Profanatica - The Curling Flame of BlasphemyTry as I may I can’t understand what’s so compelling about anti-Christian blasphemy in metal. Have bands not realized that the Satanic Panic ended in the last millennium? Do they think they’re actually offending anyone, or making any argument, no matter how hack, that hasn’t been made before? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that bands like American black-death blasphemers Profanatica should give up on their blasphemies against Christ. I just don’t understand how such ideals can animate good music, because said ideals are played out, hackneyed, tired, and lame. Nonetheless, there must be something down this tepid and shallow well of inspiration because The Curling Flame of Blasphemy is anything but played out, hackneyed, tired, and lame; on the contrary, it’s one of the best records of 2016.

Profanatica is the project of Paul Ledney, the drummer/vocalist who helped John McEntee found Incantation. He left before recording a full-length to form Profanatica and his solo project Havohej, the latter releasing the essential Dethrone the Son of God in 1993. Profanatica saw Ledney joining forces with John Gelso, who also plays in The Royal Arch Blaspheme, they of “being Profanatica but not as good” fame. Curling Flame is Profanatica‘s fourth full-length, and old fans will feel immediately at home with the sound here. Those new to the band are in for a treat, as the vile and primitive black metal heavily formed by Incantation’s death metal stylings in both structure and riffing is a refreshing and unique take on the genre. Gelso’s riffing here draws primarily on Incantation, Hellhammer, and Ledney’s work in Havohej, with Gelso’s use of pinch harmonics being as close to McEntee’s genius as we’re likely to see these days. The myriad of tremolo patters here are a wellspring of variety for those who pay attention, as Gelso employs Incantation’s more complex riffing, with the more droning melodies of early black metal.

The first thing I noticed about Curling Flame is the greater reliance on Hellhammer style riffing and general simplicity than its predecessor, 2013’s solid Thy Kingdom Cum. “Ordained in Bile” opens the record with some repulsive feedback that leads into a quality Warrior-esque pummeling before Profanatica’s signature black-death riffing appears, but the song really takes off when the verse kicks in. Ledney’s drumming hits ridiculously hard, and his abrasive screeches accentuate the heaviness of Gelso’s absurdly massive riff. It concludes with a massive contrast, an extended section that may well be the most conventionally and attractively melodic thing Profanatica has ever put to tape. While this may sound odd in writing the clear musical chemistry that exists between Ledney and Gelso seems to have reached the point where they just know what works, preventing the band from stagnating while engaging in failed experiments. At once, completely expected and unexpected, “Ordained in Bile” is a case-study in how to sound positively vital on your fourth record.

Profanatica 2016

Curling Flame’s flaws boil down to not every track achieving an “Ordained in Bile” level of greatness, which is hardly a knock against its overall quality considering I just spent a paragraph trying to detail how great that song is. Profanatica’s musical vision is long established and adhered to, pardon the pun, religiously; “Magic and Muhr” is some seriously crushing doom that speeds up to some truly vicious black metal riffing that can be adequately described as a mid-paced lurch. “Bleed Heavenly Kingdom” is a varied track with a midsection that merges Incantation and Hellhammer in a great way, and the production helps significantly; Curling Flame sounds big and disgusting, which is exactly what the music demanded. The guitar tone is meatier than on previous records, and the bass is distorted and hugely present much like it was on Disgusting Blasphemies against God. Ledney’s drums are big, loud, and sound like they’re being perpetually pounded into near-oblivion. High-fidelity types won’t be impressed, but those with an appreciation of Profanatica’s sound certainly will be.

The Curling Flame of Blasphemy is a great record, one which stands out in sound and quality from a sea of boring metal. Profanatica doesn’t content themselves with mere imitation, gratuitous dissonant experiments, or anything less than forging ahead with their own established and effective sound. This is the type of record you’d expect to be released decades ago and influence a whole whack of bands, but Curling Flame came out sixteen years after the new millennium and nobody (save The Royal Arch Blaspheme) sounds like Profanatica. That’s fine, because Curling Flame continues to be great on each listen, making anything that endeavors to sound like Profanatica unnecessary; the real deal is all we need.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Websites: facebook.com/profanticausa
Releases Worldwide: July 22nd, 2016

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  • Monsterth Goatom

    This sounds great, but the band photo is, um… interesting. Looks like we have a satanic Santa Claus on drums with candy cane drum sticks. Is nothing sacred??!! Won’t somebody please think of the children??!!!!

    • [not a Dr]

      Satan Claus!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Ha!

      • WhamBamSam

        Hail Santa!

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        That’s why dyslexic children often get goats for Christmas.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Satan Claws!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Given how important blasphemy is to these guys, they’d probably take that as about as big of a compliment as everything said in my review!

      • Try as I may, I can’t understand how someone bearing a pseudonym like Diabolus in Muzaka with pride, have any problems understanding what’s so compelling about anti-Christian blasphemy in metal. ;)

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          My love of awful Slayer puns trumps my boredom with anti-Christian blasphemy ;)

        • [not a Dr]

          Diabolus in musica is the academic name for the power chord. Because of its dissonance, it was said to sound like the Devil in the music. It’s awesome that it is the atomic building block of metal.

          • IBlackened

            I think it refers to the tritone.

          • [not a Dr]

            A quick search revealed that you are right and I don’t know what I’m talking about…

            A slightly less quick search revealed that I may also be right after all.
            I haven’t studied musical theory, so I’ll have to take the time to decrypt the explanations while trying them on my fretboard (my fingers understand this stuff better than my brain) to see if I’m slightly right, or if I’ve been listening to people who didn’t know what they were talking about.

          • [not a Dr]

            Turns out I’m just plain wrong. Thanks for correcting my untrue assertion.
            As the name states, it needs 3 tones. The powerchord is awesomely versatile because, having only 2 notes, it can pass as a major or minor chord to fit the progression.
            Sadly, there is no devil in my chords. But he is still in the details, into which I got entangled.

  • [not a Dr]

    I’d watch Curling if they used this as background music.

    • Some of the ladies on the curling teams are very much worth watching.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      For some weird reason I like watching Curling… I don’t know, maybe I think it’s great that people actually found a way to play a game with brooms.

  • Stuart Leeds

    Yup. *That’s* added to my Band camp wishlist!

  • Ein Sophistry

    The site’s background is gonna be veeeeeery interesting if this makes Record o’ the Month.

    • Boobs!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        It’s bad enough that Al acts juvenile; now you too?

  • Carlos Parlo

    Regarding on the continued presence of anti-Christian blasphemy in metal, I hear this inquiry a lot usually from metal fans who reside on either US coast. If like me you live in the American south or midwest, however, you may find that after a day of city hall and local political meetings in which very strong worded evangelical prayers begin and end a civic meeting, business deals which begin with “and where do you go to church?”, praise and worship Christian music blaring in fast food dining rooms you may feel a little relief and energy from something in your car that negates all of that faux public religion.

    • basenjibrian

      Any perusal of the news confirms that there needs to be some pushback, no matter how niche or feeble, against the poisons of the American Evangelical heresy (and its Islamist cousins). Witch children being tortured in Africa. Gays being stabbed in Rio. On and on and on. Ramen

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Torturing children is barbaric, and Africa is a poor example for contrast with the West; in his Philosophy of History G.W.F. Hegel called Africa “ahistorical” because of the existence of horrors like that, and also cannibalism and slavery, and he was a Protestant; I fail to see a connection there. As for murdering homosexuals, that’s outright contrary to theological doctrine. Those in any way familiar with how the Old and New Testaments work knows that Christ fulfilled the “Old Law” (i.e. what was promulgated in the Old Testaments) and hence the “New Law” (through Jesus, the Word made flesh) was instituted, which in no way condoned harming gay people. That metaphysical/moral disapproval existed there does not in any way, shape, or form justify or tacitly encourage harming people for their orientation. Aquinas’ explanation in the Summa Thelogica’s section on natural law is a good one for that. It’s utterly unjustifiable and a mortal sin to Christians who actually follow the teachings of Christ, which is what exactly what the term “Christian” denotes. It’s also against the law in all but the absolute worst societies.

        Basically, I don’t care if bands feel the need to do the whole anti-Christian blasphemy deal, but pretending it’s some act of great courage or saying it’s necessary by non sequiturs isn’t tenable. It’s effectively no different than people finding most “brutal” death metal lyrics boring and superfluous. Hence why it’s played out, largely boring, and almost entirely worthless.

        • basenjibrian

          I largely agree with your second paragraph, but that is largely because the church in the west has been defanged. Your statement would be very untrue in societies still dominated by the Church (and definitely the mosque).
          As for Africa, I think you are being ahistorical yourself, as horrors are present in all regions at various points in history. It is almost laughable, given the history of the Colonial era, to imply that Africans are some kind of sub-human society vis a vis enlightened other populations. How many people died at the hands of Leopold’s Congolese profit center? And the worst abuses of the slave trade are to be blamed on Barbaric Africans? Really? Wow.
          The remainder of your first paragraph assumes that there is A Christianity. Many Christians (including the heresies dominant in the United States, would vigorously disagree with many of the things you say. Including the confusion in the Bible itself about The Law.
          My main point is that many of the more vociferous churches and movements in Africa right now are being funded and loudly supported by American evangelicals. People like Scott Lively have visited Uganda, for example, in support of the draconian anti-gay laws in the country. The leading preacher in the Child Witch tragedy in Nigeria was an honored guest of American evangelicals. So yes, the American heresy, which given the confusion in the history of the church and the contradictions in the Holy Bible has as equal grounds to claiming legitimacy, is a venal force in the world and should be opposed. Given the history of how the Bible was assembled, we have no idea of what the teachings of “Christ” even are. Christianity is really Paulism anyway, and Paul was obviously a rather…disturbed…individual that I would not base an ethos upon.
          Whether cartoon Satanism is the vehicle for such opposition is a worthwhile question. I won’t read the lyrics….but I do read the lyrics of more thoughtful bands like Deathspell.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I didn’t say Africa was “sub-human” or anything, I mentioned that Hegel said it was an ahistorical place as it ran contrary to his idea of what history develops to. That idea, which he arrived at via Protestantism, was that everyone is free and should be treated “as a person”, as in equally under the law and not enslaved directly or via tyranny. I do consider Hegel a genius, but to be clear I don’t subscribe to a Hegelian orthodoxy.

            Nobody, neither myself, Hegel, nor Saint Thomas Aquinas, would argue that all of Christianity is a perfect monolith. Again, I’ll fully support any band’s right to blaspheme; I find the Polish anti-Catholic blasphemy laws absurd, for one example. Doctrinal disputes in Christianity are many, and Catholic thinker Francisco de Vitoria, in writing on the laws of war, accused Martin Luther of “leaving no nook untainted by his heresies”. While most of what we know of Christ is through stories, the general thrust of Christianity is to follow His teachings and examples. These examples, of course, are informed by the understandings of Thomas, Augustine, and many others; calling it “Paulism” is a pretty big oversimplification of a rich field of intellectual inquiry, in my opinion. Authors such as Luke and John are also very important.

            What you’ve done that I greatly appreciate is address SPECIFIC PARTS of Christianity, which is quite unlike metal lyrics generally. That’s where metal largely errs, and why I’m so bored with anti-Christian blasphemy; painting with that broad brush is something authors like Nietzsche and Rousseau did as well, and no metal lyrics come close to their writing abilities.

          • basenjibrian

            I’m sure Hegel was being more profound than our discussion, but I did react strongly to the implications of what you paraphrased, partly because human history in all eras and regions can be as full of horrors.
            I will remain more skeptical than you about how much we know about what “Christ’s” teachings and examples are. And, Christian sects themselves are certainly ready and eager to hurl charges of “Not a True Christian” at their “fellow” religionists.
            I find the fundamental doctrines of the religion, especially the Problem of Evil, NOT convincingly solved by theologians no matter how lyrical in their writing, downright appalling. If Yahweh is the Creator of the Universe and has structured things in the way described by the Orthodox, then he is a monster and the only moral position is rebellion..
            I share your disinterest in simple-minded blasphemy. Or simple-minded any lyrics, for that matter. My main point was to agree with the previous poster that there is a reason people can feel oppressed by Christianity.
            I’m sure the mods are about to step in and tell us to “get an (intellectual) room”, so…
            As a resident misotheist, I do find religion fascinating!

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            And me as well! I know I’ve relied heavily on him, but Aquinas addresses the problem of evil in a very convincing way, much better than, say, Saint Augustine. It’s very involved, but Agustin Echavarria wrote a very good reflection on Aquinas and the problem of evil that’s a great starting point. There are actually entire books written on Aquinas’ idea of good and evil, and that doesn’t even account for that reading Aquinas presupposes a familiarity with Aristotle, and then down the philosophical rabbit hole we go!

            As for Hegel, I won’t go on too much about him, but he observed Bastille Day from Prussia with hope, and then had that hope crushed by the Terror. His apprehension of the grave possibilities of human error is fascinating, as is his change in thought from his early to mature works, especially what he wrote in his late masterpiece Philosophy of Right regarding the Terror and the misuse of religion in thinking. His vicious criticism of Karl Ludwig von Haller’s “Christian” thought contains some of the best philosophy banter ever written too!

          • Carlos Parlo

            I had no idea my offhand comment would lead to such an intelligent back and forth, particularly in the comments thread of a metal blog (a place I have found to be much like a desert elsewhere on the web as of late). I actually studied religion for many many years even earning my masters and beginning a PhD program in world religion before jumping ship. I am now myself totally non-religious but I can certainly agree with many of the points you are making against painting the entire field of Christianity with the same brush. I myself have many devout Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist friends, acquaintances and colleagues and as all of them as far as I know reject violence in the name of religion I respect all of them to have their own beliefs. I find much beauty and history in the thought, history and writings of almost all religions. However, living as a non-theist and an irreligious person in a county tucked in over the top conservative expressions of Christianity I find metal that denounces Christianity to be at times beneficial even if silly and full of caricature. There’s only so much I can take of things that shouldn’t be about religion becoming about religion and people voting and doing horrible things based on a faulty understanding of religion. Plus, the Christian music I inadverdently hear on a daily basis can only be remedied by Incantation or Morbid Angel etc.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I don’t listen to much Christian music save for some classical things and Theocracy, and Incantation and early Morbid Angel are some of the finest our genre has to offer I’d say.

            Interesting choice in field of study though, that must have been fascinating. Any particular works you’d recommend for reading?

          • Carlos Parlo

            Hmmm…I tried to post this and it was moderated out. I’ll try again, just trying to give you the recommendations you requested.
            Well I spent plenty of time with the texts themselves (primarily OT, NT, Quran (in multiple translations and original languages) as
            well as some Talmud, Gnostic gospels and to a much lesser extent Buddhist and Hindu texts (primarily the Gita) and I took a few semesters to delve into medieval theology and philosophy (Aquinas, Anselm, etc.) and minored in Western Philosophy so I covered Aristotle, Plato, Nietzsche etc. AND journalism with a focus on religious issues so my history, sociology and politics (particularly as they relate to Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle East)
            so I’ve covered everything from dry and dull to beautiful in unexpected places (there’s beauty in everything from Nietzche and Sarte to Rumi and St. John).

            All that being said, I tend to recommend books that might
            seem simplistic or lay-person oriented because IMO when done right those can be some of the most illuminating reads for any reader interested in religion.
            Here’s what I’d recommend:

            1) Three Testaments:
            ed. Brian Arthur Brown, etc.
            This one is OT, NT, and Quran and translations are by
            (liberal) believers so it is a positive (at times rose-colored) view of the scriptures but what I find interesting is the binding materials that tie all current theistic religion back to Zoroastrianism.

            2) Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
            Written by a modern Muslim but one of the best Jesus
            biographies I’ve read in recent years.

            3) Doubt: The Great Doubters and their legacy of innovation…
            – Jennifer Michael Hecht
            A history of religion from the doubters outside each
            movement.

            4) Muhammad – Maxine Rodinson
            The best Muhammad biography I’ve read to date, written in
            the ‘60s by a Marxist.

            5) A History of God- Karen Armstrong
            Armstrong definitely has her biases and preferred histories
            but this is a pretty solid overview of the history of theism.

            6) The Last Week- Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan
            An interesting interpretation of the Easter story by
            postmodern Christians.

            7) The Looming Tower: Lawrence Wright
            A pretty important look at 9/11 and the seeds that led to
            it; Wright has an upcoming book covering the formation of ISIS and his previous work like “Remembering Satan” about false memory and the satanic panic and “Going Clear” about Scientology is excellent as well.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Thanks for the recommendations! Heard a lot about The Looming Tower, doubly excited to dive into that one now.

          • basenjibrian

            You mean you don’t enjoy a longish haired ex-hippie strumming a guitar and warbling about his Man-Love for JAY-ZUS?
            Posh! Why are you on this site, good sir. You should be BANNED, I say.

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          Religious practice, not the text, is what matters. And I do see quite a few homos being pushed off roofs these days by very religious dudes, just saying…

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            “Very religious”? Absolutely. Christian? Nope. Metal is picking the softest target with anti-Christianity in the West, which makes it all very boring and not whatsoever provocative lyrically. Being simply “anti-religious” is a broad and safe position, one which takes little moral or philosophical fortitude, in my opinion. Not all religions are equal in tenets, beliefs, or goodness, so writing them all off as equally bad is folly I’d say.

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            I agree on the anti-christian lyrics, it’s lame as fuck.
            But seriously, you don’t see any homo-hate coming out (pun intended, lol) of christian lands, historically and also today? Did you follow Uganda in the last couple of years?
            I saw a t-shirt once about religion in general: ” same shit, different toilet”. To the fucking point.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Uganada is a bit of a stretch, as it’s not what we’d generally call a civilized country. Nonetheless, is any religion perfect? Of course not. The Reformation fixed some societal problems with the Church that, arguably, started with Constantine’s conversion and the wealth and splendor that came to it that people didn’t quite know what to do with (an interesting topic if you’re into history). If Christianity was perfect, it wouldn’t have been made better by a Reformation.

            It’s telling that we have to move far away from what used to be called the Christian West to find examples of why Christianity is so bad. Uganda’s law is age-old and has a ridiculous punishment for a non-crime. That is, quite literally, the mark of an uncivilized/undeveloped state; a quick look through history shows that with a better legal system/morality, punishments become less severe and frequent. The principle of “eye for an eye” was needed in the Old Law precisely to limit retribution, and they’ve failed that in Uganda quite plainly.

            Writing off all religion wholesale, if taken seriously, is one of the worst ideas one can think of. There was a famous case when the moral/political philosophy of Kant, Fichte, and Rousseau, who had man and his reason as the *only* measure of things, was tried, and it was the Reign of Terror. Marxism, which would be unthinkable without Rousseau, also eliminated the Church and instituted a viciously anti-religious “cult of science”, again with man as the measure of all things, and we all know what Communism did to scores of innocent people. Meanwhile, the Declaration of Independence has blatant Christian overtones (explicitly speaking of rights from the “Creator”), and Christian undertones as well (part of it is almost plagiarism of Locke’s “Two Treatises on Government”, quite a religious work).

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            First off, the draconian laws in Uganda were heavily inspired by American preachers. Check The New York Times, “Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push”, Jan. 3rd 2010. Whether you count the US as a developed country is up to you.

            But surely raping little boys while preaching celibacy is a Catholic specialty not uncommon in the US. Saying that has nothing to do with the way Catholic priests practice their faith (the celibacy) would be incongruent.

            The Catholic Church as an institution is directly responsible for tens of millions of HIV/AIDS related deaths, particularly in Africa, but also around the globe. One can think that is good or not, but it is an indisputable fact.

            There are tens of millions of gay people in Latin America are living in shame and hiding their true selves and not expressing who they feel they are inside because of Christianity.

            It’s not about whether Christianity is perfect or not. The Christian faith and the institutions of the Church deliberately brings pain, sorrow and hardship to millions and millions and homosexuals around the world. Why? Because they have the Truth, and when you have patented the Truth you don’t have to argue for why you are right. Same thing with Marxism, they subscribed to a different Truth and had an end goal in mind that justified the means. They did get the “opium of the people” right though. Religion in any shape or form has always been used as a tool of power and control, of course.

            And let’s not forget the rampant antisemitism. It took the Catholic church 1.962 years to drop the Jewish deicide claim (I used the word ‘deicide’ for the first time in a real sentence, yay!)

            Is it all bad? Of course not. Am I a cultural Christian? Of course I am (Danish). Does the church do many good things? Sure. Has the Christian faith inspired political in many cases for the better? obviously so. But how does that excuse the horrors the church is also responsible for? If I’m a super nice caring person 98% of the time, is it then excusable for me to steal your car because, you know, nobody’s perfect? Can you point to religions doing more damage than Christianity? Historically, I would say no, but in present times, probably yes – if you say “i”, then we say “slam” (another death metal pun, yes).

            My rant is over, cheers! Thanks for engaging :-)

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Thank you for the detailed discussion! Couple things though:
            – LGBT activist Marsha Gessen said gay marriage was a Trojan Horse for destroying marriage and the family in 2012. That means Lively and Co. were a) completely right or b) they’re not, as you may argue Gessen isn’t, the best representative of their constituency.
            – Blaming the Church for AIDS is silly. If you’re consistent, then you ought to blame gay men too, due to their disproportionate problem with it. Then a roundabout case is made for Catholic sexual ethics, and we’re back to square one.
            – Mainstream media has done more damage to young minds RE sexuality than the Church could ever do. We’ve mainstreamed BDSM recently, and porn is just about everywhere. Plus “all of your natural desires are completely good and should be followed with impunity because they’re natural” is a strange position, as it makes man no better than beasts. Personally, I’d refuse to accept that.
            – We don’t have the absolute Truth available to us, and nobody who’s read Christian Gospel and philosophy believes that we do and therefore should make an absolutist rule, theocracy or not. Aquinas’s “Treatise on Law” (part of the Summa) is necessary reading in this regard. Marxist-style tyranny is an impossibility in Christian Gospel, doctrine, and thought, while it’s exactly the point with Marx, Rousseau, and Islam; unequal things cannot be seen as equal. There’s a reason Rousseau really liked Muhammad, after all.
            – Christianity has done far more good than harm historically. Islam has done far more damage than Christianity, and “religions of reason” (Reign of Terror/Communism) have done worse than Islam, though not for the latter’s lack of trying. A little under 7% of recorded wars were religious in nature, and of that 7% Islam instigated more than half, literally more than every other religion combined, including Christianity. If we factor in Communist regimes around the world, militant secularism becomes more deadly than Christianity ever was.
            – Finally, nothing is perfect because man isn’t perfect. That includes how we follow our faiths. Should we abandon science because of Unit 731, Nazi atrocities, the atomic bomb, chemical warfare, and the “cult of science” of the Soviets which killed untold millions of innocent people? Of course not. Does scientific progress excuse those horrors? Nope. Should we abolish it? No, that would be horrible. The same, I’d wager, goes for Christianity.

          • Carlos Parlo

            I don’t want to start a big comment war but I just have to say that both Christianity and Islam have inspired and been invoked in some of the best AND some of the worst acts in human history. I don’t see either religion as the root cause of most of the bad acts though, merely the trappings and clothing given to said acts. While I myself get a bit of stress relief from music that deconstructs the Christianity around me, preferably in at least a semi-smart manner, I would never hoist that music on a party who didn’t want to hear it. Likewise, I don’t find music made by Christians (even nominal or ex-) lambasting Islam productive. It’s more akin to bullying a minority when made here in the West. However, if a Muslim (even nominal or ex-) band wants to deconstruct the Quran and Islam in their music I do not find that offensive and may very well listen to it.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I haven’t heard any music made by Christians lambasting Islam (would definitely be curious to hear some though), more just atheists (Exodus’ “Children of a Worthless God” and Taake’s “Orkan” immediately come to mind) or ex-Muslims/people living in majority Muslim nations (i.e. Seeds of Iblis and Al-Namrood). Nor have I really heard anything particularly smart from the anti-Christian camp personally; it all sounds like over-the-top blasphemy (which is normally just funny) or the “weak Christianity” interpretation of Rousseau and Nietzsche, and no metal band writes as well as those two, especially Rousseau. I disagree with a lot of what he had to say, but his prose is excellent. Respectfully disagree regarding the root cause thing and Islam along with the bullying minorities theory, but as you said no sense starting a comments war over it. These things are better discussed in person I’d say, especially because text always seems a bit harsher and less friendly, unfortunately. Nonetheless, thanks for starting this whole discussion! The AMG comments section never stops surprising me in the best ways with the amazing amount of smart people from all sorts of fields and walks of life that it attracts.

          • Carlos Parlo

            Respectful answer and I completely agree in how tone is misconstrued online and some things are better in a face to face discussion. As a quick note, often I meant nominal or ex-Christians. Take Nile, Exodus, etc. those are great songs lambasting Islam by nominal (grown up and immersed in a Christian culture) or ex-Christians. Much further than those few songs and you can cross the line from critiquing and rejecting religion to borderline racism (as Muslims and Jews born into the religion are counted as of the religion even if not theistic). There have been Christian artists lambasting Islam in christian style music which is much worse though. Anyway, last I’ll comment on this topic as it could become a neverending mess but appreciate your comments.

          • basenjibrian

            Carlos: I agree 100%. Too many people (heck, including myself) blame “religion” as if it is some outside force which comes down from the sky and takes over human beings and causes problems. Nope. Human beings invent religion and use it to justify and inspire the underlying goals of this race of particularly violent primates. (Sex, power, wealth, self-justification).

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Basically, you didn’t refute any of my accusations on the horrors unleashed by following Christian moral convictions. You do tend to stretch my arguments to and extreme that my words don’t warrant. I never blamed the Church for AIDS. That would be silly indeed. But I do blame the Church for exacerbating and prolonging a horrible disease. Arguing against the use of preservatives/condoms follows directly from Catholic moral convictions. Arguing against the use of condoms in HIV/AIDS-ravaged countries leads directly to more death and suffering. This is not debatable; it is a fact. And of course promiscuous homosexual behavior (unprotected sex with multiple partners) is a big part of the reason why AIDS spread especially fast in homosexual (men) communities. This is not a moral judgement on their sexual behavior, it is just another fact. Please explicitly declare yourself to agree on not on this specific question.
            You didn’t state your thoughts on Christian (as a Church/institution) complacency in the Holocaust. You didn’t talk about the anti-Semitic streak in the Catholic church in general or whether or not 1962 years is a long or short time to blame the Jews for killing the son of god.
            You didn’t say whether or not you agree that Catholic/Christian moral convictions have caused heartache, pain, and emotional as well as physical suffering for countless millions of gays around the world, let alone heterosexuals (especially female) being ashamed of their own sexuality.
            Your charge that science also produces nasty stuff is kinda misplaced in a discussion on the merits of Christian morals. I don’t see many chemist or surgeons claiming a superior moral rulebook that other people should follow.
            In general, you’re pussyfooting around some obvious things that are hard to accept if you truly believe. When horrible things done in the name of God is pointed out, it is common recourse for religious people to say something along “well, you know, they don’t represent the real Christian faith, they’ve got it wrong, they have interpreted the text the wrong way.” Since you keep on mentioning Communism there’s a striking analogy. When many convinced communists in the West were confronted with the horrors of the Soviet Union and China, the first reaction was just flat-out denial. Next was the exact same reaction: “well, you know, it was not true socialism in the Soviet Union, Chairman Mao shouldn’t have done this – and if he had really understood Mark the correct way he wouldn’t have.” It is hard for anyone to admit that what they strongly believe can lead to bloodshed and death on a biblical scale.
            Last thing, that is truly mindboggling to me, and I quote you: “We don’t have the absolute Truth available to us, and nobody who’s read Christian Gospel and philosophy believes that we do (…)” WTF!?!? Maybe you personally don’t lay claim to the Truth, but many millions that have read the Christian Gospel certainly do lay that claim. And you do talk a lot about the text and not the practice of religion. So let’s have some of that Gospel, apparently uttered by your boss the carpenter (John 14:6):
            “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When Jesus said that he was just fucking about or what? Or does it have to be run through Aquinas to be properly interpreted and understood since it doesn’t mean what it clearly says?

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Conflating Jesus with everyone else is theologically absurd and untenable. Communism is a barbaric totalitarian ideology when it’s done correctly; I’m very familiar with the Manifesto, and can say that with confidence. There’s no denying that Christianity had mistreated Jewish people in the past, but advocating for racial extermination like the Nazis? That doesn’t hold. Pope Pius XIII held about 4,000 Jews in various monasteries in the Vatican, which saved the great majority of Rome’s Jews from the camps. Not to mention the plenty of Christians who risked their lives sheltering Jews from the Nazis as well. Theological and cultural disagreements (Christianity and Jewish people) do not lead to murder and mayhem on the scale of Nazism; racial hatred (Nazism) does.
            If you don’t think scientists contribute to morality, look at the eugenics movement, radical environmentalism, and the uproar over climate change for three prime examples. Also look to psychology (i.e. Freud and Lacan) if you consider that a science. Theological doctrine would look on promiscuity, both homosexual and heterosexual, as sinful. Again, it’s a matter of being better than animals and possessing reason. I find promiscuity generally to be something to avoid, regardless of sex and orientation. And yes, the Church’s morality in that area is the best one we have. The Sexual Revolution has made women miserable, destroyed the family and in turn the lives of children, caused the deaths of millions of unborn children…and the Church being against promiscuity and in turn things that make promiscuity easier (i.e. condoms) is the big evil? I can’t reconcile that one, personally.

            We simply have no better moral code or guarantee of individual liberty than Christianity and the natural law that flows from it. Again, read the Declaration of Independence and Locke’s Two Treatises on Government; the former comes from the latter, and the latter is based heavily in Scripture. If we base our morals on nothing, we get the Terror and Communism. If we base our morals on Islam, we get the Middle East. If we base our morals on Christianity, we get the best societies that have ever existed, the best actualization of freedom the world has ever seen. No, Church history isn’t perfect. Yes, that means forgiving ourselves and learning from the past. But it’s a lot easier to tear down the fence than to consider why it’s there. That’s the approach many take with Christianity, and that approach is philosophically, historically, and theologically folly. Christianity has done more good than harm, and putting it to pasture for it’s previous misdeeds is a mistake. Every civilization and system has produced evil, because men are flawed. We’re flawed because we have free will. We can turn away from the truths revealed to us, or we can embrace them and be great, as the West largely has been. We’ve been in decline since we’ve lost Christianity as a guiding force in many areas. So yes, I will hold that it’s the best moral system.

            Thank you again for the challenging responses, the back-and-forth, and sincerely from me to you, no hard feelings.

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            First, absolutely no hard feelings, I wish we could be in the same room and have this discussion – I’m from Copenhagen, Denmark, I take you’re from the US? Wanna come over? We have hot promiscuous girls here… 

            I don’t understand the first sentence: “Conflating Jesus with everyone else is theologically absurd and untenable.” Since I don’t believe in God, I don’t think Jesus was his son either. I doubt the dude existed, but if he did I think he was one of many self-proclaimed prophets trawling the desert at the time.

            My point quoting Scripture that is pretty unambiguous (“I am the Truth”) was that there’s too much pick’n’mix with many modern Christians. They take parts of the moral code of their faith and scripture that they like and fit a modern life, and all the stuff they don’t like they either explain with endless interpretations by this or that scholar or simply just ignore the teachings. Same thing with some of the straight up insane postulates that’s in the Bible. I mean, according to the Bible Adam, Noah, and a bunch of others lived to be more than 900 years old. Either you believe that to be true or you don’t. There’s no real middle ground to meet here. If you’re a crackpot fundamentalist and you answer “Yes, every word in the Bible is the word of God and therefore totally correct” at least you’re being consistent. If you don’t believe Noah actually lived to the ripe age of 950 (Genesis 9:29), then why believe any of the rest in the Bible? How do you choose which parts to believe and which to discard? Speaking of Noah, why didn’t he bring animals from South America or Australia on his boat? Maybe because humans made it up and didn’t know about them? Or because “God was working in mysterious ways”?

            Again, I didn’t equal the Church with Nazis. Everything is better than Nazism; Stalin’s communism comes close in numbers of dead people and general nastiness of the actions of the regime, but as an ideology Nazism is probably the worst ever. ISIS is giving Hitler & Co a run for their money, but still. The point is that comparing the Church with the Nazis doesn’t say much about the Church or Christianity.

            Again, I didn’t say science didn’t contribute to morality. The examples you give are good. I said scientist and science in general does not constitute a moral codex and does not pretend to either. And, crucially, science at its best is trying hard to disprove itself and is more than happy to abandon claims when they prove to be invalid. It was only with the Enlightenment that the human mind was truly set free to roam and explore science and innovation in the Christian world. Ancient and medieval China was surely religious but the state didn’t interfere much with religious practice of the individual and what could be studied and innovated. This is a guess, but I reckon that helps a lot in explaining why had such a fantastically sophisticated and technology advanced civilization way before Europe.

            About sexual life and morality, I suppose we just disagree. I think Christian morals on sexuality, in the Scripture, but especially in practice, are abhorrent, you think it’s the best there is. Okay. Exactly how has the Sexual revolution made women’s lives miserable? I seriously don’t get that one. All religions (my best guess, dunno ’em all) are patriachial and/or downright misogynistic. I honestly don’t understand women underwriting that they are inferior. And please don’t say that Christianity does not value women less than men. You know that’s not true, historically or today. That women have close to equal rights in western Christian societies today is certainly not because of religion as ideology, institution or anything else.

            You think abortion is murder of unborn babies. I don’t. Unborn is the key word here. I don’t consider a fetus a person. You might and that’s alright. Abortion is a good example of dogmatism v. pragmatism. We most likely agree that abortion is a bad thing and we want as few as possible. So our goal is the same. Many Christians therefore think abortion should be illegal and punished quite severely and then we should have fewer of them. Fact is, the opposite seems to be the case. A US political scientist predicted the outcome correctly of all 50 US states in the 2008 presidential election based on abortion and teenage pregnancy statistics. The more religious the state, the more likely to vote Republican – and to have more abortions and teenage pregnancies. That should make you pause and think. Coincidentally, the same religious/republican states watch more pornography than liberal (US sense). You can’t stop teens from fucking. But you can give them condoms and educate them about sexual life. Condoms doesn’t make promiscuity easier, it makes it safer. It makes it safer for the ones having sex, it makes it safer for the husband/wife waiting at home. Regarding AIDS and condoms, yes, I find the position of the Church and people agreeing to disgusting and something close to evil though I don’t like that good/evil dichotomy.

            You refuse to tackle the issue of homosexuality. Sure, the Church frowns upon promiscuity of all, but is does condemn gays just a tiny bit more than heterosexuals: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13). If you agree that to men kissing and having sex is an abomination then at least you’re consistent. I really don’t think it is up to me or you to tell other people who they can kiss and fall in love with. I never understood why the mere existence of gays can make so many people so angry.

            I agree on one thing though. I also believe that Western Civilization has produced some of the best societies on the globe. Now. That certainly wasn’t the case throughout history. I think we became truly great societies only when we unshackled ourselves from religious domination of society. The reformation was a step, the Enlightenment another. When did we lose Christianity? I don’t see the Western world in a moral/societal decline that in anyway be contributed to a lack of Christian faith guiding us. We’ve been running the globe for the past 400 years. In terms of economic and military power we still do. The great pendulum of history is swinging to the East. Asia-Pacific area is the most dynamic region of the world. The US can and will probably retain its preeminence for the foreseeable future unless the get into a shooting fight with China and we’re all fucked. The long term outlook for Europe on the other hand is pretty bleak. But that has nothing to do with religion, that’s just demographic development, military and share of world economy. We won’t be as important as we used to be, that is for sure.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Although Japan is, as of recently, taking a horrible turn towards fascism and God-Emperor worship instead of their more traditionally post-WW2 constitution.

            Homosexuality is an extremely sensitive topic, which is why I’ve been avoiding it largely. That said, I know and am related to plenty of wonderful gay people, and I will always outright refuse to call them abominations; they deserve to be loved as everyone else. Leviticus is part of the Old Testament, and the punishment of death was rendered obsolete and even sinful when the New Law, based as it is on love, was promulgated.

            For the Sexual Revolution and making women miserable, there are a few interesting elements to that. There’s an interesting article about Tinder and women who use it, and those interviews would make anyone with empathy sad (Disqus doesn’t like links but it’s “Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse”). There’s also the campus “rape culture” epidemic, where some girls are convinced that they’re more likely to get raped on a Western campus than in the Congo, where rape is a weapon of terror and war. This is patently absurd, but the complaints arise mainly from drunken regrets, unfettered promiscuity, and the promotion of ethics more akin to the Bloodhound Gang (“ain’t nothin’ but mammals”) than reason. A move away from the wide acceptance of Christian morality in that area, the tearing down of the fence as it were, was the main factor here. The SR has been firmly entrenched now, and that cat may be tragically out of the bag forever. And yet, there’s an academic article on the “Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” (an academic paper) as more of its policies were implemented. Finally, there’s the constant tacit need for validation from *everyone*. “Slut-shaming” and the whinging about that is a direct result of this.

            Areas that are more religious will have a greater tendency in parents to try and raise their children according to their morals, which in the case you said was Christian. Now, children are kept more away from their parents in public schools, and their peers, the media, and later on in life academia tells them how dumb Christian ethics are and how awesome the Revolution is. I think it’s a tragedy. Being teens, of course they rebel; that’s the unfortunate side-effect of having only one dogma (Revolutionary type) told to you from a young age.

            The religious domination of society is a fascinating historical topic. The most telling illustration was the French Revolution; the Aristocracy and the Clergy (the first two estates) dominated the people, so the people killed them. And yet, the people still felt as though they were in chains. So they killed more. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but the thought of Hegel is telling; he moved from “unshackle the people from religion” to “maybe that’s not a great idea, we need natural law” in the wake of the Revolution (compare his early, lesser work to his masterpiece Philosophy of Right, for instance). Not everywhere was France though, and when I mention the Christian West I don’t mean theocracy; rather, a set of cultural values and, in some senses, a legal system based on natural law. One cannot have inalienable rights without natural law, basically. Inalienable rights, as the DoI tells us, come from the Creator, which is why they’re inalienable.

            Keep in mind a lot of the Bible is parable, although some events do coincide with historical records. Genesis, say, is more about describing man’s fallen state and our ability to do good or bad as opposed to positing the existence of a magical apple and talking snake, for instance. Much like the Greeks got ethical conduct from Homer, parable plays an important role in the Bible.

            Finally, it would be great to discuss this in person over a beer or few. Especially because text leaves something to be desired in a conversational sense. I’m Canadian (about one hour from the US border though!), but living in Belgium for a couple of months yet. Part of my family comes from Denmark, and by all accounts I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place. Would love to visit it someday!

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Another thing though: have you guys heard about the black metal band AlNamrood – from Saudi Arabia! Anti-religious music from that place on earth takes the love of metal and sheer ballsize to a level none of us writing here can fathom (plus, the music’s cool!)

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Yeah, massive amount of respect for those guys. They can and would literally get killed doing what they’re doing, and yet they still do it. It’s legitimately amazing.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’m not saying metal should stop doing that, don’t get me wrong. If it gives you and others stress relief, that’s awesome! It’s just baffling how something so non-provocative, commonplace, and non-threatening can be a cause of inspiration for bands that seem to want to be provocative, stand out, and a bit edgy or threatening to something.

      • Martin Knap

        I came to the conclusion that the reason why black-metal hasn’t given up on blasphemy is because the music symbolically expresses something (about) evil (In Who Needs Classical Music Johnson discusses music as a form of symbolic meditation which I find as a very good approach.) – that’s just how we perceive it. And if one wants to be true to the form – i.e. not ironic (Hegel would have approved) – then he has to tap into sources of “evilness” and express them as his own, and one may go then for a “theological” approach. It’s the most tasteful thing one can do given the kind of music that we talk about, I guess.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          I agree to a large extent, because the *idea* makes sense. Scripture tells us (I think it was in Psalms) that music is a way beyond words to give praises to God, and in theory black metal is screaming obscenities in His face, a description that would be pretty agreeable to a lot of black metal bands, I’m sure.

          That said, with the lack of theological comprehension shown by nearly every metal band in existence, it’s like a ten year old mad at his father and telling at him instead of something evil in the meaningful sense. That’s why, personally, I find it so dreadfully boring.

          • The only point I would add is that it’s fairly pervasive across all genres of music. It’s true that black metal musicians like to wear their theological ignorance on their sleeve, but simple-minded anti-religious rhetoric spans all genres of music.

            Now sing with me DiM: “We’re not gonna take it. Ohhhh, we’re not gonna take it! We’re not gonna take it…anymore!”

          • basenjibrian

            To be honest, I am a little “skeptical” of this theological “ignorance”. Many of us think this “deep theology” is all air and rhetoric anyway concocted by tribal warlords to wow the cannon fodder.
            Myself, I am also an “aponyist, and I must confess I do not know the detailed storylines associated with My Little Pony.
            May the Bronies not strike me down.

          • All I’m saying is that most bands are ignorant of not only doctrine but also the various treatises of it by philosophers, historians et al. to the point that when they finally articulate their “gruesome” vision of evil, God, what have you, it’s a bad joke at best. This was DiM’s original point and I am just expanding it across ALL genres of music not just black metal.

            You keep harping on the need to rebel no matter what. True, but I agree with DiM that one should do so with a little style. The above album’s cover art is proof positive of his major overarching point.

            Finally, DR4? For real? C’mon dude….

          • basenjibrian

            Fair enough. And sure, a lot of “demonic” black metal lyrics are silly (see my comment w/r/t this very band in question. Maybe they are trying to be funny, but to me it’s more like they are eternally 12 years old).
            I was making a broader point that a common trope among apologists runs along the lines of “You are not familiar with Hippalotus of Tyre in his masterful work Flammus Eternus Bonnum which proves eternal torture in Hell is a moral necessity for a good God, so you cannot make statements that Yahweh is monster.”
            One could take this argument and apply it universally. Why are you not an Odinist? or a Hindu? I am not deeply familiar with sacred literature of the Aztecs, but I can still state firmly that I find sacrificing virgins to Smoking Mirror distasteful.

          • basenjibrian

            Oops. Meant to reply below. Mea Culpa

          • Martin Knap

            Oh yes, I agree. I think it’s mostly punk attitude + anti-religious sentiment. But that’s also because not many people are able to write really good poetic lyrics that say something meaningful beyond pissing on religion. Mayhem’s Grand Declaration of War could be considered a good example of less childish lyrics (but they are more polemic than poetic)

            My point about “content” and “form” is more general, of course, if you make a death-metal song about Teletubbies everybody will see it as a joke.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Deathcrush was silly but so, so good. On an aside, I think I’m in the minority who really likes GDoW, it’s a very good record.

            Metal just seems to have gotten largely stuck in a lyrical rut after everyone got over “Tomb of the Mutilated” and nobody cared about gratuitous anti-Christian blasphemy anymore. Deicide’s juvenile “Kill the Christian” was, I’d wager, the death knell for most of the West really caring about anti-Christian blasphemy in the “getting publicly offended” way. Even that’s pushing it, as Serrano’s $20,000 governmental grant for “Piss Christ” happened in 1986, and in the early 90s (if I remember correctly) the Brooklyn Museum of Art ran the Virgin Mary made of elephant dung and porn pictures. So, my larger point generally, was how on Earth does any rational person consider this sort of thing rebellion? The state literally funded worse in the name of “art”. There were protests, but they were against taxpayers unwillingly subsidizing art, not the works themselves. As it should be, artists should be free to create and us as people should be free to support what we choose and only thus. I’m honestly shocked anti-Christian blasphemy *isn’t* seen as a joke at this point, because it really should be.

          • Martin Knap

            Between some people like the two of us it might be passé, some people might get offended… Some of those artworks you mention are clearly provocations to create controversy and get the 5 minutes of fame. There are lyricists who try to “validate” Satanism and don’t just insult religion, but it is usually something phony like “Satan is a misunderstood and inspirational character” (paraphrasing Nergal). I think an important part of why Satanism is so connected with rock/metal is because it expresses or symbolizes an individualist, “every man for himself” ethos, rebellion against society, conventions. Of course making music is a very communal endeavor (playing in a band, being a part of a scene, the “discourse” of musical influence), but that just escapes some people. Or, they might see themselves as a part of a “contrast community” (vis-a-vis society) which has its own (in this case anti-moral) values – that’s basically how extremist groups are formed.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            This is the heart of the matter of why I’m so bored with metal’s themes. That phony but popular view of Satan you mentioned is pretty much how Milton has Satan present/sell himself in Paradise Lost. Society tolerates just about every vice nowadays and there’s been a concentrated war on conventions since before metal existed. The turning against Christianity and Western tradition has animated plenty of academic philosophy, populist movements (remember Jesse Jackson and the anti-Western Civ movement?), and popular art, much of which came before metal did. Torching strawman Christian things is the norm, not a rebellion.

            Metal as a “contrast community” or “rebellion” in the sense we’ve discussed lacks balls and legitimacy. It’s a hollow rebellion, but thankfully the music is still good. I think it needs to find a new target that isn’t Christianity, if only for selfish reasons; I *want* to be offended, shocked, reviled, etc., but this ain’t doing it. Neither is gore, but at least that’s pretty funny sometimes.

          • Martin Knap

            Fortunately not many people share the vision and ambition of a, say, Varg Vikernes :-)

          • [not a Dr]

            Maybe the angry 10 year old is letting it all come out several years later. Having been raised in South America, I was taught at a very young age that everything I could ever do or want was wrong. I remember feeling with absolute certainty that I would end up in hell because anything I did or thought could be reinterpreted as going against one Commandment or another. It was so liberating when I realized that none of it made any sense.
            The philosophers never caused direct harm to me. I never was angry at them for trying to figure out what’s what. But I was very pissed at the people teaching 6 year olds that they could end up in heaven and their parents could end up in hell, but that at that point, no one would miss them.
            I didn’t need to cope by writing satanic lyrics, but I totally understand someone who needs to yell/growl/screech the theological equivalent to “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”.

          • Carlos Parlo

            Exactly. In the West the days of the Satanic panic may be long gone and like I said in many other posts in this thread, I understand the complexity of religious context and variance and I do not hate Christians (most of my family and friends are Christians). I just think for those of us who see casual oppression and disregard rooted in Christianity (even if in misunderstood Christianity) metal that lambasts that can be cleansing. People look at me like there’s something wrong with me if I tell them I don’t go to church and am not looking for one. Atheists are listed as the least trusted people in America. Even politicians who disagree with Christianity have to pretend to be Christian to get elected. I respect the good work done in the name of religion and I find religion fascinating as someone who professionally studied it for many years but I totally understand the rejection of it by some metal artists.
            The reason metal artists in the west still address Christianity is because it surrounds and influences everything in our culture even if subtly. To focus on other religions, even if some of those religions have current violent expressions elsewhere, doesn’t tap the same vein as addressing one’s own culture and environment.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            At request of PFD above/below:
            That makes sense. Again, in my view (and I’m not alone in this) the better a society gets the less coercion and threats are needed to follow the laws and morality. Corporal punishment has been all but abolished in the West thanks to this, for instance. Fire and brimstone preaching had it’s place, mainly in the Old Law; the Old Law was based on fear, the New Law on love. Fulfilling the Old Law and enshrining the New was Christ’s role, so what you were taught is extremely unfortunate and, I mean no offense to your home, technically backwards according to Scripture.

            Basing anything on fear or massive powers in such a way (theologically obsolete as it is) does indeed deserve some form of rebellion, as you rightly pointed out. In the contemporary West, there are far bigger threats to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than Christianity; if anything, Christianity is one of the last bulwarks of those inalienable rights. It seems a silly thing to rebel against in that sense, especially with most references to God taken out of public schools, “God Bless America” deemed “triggering” and/or “offensive” and the like.

          • [not a Dr]

            The general idea of “Don’t be a dick to others and they won’t be dicks to you” is awesome. But you certainly don’t need the protocols of christianity to be a good person. I don’t believe I know any honest christian that applies the New Law as it should be. Most people will just get their kids baptized and going through the other sacraments to have the ceremony and get the pictures. They never go to church, except when they are shopping for one that will get their kids baptized without them having to get their confirmation.
            My daughters were recently asking me why I didn’t get them baptized, why I didn’t arrange for their first communion, why I was letting them go to hell.
            Their friends were having that and they were being taught that they were baptized so they could go to heaven when they died. Logically, my daughters aren’t going to be admitted. I’ll spare you the explanations I gave them. The point is, as Carlos said, that there is a pressue to conform to the form, but the message of love and tolerance is getting twisted around.
            I’m not opposed to the principle of being nice, helping others be nice, and living in a better place for it. I’m profoundly disgusted by the way people take a simple idea and add layer after layer of bullshit to it until it has nothing to do with the original message. In my opinion, that’s what the childish satanic lyrics are accomlishing: it’s not about gaining a following that will sacrifice goats to satan, but about shocking the people that adhere mindlessly to the christian choreography without giving thought to the song. The ones that actually love their neighbour and forgive offences won’t care about what these clowns are saying anyways.

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Please do reply to [not a Dr.] below, it deserves a reply.

    • Martin Knap

      I came to the conclusion that the reason why black-metal hasn’t given up on blasphemy is because the music symbolically expresses something (about) evil (In Who Needs Classical Music Johnson discusses music as a form of symbolic meditation which I find as a very good approach.) – that’s just how we perceive it. And if one wants to be true to the form – i.e. not ironic (Hegel would have approved) – then he has to tap into sources of “evilness” and express them as his own, and one may go then for a “theological” approach. It’s the most tasteful thing one can do given the kind of music that we talk about, I guess.

  • This cover is a rip off of an old death metal album. Who knows which one?

    • Do you mean Immolation’s Dawn of Possession? That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        It’s like a cross between that and Massacre’s “From Beyond”, looking at it more.

      • That’s the one I was thinking of

    • [not a Dr]

      It made me think of this:

  • People not into metal like to say it all sounds the same. Well, I have to say that on this album, all the tracks sound the same. The full album is there on YouTube and I listened to about 25 minutes of it while eating breakfast. I can do that because my wife has taken my son to visit her family for a week. She’ll more than likely come back. Anyway, I was listening to this and when the first track got going, I was thinking it was awesome, especially the sound. Then the second track started and I was still enjoying it despite running low on Aldi knock-off Rice Bubbles. Then after a little bit, I started thinking that this song had been going on for a bit, but after checking the track listing, found that I had been listening to a few “different” songs. Despite running low on my coffee (no Aldi shit), I soldiered on and felt the same way until I gave up after about 25 minutes. I can’t remember the last time I felt like this about an album. One riff to make an entire album is an original idea, but I’m not sure it works. I was actually wondering if it was a joke video where they’d taken one track and edited it into an entire album.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Aldi? That place rules, so much cheap stuff. It’s about a 45-ish minute walk for me though, and Spar is less than 5, so Everyday brand stuff became my go-to pretty quick.

      Anyway, this is a very consistent record in sound with little respite or breaks, but I never had the problem you had with it. When I first heard the band a while back, it took some getting used to for it to click. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something special in their sound though, so I kept listening. It’s hard to explain exactly what that missing piece was, but once I found it I found a reliably great band with a special sound.

      • basenjibrian

        Geez, DiM. I love your reviews (usually) but we disagree on so much else (LOL). My experience with Aldi was as a very poor college student choking down their horrible store brand products. Yuck!

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          That’s my experience to a tee! Perhaps I’ve destroyed my taste buds (plausible), but I don’t find store brand stuff here all too bad, whether Delhaize, Spar, or Aldi. With that in mind I always head to Spar on Saturdays for meat. As everything closes on Sundays (save the horribly overpriced Carrefour Express, of course!), they’re wont to put stuff on for really cheap. I got half a week’s worth of steak doing that one time, which was legendary.

          • Merijn Kooijman

            “As everything closes on Sundays”

            This is why an anti-Christian blasphemy band is still fresh and rebellion.

    • Name’s Dalton

      “She’ll more than likely come back.” Almost made me spit out my bite of food.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      If you think this whole album sounds the same don’t ever listen to any Ramones live album.

      • Don’t worry, I can’t imagine a situation where I’d be listening to a Ramones live album. Do they at least keep in time better than these guys?

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I am very tempted to reply: “Go listen to Loco Live and find out yourself” (cue evil laugh)

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Woah woah steady on!
        ‘It’s Alive’ would easily make the business end of a best live album list for me. Also they’re one of the best live rock shows I’ve ever seen.
        RIP Joey, Johny, Dee Dee and Tommy

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          It’s Alive is a great live album and the Ramones are/were a great band. But there’s no denying the fact that there wasn’t much variation in their music, and that’s what I was referring to. Never intended to demean Ramones in any way or form because I love them.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Yes they did many excellent versions of the same awesome song :)
            True outsider art!

  • Vice-President of Hell

    and nice remake of Dawn of Possession cover

  • You gave a 4 to a dr 4. Are you ok?

    I think the embedded track is kinda dull but since you’re soooo thrilled I guess I’ll listen to the rest.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Whoa now, that Dove commercial said that all DR types are beautiful. This is offensive! #StopDRShaming2k16

  • Reese Burns

    “Satanic Panic” is the name of my new re-thrash band.

    • See you in court!

      • Reese Burns

        I’ll fight you to the bloody end!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Now now, no need to fight. One of you is welcome to my back up / in case of emergency band name “Satanic Picnic”

        • GardensTale

          Army of red ants marching into the jars of jam in a pentagram formation! Yogi Bear sacrificing a sandwich to the pagan gods of Yellowstone! But at least the fiery hole in the ground is nice to roast marshmellows over.

        • [not a Dr]

          That sounds more like re-post-black metal.

    • SegaGenitals

      Satanic Panic… at the Disco…

  • Martin Knap

    I came to the conclusion that the reason why black-metal hasn’t give up on blasphemy is because the music symbolically expresses something (about) evil – that’s just how we perceive it. And if one wants to be true to the form – i.e. not ironic (Hegel would have approved) – then he has to tap into sources of “evilness” and express it, and one may go then for a “theological” approach. It’s the most tasteful thing one can do given the kind of music that we talk about, I guess.

  • contenderizer

    “Try as I may I can’t understand what’s so compelling about anti-Christian blasphemy in metal.”

    Really? It’s an important, time-honored part of the aesthetic and culture. Like songs about war & battle, songs about injustice and oppression, and songs about negative feelings. Metal can be many things, but among them is an orthodoxy, a “way”. Songs about aligning oneself with darkness (in whatever form) are part of that way, as much so as battle jackets and long hair. No one complains about back patches and headbanging being “played out”, so why make an issue of this?

    Philosophically, Satan’s rejection of or war against God is central to metal’s ideology (to the extent it can be said to have one). To be against, to be outside, to reject and be rejected, above all to rebel. To defiantly say “no, fuck you” to conventional notions of what’s right and proper, to the Powers That Be and the Voice of Authority. It’s symbolic, and as other posters have said, to those who come from oppressively religious backgrounds, it’s liberating.

  • basenjibrian

    OK…I liked the music so I prematurely hit “purchase” on some of their back catalog.
    But despite my pronounced misotheism, I cannot get past the crazy cartoonish Satanism. And, unfortunately, you can understand the words here. :)
    This kind of Satanism celebrates a Satan that to me merely assigns and celebrates the toxic aspects of Christianity to another entity. Are these guys 13 years old?
    Oh well, money well-wasted.

  • sweetooth0

    Love this album, was just jamming the CD on the way to work (they had them for sale at MDF even though the album technically wasn’t released yet). The band’s most primitive and barbaric release to date!!

  • RobbinBri

    Why are they dressed like The Noid from Dominos Pizza?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      That’s a very good question. I hope that doesn’t make you avoid them though, because that would mean missing out on some quality metal.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Ah! Blasphemy! …because not every one can be as smart and articulate as Immolation.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    It is always a good thing when you can hear the bass on a barbaric, satanic, Black/Death metal mess of a record. Even though this is extremely “refined” in Profanatica standards and far from a mess. The bass may enhance the Blasphemy because God dislikes bass guitar.

  • eloli

    A big letdown, this review… not even a single mention about grim, frostbitten penises flopping around.