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Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Rational Defense of Death Metal

Seeing as how it's Halloween, the most evil holiday of the year, I thought I'd briefly give you my opinions on one of my favorite styles of music, Death Metal.

Here is some death metal:

Now, to any who are predisposed to enjoy heavy music, you might notice that this song shreds face.  But to those of you who are not predisposed to like heavy music, this song probably sounds like an abrasive sonic nightmare.

Well, that's what death metal is.  It hurts on purpose.

The other thing about death metal is that it often espouses unsettling themes like allegiance to Satan or committing brutal murders.  One might well ask how a person who listens to this type of music can possibly reconcile this with their normal, law abiding ways.  It could easily be suggested that this type of music might drive people to acts of violence and/or hatred.

The reply is insultingly simple.  Has death metal driven people to commit violent crimes?  Yes.*  So have the Beatles.  So has Christianity.  So has Communism and Capitalism.  So have dogs.  People who are prone to or capable of violence and hatred will be driven to it by whatever vehicle they find.

The simple fact is that humans are violent.  Humans are probably the most violent and cruel thing we know to exist.  And I submit that it is by acknowledging that fact that we make it subservient to our higher reasoning.  I believe that fear and censorship merely promote those things which are feared and censored.

Humans are obsessed with conflict, death and violence.  It is in our nature as much as love, compassion and creativity are.  And for me, death metal is my way of "owning my own shadow" as Jung might say.  To not acknowledge the darker side of one's self is to allow it to fester and plot beneath your conscious awareness.  We all have darkness in us, and I for one, choose to be fascinated by it as one would by a lion in a cage; dangerous if let loose, but worthy of study when properly contained.

And the other thing is, most of you do it to.  Who out there has never watched Friday the 13th and found themselves secretly rooting for Jason the whole time?  Who watched Saw, but fast-forwarded through all of Jigsaw's traps?  The violence is what you come for.  Does being impressed by a particularly gory kill on the part of Freddy Kruger mean you advocate murder?

Of course it doesn't.  And neither does listening to Cannibal Corpse songs with titles like "Butchered at Birth".  It merely means you, like all humans, whether they admit it or not, are fascinated by the macabre.

When it comes to the issue of religion, the same is true.  I am a devout Christian.  Devoted enough to carry the monogram of Christ permanently inscribed into my flesh by a needle.  Yet I have no qualms with listening to bands like Deicide (whose name literally means "God-killing") or banging my head as the Satanic Pope lead-singer of the band Ghost wails out psalms to the Adversary.

What we experience only changes our attitudes and actions as far as we allow.  My faith is more than strong enough to endure lyrics like "Come over to seduce your angels/Been born to rape your mother's holy womb"  and much, much worse.  I don't have to become the things I experience, and neither does anybody else.

So on I rock, totally aware of and totally enticed by the darkness within all mankind.  I rock out to Dying Fetus in my car.  I watch the Pinhead rip regretful curiosity-seekers to shreds with hooks and chains.  I'm not afraid.

If you want to be afraid of something this Halloween, be afraid of the things you might not know about yourself.

*To all you metalhead fanboys: Yes, I know Burzum and Mayhem were Black Metal bands, which is quite distinct from Death metal, stylistically and culturally.  But for the purposes of this article, the distinction needn't be made.

#metal #deathmetal #Halloween #fear #death #violence #music #horror #movies

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So obviously I come and go.

With the recent government shutdown and the threat of furloughs earlier in the year, things have been a little unfocused for me lately.  Not that I haven't gotten much done, I have.  But I've been making the prudent choice and spending more time on freelance work, just to bring in a little money with the looming threat of my beloved wife (and de facto artist's patron) losing her job.

But for the time being, it would seem that things are back as they should be.  And there is a light at the end of the tunnel: we are moving to Little Rock, Arkansas this March.  I realize that some of you might think that I wouldn't be happy at this; LA is, after all, an artist's town.  The fact is though, that the missus and I are simply not of an urban constitution.  We tend to have more ruralized tastes; and I for one will be taking full advantage of the peace and quiet available in a small-ish town.

Over the next few months, I'm going to try to get my social media/blogging/ebook market situation nailed down so that everything I do is available online and SUPER EASY to access.  Hopefully my books will be available for free on iTunes and Google Play soon.  I'm trying to make everything free and simple to download to that I can incentivise a growing audience.  I really appreciate any support I could get with this.  

In the spirit of getting back on the horse, I'm going to try to do a few more rants and ramblings for you, as well as update the other sites.  I hope you enjoy what I have to offer.

And for any that haven't checked out the Seraphim Universe site, you can download all my short stories for free.  They're formatted for smartphone and/or tablet.  Check out the FAQ for any questions, and POST ME A MUTHAF*CKIN COMMENT if anything isn't working for you.

As always, I am boiling over with curiosity about what creative projects my friends and associates are working on these days.  Surely some of you must be engaged in something that could use my support, and if so, I'd love to hear about it in great detail.

#blog #writing #free #shortstories #FreeEbooks #fiction #scifi