Tag Archives: Satanism

The Sacred And The Profane…

“Rebellion is a part of youth. Sometimes it’s dangerous. Instead of a sword, I hold a guitar in my hands. I’m in the same, rigid world but instead of Molotov cocktails, I’ve got a computer. It’s a much more powerful weapon.

‘Confessions Of A Heretic’ is the forthright and erudite memoir of the front man and driving force behind the Polish heavy-metal group Behemoth, currently at the top of their game following the release of their 2014 US Top 40 album ‘The Satanist’.

Presented as a series of interrogations by friends and associates, the book reveals a complex man of great contrast-a health-conscious, highly personable intellectual known for his extreme views and even more extreme music – lifting the lid on everything from his clashes with the Polish Catholic church to appearing as a judge on the Polish edition of The Voice to his recent battle with leukaemia.”

Nergal-Confessions-of-a-Heretic-Englsh-Translation

Behemoth In 1997
Behemoth In 1997

I’ve just finished reading “Confessions Of A Heretic – The Sacred And The Profane : Behemoth And Beyond” by Adam “Nergal” Darski, frontman and founding member of Polish black metal band Behemoth. Released earlier this year, this is the English translation of his book “Spowiedz Heretyka – Sacrum Profanum”, which was originally published back in 2012.

Adam "Nergal" Darski, Krzysztof Azarewicz & Piotr Weltrowski
Adam “Nergal” Darski, Krzysztof Azarewicz & Piotr Weltrowski

The book is essentially a really long interview. Two friends of Nergal’s, Krzysztof Azarewicz and Piotr Weltrowski ask the questions and Nergal answers them The whole thing has then been translated from Polish into English by Mark Eglinton. Although therefore the book perhaps isn’t technically an autobiography, you are still essentially getting one man’s story in his own words.

Adam "Nergal" Darski
Adam “Nergal” Darski

The questions are clearly designed to get Nergal to really think about the subjects at hand and to open up, sometimes they seem phrased in such a way as to deliberately provoke a reaction. Throughout it all Nergal remains true to himself.

Adam "Nergal" Darski & Dorota Rabczewska
Adam “Nergal” Darski & Dorota Rabczewska

As the book progresses we learn about Nergal’s childhood and the beginnings of his band, about life on the road, his relationship with the Catholic church , his appearance as a judge on the Polish version of TV talent series “The Voice”, his relationships with his parents, brother and women – including his high-profile engagement to Polish pop star Doda (real name Dorota Rabczewska) – and his life-threatening brush with leukaemia, the latter of which led many to expect Nergal to turn to the Christian god of his upbringing.

Adam "Nergal" Darski
Adam “Nergal” Darski

Whether or not you regard the man as a “true” Satanist, and no doubt there are many different variations just as there are with many other religions / beliefs, there is no doubting his complete sincerity in terms of his beliefs and his total opposition to the Christian faith.  It’s also worth saying that I don’t think you need to be a fan of Nergal or his uncompromising music to appreciate the human story told here.

Adam "Nergal" Darski
Adam “Nergal” Darski

As the book originally saw the light of day in 2012 it does not cover the period since which saw the recording of Behemoth’s superb 2014 album “The Satanist”, the increasing success of the band, and Nergal’s venture into co-ownership of a barbershop. Leaving aside the absence of the immediate past, however, this tome provides a fascinating look at the man behind the corpsepaint…

45323_lightbox

Luciferian Light Orchestra

Luciferian-Light-Orchestra-2015-Luciferian-Light-Orchestra

Christofer Johnsson
Christofer Johnsson

Back in 1987 Swedish multi-instrumentalist and composer Christofer Johnsson formed death metal band Therion. Over the subsequent years that band moved away from death metal into the realms of symphonic metal, including choirs and orchestral instruments to their performances.

Thomas Karlsson
Thomas Karlsson

Lyrically the band have focussed on themes of ancient traditions, magic, the occult etc., with Swedish author Thomas Karlsson penning all of the group’s lyrics since the mid Nineties.

Both Johnsson and Karlsson are members of a left-hand path organisation called Dragon Rouge, led by Karlsson, which has existed since 1989.

Therion
Therion

In 2015 Johnsson unveiled an occult-based side project under the banner of the Luciferian Light Orchestra. The project’s self-titled debut album was released on 30 April 2015. This date was perhaps no coincidence as Walpurgis Night falls on 30 April each year. In Sweden this is traditionally a celebration of the coming of Spring but in wider Europe there are connections to witchcraft etc.

Mina Karadzic
Mina Karadzic

Details of the Luciferian Light Orchestra are deliberately thin on the ground. Johnsson revealed that, aside from himself (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals) and his girlfriend Mina Karadzic (backing vocals), a further twenty-two musicians were involved in the recording of the album. There were apparently four lead vocalists, five backing vocalists, five guitarists, five keyboardists, two drummers and one bassist which included a mix of current and previous members of Therion.

Luciferian Light Orchestra
Luciferian Light Orchestra

However, Johnsson decided to keep the specific identities and roles under wraps as he was keen that people concentrate on the music itself rather than the personnel. The lyrics are again penned by Karlsson and whilst on the one hand they are fairly typical occult rock lyrics there is also a depth and detail therein that reflects Karlsson’s knowledge of the subject matter.

Musically the album is steeped in a Seventies style vibe and is far more classic hard rock than one might expect given Johnsson’s background in death and symphonic metal. Opening track “Dr. Faust On Capri” sets out the project’s stall straight away. Catchy guitar riffs, Hammond organs, choral backing vocals in places, some fairly deep but perfectly understandable male vocals and all topped off with the a beautifully sweet female vocal.

Luciferian Light Orchestra
Luciferian Light Orchestra

The latter is especially effective on “Church Of Carmel” where the singer (possibly Mari Karhunen) sings “…take off your dress, join us in the Sabbath, become the Master’s mistress…”. I remarked to my wife that if all occult and / or satanic music was as melodic, catchy and, frankly, seductive as this then there would be a lot more people investigating that path!

Baphomet
Baphomet

“Taste The Blood Of The Altar Wine” talks of bowing “…before the black crucifix, hear the demons sing… for the Lord, the goat of Mendes, Baphomet…” and elsewhere you will hear references to the “…Lord of Topheth…” (a place in Jerusalem where followers of the early Canaanite religions sacrificed children to Moloch and Baal by burning them alive) in “Moloch”, as well as “…Astaroth…” (the Great Duke of Hell) alongside unnamed incubi and succubi in “Sex With Demons”

Luciferian Light Orchestra
Luciferian Light Orchestra

There are hints of the likes of classic Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin to be heard, particularly on tracks such as “Dante And Diabaulus” and “Venus In Flames” (which declares that “…we hail Sathanas, Venus, Lucifer…”). There are also parallels with other occult bands around at the moment, such as Blood Ceremony and Purson (not to mention the sadly missed The Devil’s Blood) in terms of the vintage vibe and female vocals.

Luciferian Light Orchestra
Luciferian Light Orchestra

Ignoring the lyrical direction this is a great, concise (just over thirty-eight minutes in length) album with some superb musicianship and very high quality vintage sounding hard rock songs. Add in the occult imagery and you have an irresistible package and one of the most instantly rewarding albums of the year. Excellent!

therion-2016tour

“Luciferian Light Orchestra” tracklist:

1. Dr. Faust On Capri / 2. Church Of Carmel / 3. Taste The Blood Of The Altar Wine / 4. A Black Mass In Paris / 5. Eater Of Souls / 6. Sex With Demons / 7. Venus In Flames / 8. Moloch / 9. Dante And Diabulus / 10. Three Demons

Evil Is Coming…

Last night we watched a great independent movie from New Zealand. Written and directed by newcomer Jason Lei Howden, the film is a horror comedy called “Deathgasm”.

K17T20KA

Milo Cawthorne
Milo Cawthorne

Brodie (Milo Cawthorne – “Blood Punch”, “Power Rangers R.P.M.”) is a heavy metal obsessed teenager who has to go and live with his Uncle, Aunt, and cousin when his widowed mother is put into a mental institution.

Colin Moy
Nick Hoskins-Smith, Colin Moy & Jodie Rimmer

Uncle Albert (Colin Moy – “Emperor”, “Orphans & Kingdoms”) and Aunt Mary (Jodie Rimmer – “Everything We Loved”, “Apron Strings”) are fundamentalist Christians and don’t take to well to Brodie’s life style, seeing him as a Satanist. To make matters worse, his cousin David (Nick Hoskins-Smith – “The Brokenwood Mysteries”) torments Brodie at every available opportunity, especially at school.

Sam Berkley
Sam Berkley, Milo Cawthorne & Daniel Cresswell

Brodie does make a couple of friends at school in role-playing geeks Dion (Sam Berkley – “Jake”, “Go Girls”) and Giles (Daniel Cresswell – “3 Mile Limit”), who are also regular targets for David and his buddies.

Milo
James Blake & Milo Cawthorne

Visiting the local record shop to browse through the metal LPs, Brodie meets fellow metalhead Zakk (James Blake – “Hot Rob”), bonding over the albums they like – and their mutual disdain for false metal in the form of Poison!

Deathgasm
Sam Berkley, James Blake, Daniel Cresswell & Milo Cawthorne

Before long the pair have formed a band in Brodie’s Uncle’s garage with Dion and Giles, and come up with the delightful moniker of Deathgasm.

Stephen Ure
Stephen Ure

Zakk takes Brodie sneaking into a seemingly derelict house – which turns out to be the home of reclusive metal star Rikki Daggers (Stephen Ure – “Perfect Creature”, “The Hobbit”), leader of Haxansword, a cult band whose album is very rare and valuable.

The Manuscript
The Manuscript

When a mysterious suited man turns up Rikki gives them his copy of the record and they flee, only to discover when they get home that there is a different record inside the sleeve. They also discover an old handwritten manuscript inscribed in Latin within the album sleeve.

Sam Berkley, James Blake, Daniel Cresswell & Milo Cawthorne
Sam Berkley, James Blake, Daniel Cresswell & Milo Cawthorne

Later Deathgasm don corpse paint and head off into the woods to shoot a video for their song “Intestinal Bungy Jump”, which is one of many really funny scenes in the movie.

Milo Cawthorne Kimberley Crossman
Milo Cawthorne & Kimberley Crossman

Afterwards it becomes clear that David’s girlfriend Medina (Kimberley Crossman – “Shortland Street”, “#TheAssignment”) is taken with Brodie and they spend some time getting to know each other.

The Translation
The Translation

Brodie translates the Latin and realises that the music is a Black Hymn written with the aim of giving whoever plays it ultimate power and fortune. When he is later beaten up by David he persuades the band to play it – little realising that the music will also summon a demon named Aeloth The Blind One and turn the townsfolk into demonic zombies.

DeathgasmIt’s up to Brodie and his friends, together with Medina, to defeat the demon and the zombies before it’s too late!…

I absolutely loved this movie, from the opening credits onwards. There is loads of gore, tons of humour and just as much great heavy metal music on offer. Perfect for the teenage metalhead still stuck inside me somewhere. Some of the visual gags are inspired, such as when “Hail Satan” is written in napalm on the garden lawn, but misspelt as “Hail Satin”. Brilliant!

I could go on and on about this film, but at the end of the day you’d be much better off watching it than reading what I think! A superbly funny and gory film, and a future cult classic, methinks…

deathgasm-poster

Midwinter Of The Spirit

Recently my wife and I watched a three-part ITV adaptation of Phil Rickman‘s second Merrily Watkins novel “Midwinter Of The Spirit”.

dvd

I believe that the TV people chose this book to start a potential series with as it was the book in which Merrily first got involved in exorcism – or deliverance as it’s termed here – giving opportunity for a nice paranormal drama.

imgID13053912
Phil Rickman – Midwinter Of The Spirit

The synopsis for the novel reads as follows : “They’ll follow you home… breathe down your phone at night… a prime target for every psychotic grinder of the dark satanic mills that ever sacrificed a chicken…’

Diocesan Exorcist: a job viewed by the Church of England with such extreme suspicion that they changed the name.

It’s Deliverance Consultant now. Still, it seems, no job for a woman. But when the Bishop offers it to Merrily Watkins, parish priest and single mum, she’s in no position to refuse.

It starts badly for Merrily and gets no easier. As an early winter slices through the old city of Hereford, a body is found in the River Wye, an ancient church is desecrated and signs of evil appear in the cathedral itself, where the tomb of a medieval saint lies in pieces.”

Now, I believe that I have previously mentioned that I have yet to read the early books in the series so I cannot directly compare the source novel with the TV version. I can, however, comment on the TV series as a standalone piece of work and also my observations with regards to characters that I do know through the books in the series that I have read.

Simon Trinder & Kate Dickie
Simon Trinder & Kate Dickie

The series opens with a dead man, wearing a crown of barbed-wire, strung up in a crucifixion pose in trees in rural Herefordshire. Police detective DS Francis Bliss (Simon Trinder – “Anton Chekhov’s The Duel”) is investigating with his boss DCI Annie Howe (Kate Dickie – “Red Road”, “Filth”) and they decide to ask advice from a religious expert – enter Merrily Watkins.

Anna Maxwell Martin & David Threlfall
Anna Maxwell Martin & David Threlfall

Merrily (Anna Maxwell Martin – “Philomena”, “Becoming Jane”) is on a course to become a deliverance specialist for the church, seemingly much to the displeasure of her tutor Huw Owen (David Threlfall – “Hot Fuzz”, “Shameless”). Before long the pair are immersed in the mystery as the dead man turns out to have been a Satanist and various other dubious characters make their appearances.

Sally Messham & Leila Mimmack
Sally Messham & Leila Mimmack

Meanwhile, Merrily’s troubled teenage daughter Jane (Sally Messham) is befriended by fellow teen Rowenna Napier (Leila Mimmack – “Son Of God”, “High-Rise”), who has troubles of her own. So much so that she has a social worker, Lol Robinson (Ben Bailey Smith – “Hunted”, “Law & Order UK”) assigned to look after her case.

Anna Maxwell Martin
Anna Maxwell Martin

OK, so as a piece of TV I felt that it worked fairly well. My wife, who hadn’t read any of the books had a hard time keeping up with who was who and what their connections to each other were, so I suppose a knowledge of the main characters from having read some of the books was an advantage for me – but many viewers may have felt as my wife did. She did also find the character of Merrily to be irritating with her dithering whilst I thought that was somewhat in keeping with the character I had encountered in Rickman’s books.

Ben Bailey Smith
Ben Bailey Smith

I can’t say that any of those characters looked much like the ones I had developed in my head while reading – I imagine that this is a familiar sensation for anyone seeing a literary character they know making the transition to the screen. I must say though, and I know I’m far from alone in this, that I felt changing the character of Lol from a white folk musician to a black social worker was taking things too far from the source material.

So, despite not having read the specific book, I am confident that the novel is more than likely far superior to the TV adaptation. That said, I did enjoy the programme for what it was and probably would have even more if I could have completely overlooked the obvious character differences…Midwinter-of-the-Spirit-tx-2

In 1985, Her Entire Family Was Murdered. 30 Years Later, The Truth Emerges

Latest movie watched here in the shadows was the 2015 crime mystery thriller, directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner (“Sarah’s Key”, “UV”), called “Dark Places”.

dp-film-poster

dark-places-book-coverAs was the case with the successful 2014 thriller movie “Gone Girl”, “Dark Places” is an adaptation of a novel by author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn. “Dark Places” was Flynn’s second novel, and was first published in 2009. The screen adaptation was penned by Pacquet-Brenner.

Christina Hendricks
Christina Hendricks

The story is based in a small farming town in the American state of Kansas, and centres around events that took placed thirty years ago, one night in 1985, when Patty Day (Christina Hendricks – “Lost River”, “Mad Men”) and two of her daughters were murdered in their farm home. Only young daughter Libby (Sterling Jerins – “The Conjuring”, “World War Z”) and her teenage brother Ben (Tye Sheridan – “The Tree Of Life”, “The Forger”) survived.

Although she didn’t see the murders take place, Libby is convinced to testify against her brother and her testimony is crucial in Ben being convicted and imprisoned for the murders, which the authorities believed to be related to a Satanic cult ritual.

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron

In 2015 the grown-up Libby (Charlize Theron – “Mad Max : Fury Road”, “The Devil’s Advocate”) has spent the past thirty years living off donations from sympathetic members of the public and proceeds from her ghost-written survivor’s memoir, but the cash is running out fast.

Lyle Wirth
Lyle Wirth

Lyle Wirth (Nicholas Hoult – “Warm Bodies”, “Jack The Giant Slayer”), a member of a small group of amateur investigators “The Kill Club” who look into past murder cases, invites Libby to talk to the group, for a fee, about her experience and encourages her to reconsider what happened that fateful night.

Corey Stoll
Corey Stoll

The action switches backwards and forwards between 2015 and 1985 as further details are gradually revealed.

Libby reluctantly agrees to visit Ben (Corey Stoll – “Ant-Man”, “This Is Where I Leave You”) in prison for the first time since his conviction.

Chloë Grace Moretz
Chloë Grace Moretz

Through a series of flashbacks we are introduced to other characters relevant to the story, including Ben’s girlfriend Diondra Wertzner (Chloë Grace Moretz – “The Equalizer”, “Carrie”) who dabbled in Satanism, Krissi Cates (Addy Miller – “Plan 9”, “Remnants”) a classmate of his who accused him of molesting her, not to mention the father of the family, Runner Day (Sean Bridgers – “Jug Face”, “Deadwood”), who was absent from the family home leaving Patty to try to keep the farm afloat, and is now missing.

Drea De Matteo  Charlize Theron
Drea De Matteo & Charlize Theron

Libby and Lyle track down the grown-up Diondra (Andrea Roth – “A Golden Christmas”, “Rescue Me”) and Krissi (Drea De Matteo – “Sons Of Anarchy”, “The Sopranos”) and piece by piece the complicated, and perhaps unlikely, truth gradually emerges.

Dark-Places-Screen1The film touches on the Satanic ritual abuse panic that spread throughout the US as well as the UK during the 1980s and early 1990s, but also has elements of drug use, teenage pregnancy, parental absence, child abuse and paints a thoroughly depressing picture for pretty much everyone involved.

Tye Sheridan  Chloë Grace Moretz
Tye Sheridan & Chloë Grace Moretz

Theron is decent enough as the grown-up Libby, but I was most impressed by Sheridan as the angry and confused teenage Ben and Moretz as the dark and manipulative teenage Diondra.

This isn’t in any way an uplifting tale, but it is fairly gripping and certainly gritty…

Dark_Places_2015_BR

Instinctus Bestialis

gorgoroth_instintctusbestialis

Infernus
Infernus

Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth were formed in Bergen back in 1992 by guitarist Roger “Infernus” Tiegs, a theistic Satanist. The band’s material has thus been based upon the religious and philosophical beliefs of Infernus.

Gorgoroth have been involved in controversies during their career, including problems with the authorities in Poland over a concert performed in Kraków that featured Satanic symbols, naked “crucified” models on stage and copious amounts of sheep’s blood.

Gaahl
Gaahl

Former vocalist Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal served nine months in prison for assault in 2002, whilst Infernus himself was imprisoned in 2006 for four months for the oddly defined crime of gross negligent rape.

Pest
Pest

The band has had numerous members throughout their career, with Infernus being the only constant. Former vocalist Thomas “Pest” Kronenes has been a member of the band twice, from 1995 until 1998 and again from 2008 until his sacking in 2012.

King Ov Hell
King Ov Hell

Additionally Gaahl and former bassist Tom “King Ov Hell” Visnes attempted to oust Infernus from the band in 2007, which resulted in a court battle for the band name, which was eventually won by Infernus two years later, leading Gaahl and King Ov Hell to rename their new line-up as God Seed.

Denise Milani In Gorgoroth CorsetDuring this period there was also a legal battle over the release of “True Norwegian Black Metal – Live in Grieghallen”, a live-in-the-studio album on which Infernus had removed King Ov Hell’s bass parts and replaced them with his own!

Somehow, in amongst all comings and goings and legal issues, the band also released nine studio albums between 1994, when their debut “Pentagram” was unleashed and 2011, which saw the release of “Under The Sign Of Hell 2011” – a somewhat inexplicable re-recording of 1997’s third album “Under The Sign Of Hell”.

Atterigner
Atterigner

Following Pest’s dismissal in 2012, Infernus announced that Serbian vocalist Atterigner (of Serbian band Triumfall) would be contributing vocals to the band’s next album.

Tomas Asklund
Tomas Asklund

Recording sessions, with the line-up of Infernus, Atterigner, Swedish drummer Tomas Asklund and American bassist Frank “Bøddel” Watkins began midway through 2013 and were completed in December of that year. The record was mixed and mastered in the summer of 2014. June 2015, finally sees the release of album number ten, “Instinctus Bestialis”.

Bøddel
Bøddel

Right from the opening seconds this is intense and furious black metal that takes no prisoners. The production of this record lifts it’s sound above previous Gorgoroth offerings, moving further away from the low-fi sound of the early black metal bands and closer to the clear and powerful aural experience to be found with the likes of Behemoth these days.

There is no filler on this album and, at just over thirty one minutes in total, absolutely no fat. This is a killer black metal record, full of excellent riffs, very good individual performances and is a consistent and cohesive album from the opening seconds of “Radix Malorum” to the dying moments of the closing “Awakening”. That said, if pushed right now, I’d have to say that my favourite tracks here would have to be “Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus” with it’s glorious refrain of “Hail Satan!” and the excellent “Burn In His Light”. This might not be a classic black metal album, but it’s certainly a very good one!…

Blastfest-2016-V1“Instinctus Bestialis” tracklist:

1. Radix Malorum / 2. Dionysian Rite / 3. Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus / 4. Come Night / 5. Burn In His Light / 6. Rage / 7. Kala Brahman / 8. Awakening