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Topics - death metal black metal

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901
Metal / Heavy metal, explained
« on: March 01, 2005, 01:34:34 AM »
For those who wish to understand the many branches of the heavy metal bloodline, the "Interactive Styles of Heavy Metal Exhibit" explores each style within the metal genre through a visual interface and sound files.

http://www.anus.com/metal/about/styles.html

902
Metal / In the Face of Death
« on: February 22, 2005, 12:33:44 AM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1419364,00.html

In the face of death

Ten years ago, Norway was rocked by a brutal murder and a string of
arson attacks linked to the Black Metal band Mayhem. Now, on tour with
the group, Chris Campion asks what really happened - and finds that
even the darkest Satanists have a human side

Chris Campion
Sunday February 20, 2005

Observer

Backstage after the first show of a whistle-stop winter tour of Norway,
Necro Butcher, bassist with Norwegian Black Metal band Mayhem, is
already a bit tipsy. He is gleefully reading back his own words from an
article about the band in the local newspaper. 'I promise not to throw
animal heads at the audience in Bergen,' he preens.
The last time the band played in the city, a sheep's head thrown from
the stage smashed into the skull of an audience member. 'He wasn't
watching the band,' shrugs Necro Butcher. 'He was talking to a girl,'
he says, implying that the man should have known better. Animal heads
speared on microphone stands are de rigueur for a Mayhem show. 'We
usually use pigs' heads but we couldn't get one that night. We like to
throw them to the audience at the end of the show so they can, y'know,
play around with them.'

He returns his attention to the double page spread, holding it aloft
with outstretched arms. 'Fuckin' excellent!' he slurs. 'This 'is the
first positive article ever written about Mayhem in Norway.'

To put that in context, the band have been around for more than 20
years. Their peers acknowledge them as the originators of Norwegian
Black Metal (often referred to as its country's biggest cultural
export), defining both its antagonistic sound and attitude. Black Metal
relishes its position as the most extreme form of music imaginable.

In the early Nineties, a spate of church burnings and three grisly
deaths stoked blazing headlines that described the nihilistic rampage
of the satanically-minded youth. The limits of tolerance in this
largely secular society were sorely tested by sensational stories
centred not on the music's fans but the bands themselves. And, as far
as the Norwegian media are concerned, when it comes to Black Metal all
roads lead to Mayhem, whose terrible and bloody history eclipses the
debauchery of even the most hardened rock bands.

Before Mayhem had even released their first studio album in 1993, a
creepy masterpiece called De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, singer Dead had
committed suicide and founding guitarist Euronymous had been brutally
murdered by session bassist Count Grishnackh (with second guitarist,
Snorre Ruch, acting as his accomplice). Grishnackh was already
suspected of initiating the church burnings that began in 1992.

'We couldn't really buy better publicity,' Necro Butcher acknowledges
sagely. 'But every time we lost a member we had to find somebody else
to replace them and start the whole rehearsing process again. We
suffered in that way as a band.'

Gnomic and gnome-like (the band's road crew affectionately refer to him
as 'Micro Butcher'), Mayhem's 36-year old bassist is in some ways
Norway's answer to Lemmy; a stoic veteran who has helped steer the band
he co-founded in 1984 through personal tragedy and public vilification.

Drummer Hellhammer is the next longest-standing member of Mayhem. He's
also the quietest. A compact figure with darkly handsome (but
distinctly un-Scandinavian) features which are immaculately groomed, he
always seems to be at the centre of his own party backstage. 'He may
look quiet,' says one member of the crew, 'but he's the most twisted of
the lot.'

Euronymous's replacement is a tightly wired guitarist by the name of
Blasphemer. With his long, dyed black hair and a tuft of beard that
curls underneath his chin which he is for ever absent-mindedly
stroking, he looks like a Black Metal dandy. He also has a rapier wit
and a refined taste for red wine, amphetamines and sweet revenge.

One hapless journalist who had the knives out for Mayhem every time
they played Bergen found this out the hard way. 'One time he made some
personal comments about myself and Hellhammer,' says the guitarist, 'so
after the show, we drove to a slaughterhouse, picked up a pig's head
and dropped it off at his house with a dagger stuck between its eyes.
'We never heard from him again,' he says, pursing his lips with
pleasure.

Despite the tour schedule - four dates in four days, requiring them to
cover more than 1,200 miles of treacherous mountain road up and down
the country in a cramped 16-seater mini-van - spirits in the band are
high. It's the first time they have toured with Hungarian singer Attila
Csihar (his real name), a surprisingly mellow guy who comes across like
a stoned Bela Lugosi. Recruited after Dead's suicide to record vocals
for the Dom Mysteriis album, Attila lent his own touch of madness to
the project with a possessed vocal style that swings from the operatic
to a bestial growl. At its grotesque best, his singing sounds like
vomit. Attila's initial tenure with the band was cut short by
Euronymous's death.

Another frontman, called Maniac, left the band in 2004 through mutual
consent. But not before Blasphemer had made his displeasure known, at
what he felt was Maniac's lack of commitment, by kicking him down a
flight of stairs as they came off stage - and twice slamming his head
facefirst into a wall. 'Blasphemer actually came and asked my
permission beforehand,' an amused Necro Butcher confides. 'Maniac had
terrible stage fright. He'd get so drunk beforehand that he couldn't
remember the words.' Perhaps not surprisingly, that was his last show.

In the insular world of Norwegian metal, Attila's return to Mayhem is a
major event. The Bergen show has brought some local heavyweights out to
see the band. They include a bellowing man mountain called Abbath,
guitarist with Black Metal stalwarts Immortal, and Gaahl, 28-year old
vocalist with Gorgoroth, a tall, thin fellow with piercing eyes and a
wizard-like beard tightly plaited at its tail.

Although exceedingly polite and softspoken, Gaahl has a history of
arrests for violence that would make any gangsta rapper blush with
shame. He's currently awaiting sentencing on charges of torture and
committing ritual acts. It is alleged he beat his victim - a man who
had turned up uninvited and inebriated to an after-hours party at his
house - threatened to sacrifice him and gave him a cup into which to
bleed. Acting as his own defence, Gaahl claimed in court that he had
been attacked first and his assailant was only provided with a cup 'so
that he wouldn't make such a mess in my house'. The singer refuses to
discuss his version of events in detail now for fear of prejudicing the
outcome of the trial, but insists he was attacked as part of a hit
organised by a man with whom he had a prior dispute.

The use of violence, according to Gaahl, is only necessary when people
cross his clearly defined borders. 'Everything deals with respect. The
way I think of it is that you have to punish ... or teach,' he corrects
himself, 'anyone that crosses your borders so that they won't do it
again.'

Gaahl's ethical code derives from Odinism, the pagan religion of the
Vikings that predates Christianity in Norway and is also the occult
philosophy that underpins Black Metal. Many in the scene have adopted
or adapted names from Norse mythology.

'Black Metal was never meant to reach an audience,' Gaahl says. 'It was
purely for our own satisfaction. Something entirely selfcentred. The
shared goal was to become the true Satan; the elite human, basically.
The elite are above rules. So people did what they wanted to do. And
they had a common enemy which was, of course, Christianity, socialism
and everything that democracy stands for, especially this idea that
every man is alike and equal to his neighbour. That, of course, is a
fake.'

Gaahl's extremist outlook is undoubtedly influenced by his
surroundings. He lives on a farm three hours outside of Bergen,
isolated from the mass of humanity. 'My family owns three mountains,'
he says. 'There's not much else around there. Love of nature is a big
part of Black Metal. It's easy to feel isolated in nature. And solitude
and distance from everyone else is very important to us.'

As Mayhem's tour bus winds through plateaus and fjords for hundreds of
miles on its way from Bergen (a western port town) to Kristiansand in
the south, it's easy to see what he means. Norway is a country in which
nature has the upper hand. At times blizzards make it impossible to see
more than a couple of metres in front of the van. When the skies clear,
the awesome landscape communicates its majesty through an eerie
silence. Trees laden with snow are contorted into obsequious poses, as
if compelled to bow down by forces beyond their control. And with the
onset of dusk, the craggy profiles of the black mountains take on a
malefic aspect, casting a dark shadow across the land.

This epic geography bleeds unabated into the harsh, cold and
unforgiving mood of Black Metal. It's hard to think of a music that
sounds more appropriate to the environment from which it emerged. Its
chief characteristic is a chilling vibrato guitar style developed by
Mayhem's Euronymous and Snorre Ruch that provides an oddly harmonious
counterpoint to the stark brutality of the rhythm section.

Fenriz, the anaemic-looking drummer and lyricist for Darkthrone, has a
wealth of opinions about what constitutes the true Norwegian Black
Metal sound. A self-deprecating music geek whose arms are covered with
intentionally bad heavy metal tattoos, Fenriz can sometimes be found,
beer and fag in hand, lodged behind a table at Oslo's Elm Street Cafe,
a drinking den popular with metal musicians.

He is obsessed with maintaining the rawness and purity of early Black
Metal. To that end, he is endlessly compiling mixtapes that seek to
define its influences. The first was released on CD through British
label Peaceville as Fenriz Presents ... The Best Of Old School Black
Metal.

'There wasn't a generic sound back then,' he explains. 'We had to
decide ourselves what we deemed worthy of the Black Metal stamp. There
were many "Thrash" releases with a lot of "Black" in them, whereas
others had no "Black" at all. This is not maths, so I can't say one
plus one equals 30. It had something to do with production, lyrics, the
way they dressed and a commitment to making ugly, raw, grim stuff.

'I started out with a simple kit: just one snare, a floor tom and a
couple of cymbals. But then, I've been pushing the envelope for years.
I work in the post office,' he deadpans. Despite having an extensive
back catalogue - 'We're currently working on our "difficult" 13th
album,' he says - and selling several thousand copies of each new
release, Fenriz, like many of Black Metal's leading lights, still holds
down a regular job. (When he's not touring or recording with Mayhem,
Hellhammer also works; as a night watchman in a mental hospital.)

'Before the whole Black Metal thing blew up in 93/94, it was all very
DIY,' says Fenriz, who decries the watered-down approach ofcommercial
Black Metal. 'After that you could just call up [German metal label]
Nuclear Blast and get a deal. It was very underground before then. We
could walk the streets looking like insane motherfuckers and no-one
knew what the hell was going on. We just looked like freaks. But then
the media got hold of it and suddenly everyone knew what we'd been up
to ... unfortunately.' He laughs.

The event that brought black to the world occurred on Saturday, 6 June
1992. On that day, the Fantoft Stave Church near Bergen, a magnificent
12th-century gothic structure made of wood and acknowledged as a
historical landmark, was razed. Lightning strikes and electrical
failures rather than foul play were thought to be the chief suspects.
But in January 1993 Varg Vikernes, aka Count Grishnackh, summoned a
journalist from a local paper, Bergens Tidendes, to a loft apartment
decorated with 'Nazi paraphernalia, weapons and Satanic symbols'. The
windows were blacked out with carpet. Vikernes gave a gloating
interview in which he claimed that the Black Metal scene, having
effectively declared war on Christianity and Norwegian society, was
responsible for some eight church burnings so far and intended to
continue its campaign of terror.

No physical evidence ever emerged to connect Vikernes to the crime, but
he brazenly used a photo of the church's charred remains to promote
Askes (Norwegian for 'ashes'), an album by his solo recording project,
Burzum. Despite repeatedly denying his involvement, he is widely
believed to have taken the photo himself.

In one fell swoop, he also brought the full force of the Norwegian
authorities down on the Black Metal scene. Mayhem, their associates,
and members of other bands were rounded up and arrested for
questioning. A special police intelligence unit was set up to
investigate criminal happenings within the scene.

'The threat was that we were organising a lot of loonies with this type
of music,' says Necro Butcher. 'You could also say that the church
burnings were a sort of attack on homeland security. I was against the
church burning and so was Hellhammer.'

Nevertheless, Necro Butcher was initially blamed for two of the attacks
by police. 'Soon after, I met this chick at a party and ended up taking
her back to my place,' he recalls. 'The next morning, she told me that
she'd burnt those churches. I said, "That's good because I was framed
for your crime but it was nice to meet you anyway. And nice to fuck you
too!" She was a Black Metal girl. Now she's a Nazi girl. She was the
daughter of another loony. Her mother was involved in one of those
women's groups that storms into stores and throws out the pornos. So
you can see the type of insanity that was around.'

Once the spotlight was cast on the scene, it never left. Necro
Butcher's family farm outside Oslo was raided just three years ago.
Police discovered a stash of weed and an assault rifle fitted with a
sniper's scope and a silencer. When asked why he had it, he grins,
'Boys like their toys, y'know. I've always collected any kind of weapon
that came my way.'

A further search of the farm revealed a hoard of hand grenades and tear
gas canisters. 'My grandfather and uncle stole them from the army,' he
claims. 'But the police tried to pin that on me also. They wanted to
throw the book at me.' He ended up serving a year in prison.

'The secret police actually called me up three months ago,' he
continues. 'They said, we want to have a talk with you. But they didn't
really have anything to say. I think they just wanted to check up on
me.' The stakes were never so high back in the early days, when Necro
Butcher says that the impetus to form Mayhem was 'just a stupid boy
fantasy'. He and Euronymous met in 1983, They lived in the same Oslo
suburb and bonded over their shared love of Motörhead and Venom (a
Satanic-themed group from Newcastle with a punk-metal sound who coined
the term 'Black Metal' in 1982).

'We just decided immediately that we were going to start a band. But it
was always a cat and dog thing between me and Øystein,' he says,
referring to Euronymous by his familiar, first name. 'We had one
similar interest - the band - but everything else was different. While
I was out raising hell with all my drug friends, he was home writing
letters. He was the quiet type with all the strange friends, listening
to Brian Eno and all this "bing, bong, bing bong" music. I didn't have
time to fuck around with all of that.'

Ever-shifting line-ups meant that Mayhem rarely played live. Instead
they recorded cassette demos, which they traded with other bands and
sold by mail order through fanzines. 'That's how we corresponded with
our audience,' says Necro Butcher. 'It was the way of the times. This
type of music didn't have a stage to play on. So we got it out by
dividing the world between us. I had Australia and America. Øystein
had everything that was obscure, like Russia and China.'

As well as being an ardent music fan, Euronymous was an enthusiastic
adherent of communism and was once a member of a local Marxist-Leninist
youth organisation; adirection that created an uneasy tension with his
band-mates.

'Any correspondence with Euronymous quickly escalated into very long
letters,' says Bård Eithin, former drummer with another early Black
Metal band called Emperor. Eithin was just 13 years old and living in
almost cultural isolation in a town of 500 people, 400 miles from Oslo,
when he first became pen-pals with Euronymous in 1987. 'He was very
enthusiastic about the idea of releasing music to people in countries
that otherwise wouldn't have the ability to hear it, especially in the
East.'

The letter-writing also brought Mayhem into contact with Dead, a Swede
who joined Mayhem when his band Morbid folded in 1988. Serious illness
as a child and a near death experience convinced him that he had died
and was now a being from another world. His beliefs are preserved in
the vampiric lyrics he wrote for De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Dead
reputedly carried around the carcass of a crow in a jar and would
inhale fumes from it before taking the stage so he could perform with
the stench of death in his nostrils. He also took to donning a white
greasepaint visage, designed to mimic the pallor of 13th-century plague
victims.

'It wasn't anything to do with the way Kiss and Alice Cooper used
make-up,' says Necro Butcher. 'Dead actually wanted to look like a
corpse. He didn't do it to look cool. He would draw snot dripping out
of his nose. That doesn't look cool. He called it corpse-paint.

'When Dead first arrived in Norway, Necro Butcher took it upon himself
to make sure their new singer had somewhere to live and was looked
after. Euronymous, on the other hand, apparently did his best to make
him feel uncomfortable. 'He tried to psych him out,' says Necro
Butcher. 'He would tell Dead, "We don't like you. You should just kill
yourself." Stuff like that.'

And then, one day in the spring of 1991, Dead did just that. Euronymous
came back to their house to discover his body slumped against a wall.
He had slashed his wrists with a butcher's knife and blown his brains
out with a shotgun. His suicide note had a morbid humour . It read,
'Excuse all the blood. Let the party begin.' For reasons best known to
himself, Euronymous took pictures of Dead's remains before notifying
the police.

'Øystein called me up the next day,' recalls Necro Butcher, 'and says,
"Dead has done something really cool! He killed himself." I thought,
have you lost it? What do you mean cool? He says, "Relax, I have photos
of everything." I was in shock and grief. He was just thinking how to
exploit it. So I told him, "OK. Don't even fucking call me before you
destroy those pictures."'

Several years later a lurid photo of Dead, lying in a shabby room in
which the only splash of colour was provided by his blood, somehow
found its way onto the cover of a Mayhem bootleg produced in South
America. By resigning as bassist of Mayhem, Necro Butcher fatefully
left his position open for Varg Vikernes, Euronymous's eventual killer,
to enter the picture.

'In retrospect,' Butcher muses. 'I think Øystein was shocked by Dead's
suicide. And taking the photograph was the only way he could cope with
it, like, "if I have to see this, then everybody else has to see it
too".'

'Afterwards, there was a change in mentality,' says Bård Eithin, who
believes that Dead's suicide marked the point at which, under
Euronymous's direction, the Black Metal scene began its obsession with
all things satanic and evil. Two months later,

Euronymous moved to Oslo. He opened a shop called Helvete ('Hell'),
from which he also ran his own label, Deathlike Silence Productions.
The walls of the shop were painted black and hung with medieval
weapons, pictures discs and band posters. In the window was a tombstone
crafted from polystyrene. Euronymous began to create a persona as the
embodiment of an ancient evil. Promo photos from the time show him
dressed in a black cloak holding a rapier. The corpse-paint has become
more stylised; his gaze, distant and remote. He looks like a character
from a German expressionist movie.

'I think it was then that Euronymous discovered he had the power to
influence people in any way he wanted,' says Eithin, who worked in the
store for the year that it was open for business and lived in an
apartment at the back. 'If you have a group of people like that who are
very close, they start to create their own rules, their own morals and,
at the end of the day, end up with a twisted philosophy built on hatred
and frustration towards the rest of society. It's the archetypal way to
create mass psychosis. A lot of people say it must have been the desire
to rebel against Christianity and conformity in Norway. But I think it
was just coincidence, people meeting each other at the right or wrong
time.'

The catalyst was the introduction of Varg Vikernes into the mix of
characters. 'No one knew who he was when he first came to Helvete,'
Eithin says. 'He came out of nowhere, this serious-looking guy from
Bergen who doesn't drink alcohol but milk. He would always be drinking
from cartons of milk whereas a lot of the others were almost
alcoholics. It was a party scene. And he stood out from the crowd.'
(Butcher claims that Euronymous was also not much of a drinker until he
moved to Oslo: 'At the age 24, he discovered that beer was actually
pretty good.')

Euronymous took Vikernes, who was five years younger than him, under
his wing: inviting him to play bass with Mayhem and offering to release
his music as Burzum. 'Vikernes was a very productive guy and also very
enthusiastic like Euronymous,' says Eithin. 'He was able to record two
albums a year while Euronymous was struggling to finish his first full
album with Mayhem.'

Predictably, their friendship turned to rivalry. The newspaper
interview in which Vikernes took credit for the burning of the Fantoft
church gave him extra kudos in his struggle for position as leader of
the scene. 'It's sounds really silly,' Eithin says, but I think there
was a little bit of a contest between them to see who could be more
evil. It created a very difficult situation, especially for Euronymous,
who wanted the glamour and the showbiz. With him, there was a lot of
smoke but not so much fire.'

But it was Eithin who raised the stakes for transgressive behaviour. In
August 1992, while visiting his parents in Lillehammer, he killed a man
who had propositioned him in the Winter Olympic Park, stabbing him 37
times with a pocket knife. The body was discovered the next day. Eithin
was not caught for a year, despite his guilt being an open secret
within the crowd at Helvete; no doubt, this contributed to the feeling
that they were now able to do anything with impunity.

'The destructive side of the scene encouraged the criminal happenings,'
says Eithin, who served eight years in prison for the killing. 'It
became very difficult for Euronymous. I think he felt he had to prove
that he could be a part of it and not just in the background.'
Euronymous reacted to the insecurity he felt about his position in the
scene by resorting to the tactics he had used on Dead. 'Øystein was
always sending death threats to people,' says Necro Butcher. 'It was
his reaction to everything. But he didn't put so much into it. And then
when he met you, he was like, "OK. You're cool!". Then you were best
friends. So when eventually he got to be unfriendly with Varg, he
threatened him like he did everyone else. Øystein told him, "I'm going
to send some people to torture you. Until you die." But Varg Vikernes
saw this as a real threat. He probably thought, "better him than me.
I'll just go down and do him".'

Although this last statement is purely speculation by Butcher, it
tallies with Vikernes's claims that he killed Euronymous in
self-defence. Euronymous was in his underwear when he answered the door
to Vikernes at his Oslo apartment at 4am on 10 August 1993. In the
melee, Vikernes chased Euronymous through the stairwell stabbing him 24
times in the chest, back and head.

Again the police arrested Vikernes and he was charged in September
following a confession by his accomplice, Snorre Ruch. The darkly
charismatic and articulate Vikernes commanded the front pages during
his spring 1994 trial for murder, arson and possession of illegal
weapons (police found 150 kilos of explosives at his home). 'The
Count', as he was known, quickly became Norway's answer to Charles
Manson.

Sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum term under Norwegian law,
Vikernes soon renounced Black Metal and embraced his own heathen
neo-Nazi philosophy. Recent photos show him sporting a blond Hitler
haircut. In November 2003, just six months before he was due to be
released, he absconded during weekend leave. Police arrested him two
days later in Oslo.

'I think that as events rolled on, it became evident that people wanted
it to go as far as possible,' says Eithin, who now works as a driver
for a recycling company. 'It was hopeless for everyone as the crimes
carried on. We all realised it had to end sometime. It was probably a
good thing that a lot of us were taken out of the scene when we were.'

Mayhem, though, refused to bow to destiny. 'Me and Hellhammer got
together at Øystein's funeral and decided to carry on with the band,'
says Necro Butcher. Their first order of business was to release the
almost-completed De Mysteriis album.

'Because Vikernes played bass on it, Øystein's parents didn't want it
to come out.' says Hellhammer. 'I thought it was appropriate that the
murderer and victim were on the same record. I put word out that I was
re-recording the bass parts. But I never did .

'With Attila's return, the band's fortune seems to have come full
circle. The last date on the tour (Trondheim) feels eerily appropriate.
Mayhem are due to play in a labyrinthine student building that sits
directly opposite Nidaros-Domen, the grand cathedral whose silhouette
graces the cover of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. ('We used it because it
was one of the most beautiful churches in Norway,' says Hellhammer.
'And Vikernes, of course, had planned to blow it up.')

Two crew members emerge from behind a long red curtain and theatrically
hold up the pigs' heads before impaling them on microphone stands lined
up at the front of the stage. As they do so, 1,000 wild-eyed metal
fans, fuelled by 96 per cent proof home-made moonshine (the preferred
drink of Norwegians up north) and drunk on blood lust, let out a
delighted roar. When the curtain rises, the stage looks like a
slaughterhouse. Another 16 slack-jawed pigs heads leer out from atop
the amps. Attila stands front and centre, wearing his own take on the
corpse-paint; an abstraction of the satanic goat of Mendes design
transposed onto his features, distorting his face in a serpentine
fashion. Black horns jut out from heavily shadowed eyes and up into his
temples. He holds aloft a fearsome double-bladed dagger that looks like
it could disembowel a horse; his lyrics emerge in an incomprehensible
stream as a moaning death rattle. Behind him Mayhem sound like a band
at war with the world. And possibly even themselves.

At the close of the show, Blasphemer puts down his guitar and furiously
hurls a pig's head into the audience. Backstage he spits bile at his
bandmates: the performance hasn't lived up to his exacting standards.
Out front though, the crowd seem calm, satiated. One lucky teenage fan
has secured a trophy. Girls surround the tall, handsome youth, cooing
at the pig's head that hangs his side, as he grips it by the ear like a
cherished toy animal.

903
Metal / Linearsphere
« on: February 20, 2005, 11:43:12 PM »
Linear Sphere is an English* band who blend metal, jazz, fusion and funk with dark lyrical themes and an unorthodox approach to harmony.

http://www.linearsphere.com/fatherpyramid.mp3
http://www.linearsphere.com/medley.mp3
http://www.linearsphere.com/scentofcarbonite.mp3

http://www.linearsphere.com/

*

904
Metal / Solace of Requiem
« on: February 11, 2005, 02:08:16 AM »
Solace of Requiem sounds a little like every great early 1990's death metal band there was with some obvious non-metal influences.

http://www.solreq.com/mp3s.html

905
Metal / Fireaxe
« on: February 06, 2005, 07:00:12 PM »
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

906
Metal / Lust - Genesis of a Satanic Race
« on: February 04, 2005, 12:56:31 AM »
Lust "Genesis of a Satanic Race"

Blood Fire Death Records released the new full length CD of Canada's LUST, entitled "Genesis of a Satanic Race." It is incredibly harsh and dissonent occult metal which will surprise some who've heard the older Lust releases as there are many doom filled moments within the hellish insanity. Includes Spear of Longinus cover. Not for everyone...

http://www.destructionritual.com/bfd.html


907
Metal / Why I am not a Satanist
« on: February 04, 2005, 12:34:10 AM »
Why I am not a Satanist

Of all the subcultures to emerge following the dominance of rock over popular music, heavy metal and its associated genres remain unique in that they have maintained a counter-culture that targets not just the visible "establishment," but also all things that hold the core values of that philosophical system; metal is a naturalistic movement opposed to the utilitarian values of modern society, but it has kept its head up and thus far mostly avoided assimilation by not taking an explicitly political stance, but an artistic and metaphorical one.

This outlook has increasing driven it out of the mainstream consciousness, which has allowed it to keep its independence in part by mostly separating itself from the crowd of hopeless people looking for an identity and an easy, one-size-fits-all solution to they subliminal angst they feel about living in a fatalistic and submissive era. Of course, it has not managed this exclusively; some of the biggest sheep, and most profound losers, of our time have been metalheads, even some who have been very influential in the genre. In this way, within the metal genre the drama of the larger society is acted out in microcosm: the few who understand pulling away from the mass which wants what they have, and would emulate it to the point of drowning out legitimate voices in the genre.

What makes the mass destructive is the nature of a crowd, by definition: it is people who come together on the basest pretense and, out of fear for their individual selves, enacts a mass-will upon society at large to remove anything that threatens the herd. When you see a crowd, you are not seeing uniform people, but vastly different people who are disorganized and thus can only accept the lowest common denominator motivation, which is usually as follows: do not criticize me for anything that I do, insofar as I do not violate this basic tenet of crowd-belief toward others; give to me everything that our best people have, as I am participating in the crowd and thus "contributing." As with all utilitarian systems, this mentality punishes the more capable in order to keep the broader masses from feeling inferior, or that they're missing out.

Heavy metal music, by its very nature and alienation, recognizes that society operates on two levels: a public level, which comprises the kind of things you'd tell a crowd to make them feel you have their best interests at heart, and a private level, at which actual motivations are acted upon using the tokens of the public level in such a way that their function does not match their definition. It is a lot like hacking, actually; you overload some kind of input buffer with data that appears to be harmless, but contains concealed instructions that the machine, unaware that something labeled "data" might be "code," executes and hands control to the intruder. William S. Burroughs famously declared, "Language is a virus," and thus explained the same concept as applies to modern mass-media psychology.

What happens in a computer is that it confuses appearance with reality; the code is reality, but the idea that it is harmless data is the appearance. Similarly in our society we are divided between appearance, which generally consists of happy nonsense to keep you distracted, and reality, which is the relentless pursuit of wealth and a spiritual emptiness that justifies it. (As mentioned here before, this takes us back to a split that the Greeks noticed, between things as they are and their abstractions, which are often mentioned as that which casts a shadow, with the shadow we see being what we know of "reality.")

Since any tokens manipulated on the public level have dual meaning, and are thus meaningless, heavy metal targetted something more sublime: emotions and self-image. The Gothic, Romanticist, naturalistic and elitist-individualist imagery of even Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin did this, but it flowered from there into a proliferation of forms, each of which took the basic concept and developed it further, all without explicitly knowing why or what was being done. This ignorance of an articulation of what is being done allowed it to be passed, from mind to mind, through the subconscious channel of appealing imagery and concept in personal life, much as it was done in Romanticist literature, art and music: those who found greatness in the past, specifically medieval and ancient civilizations, and could process a melancholy acceptance of death and desire for personal greatness in heroic accomplishment, would naturally find the music appealing.

This is in part because, in addition to imagery, metal music literally sounds like the description of Romantic ideals above. It doesn't embrace the centralized harmonic structures of rock music, which is Indo-European folk music simplified to the degree of fixing a harmonic center and manipulating major/minor changes for mood, over a syncopated beat so that even the dumbest person can follow it, and it doesn't embrace the pleasing sounds and casual human vocal noises of pop. Where pop attempts to define beauty and approximate it as a medium, metal attempts to find what is beautiful in that which is, on the level of things that explicitly defined, ugly. If society exists on a level where public discourse is manipulated by private reality, metal is an inversion of that, such that the meaning of public discourse is found within private reality.

Metaphorically, metal almost exactly mirrors Romanticist literature, even down to its fascination with nature and the occult. Loneliness and alienation create independence; obsession with the forces of nature and the power of warfare creates a post-moralistic sense of seeing how life works rather than judging it; wandering into the embrace of Satan affirms the pagan belief that there can be no public level of "good" separated from "bad," but that good and bad are forces which together create a meta-good, mainly the ongoing process of life itself. These are the values of metal, and they are almost never explicitly spelled out because to do so, in the music, would be to expose the inner workings of the subculture to manipulation by those who have not discovered this meaning on their own; emulation and cheapening would follow.

For this reason, it is important to remember that Satanism in metal is metaphor. Many of the largest proponents of Satanic imagery in metal were Deists and some were Christians, but used Satan in a way similar to that of John Milton or William Blake to describe the individual Will or Ego; when Black Sabbath wrote "War Pigs," and described how modern society sends its workers off to die in foreign fields for abstract and mostly irrelevant political objectives masking a private reality of profit and power, they concluded it with "Satan laughing spreads his wings" not to praise Satan but to describe, in theological metaphor, what had occurred: humans had confused public reality with absolute truth, and thus been manipulated, and from that, an inner resentment and fatalism expressed itself in the confusion that followed. Satan laughing spreads his wings: a statement of the futility of our time, and in later bands, of the uselessness of religions that conflate Absolute truth with the public level of reality.

In doing this, metal attacked the fundamental Platonic split between the world of appearance and the world of structure; appearance was seen to be aesthetic, and not necessarily related to structure, which was defined by context, something which theological and occult imagery, by the nature of its cosmological outlook, expresses succinctly. While hardcore punk musicians attempted to rearrange the symbols of the public imagery into a meaningful private discourse, metal brushed past and declared the public reality defunct, urging its listeners to look instead toward their inner motivations and animal feelings. However, as with all things, the surging crowd - those who by definition did not and thus could not do it the first time around - sees something it likes and apes it furiously, producing a parody of it by only understanding the level of appearance and taking that appearance as truth, something which belongs to the domain of structure alone.

For this reason, although I have never been a Satanist, I have often employed Satanic and occult imagery in my writing, much as the smarter metal bands have done. In a world ruled by a Christian or secularized Christian (liberal) concept of absolute truth as public reality, one strikes back by upholding all that cannot be ruled by such a petty device, in the process pointing out that such dualistic thought patterns are in fact a simple rhetorical device misinterpreted by the crowd and thus used for its own purposes. In contrast, the crowd embraces Satanism as a truth in itself, and tries through silly literal rituals and laughable posing to be "truer" Satanists that the others, or more "extreme," or some variation of attempting to find a devotional truth in life. It cannot be done, and therefore these bands and individuals tend to ring hollow to the thinker, and their works -- well, let us say that in the years following 1996, there have perhaps been three black metal bands of the caliber of those who occurred 1990-1996, and it is similar in their own times with other subgenres of metal.

I can extend this concept further. National Socialism is popular in some black metal circles, but that is mainly because it's easier to label oneself a National Socialist and start collecting gear and posing than it is to understand the core concept of National Socialism, which is a feudalistic ethnocultural post-moral revival of classical Indo-European culture. That relatively complex thought gets distilled down to, as Faulkner said, "a hatred of black skins" alone, and thus parodies itself. What kind of idiot believes that African genocide will solve humanity's problems? Black Sabbath were more advanced in thought with "Satan laughing spreads his wings" than all the goose-stepping fools, or those from the opposite end who make the same mistake, the leftist: they assume that by labelling themselves as egalitarian and tolerant that humanity's problems will resolve themselves on the level of public discourse. All of them are misguided, and represent waste by the roadside of a path to knowledge.

Death metal and grindcore had its own version of this comedy. Bands like Carcass and Morpheus used intricate descriptions of death and decay as a way of reminding their audience that public reality is a dream designed to deny death, and that when we realize our own mortality, we can comprehend that meaning is not found in public discourse or in liberal/conservative platitudes, but in addressing reality - yes, actual reality, including that good and bad are needed to produce meta-good - we liberate ourselves from illusion and can begin work on the real task. They were followed by unnamed and now thankfully forgotten bands who found an identity in glorifying death, bloodshed, violence, disease, perversity and disgust, all in full ignorance of the original concept. It is not surprising the music of these bands was also of a lesser nature, as their thinking was clearer on a more basic, linear level.

In my view, there is truth to be found in all of these viewpoints, if interpreted correctly. National Socialism and liberalism are not that far apart when we look at their basic motivation; both want to establish healthy cultures where people are not left to the predatory whim of speculative capital. Satan and gore both wish to affirm natural belief over that of the thing-as-named public reality. Even Christians and pagans have the same essential goal, which is to find a larger reason to have values outside the material and thus find meaning in existence. However, our time is confused, as somewhere along the path to this "great" industrial society we have lost the systems of thought that give a whole meaning to the entire process of life, instead of selecting some aspect with which to label oneself and hold up as a shield of "meaning" against death. In a confused time, only a few actually seek truth, while everyone else looks for it as they might a product on a shelf or the best fruit among the ripening burden of branches.

This article is not an attempt to discredit or assault bands who use Satan as metaphor; much like Blake, or Dante, or Eliot, or any number of artists, their quest is legitimate. It should serve, however, as an introduction to the theory of metal as an art form, and an explanation of why there are so many mediocre imitators, of "Satanist" or leftist or Narrow Squirting Bowel Movement variety alike, and only a few leaders, and thus, a mandate for future thinkers in this genre to start with the leaders and not the followers. Metal remains under assault by both public culture and public "counter-culture" (an anti-establishment affirmation of public cultural beliefs, in trendier form) alike, and thus must keep an intellectual and artistic lead or it will be assimilated and left with Slipknot, Korn and Creed as its tombstone.

http://anus.com/metal/about/metal/satanist/

908
Metal / Spear of Longinus - live march 19
« on: February 03, 2005, 06:34:43 AM »
brothers and sisters, it is the equinox of the gods. time to reaffirm our place in the cosmos......... and perhaps take things up a notch or two.

you are invited to assist us in this grand and solemn occassion conveniently placed at such an auspicious time, saturday march 19.

and place, upstairs at the jubilee hotel, valley , brisbane, australia.

other okkult chelas participating are

nocturnal graves (melbourne)
spear of longinus
invocation
ruptured harmony

http://spearoflonginus.ark11.net/

909
Metal / Hessian Studies
« on: January 31, 2005, 04:31:35 AM »
If at the "modern" university we have a Black Studies Department, and an Asian Studies Department, why not a Hessian Studies Department?

http://www.hessian.org/

910
Metal / Definitive metal albums
« on: January 29, 2005, 07:30:30 PM »
In all of any genre, there's a few that really nail what it is to be that genre, and these tend to be known to history while others are footnotes. Another "list shit that you think impressed you" thread is NOT needed, so please don't do the typical Internet shithead thing and list fifteen obscure bands that make you sound cool, in your own world. Instead, think about the handful of bands that defined metal.

Death Metal
Morbid Angel - Blessed Are the Sick, Covenant
Deicide - Legion
Demilich - Nespithe
Incantation - Onward to Golgotha

Black Metal
Burzum - Filosofem, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger
Immortal - Pure Holocaust
Enslaved - Vikinglgr Veldi

Speed Metal
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Slayer - Reign in Blood
Megadeth - Peace sells...

911
Metal / Glenn Snelwar: Gordian Knot guitarist
« on: January 21, 2005, 11:39:18 PM »
AT WAR WITH SELF
Torn Between Dimensions



At War With Self is the project name for an instrumental trio that was put together by guitarist/composer Glenn Snelwar. He is perhaps best known for his vital contributions to the first offering from Sean Malone's Gordian Knot project. At War With Self's debut release, Torn Between Dimensions, features Snelwar on guitars, mandolins and keyboards, Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow, and Mark Zonder on drums and percussion. Mark Zonder's progressive drumming forms the backbone for Snelwar's guitars, mandolins and keyboards that intertwine with Michael Manring's expressive fretless bass lines and e-bow. The idea behind Torn Between Dimensions is to create compositions that have an intensity of emotion and incorporate a wide variety of influences. Derived from an equal passion for progressive rock and metal bands such as King Crimson, Voivod and Pink Floyd, classical composers such as Leo Brouwer, Bela Bartok and Heitor Villa Lobos, to such diverse influences as bluegrass and jazz, Torn Between Dimensions is the realization of how Glenn chooses to take these influences and combine them into something undeniably progressive and strikingly original. The end result is a dense wall of sound, where multiple genres are explored within each song, as one song flows seamlessly into the next.

http://www.lasercd.com/Merchant/lasercd/soundfiles/godinterface.mp3

The intent of my work is to create innovative, experimental compositions using classical, electric guitars, mandolin, various percussion, piano and string sections, that encompass many influences and genres.

http://www.glennsnelwar.com/

912
Metal / Metal Documentary Filming in Houston
« on: January 18, 2005, 12:29:03 AM »
I am producing a documentary on metal and hardcore music. My camera
crew and I will be touring the country most of the spring and summer.
We will be in Houston on April 15th and 16th. We are looking for
local sponsors to be involved so that we do not have to have a big
corporate sponsor.

The filming will be at the Engine Room on the 15th and the Rhythm
Room on the 16th. The documentary will consist of live footage, interviews
with bands, promoters, and fans in the Houston area.

The documentary will be released nationwide on DVD format in the
fall of 05. It will be sold as three separate DVD’s divided by region
or as a three DVD set.

Each sponsor will have their logo on every official Mancuso Production’s
poster and handbill. Every sponsor will have a 30 second commercial
tied into their city’s section of the documentary. The commercial
will be shot by our camera crew so that it blends into the rest of
the documentary. Sponsors will have the option to be interviewed
on the documentary to explain how they have contributed to the local
metal scene. Finally, you will be allowed to have a booth at the
filming to pass out promotional material for your company and banners
are more than welcome.

If you are interested in being a sponsor of the show and being a
part of the documentary please contact me in one of the following
ways.

E-Mail: john@mancusoproductions.com
AIM: JMPro79
714.420.4000

Best Regards,

-John Mancuso

John Mancuso Productions
www.mancusoproductions.com
Tel: 714.420.4000

913
Metal / Morbid An(g)el
« on: January 14, 2005, 11:51:57 PM »
Morbid Angel have reformed with original Vocalist and bassist David Vincent
and are undertakinga series of Tours, including a USA trip throughout
february with Soulfly and a European jaunt in March.See dates here:

http://www.earache.com/tours/tour_info.html#morbid

914
Metal / B.A.R.F. live in Québec
« on: December 31, 2004, 09:17:14 PM »
Samedi le 12 février 2005,
à 7 heures du soir,
à l'Anti,
725 Côte d'Abraham, ville de Québec,
pour tous,
15 $ d'avance, 20 $ à porte.

Droits d'auteur 1986-2005 B.A.R.F.

http://www.vacarme.net/barf/

915
Metal / Ignitor - Power Metal
« on: December 26, 2004, 09:31:26 PM »
Ignitor is a power metal band from Austin, TX influenced by European and American classic heavy metal and power metal bands.

Download their new video, "Demon Slayer," here:

http://www.ignitor.org/IMAGES/Demonslayer.mp4


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