Black Metal Musicians and Christian Evangelists, Two Peas in a Pod.

•February 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Icons of anti-Christianity, black metal musicians have sparked hatred throughout the world with their satanic lyrics, frightening images, and vandalism. During the 80s, then there was a great uprising in heavy metal, a band named Venom decided to take their music into a darker sound, coining the genre with their album called “Black Metal”, focused on liberation from God to live as the goat does, freely. (By the way the common misconception of Satanists praying to Satan isn’t true. They praise Satan for standing up to a tyrant and living in his own way and try to follow in his footsteps.)

On the other hand, one of the three largest religions, Christianity, stands as the complete opposite of Satanism and paganism. In Christianity, the sheep was God’s follower, earning a place in heaven abiding to the Lord’s every wish. People known as Evangelists spread the message of Christianity in order to enlighten none believers, or most of the time they just preach to people who are already Christians through the television.

But what do Christian Evangelists and Black Metal Extremists have in common? Controversies. Both groups have tabloids swirling around their actions and words at all times because they always do and say offensive things, which make me laugh most of the time so I don’t’ really have a problem with either; in fact, I love both! But guys in Corpse Paint playing extreme metal are definitely cooler than their old and enthusiastic counterparts.

Both are extremely extreme in extremely expressing their extreme viewpoints. In fact, they both lie on the same spectrum…just on the extremely opposite ends. During the 90s, primarily in Norway, there was a second wave of Black Metal bands with infamous musicians. This rise of black metal led to over fifty church burnings in Norway, where it was most prominent by black metal musicians and fans. One of which was Gaahl, from the band Gorgoroth, who commended and suggested more burnings in interviews. He believes strongly in following the footsteps of the goat and stages really dark atmospheric shows in which he relays his massage to the listeners. One of Gorgoroth’s most famous concerts took place in the Roman Catholic country, Poland. The stage props featured impaled sheep heads, satanic imagery, a crucifixions performed by naked men and women drenched in blood. The government took extreme offence to this and polish investigations led to allegations of religious offences, but the band was not charged in the end.

Gaahl has been center stage with such incidents. In 2002, Gaahl assaulted a man who confronted him with religion. He took him captive and apparently tied his gentiles, squeezing his blood into a cup. The victim claimed he forced him to drink it. Gaahl said, he simply used to cup to prevent the blood from staining his carpet.

Another band Mayhem, a big scene in black metal has gone through extremes to spread their message. The one incident that really sparked the media’s involvement was the band member, Euronymous’s, suicide. A picture of his dead, bloodied body appeared on the band’s next album and rumors spread that the band made stew from his brains, necklaces from pieces of his skull, and the drummer used his femurs for drumsticks. However, only the latter two were confirmed true. The necklaces were given to “black metal musicians deemed worthy”.

Christian evangelists haven’t done anything as crazy as the black metal-ers but what comes out of their mouths are pretty annoying. What really caught my attention was what was said a few days ago. A televangelist named Pat Robertson said “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti. People might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the third and whatever…and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘Okay it’s a deal.’ Ever since then, they have been cursed”. Apparently, to get away from the French rule, they swore a deal with the Devil to get away. This explains why the Dominican Republic wasn’t damaged by the earthquake and why it is home to many resorts and vacation spots while Haiti thrives in poverty. To me burning a church makes more sense. However my favorite Robertson quote must be “I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”

Lol.

Two days after September 11th, Jerry Falwell claimed the god allowed the attacks on the world trade center because of “moral decay” caused by abortionists, feminists, and gays. Similarly, Hurricane Katrina was cited as punishment for abortions, with use of the bible was textual support. Honestly, by that logic, they should be sentenced to tornados or flash flooding due to stupid remarks.

Just last year, a man was shot to death because he was an abortionist. The shooter claimed to have saved lives by killing the man. In court he completely confessed to the crime without any guilt knowing that in god eyes he was right in eliminating the man and saved hundreds of future babies.

Examples are endless for both black metal and the Christians. Ironically, if you think about it, if religion didn’t exist, these people would make great friends.

-As Published in the Rutgers Observer.

Advertisements

How to Listen to Music

•January 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’d like to start my first article with a controversial statement: Americans do not know how to listen to music. I mean, there must be a reason behind local orchestras all across the country closing down because lack of income and most importantly, lack of an audience. This, of course is an unfortunate sign, not just for classical music, but for all music in general as an art because the purpose of music is slowly becoming an obsolete, crude form of entertainment to party with. Dictionary.com defines art as something “considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness”. It is meant to inspire and provide imagery to the vast depths of the human imagination, wishes, and dreams. However, the only forms of dreams that people our age experience come when listening to classical music puts them to sleep. Regrettably, these people do have an excuse. They just do not know how to listen to music.

Let’s compare listening to music with reading a book. When you read the text pictures should be painted in your mind. For example, “The somber warriors marched through the scorched desert towards their final demise. Their swords gleamed against the rising sun, red, a beautifully ominous color. They raised their sagged looks from the ground up to the kingdom, the enemy was coming.” Obviously, the imagery in your head will be exactly what you just read, minor differences between people here and there. Now, if I played the ever popular movie trailer hit, “O Fortuna,” for everyone in the world at once, at least one person would conjure up this imagery in their head. See, the beauty of music is, unlike other art forms, it will give different visuals to everybody individually. Which is one reason, “O Fortuna”, or variations of it are in every action or adventures films nowadays; it can fit with any dramatic scenery.

[If you’re ignorant and not willing to take a chance with classical music, please don’t hesitate to skip the next part.]

Speaking of dramatic scenery, believe it not, one can play out an entire movie with just a screenless iPod Shuffle. A great example is the Lord of the Rings.

Step 1: Illegally download the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack y Howard Shore.

Step 2: Pop in those headphones and close your eyes.

Step 3: Imagine the scenes playing out with the music.

It’s fairly simple. The beginning of the movie has those happy little melodies, which represent the hobbits living in their secluded peaceful world. All of a sudden, BOOM, a wide panning of Isengard and all the frolicking suddenly disappears. Hear Enya’s voice and you know the elves have arrived. Even if you don’t know the fantastic tale written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the music is still there and you can use it to play out your own story. A few other great pieces to try this with are “The Swan Lake Suite” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky

[If you’re ignorant and not willing to take a chance with metal music, please don’t hesitate to skip the next part.]

So if classical music bores you and you just aren’t artistic enough, hope lies in many other genres. Most important of them all, and believe it or not: metal. True metal music, and I DO NOT mean metalcore, screamo, or any other Americanized noisy hard rock. Metal tends to explore all emotions of the human extent. Some examples:

• Power Metal – Fantasy and Happiness
• Gothic Metal – Love and Pain
• Doom Metal – Despair
• Thrash Metal – Anger and Fun
• Progressive Metal – Pretty much everything

The list goes on and on; of course the genres aren’t restricted to these particular emotions. To me metal is just a wild version of classical music and sside from providing visual imagery, metal, and I emphasize, true metal, very often provides beautiful poetic imagery and tends to linger quite a nice mixture of musical imagery with uses of choirs, orchestras, keyboards, and female vocals. If anyone is looking for an example, try “Sister Nightfall” by Sirenia. Be sure to keep up with the imagery within your mind’s eye.

Now, obviously classical and metal music aren’t the confines of beautiful art. There are tons of songs not written with the technical expertise as classical music and metal are, however, these songs may contain lyrics suitable to enlighten the mind. Now these, are the songs you must look for and listen to and even with simple music structures, these songs can develop quite extensively within your mind. The key to these songs are the vocals and lyrics because the tone of the singer and the poetry expressed within the lyrics can say a lot. Even with simply written music, the music serves as the mood setter for the music. Picture going to a poetry reading and listening to poetry with a perfect instrumental soundtrack for each piece. Giving examples for this serves no purpose as songs like these are everywhere, from Celine Dion to Lady GaGa. I’d like to include Taylor Swift, however her music just doesn’t produce the imagery music should. She is beautiful with a great voice but her lyrics lack luster unfortunately.

You wonder why I only criticize America.
1| Metal doesn’t exist in America.
2| Many American Idol winners have absolutely no musical experience; having a good voice and personality, leads them to victory. Let’s take Jordan Sparks for example (I don’t think she has a good voice), she won American Idol, it was her dream, I’m happy for her. But she doesn’t write her own music! Originally the song “Party in the USA” was to be given to Jordan Sparks, but last minute it was given to Miley Cyrus instead. I think the song would have been liked more if Jordan sang it and FYI, I personally love the song, makes me dance, its fun, but artistically its pathetic.
3| 0 x 100 = 0. We keep producing these un-artistic stars and no one questions it and these people are growing exponentially, just look at Ke$ha.

One final beautiful way to connect to the world through art is by listening to international folk music. The sounds of different folk instruments are amazing when played behind vocals in different languages. Sometimes, you may not even understand the language, but you can take great guesses at what the song may be about through the imagery the music produces within your head. YouTube the song “Ederlezi” by Dikanda, a Polish band that sings in Romanian. A different version of this song was actually used in the movie Borat. Folk music tends to keep the original art in music because they are based on old traditions and not new age crap.

I hope I have enlightened some people to listen to music in a whole new way and become aware to the messages songs should produce. Happy listening.

-As Published in the Rutgers Observer.

Sub-genres of Metal – For Clarification Purposes.

•November 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

These are the only and official sub-genres of metal.

  • Black (Gorgoroth, Venom, Dimmu Borgir)
  • Death (Nile, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel)
  • Doom (Katatonia, Empyrium, Cathedral)
  • Industrial/Electronic (Ministry, Godflesh)
  • Folk/Viking (Folkearth, Finntroll, Eluvietie)
  • Gothic (Tristania, Sirenia, Therion)
  • Heavy/Traditional (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple)
  • Symphonic/Orchestral (Epica, After Forever, Nightwish)
  • Power (Helloween, Dragonforce, Rhapsody of Fire)
  • Progressive (Dream Theatre, Symphony X)
  • Thrash/Speed (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer)

Often adjectives are put in front of these genres so create so called sub-sub-genres. Some words can include:

  • Brutal
  • Blackened
  • Fantasy
  • Medieval
  • Epic

etc etc etc

Often mistaken for metal…unfortunately…are:

  • Metalcore
  • Deathcore
  • Grunge
  • Grind

These are the genres ruining metal, most prominently in the United States.

I’ll soon take the time to dive deeper into all the forms of metal and give history, example, and sound.

Dikanda – Usztijio

•November 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So I was watching Borat (again) three nights ago and a particular song caught my attention in the background. After some extensive research, I discovered that it was called Ederlezi, a traditional islamic song celebreating the coming of spring. On Youtube I discovered an absoloutely beautiful version by a polish band named Dikanda.

They play folk music influenced by various countries including the Balkan Regions, Poland, Turkey, and Russia. An addict to world folk music I decided to get the album and i LOVE it. The singers voice is absoloutely beautiful and the acoustic atmospheres the bring are great.

I encourage you to buy the album, but for you cheapos:

TRACK LIST:
01 Usztijio
02 Lazito
03 A Ma
04 Amoriszej
05 Kin-Chim
06 Fani
07 Amijasa
08 Ederlezi
09 Temera
10 Tetka

DOWNLOAD:
http://rapidshare.com/files/77881312/Dikanda_-_2004_-_Usztijo.rar

Dreamflights

•November 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My latest short story, hope you enjoy.

I stared blankly out through the fogged window into the sombre, cloudy night. The chill winter winds stirred the barren branches of the willows, casting dreary soundscapes among the woods. The moon had not shown itself for the past three nights and the animals knew it, for they had not shown their physiognomies as of yet. That night seemed ominous to me, but just as I faced everything, I was apathetic to the fact of the coming peril. A widow in my thirties, I needed not to care for such trivial matters of superstition, for a woman of my stature has endured much more than this night could have offered. However, as I look back to this night of danger, of doom, I question my logic, this logic that helped answer my reason towards God and his counterpart, the fallen Lucifer.

My attention returned back to the present as I heard a rapping at the door. I stared at the oak entry, dreaming about my visitor arising to answer it. As I slowly walked towards the doorway, I felt anxious about opening it. My company seemed to bring a melancholy presence, which of course was not new to my dwelling, however it set my heart ablaze and my spine shuddering. But I am human and my curiosity could not be withheld. With a deep breath, I grabbed hold of the golden handle and turned it.

I hated myself, as I opened the door. Why does mankind do things that they know will lead to their downfall? Is it the thrill of the experience? Or is it just human nature to succumb themselves to foolishness?

To my surprise, a withered elderly man stood profusely in the doorway. He had a slight slouch and his face was dotted with gray scruff. However, his most interesting detail was his odor, an odor that stood the test of time. A trivial scent of ash surrounded his essence and it danced the night air with the smell of lavender. He looked at me and smiled.

“Would you be so kind to let a weary traveler stay the night? I sense a storm brewing and I wish not to be cast under its fury. I can pay fifteen shillings.”

“I do not have much to offer but I can accommodate”

My curiosity said that. I wanted to know more about the man; he seemed to have some history behind him. The traveler’s eyes lit up as I let him into the house. A small animal, I had not noticed before, followed behind him. It seemed to be a small terrier, gray in color.

“Of course Loki will be staying with me, if it is of no harm.”

“I do not mind, I haven’t seen a dog in many years.”

As I took the traveler’s cloak and staff, he rested upon a chair next to the fireplace. I withdrew to the kitchen to make some tea and kept one morsel of sight upon him at all times. He took is time, slowly gazing around the room, taking note of every detail of my home. His gaze eventually reached me. As I quickly turned away, he smiled.

“A beautiful house you have, my dear.”

I walked back to the living area with two cups of tea. The stranger gracefully took it as I offered it.

“So what shall I call you?” I asked him.

“Oh, pardon my manners. My name is Edda Prose, I was traveling to the nearby town of Bree to visit some close relatives for I suspect the end of my line soon.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but what makes to say that?”

“You have not told me your name my dear.”

I looked at his deep brown eyes with interest. “My name is Hildr.”

“Just Hildr?”

“Hildr Valhalla. Why is your life fading, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“My heart has been growing heavier. Life has put some pounds on it.” He chuckled. “However, with every sundown comes a new night. I do not resent dying, for a second journey awaits me. I am one who is pleased by the burning sanitariums, I do not fear them, and I do not wish to be part of them. However, my line shall lead me there without folly.” He spoke with terse sentences and exasperated breathes; sweat began to trickle down his forehead. “I’m sorry; I do not wish to darken your soul with my bantering. Thank you again for your hospitality but I’m afraid I should be leaving.”

To this day I remembered being scared within his presence, yet I spoke the following words: “I would like for you to stay the night.” And those are the words that I spoke, and the only words I spoke for the rest of the night.

The next morning was one of discord. Loki sat by my bedside and I noticed something peculiar. The fur across his body was singed and his gray coat was etched in black. Or maybe I just didn’t notice when I first laid eyes on the godforsaken creature. I rolled out of bed, as my head ached in pulses of pain. Mr. Prose was no where to be found, this of course caused great anxiety within me. I made my way to the living area and found his staff and cloak still where I had left them, I could not even smell him any longer for his scent had also vanished. As I gazed out the window, the sky was still overcast, but the storm that Edda spoke of had still not hit. I sat down to ponder his disappearance and soon Loki walked up to my feet and looked into my eyes. I noticed crimson bleached upon his pupils, this cannot be a dog I thought to myself. And an abomination it quite was.

Suddenly the dog gave a bark as if beckoning and ran outside. I quickly ran after, stopped at the door and shut it tight. I locked up the hinges and pulled the curtains over every window. I felt safe; of course that was only my imagination. In fact, the reality was that I followed the dog outside with all possible haste. We ran down the shallow stream nearby my house for about 500 paces. The chill night air was exhilarating and it made me feel at ease. However, I gazed downward as I began to fall. Apparently I tripped on something, and it was the body of Mr. Prose. More for the sight of the corpse rather than my pain of hitting the ground fairly hard, I screamed a scream so loud, that the blackbirds in a 100 yard radius were sent fluttering into the sky from the trees.

I heard a scream, a loud and desperate scream. It sent chills through my spine. I opened my wings and jumped off my perch on the tree branch and my ebony feather gleamed in the sunlight as I flew over a body of an old man with a dog leaning next to him. The dog looked at me and I ignored it. I continued my flight through Osyrhia.

Wacky Flannelwearing Inflatable Arm flailing Deathcore Men – Deathcore Sucks

•November 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I think one of the main reasons for me starting this blog is because of last saturday. I’m in a gothic/power metal influenced band named Star-Crossed and we were booked to play in a “metal” show. The parentheses are pretty disticnt. Thoughout the last decades, metal has made a big impact on society and the true meaning of metal is pretty vague in my honest opinion. Ironically though, in my mind i have a clear definition. Metal means life. Unfortunately, life is dying and it is quite sad.

There are so many forms of metal. I know there is an annoying stereotype of violent kids wearing black, screaming, possessed, loud, and simply, weird, musicians. However, contrary to popular belief metal is absolutely nothing like that. You can often hear virtuoso guitarist and pianists in power metal, classically trained operatic singers in gothic metal, powerful drummers in thrash metal, haunting atmospheres and soundscapes in black metal, music theory inclined musicians in progressive metal, and amazing composers in symphonic/orchestral metal.

As always, America corrupts the essence of metal. In our beloved country, metal has died and has been replaced by metalcore and other cores, and nu-metal. In modern mainstream “metal”, as they call it, all you hear are annoying screams, overly distorted guitars, and violence.  So anyway, as I was saying when I went to perform at my “metal” show, I was digraced by what  saw. Almost everyband was deathcore. The vocalists were cursing at the audience: “CoMe one yOu mothafuckaas fukin let do diss ShitT fUck bitches IlL fuck yur! mom!@”. I mean seriously… One band in particular had two, yes two, vocalists inhale screaming…they sounded the same. I didn’t understand the logic there. The funniest part, however, was the hardcore dancing, or at least thats what the called it. Let me first say that this is NOT moshing. This is, as the term describes, hardcore dancing. The immature kids were stopming around flailing there arms, while wearing flannel plaid shirts. They reminded me of the girl in Salem Village. The first rule of moshing is to not mosh into somone who isnt moshing. Yet, they were bumping into the audience.

One of them swung his arm into my friends, Chang. Unfortunately for him, Chang didn’t take that to kindly. FIGHT!!! After they were broken up one of them had the nerve to say “whe3rE aRe you goIing? CoM3 here and fiGhtT. Th4ts what met4l is abOoOut!!”. Metal is about fighting? Is this what it has come to in this country?

If you wanna hear the idiot band playing: http://www.myspace.com/agnathia

For those of you wondering…Let me show you the difference between true metal and core.

Metal:

Core:

That day changed my life. The nest day, I wrote an angry letter to Jersey Shows, the guys who organized the show, yelling at them about not mixing deathcore into metal shows. I’m waiting for the reply.

I swear to bring back true metal to this forsaken land.