Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Devil's Music

I've got that Evil Feeling, whooa-oa-ooo.

There is, of course, incontrovertible evidence that Rock music, and especially Heavy Metal, is the Devil's music. There's no use denying it since many of its practitioners come right out and admit it:

"Rock has always been THE DEVIL'S MUSIC . . . I believe rock and roll is dangerous . . . I feel we're only heralding SOMETHING EVEN DARKER THAN OURSELVES."
-- David Bowie, Rolling Stone magazine (Feb. 12, 1976)

He was right, the music has gotten darker.

"Hopefully, I'll be remembered as the person who brought an end to Christianity."
-- Marilyn Manson, Spin magazine, August 1996

And just look at this album cover:

Or this one:

And if you're still not convinced check out "Hail Satan," or Black Sabbath's N.I.B. or the Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil."

According to the paranoid conspiracy theorists at Dial-the-Truth Ministries, a phone and internet based evangelical "resource," the devil in music isn't just theatrics and stunts because they really do believe in the Devil:

Modern electronic-rock music, inaugurated in the early 1960s, is, and always has been, a joint enterprise of British military intelligence and Satanic cults. On the one side, the Satanists control the major rock groups through drugs, sex, threats of violence, and even murder. On the other side, publicity, tours, and recordings are financed by record companies connected to British military intelligence circles. Both sides are intimately entwined with the biggest business in the world, the international drug trade.

Of course "Devil music" itself really wasn't inaugurated in the 1960s, it has been around a lot longer. Long, long before we even had enough electricity to power an electric guitar's amplifier, Lucifer was into evil satanic music. There was a Demonic 7th chord long before Rock and Roll existed.

Even before Christianity existed the seemingly supernatural power of music was noted by the ancients, the Sirens could draw men in with their songs and they even tempt Odysseus. Back in the more recent old days Satan favored red violins. So, this is what Satanic music would have sounded like before guitars were electrified:

However, after the Devil lost his gold violin in a bet to some hay chewin' hick from Georgia the violin has taken on a slightly more Christian aura, though nothing like that of the harp. It's nearly impossible to summon satanic feelings with a harp. Or try doing Satanic music with a church's pipe organ.

The next candidate for Devil music was Jazz:

As jazz's popularity grew, so did campaigns to censor "the devil's music." Early detractors like Thomas Edison, inventor of the phonograph, ridiculed jazz, saying it sounded better played backwards. A Cincinnati home for expectant mothers won an injunction to prevent construction of a neighboring theater where jazz would be played, convincing a court that the music was dangerous to fetuses. By the end of the 1920s, at least sixty communities across the nation had enacted laws prohibiting jazz in public dance halls.

So, beware of sax and violins, but unamplified string instruments seem to be okay. The aura of holiness (usually vague, vaporous and hardly there with more higher notes and no strong beat when compared to metal), some unamplified string instruments currently have comes from Christianity's taste for all things old and moldy, for science and modernity itself are satanic. Today some Christians seem to have the impression that all modern music is of the devil and that classical music is of God. Yet, the great classical composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven also had to deal with accusations of Satanic influence.

Every innovation in the arts is viewed with suspicion, but eventually the Christian culture overcomes its devil fears of certain sound styles and adopts the new art form. Thus today we have Christian Heavy Metal bands like Barnabas, Bloodgood, Crimson Thorn, Rage of Angels, Seventh Angel and Vengeance Rising. Can you tell the difference between Christian Metal and Satanic Metal? Well, one of those Christian groups, Vengeance Rising, manage to sound more sick, demonic, twisted and EVIL than supposed devil worshiping bands like Morbid Angel.

It's no wonder some Christians say that it's the music itself, so not even Christians can go anywhere near such dark Heavy Metal styling without risking their immortal souls, and without soles you'll have to walk through eternity barefoot, or maybe even on your ankle bones. Don't believe me? Okay, check out this guy:

And that means you Stryper!

Oh my Gawd! There are demons swirling around at even Christian heavy metal concerts. Is being a spiritually discerning Christian like being on acid? Well, those demons aren't visible to me. All I can subjectively pick up on is how it makes me feel, powerful, sexual, strong, dangerous... evil. And I like it. It is pretty irrelevant whether the metal band is Christian, Satanic or secular (are there secular metal bands?) And the proof that rock and roll is the Devil's music, because anything that feels this good has got to be bad.

Yes, they sold their souls for rock and roll, and now they're dead!

Actually, the blues guitarist Robert Johnson is rumored to have sold his soul to the Devil. However, undisputed facts about the Delta Blues artist's life are few and far between and his legend obscures any look at the real man that might be seen in that legend. Like Paganini, anyone with the kind of extraordinary talent and skill that baffles other practitioners of the art will find jealous peers circulating rumors about them. And in credulous times and places where belief in deals with the Devil might seem credible that might be the rumor started. And these days artists might start that rumor themselves just to plug into the supernatural genius aura of the Devil.

Here's the Crossroads song, and here are the lyrics:

Cross Road Blues

I went down to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
Asked the lord above "Have mercy now
save poor Bob if you please"
Yeeooo, standin at the crossroad
tried to flag a ride
ooo ooo eee
I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me babe
everybody pass me by
Standin at the crossroad babe
risin sun goin down
Standin at the crossroad babe
eee eee eee, risin sun goin down
I believe to my soul now,
Poor Bob is sinkin down
You can run, you can run
tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run
tell my friend Willie Brown
(th)'at I got the croosroad blues this mornin Lord
babe, I'm sinkin down
And I went to the crossraod momma
I looked east and west
I went to the crossraod baby
I looked east and west
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman
ooh-well babe, in my distress

Note that Robert Johnson is singing about a plea to "the lord above" (not below) for help. Next a song that mentions Satan and walking "side by side":

Me and the Devil Blues (take 1)

Early this mornin'
when you knocked upon my door
Early this mornin', ooh
when you knocked upon my door
And I said, "Hello, Satan,"
I believe it's time to go."

Me and the Devil
was walkin' side by side
Me and the Devil, ooh
was walkin' side by side
And I'm goin' to beat my woman
until I get satisfied

She say you don't see why
that you will dog me 'round
spoken: Now, babe, you know you ain't doin' me
right, don'cha
She say you don't see why, ooh
that you will dog me 'round
It must-a be that old evil spirit
so deep down in the ground

You may bury my body
down by the highway side
spoken: Baby, I don't care where you bury my
body when I'm dead and gone
You may bury my body, ooh
down by the highway side
So my old evil spirit
can catch a Greyhound bus and ride

I'll leave it at that and let you draw your own conclusions. The next YouTube clip is from Harun Yahya's operation and as always, he blames evolution:

So... atheism and evolution leads to Satanism? All of a sudden I'm going to believe in half of a theology I don't believe in? So what are we to make of all these darker metal bands that really do sing about Satan? Well, I can't get into their heads and you can be completely insane and still be a decent musician, but I think it's mostly done for theatrical effect.

There is an interesting irony in the fact that "Black Metal," the most extreme form of Heavy Metal, comes primarily from Northern Europe, the Nordic / Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden and Finland. While Heavy and even Death Metal are more of a worldwide phenomenon, with many recent groups coming from the U.S., "Black" Metal is essentially Nordic. The irony of this that in spite of the anger, violence, satanic and pathos-laden, and corny as well, music we see here, these countries are, according to Phil Zuckerman's new book (haven't read it), "Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment," some of the most peaceful and happy nations on the planet.

My first impression of Morbid Angel was that there was something profoundly stupid about what they were doing; it was like they took Black Sabbath's most ignorant and fundagelical critics seriously and then they decided to become the band those critics thought Black Sabbath was. And it worked for them! On one level they're a joke so incredulous in their conception that they couldn't be included in the film Spinal Tap without making that film seem too absurd to work. On another level they are probably the best example of an entire subgenre of metal, because they're not alone.

Morbid Angel represents a subgenre of Metal called "Death Metal" where all the groups feature these unintelligible, screaming, growling, throat cancer vocals. (Who is singing that, the cookie monster from Seseame Street?) There is a pounding beat, sparing use of high notes and extremely fuzzed out guitars. The lyrical content is almost always cartoonishly Satanic or repulsively Christian and violent.

It wasn't music to my ears at first. It was interesting to me more as a potentially neat sound effect for a horror movie since the low-pitched guttural growls that pass as vocals are nearly impossible to understand it could work as background music. I think Korn mixes a touch of Death Metal into more traditional Rock and achieves a wider emotional spectrum. Alas, music seems to be fragmenting into emotion specialties. In the old days when I was listening to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin they would include softer, gentler songs in with heavy, pounding rock and an album was a broader emotional trip.

Of course, I've developed a taste for it, but it's just one element of my weirdly eclectic tastes.

And if you've got a taste for it too, come back later and look for new links that will appear on this post. And if you've got some music to turn me on to, drop me a link in the comments section.

This is an in progress post.


Anonymous said...

Behold the terrifying demonic evil of the Norwegian black metal gods, Immortal!

normdoering said...

Not the strongest heavy metal band I've heard but the group has won the word "He" in "He was right, the music has gotten darker" sentence for its "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" cut.

Anonymous said...

I used to like the band DISSECTION because of their innovative use of acoustic riffs ('the somberlain' being my favourite song of theirs).

The death metal I listen to nowadays is the most complex, progressive stuff I can find.

My absolute favourite band in this respect is NECROPHAGIST... their technical prowess is simply astounding... not to mention that I used to be friends and band-mates with their former drummer Hannes Grossmann.

Other than that... you might wanna give MESHUGGAH a try (try 'New Millenium Cyanide Christ'), CANNIBAL CORPSE ('hammer smash face') and DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN ('pig latin').

For less noisy and even more complex and sophisticated death metal - the band CYNIC is probably best.

Michael (MPhil)

normdoering said...


So far I found some Cynic, and I've added a link to their video "How Could I" with the word "arts" in the sentence fragment "Every innovation in the arts is viewed with suspicion,..."

Thanks for your help, Michael.

Shadowstreak said...

Last I checked, Vengeance Rising were now Satanist/atheist. I'm not quite sure how that works, but there you go.

HM Magazine (the HM stands for Heaven's Metal, I understand) did an interview with the lead singer (and owner of the name - he split off from the rest of the group, kept the name, and they went on to form Die Happy). I think you can find a link to the interview through the Vengeance Rising Wikipedia entry.

For Xian death metal, I'd suggest Mortification and Paramecium, both outfits from Melbourne, Australia. They're a funny breed.

Thank fuck I managed to escape the clutches of religion.

normdoering said...

Thanks, Shadowstreak

Mortification is linked at "Christian Metal" in the sentence "Can you tell the difference between Christian Metal and Satanic Metal?"

I'm listening to Paramecium now and they'll get linked somewhere after I've heard a few more tracks, probably in the word "Christian" somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Oh noz, does this mean that good old all American Barbershop music, which is very heavy with dominate seventh chords, is really satanic!? Is "Let Me Call You Sweethaert" and ode to the devil?
Red Mann

normdoering said...

Red Mann asked:
"Oh noz, does this mean that good old all American Barbershop music, which is very heavy with dominate seventh chords, is really satanic!?"

I'm not sure that dominate seventh chords are demonic 7th chords. I was hoping to find more on the internet but all I found was this:demonic devices. What I've got linked is just the best I could find on youtube. It's been years since I studied music theory and even then we never spent much time on the topic.

I don't know about Barbershop music being demonic, you'll have to ask some spiritually discerning Christians. Being an atheist I can't see all those swirling demons that fly around when devil music is played.

If you do ask, be sure to report your answer back here. I'd like to know myself.

KiwiInOz said...

My "classic heavy rock" favourites are Highway to Hell and Hells Bells by AC/DC.

normdoering said...

Thanks for reminding me of of AC/DC, KiwiInOz. I'll have to find a place for those two songs.

I haven't listened to AC/DC in years.

Shadowstreak said...

Check out Acca-Dacca's new ablum, Black Ice. I've only heard a little of it, but from what I am lead to understand, it's good stuff... if you like Acca-Dacca, anyway.

(For clarity: Acca-Dacca is how AC/DC are often called, by fans.)

normdoering said...

Shadowstreak wrote:
"Black Ice. I've only heard a little of it, but from what I am lead to understand, it's good stuff..."

Here's the album on youtube. Listen while it's still there.

sinned34 said...

You missed the Gods Of Black Metal: Opeth. They are absolutely phenomenal and include elements of 70s prog rock, classical guitar, and metal.

As for Xtian metal, for my money, the best was Tourniquet's Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance. That's such a solid album that I still toss it in Winamp once in awhile, when I figure I can stand to listen to the repulsively religious lyrics.

ivo said...

Or try doing Satanic music with a church's pipe organ.

Oh, come on! you're forgetting Ozzy's Mister Crowley? you know, like, the song dedicated from the Prince of Darkness to the satanist par excellence, with the haunting organ intro?

The organ is sinthesized, but hey, try to bring along on tour a real one...

normdoering said...


The article is satire.

ivo said...

ah, ok. Still, should have mentioned it :-)

normdoering said...

ivo wrote:
"ah, ok. Still, should have mentioned it :-)"

I have another metal post, "My Christmas Gift," and the Ozzy + Randy Rhoads version of Mr Crowley is linked in the sentence "Various cultural mythologies and traditions had arisen long before our culture's religion claimed this day as their own" under the words "mythologies and traditions."

When it comes to sounding evil the use of certain old religious forms can always be effective, church organs, chanting monks, hellfire preaching, video in old Christian tombs...

normdoering said...

sinned34 wrote:
"You missed the Gods Of Black Metal: Opeth. They are absolutely phenomenal and include elements of 70s prog rock, classical guitar, and metal."

Yes, I did -- but I'm listening to them right now, a live version of Opeth's Windowpane. It sounds good, but that's not Black Metal.

Let me try another youtube vid, "Blackwater Park..." - okay, so far, so good - growling guitars, heavy bass beat, cookie monster vocals... tight playing... but what's this gentle little undistorted guitar? HERESY!!!

Just kidding.

This is a nice way to mix the black metal with more traditional music. It's not a constant wall of sound.

Yea... these guys deserve a link.

I'll find a spot for them in the post.

Thanks for the tip.