.  If you want to
exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these
requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
     The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a
letter about the project, and some information about the CD which
can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
     Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I
can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the
booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project.  The tiff disk is free
so just say the word.


The Future

     In 2008, Fireaxe will take a step back and work on a couple of
projects from the past.  First of all, "Food for the Gods" has sold out
and will be re-mastered before a second printing run is made.  Also, it
may also be re-mixed for even better sound quality depending on time
constraints.  Secondly, the first Fireaxe CD, "A Dream of Death" will
be getting a complete overhaul before it is re-released.  Everything will
be re-recorded using much more modern equipment and with everything
that I've learned over the last ten years going into it to make it better than
ever.  Also, since it was recorded at a time when CDs had a 74 minute
limit instead of the current 80, I will add six more minutes of music
to the work in which I will explore a number of musical themes and make
the CD that much better.  So it looks like a year of sequels for Fireaxe.
I'll probably leave the names the same but I've been kicking around a few
new ideas for the CDs, such as "Food for the Gods - Regurgitated", "Desert
for the Gods", and "A Dream of Undeath", "The Morning After Death", or
"I'm Dreaming of a White Strait-Jacket - a Fireaxe Christmas in Hell".
     My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in
whatever way is necessary.  Whatever the market demands, I will supply,
but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel.  Exposure is fine, but
in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to
match the demands of the marketplace.  This would totally defeat the
purpose of why I write music in the first place.  I write music because it
is a way to express my emotions.  What I both think and feel goes into
the songs.  That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion
diminishes the emotive effect.  Thus I try to avoid such diversions.
That is how art should be.


Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

     Currently Fireaxe is not for profit.  I sell the single CDs for
$5 or $6, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers
the production and mailing costs.  For CDs sent out of the country,
I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing
cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a
CD for free.  Since I am not making any money with the current
recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as
long as you obey the following guidelines:

1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or
     less, plus any delivery cost.  You are not allowed to make any
     profit with the music.
2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so
     I can keep track.  Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd
     like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the
     gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious
     link back to my website.  This includes putting Fireaxe song
     samples on your site as well.
4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided
     you are an unsigned band without a marketing tie-in.  You are
     not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
5. Do not fall in love with the Dark Goddess.  I mean, seriously.  She's the
     goddess of death after all, it's not a good idea.  Furthermore,
     do not have sexual fantasies involving the Dark Goddess.  She
     does not have a womb and thus lacks the entrance to that
     particular organ.  Also, attempting to use other entrances will
     likely result in castration.  Again, it's not a good idea.
6. You are vehemently discouraged from doing anything depicted in the
     CD "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" such as: torturing
     someone, lying for corporate profit, rationalizing greed, beating,
     raping, and murdering your girlfriend, destroying the lives of
     those who've wronged you and their families, corrupting the
     government, trying to kill yourself with pleasure, kidnapping
     and ransoming people, committing atrocities, cutting someone's
     face to pieces, destroying half the world as revenge, and especially
     stating that any of these things are okay because "God is on your
     side."  Please, think before you act.
7. You are food for the gods.
8. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud
     as you can as often as you can.  It’s your only defense against
     THEM.  Be warned, they come through angles.  Note that the
     CD is round.  Are your speaker cabinets square?
9. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other
     mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and
     other fiction authors.  None of it is real, at least that’s what
     I’m going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction
     of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening
     to the “Lovecraftian Nightmares” CD too much.
10.  You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other
     institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a
     mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world.
     Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
11. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe
     song.  I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute.  On a serious note,
     if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me
     if you have no one else to talk to.  When I was in my teens
     the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me.
     Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You"
     would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal.  I'm just
     trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that
     effect on you, please get in touch.  You aren't alone.

     The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the
music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of
credit for having written it.  I'm open to any methods of distributing
my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording
label distribution.  However, you will need my direct permission to
do so or some kind of legal agreement.


Ending Comments

     Any comments or questions are welcome.  If anyone has any
updates on their projects, I'd like to hear from you.  I know there
are a few people out there working on some cool things that I haven't
heard from in a while.  Drop me an e-mail regarding how you're
getting along.

                                   Brian

Re: The Burning Blade 11.3
April 01, 2008, 04:59:34 PM
Quote
Welcome to the worst case scenario.  Whether it be a man
beating his wife, a state torturing people for information, an addict
seeking another fix to calm the shakes, a politician telling another lie
to win another vote, or a central banker extending another vast loan
to prop up a corrupt system, the repeated use of such measures always
ends in escalation and tragedy.


Alarmingly accurate.

Fireaxe
April 10, 2008, 06:22:23 PM
Quote
Just in case anyone out there is reluctant to download this material due to an attack of conscience, Fireaxe fully supports the free distribution of any and all Fireaxe related content. In other words, feel free to upload and download mp3s, wavs, gifs, jpgs, newsletters, or anything else to do with Fireaxe on any server without worrying about any legal action. This also applies to burning and distributing CDs and DVDs which contain Fireaxe content. The only request that Fireaxe would like to make in this regard is that the distribution of the content be done without material compensation. Simply put, you can give it away to your heart's content, but you're not allowed to make money selling Fireaxe stuff. Please report all offenders to bev@neptune.net
 
That being said, if you order Fireaxe CDs from me, such as "Food for the Gods" you'll get 3 labeled CDs, a full-color booklet with lyrics, and a cool "chubby" jewel case to hold everything.  It's a very good deal at $12 ($14 overseas), assuming, of course, that you still own something that plays CDs.
 
Brian Voth - Fireaxe


Fireaxe MP3s




The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 11.3

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 11.1.1

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 11.1

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 10.6

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 10.5

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 10.4

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 9.1

The Burning Blade - Fireaxe News 8.2