A Metalhead’s Journey to the Light

By Cullen Toner

Many have expressed emotions of extreme shock and awe after discovering the explicitly Christian lyrics and aesthetics of my newest album, Deus Vult. How could I, the former singer/songwriter of New Jersey’s most popular Satanic band, find God and religion after 15 years of playing in bands with misanthropic, anti-Christian themes? What would cause a complete 180 degree change in lifestyle, a complete about-face in world view? And why would I recklessly proclaim such a change in heart to a world of black and death metal that would so surely respond in confusion, mockery, and utter malice?

To even consider the answers requires a great deal of courage and intellect, as most in the world of extreme metal have extensively conditioned themselves to the idea that metal, in all of its rebelliousness, is the antithesis to Christianity. But since the spirit of metal is one that has historically challenged authority and convention in a quest for deeper truth, those who truly understand its foundation will not cower from the mere suggestion of radical thought. And to those to I can assure that a long quest for logic and wisdom has unexpectedly led me at the foot of the upright cross. Not only did this provide happiness and fulfillment for the first time, but the foundation for meaning and purpose that many metalheads are currently in a vast search for.

In an attempt to explain as objectively as I can, this is how I came to embrace Christianity as my faith, and what it meant for my relationship with metal music.

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Did Rock & Metal Engineer Societal Destruction?

What do Jonathan Davis, Corey Taylor, and Scott Weiland have in common?  Answering the question “90 Hard Rock singers” would not be incorrect, but there’s something darker beneath the surface – all three men are rape victims.  Davis even documents the experience in graphic detail in a platinum selling album from his band, and many of Taylors lyrics are riddled with sexual abuse.

Why were the executives of the murder industry so keen on pushing rape victims as the new face of rock n’ roll?  Furthermore, why were the most popular genres of rock and metal so lyrically obsessed with self destruction?  From Grunge “morality is useless and life is hopeless” to Nu Metal “I’m a freak and everyone hates me” to Emo and Screamo “I’m lonely and will never be loved” to indie (soy) metal and rock “We failed to be what we should have been” the message of mainstream rock and metal music has constantly be one of self destruction.  This trend is mirrored by a 25% increase in American suicides in American suicides since the 1990s:

Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.

More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.

“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Schuchat said. The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses, she noted.

With statistics like this, it’s absolutely time to panic: our society is being marred by growing influences- intentional or not – to destroy ourselves.  Let’s examine music’s relationship to this now obvious horror and see if we can determine why this is happening.

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Immortal Release Title Track of New Album “Northern Chaos Gods”

Cash grab alert!  After giving the classic board room “fuck you” to cornerstone musician Abbath, the corporate conglomerate of Demonaz and Horgh have secured the legal rights to the band name “Immortal” and are now positioned to promptly squeeze their fans to blindly buy music and merch advertised as that of a Norwegian black metal legend.  Although the pair have only played together on one album out of 12, they’re billing this as “the comeback of Immortal!” and have already gotten the infamously money-hungry Nuclear Blast records to set up the most overused rock n’ roll ponzi scheme.

Together, the pair have released a new song “Northern Chaos Gods,” the title/intro track of their first foray into commercialized rehash.  So how did the miraculous (fake?) recovery of Demonaz’s tendonitis work out?  Exactly how far into the waters of retro-rehash did the band wonder?  Have they evolved even the slightest as musicians or do they remain forever trapped in the 90’s? As trust fund life-dropouts living in the woods at the expense of their family might say:

“Let’s find out!”

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A Case for Weakling’s – Dead as Dreams (2000)

Article Contributed by Salustiano Ferdinand

tl;dr: Despite controversy surrounding the indie pedigree of Weakling’s musicians and their musical descendants, Dead as Dreams remains, as described by none other than Fenriz, an “odd masterpiece” on its musical merits and should be a part of any serious underground metal fan’s collection.  The album, for a number of reasons, is currently something of a locus of blame for whatever particular sins people ascribe to west coast black metal. Some people point to Weakling as the origin point of indie creep into US black metal due to the supposed indie credibility of its members in particular as well as to a lesser extent the trend of questionable publicity stunts engaged in by mediocre bands from Velvet Cocoon to Ghost Bath (although in Weakling’s case this should be blamed on the label, not the band). As a result of these complaints, Dead As Dreams has over time become something of an Emmanuel Goldstein for black metal fans, and the album some people are critiquing when they say “Dead as Dreams” (such as the time DMU’s most alpha editor described it as “shoegaze black metal”) bears little resemblance to the actual album Dead As Dreams.

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Thrift Store Alert! Judas Iscariot to Get the Re-Release Treatment

Of all of the bands and all of the musicians that have come out of retirement in attempt to cash in on their past, Judas Iscariot’s Akhenetan (Andrew Harris) has been one rare exception who has truly vanished into the depths of obscurity for good.  Responsible for starting the careers of both Moribund Records and Krieg, Harris’s Judas Iscariot was once the most popular American black metal band.  Formed in the days where Euronymous was still alive, JI played in the long-form Darkthrone style and memorably used (albeit poorly understood) Nietzsche Nilisist lyrics.  But after a celebrated career of mediocre black metal was capped off with a wild family campaign scandal in 2002 (more on that in a moment), Akhenetan laid down his axe and disappeared forever.

But in an age where metal thrift-stores like Nuclear War Now! and their cronies will resell whatever refurbished sonic garbage they can find, Ascension Monuments Media has decided to dig up the rotted corpse of Judas Iscariot for another dose of record store necrophilia.  Run by none other than Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd (oh shit! hide your wallets!), AMM is re-releasing tons of old Judas Iscariot vinyls and a super secret, unreleased (rejected) album called An Ancient Starry Sky.

While Akhenetan himself remains in long board room meetings with corporate banker swine, Judd and his label have successfully wrestled away the rights to almost all the music not released by Moribund (whose royalty rights are locked away in a chest in Odin Thompson’s basement).  So how does this material hold up nearly 20 years later, to a scene and a world that’s turned completely upside down?  What can we expect from this latest endeavor of hipster metal mania?  And just why did the most popular American black metal musician of the 90’s go into complete exile, never to return?

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Dimmu Borgir – Eonian 2018

Dimmu Borgir are through and through, the most popular and most successful Norwegian metal band.  They are also #2 in bands that were at one point in their career black metal (falling just behind Cradle of Filth).  Since 1993, Shagrath and Silonez have clawed and breathed fire and went through dozens of musicians- some very well known- and marketed themselves as the “evil fantasy/RPG villian” better than any other band.  The brand, however obscure and seemingly non-conformist, resonated with millions as it’s two core musicians have turned their Hollywood Satanism gimmick into a big moneymaker for Nuclear Blast Records.

Sound-wise, Dimmu have been all over the place.  One of the first bands to follow the precedent set forth by Emperor and incorporate choir/string driven keyboards as a main instrument in a black metal band, they were able to forge some solid albums by scaling back their guitar playing and allowing their keyboards to forge the atmosphere and melodies.  But after a few notable works, they quickly began a journey into whatever flavor of the week pop/dance music has been popular at the time.  By the ridiculously titled Puritical Euphoric Misanthropia, they were mixing metalcore breakdowns with Hollywood-soundtrack style keyboards and dressing it all up with science fiction sound effects.  This became their main sound for almost a decade, with no variety between albums, before playing straight up opera muisc on 2010’s Abrahadabra.  Featuring a full choir, a full symphony, virtually no guitars, and Disney-villain-sounding clean vocals, the band had become a soundtrack to a Broadway musical that never existed.

But almost ten years have passed since then, the longest gap in the band’s history.  And while they are off being evil dads, the entirety of the metal scene collapsed- with no quality works being created in the underground and a metal mainstream that was void of any sort of movement.  I was intrigued to see what they band would come up with given there was no real metal trend to ripoff, so what did I find?  Where is the most commercialized black metal band in 2018, a year of shattered conventions and reborn Western identity?  And who, or what, did they model their style after this time?

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Infamous “A Su Connottu, Oro Sa Lei De S’Antigoriu”

For centuries Italian engineers were valued throughout the western world for their skill in both destruction and construction. The great Imperial warlord Albrecht Wallenstein, who exhibited a keen eye for excellence, had Italian mercenaries in his army and Italian architects for his for his manors. With their relatively recent split release with German band Gorrenje, the Italian black metal band Infamous carry on this tradition of dual excellence.

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These Musicians May Be Executed When Sweden Institutes Sharia Law

Sweden is lost.

With an unstoppable invasion of Muslim migrants and a judicial system that refuses to prosecute their crimes, the nation’s progressive government leaders have definitively surrendered the future of Sweden into a Muslim majority.  It will only be a matter of time until a revolution occurs similar to that of Iran in 1979, when the country’s republic is overthrown and replaced by an Islamic theocracy and hijabs are forced on the women of Sweden.  It’s a reality that Swedes had better accept sooner than later as it has already happened to many other less willing nations within the last century.

Under Sharia law, there are harsh penalties for blasphemy, witchcraft, female indecency (exposing your body/not wearing a veil in public) and devil worship- ranging from a life in prison (with the press declaring you committed suicide) to public execution.  There will be no mercy shown for those who profaned/denied the image of God whether the act occurred during or after the new rule of law was instituted.  Therefore, any and all Swedish bands with such lyrical content will be quickly and efficiently strung up en masse when the new government arrives.

And if all this sounds crazy to you, just read the tale of Iranian metal band Confess and the horrors its musicians have been forced to endure.  After recording the lyrically harmless In Pursuit of Dreams (of which song titles include “Did You Get My Last Massage?” and “What Doesn’t Kill You Make You Exhausted!”), the band’s vocalist Nikan Kosravi were thrown into prison, forced in solitary confinement, and denied bail for almost a month.  The kid’s parents had to sell their houss and pay $30,000 for him to be released, and he faced the punishment of death by hanging for the crime of blasphemy.  He eventually hired a human trafficker to smuggle him out of the country to escape a 6 year prison sentence!

FYI Those are Saudi Arabian women being hanged, for all of you hijab-wearing feminists out there

But all the while brainless beta-cuck musicians existing in a Gothenburg liberal bubble like Tomas Lindberg of At the Gates will be decrying nationalism and populism as the horrifying bogyman that threatens their world.  They will cheer the eventual institution of Islamic government as “the end of a tyrannical Christian reign” and will not even notice the militants sneak up behind them until the bag is thrown over their heads.  Some of their fans will cry and throw tantrums and in retaliation be beaten in the streets, but they will ultimately do nothing as their Swedish death metal heroes are hanged by the neck right before their very eyes.

If you have ever played in a Swedish death or black metal band, you’d better get the hell out of the country before the day of Sharia comes (I’m giving it less than ten years).  And if you’re in a band on the below list, I am not kidding you: you are going to die!!!  To the rest of the world, prepare yourself, because it is likely only a matter of time before the musicians of following bands will likely be executed in front of a liberal metal world that was too dumb and too feminine to stand up to what is happening:

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The Most Popular Death Metal Bands- Who is #1?

Who is the most popular death metal band?

It’s one of those esoteric questions that wanders in and out of the mind without a quick Google search to offer a definite solution.  But today it dawned on me that if I don’t try to find an answer, it’s unlikely any one else will do a decent job at doing so.  And given the fact that deathmetal.org is the number one site that comes up when you Google “death metal news,” I believe we have a journalistic duty to present the world with this information.

Since where to draw the line on what’s “true” death metal or not is a matter of opinion moreso than concrete fact, I determined that anything labeled “death metal” would be fair game whether it truly was a pure death metal band or not.  Therefore I’d consider melodic death metal, black metal, and even deathcore in an effort to find who had conquered the greater sphere of death metal.

Unfortunately, the Nielsen record sale tracking data is not public and often does not identify how well an album has sold for many years after its release.  Thus, I determined that the most accurate metric for mining this data would be to measure by Facebook likes.  Yes, I know it’s not an exact science- many fans aren’t on Facebook, and many people click a band’s like button without really listening to them.  But still, it was as good as I would ever get to finding who the most popular band in the greater bounds of “death metal” truly was.

I expected to see the favorites of the 90’s metal press and MTVX dominate- Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Decide, Death, and probably In Flames take the number 1 spot.  Imagine my shock, that only one of these bands even cracked the top 5!  I had always heard about Morbid Angel and Deicide had the highest album sales, but it appears neither band has been able to conquer the internet age.

So again, this list was populated within very forgiving boundaries (bands loosely considered death metal, whether or not I believed them to be), and the best metric I could come up with.  Also, DO NOT FUCKING EVEN THINK OF CONFUSING THIS AS BEING A LIST OF THE BEST DEATH METAL- IT IS QUITE THE OPPOSITE!!!  And finally, if there are any bands you think I missed please let me know in the comments below and I will gladly do a live update and give you credit- maybe.

Without further ado, here is – for the first time in history – a list of the most popular bands that people considered to be death metal, and an explanation to why I would endure the immense visceral hatred for even considering them:

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