Verbal warfare through radical ideals

Posts tagged “religion

Remnants

On August 31st, 2010, the heavy metal band Disturbed launched their fifth studio album, Asylum, and my world fell apart.

For some time already, the world of this gaming clan leader had been a diagram of the disastrous. The months leading up to such a plateau weren’t much kinder. A disloyal partner, brought on by the need to atone for a deed she felt was a sleight against the almighty. The seeds of doubt and mutiny, growing with tempered aggression in a clan that had long since become content with bureaucratic disinterest. The loss of a job necessary to his own existence, yet so emotionally draining that it pushed him to the brink of suicide, and the fateful night that brought about the cataclysmic chain of events…

 

I hated 2010. It was a horrible fucking year, and nothing of value happened during it. It was one tragedy after another, and regardless of how I try to look back on it with a positive light, I just keep cringing. Seemingly nothing went right, and the more I tried to fix things, the more people I could count turning away from me. My friends no longer looked to my solutions. Not like I blame them; I was a kid then and more often than not I still feel like it. I was growing up in the wrong aspects, and trying desperately to justify every mistake I made as someone else’s. Morality wasn’t a sliding scale back then, and ethics weren’t a code of conduct I stuck to as guidelines to live my life by. Black and white weren’t colors. They existed as polar opposites on a short spectrum of ideas. In retrospect, being less absolutist during this time would’ve saved many of my friendships, while simultaneously damaging any credibility I had as a decent leader. They didn’t want to step up to the plate, but they didn’t want to watch me do things over their heads anymore. My greatest complaints ranged from being a “tyrant”, all the way up to being titled a “two-faced, hypocritical asshole.”  Needless to say, the thin red line was a pretty broad brushstroke on the canvas of my deconstruction. Nothing was accomplished inside our ranks, either. Whether we were stuck in a squabbling match, or lost in the irrelevance of a politically correct dystopia of our own design—it was a nightmare. My admins barely respected me. They looked to me for advice that never came without resistance, and I permitted it. I gave in because I was afraid to make anyone angry. I didn’t want to say no to them. They transformed from peers to paper dolls; fragile, finite sources of entertainment and evidence that I had “done” something. I know now that this was a mistake, as it threw perspective out the window, and replaced it with a magnifying glass. It was a vain attempt to see how they functioned without me. They weren’t ants, and the looking glass I trapped them beneath burned them. I regret it.

It had become evident since the night of the car crash that something wasn’t right. She was incoherent on the way to the hospital, laying on a flimsy gurney, her face drenched in tears. Loose, unending strands of frizzy hair stuck to the sides of her cheeks. The white powder from the airbag had deployed in a distressing manner over her upper chest and neck. Dark bruises from the seat belt began to appear on her collar-bone. It was a miracle that I had not been injured, but a terrifying reality that she had. Riding in the ambulance with the siren on and the light blazing was unsettling enough. Listening to the sobs of my beloved in the back were intolerable though. Still, I was concerned over the snippets of words that were coming through loud and clear. Phrases along the lines of, “I should’ve never left him,” or insulting stabs of “I made a mistake,” all of which being uttered while I was only inches away. I clasped my hand over the center console, biting my tongue to cease my attitude. The driver knew instantly that she wasn’t whimpering about me, but the fuming man she left behind in the apartment mere minutes beforehand. It’s why I chose to drive. She was inconsolable, and feeling like she had betrayed him was now reason enough to cast me aside in her moment of weakness. I blamed her in that moment, and I cursed my own frailty for returning to her open embrace. As we settled into a thin chamber of the emergency room ward, her mother leaned into the hug her daughter. She thanked me casually, and I sat down in a chair in the opposite corner from the bed. Her voice quivering and shaky, she confided in her mother her true feelings.

“Mom, God is punishing me. He’s punishing me for leaving Jay.”

It became abundantly clear that I was not Jay, and that her mother’s gentle head-nods were a way to shut her up so I wouldn’t hear her. It was too late, and the damage had been done. I mourned my loss. Not because I had ended someone’s life; she had long since died inside to become someone else. This was the grief you can only experience at the hands of someone who never truly loved you in the first place. My throat stung with the grip of someone strangling the pathetic nature out of me. No longer did I loathe her for choosing someone else over me. I genuinely hated her for trying to find a place for me in her life, when she knew the only care she had was a pipe-dream. The visions of my happy future with my perfect girl, and my perfect house, and my perfect life all disintegrated in a matter of hours. July fourth was no longer a holiday I could connect to freedom. It was about enslavement. The enslavement of all the time I spent trying to fix things, and sacrifice for a better future. All at once, I knew that for the remainder of our pitiful journey together I would think simply of shackles for her, because she would never see me for anything more than the vessel to ferry her towards household misery.

I wished for a better tomorrow, and my wishes were buried with ashes.

I cried out for self-immolation, and everyone hid the matches.

I called out for the warmth of a friend,

and was warned “it will never end.”

~Jake

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The Return of the Darkness and Evil

Stars filled the darkened sky, and the night was quiet. A man and woman lay face to face on a hill, sealed in warm embrace. Their foreheads pressing together, they breathed deeply in harmony. A resounding comfort could be felt surrounding the two of them, and they gripped each other tighter. This was a moment of relaxation, and it couldn’t be broken by anyone, or anything. Cold wind beat against the back of the woman, giving her a chill. She giggled, and the man leaned up with a grin to remove his long overcoat. As he draped it over her shoulders, they both looked up to admire the view. It was painted in celebration of their freedom this evening, and a brightly dotted skyline was a gift fit for anyone. The man reflected on this year of pain, which brought him to the top of this lonely hill in the countryside.

Visions of sorrowful family members appeared, all mourning the death of his recently deceased father. His grief however, was ignored. His love of darker music, evident to his devout family had pushed him out of their circle of importance. They shunned him, and looked down upon him as if he was not one of their own. His persona was just clothing that he couldn’t take off, and they treated him as an outsider for it.  Their condescending gazes cut through him like a razor, and in-turn shoved him into a closet, where razors themselves were his only friends. Severe depression coalesced with acute inadequacy, and only a sacrifice of flesh and blood kept the world from overtaking him. Forsaken by his kin, he wept alone in dim corners, while riffs tore viciously at his ears through an old pair of headphones. Cracking snares made his ears ring, and he listened to the comforting shrieking of a ghoul at the head of the band. Only these lyrics could understand suffering as he did. Only these few people could make an acceptable noise to play him through this slump. Only he could grasp the power behind the words, and bring a meaning of his own to them. Only through this sound could somebody love him.

The woman closed her eyes and flashed back to the surroundings that drove her to this hill. She recalled the office; the grey walls of flimsy plastic enclosing around her like a prison of the mind. False faces mingled with the magniloquence of narcissistic colleagues; it was an exercise where they all drowned each other in an effort to remain afloat in the ocean of white-collar purgatory. She sighed while spinning around in her chair. Boredom and insignificance clutched onto her like a sickness. She hated all of this. This day meant nothing to her, and the work she “accomplished” today would be the same chore she scorned tomorrow. She wanted to be in a crowd of that which is loud, breathing in sweat and alcohol as she screamed her lungs out at her favorite group on stage. The silence stabbed her in the temples, inducing a strong headache. Home was no consolation, at all. Either out of desperation or loneliness, she chose to remain with the man who simply noticed her first. He expected much though, and upon entering the door she knew that only housework and cooking awaited her, followed by copious amounts of faith-based guilt. If she was expected to remain his woman, she would eventually have no choice but to live under a creed she didn’t share, with pseudo-morals that he didn’t even follow. Her life was a deplorable sideshow; a regrettable story that only went in a circle. Death and taxes sounded much more friendly, so long as she didn’t have to witness part two. This was not how she imagined life would go at this point, and with love now ingrained as a tyrant who sought to strip her of her identity, she longed for a day where she could simultaneously be herself, and be with others who understood this virtue. She desired a life where she could be as loud as she wanted to, and say the words she denied herself daily. She snapped out of her daze, and out of her illusion of normality. She was not of the grey world. She was different. Tonight would change everything. She would change everything. She would show her true color (or lack thereof), and it was black.

The crowd in the club was rowdy and rambunctious; this show would be a night to remember, and the masses of people swarmed with excitement. A sea of black shirts comprised this concert, as is the law at all metal performances. The house lights became faint, and with it grew the sound of the people, now buzzing with glee. The squeal of a pick hitting the string sounded, and the room erupted into chaos. Bodies soared on a sea of outstretched arms, while bottles and clothing articles flew aimlessly through the air. It was a scene of perfect insanity, and just another day in the lives of Metalheads. As if by a spark of fate, strobe lights flashed endlessly, while two sets of eyes met across the room. A handsome guy with long dark hair caught pulsating glimpses of the eyes of a beautiful girl buried beneath strawberry curls from the far corner of the pit. The two wandered mindlessly toward one another, loss in a lapse of wonder. The pounding clash of cymbals and snares echoed against the apocalyptic riff, and the two lost souls came together in a minute of clarity.

On a hill miles and hours away, these two lonely children of the riff came together to enjoy the twilight after their unforgettable meeting at the show. This wasn’t just venting the rage, despair, and isolation they felt at the hands of others; this hill would be where they consummated their metamorphosis. The man pulled out a pack of smokes. Ejecting one cigarette from the box, he gripped it with his lips and reached into his other pocket to grab his matches. With a quick swipe across the striking surface, the match ignited and he lifted it to his mouth. Before the fire touched the end of the cigarette, however, the woman plucked the lit match from his fingers and ran off down the hill. When she reached the bottom, she turned around and waved to him. She swiftly crossed a parking lot and accidentally kicked over a can of gasoline haphazardly placed on the curb. With a flick of her wrist, the burning stick sailed effortlessly into the waiting puddle at the foot of a church. The woman bolted back across the lot and onto the grassy hill where the man sat waiting. As she took her seat next to him, she leaned her head on his shoulder, smiling from ear to ear. The man smirked, and kissed her on the head. Almost in unison, they began to recite the words of the father of black metal, as the chapel stood ablaze for all to see.

“Then the clouds of death shall gather
then the night shall always burn
then the ancient prediction comes true
and the bells of fate chaime
THE RETURN…”

Fenriz, early 90's

Fenriz, early 90’s

-Jake


Great Big White World

Happy 2014, children.

While I constantly receive the urge to write, I admit that over the past year I have grown so critical of my own work that I refuse to hit “publish” until I am absolutely sure it’s perfect. Then, once I am satisfied and have pressed the button I enter a panicked frenzy where I’m caught second-guessing every other line, and quotation as sounding too cliché or simply idiotic. It’s a new year though, so I should probably resolve to stop doing that.

…Or are resolutions too cliché?

The good news is that I haven’t run short on things to observe in my mundane existence, and I still feel obligated to throw war-paint all over them in order to get my point across. I should hit pretty close to home for some of you today, and I’d like to think there are many people who are not only familiar with this epidemic, but loathe it to the extent that I do.

Life as we know it is a never-ending grind through monotonous tasks, plastered smiles, and fleeting climaxes all gift-wrapped as the “experience of a lifetime“. We’re all stuck together in a system that dances circles like the hands on a clock, and much like the clock you can go insane from taking too hard of a look at it. That moment turns into an excruciatingly cruel reminder of why it is that people take vacations, and why therapists exist. However, for that unlucky crowd of isolated units who don’t have their own handful of happiness, or a vice to drown out that emptiness-  life is just their own personal tale as Sisyphus.

It’s one thing to be able to look at the world around you from an emotional gutter. The world seems like a utopia that you’re barred from, where you’re forced to face a sea of pairs, being carried effortlessly upwards towards some golden skyline. It’s an entirely different issue altogether to turn towards your small corner of the world, and view one of your own throwing happiness at you like a trophy.

The first world we inhabit is not a cooperative community, where we strive to flourish as a whole and better ourselves. It’s not even a large raft where we’re all fighting for survival in a chaotic sea while trying to keep each other afloat. Our world has become a vast ocean where millions of tiny islands dot the surface mere inches from one another. It’s a lonely grid where everyone is close enough to reach out and touch each other, but tragically lack the companionship and altruism required to bring others closer to them.

As an adult, you’re forced to confront the fact no one is there to help you. You’re on your own, and people feel the need to consistently remind you of this. Upon leaving high-school, an image is drilled into your head of what you have to earn. It’s a terrible, uninspiring image that few should ever consider. The “American Dream“, a picture so grim that Philip K. Dick made it a tragedy in all of its banal glory in A Scanner Darkly. In retrospect, my entire childhood was based around a loosely translated panorama of the 1950’s where the perfect family unit sits together watching their first color TV and dreaming of a world where technology makes all their fantasies come to life.

The reality could be no further from the truth. My ever-shrinking list of family and friends have turned into a social-media propaganda squad, whose only apparent mission is to rise higher than the rest of their peers. This sad portrait is repeated daily like a chore, where they exchange hollow pleasantries momentarily before unfurling a new list of pseudo-achievements to gloat over. When they exhaust their reserve of words for their success, they quickly switch to a bulky slideshow of recently recorded personal victories, as they cluster together with acquaintances and strangers to paste a smile on and show off the exotic places and strange attractions they’ve visited. It’s a cruel injustice to this amazing planet that we live on, that we’ve become so obsessed with capturing the perfect moments on camera that we’ve completely neglected to take part in, or savior them.

I no longer crave the loud, and crowded parties where seemingly popular people gather to have the time of their lives. I care not for the three-piece suit and the slick appearance of being a hotshot in a trade with no character and no mind of my own. I can’t picture the group of friends locked shoulder-to-shoulder in brotherly and sisterly affection. I don’t buy the millions of photos depicting happy couples locked in a tender kiss. I don’t believe that anyone who engages in this ritualistic, digital sadomasochism ever receives the pleasure they seek from it.

Our world will share a common regret when everyone stops competing for who can look the prettiest for the longest amount of time. I sincerely hope that someday soon people begin trying to write their story in ink, and stop standing still in the hopes that someone will paint it for the ages to gawk at and admire. You should not be impressed by those around you who actively seek to set a “life-example” for you to follow. As young as I am, I’ve come to realize that life is much less of a hassle when you don’t take it too seriously.

It’s also a lot less cruel when you stop wishing to appear happy, and actually start being happy.

Because it’s a great big white world
And we are drained of our colors
We used to love ourselves,
We used to love one another

-Jake


Heavy Metal

Greetings, children.

While I may be the writer that you all know me as, and I may dabble from time to time in the realm of philosophy, I’m undoubtedly sure that most of you know me as a die-hard Heavy Metal fan. I’m sure this comes to no surprise for most, as the vast majority of my posts are lovingly titled in homage to a metal tune of some sort. I quote lyrics daily to strangers on social media, and in my gaming community alike. I’m constantly whistling or singing along to a new song that has become stuck in my mind. (I probably cycle anywhere between 10 and 20 songs on any given day)

Needless to say, I love Heavy Metal.

Despite how much adoration I have for the genre that carried me through my adolescence, and continues to do so today, all is not well in paradise. Metal has sustained a wound that refuses to close, and though many people would view it as a form of diversity, they’re only ignoring a continuous problem that Metal faces every year. The growing catalog of ridiculously unnecessary sub-genres has become a problem that not only forces people into senseless debates over the interpretation, and appropriate titling of bands; it dilutes the entire genre of Heavy Metal.

Assuming that what I’ve proposed to do here is indeed, “dissect various sub-genres of metal and effectively reassign them to an appropriate new blanket-genre”, I should undoubtedly go over a few of the classes of metal that need to stay, since there are so many good ones that cover the broad spectrum of the shredder’s rainbow.

  • Heavy Metal– It’s fair to say it’s not going anywhere. The widely accepted definition is the first, and it shall remain. This is what we shall base the origin of Metal with: “With roots in blues-rock and psychedelic-rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness.”
  • Thrash Metal– Its spot is safe. In order to slim down thrash, we would have to completely toss out speed-metal, and forget about Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and Pantera. It’s not happening.
  • Death Metal– Easily the most broad definition in all of this genre’s history. Death could use slimming, but it’s so broad, I almost view it as an impossibility. One could also make the assertion that the benefits of Death’s creation significantly outweigh the negatives.
  • Black Metal– This sub-genre gave rise to some of the most powerful, and well-known names in the business. To get rid of Black would be a disgrace to the progressive styles of our European friends. It stays.
  • Power Metal– One could argue that Power has been slowly deteriorating over the years, but I’d like to believe that it has only become broader in definition. Power Metal has always been uplifting, and goes through various stages of harmonic glory that one can’t simply discard.
  • Doom– This genre, I will discuss later. Yes, it will be dissected. Not for the purpose you think, though. Doom stays, because it is the closest we have to the origin of metal. It’s also going to receive top-honors in the end, as we trim a bit of fat off of its name and dispose of the extras that are riding along behind it.
  • Nü Metal– While I understand it is indeed a hodgepodge of both good and bad ideas, Nü has brought forth some of the greatest groups of the late 90’s, and early 2,000’s. It would be a tragedy to throw out some of the finer elements of Korn, Slipknot, Disturbed, Godsmack, Otep, early Linkin Park, and even Coal Chamber. For the sake of history, Nü-Metal will retain its spot.
  • Industrial– I couldn’t rightfully get away with losing Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Kidneythieves, Combichrist, or Nine Inch Nails simply out of convenience. No, they will keep their spot because industrial as a whole has grown stronger in the world of metal, and I like it right where it’s at. Necessary only to the beat and to the constant remixing and blank-filling that it allows in metal.

These are the groups that are staying. Now that you’re all happy that I’ve kept your favorites, it’s time to break out my wood-chipper to shred some useless garbage, as well as the clay to sculpt a few new genres that should stand in the place of numerous others. I’m fully aware that makes me sound like a bit of a hypocrite, but I’m willing to take that risk if you’ll let me attempt to convince you.

Metalcore– Since this sub-genre alone is arguably responsible for over 60% of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Heavy Metal, I’m going to start here.  While Sepultura and Pantera have been credited for giving birth to this monster, you may rest easy knowing that may not be entirely true. While Sepultura has implemented various rhythmic changes in their albums, as well as quite possibly bringing the infamous “breakdown” to life, they are assuredly a thrash metal group, and will remain as such. It also would be a tragedy to pry Pantera from their home of thrash, so I will not offend them.

What follows is a list of the multitudinous absurdities that have been combined in triple-hyphenated fashion in order to justify the creation of a Metalcore group:

<Please note that while I respect Melodeath, Math, Viking, Medieval, Industrial, Progressive, and Deathcore, they will also be used as a reference for the point of bringing light to the issue>

Funk, Groove, Stoner, Neo-Classical, Math, Death, Nintendo, Post-metal, Folk, Djent, Symphonic, crossover, Teutonic, classic, sludge, Prog, Power-prog, Glam, crab, Pirate, Wizard, Viking, extreme, hardcore, punk, Latin, Industrial, Death ‘n’ roll, grind, goregrind, Celtic, Pagan, Christian, avant-garde, experimental, break, drone, gothic, anarcho, crustpunk, unblack, Dark, Cello, Rap, trance, dub, psychedelic, NSBM (National-Socialist-Black-Metal), WP (White Pride), Screamo, crunk, Electronicore, Mall, Satanic, and yes… Anal Distortion.

Every single one of these have been used at one time or another to describe a band, sub-sub-sub-genre, or an album. My head spins just thinking about how much psychological-conditioning it takes for one not to bash their face into a wall at the sight of a band who uses three hyphens to describe what type of music they play. Virtually all of the list above can be tossed out, with the exception of the fundamental names I have already listed as necessities of the original genre itself.

Why? Why would I go and throw out a gigantic wall of sub-subs that might very well hold relevance and beauty to Heavy Metal if put to the test? Because, they already exist and are well-known elements of bands, and songs that we all remember so fondly. I can name thirty bands off the top of my head who use Neo-Classical riffs, and folk instruments on a nearly daily basis. You know what they have in common? None of them would sell their dignity in order to cling to the idea that they’re “Neo-classical-Celtic-Stoner-Prog-Metal”. That bullshit has to go, which is why I’ve just done it for you. It’s gone. Good riddance.

Now, don’t fear for the future of Core. Core is also going to retain its spot, regardless of the plethora of filth that seems to never get wiped off its boots. Metalcore is widely-regarded as one of the best things to come out of Metal, and I can’t say I’m inclined to disagree. It wouldn’t be the same without Trivium, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Atreyu, Soilwork, or Diecast. Yes, Core has a bright future so long as it holds on tight to the basics that make that genre so good. What drags it down is when they allow a disgusting mix of undisciplined sounds to diffuse the power of what we all know already works. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progressive sound. It’s one of the best things about metal, is allowing bands to experiment and create new tunes with odd time-signatures, untapped instruments, and mixing that brings a new perspective to the genre. What I don’t like, is when five dipshits under the age 0f 21 all grab a fender and play half-ass slow riffs, call it a “breakdown”, use a drum-machine in place of an actual drummer, trade-off who gets to play keyboard, and then auto-tune the vocalist so people don’t know they sound like garbage. You may be laughing right now, but if you have seen as much destruction to the beauty of metal as I have, you would know it happens alarmingly often. It would seem record labels have lowered their standards, and are now paying these children to make a quick buck, just so they can toss them out next year and churn the mixture to produce another terrible band with the same sound, and new members. Let this be your only warning, Metalcore fans. If you don’t stand by what Core originally was, it’s cursed to become something you won’t recognize.

I know at this point, some of you might feel I’m just another purity-obsessed Metal-head who can’t stand new bands joining because it takes attention away from older ones. I’m here to dispel that notion, right now. If that was the case, I would also have to throw out almost every band after 1990, which I don’t intend to do by a long shot. New metal is great, and I love hearing it. What I don’t like, are pretentious children who think they know better than those who came before them, and want to implement the most bizarre styles to a genre that is just fine so long as you’re decent at musical composition, and you can fret/drum/sing/growl/scream with the best of them. I’m even willing to allow the repetition and lack of vocabulary if it sounds like you put some time into it. Ozzy Osbourne, a man who was practically illiterate after leaving school– helped form Black Sabbath and his own solo group while crafting some of the most-praised lyrics of all time. It takes a creative genius to be good in metal, and I grant anyone that can master it my undying loyalty.

Lastly, I want to dissect a range of sub-genres that I have come to love, but I feel that they should be adopted into a broader genre that I have created for them. The sub-genres of Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic, Classic, and Neo-Classical all are redundant and and overlap each other in multiple spots. While Doom stands on its own two legs, many people don’t understand what entails being a Doom group, and will therefore lump many bands that don’t belong there simply out of convenience. I’ve never heard a song from The Sword, or Baroness that should be classified as Doom. Katatonia, who is one of the main groups that come to mind when Doom is mentioned, is capable of so many varied genres that to limit them simply to Doom is almost restraining. There are also, of course, bands such as Black Pyramid and Dawnbringer, who are known for incorporating the finest elements of the classic Metal sound, as well as strong waves of Medieval riffing, alongside a generous helping of Neo-Classical harmonics. They also, are somehow inhabitants of Doom, and yet they don’t fit the description. I also wish to rid the world of the idea of “stoner”, metal. I find it to be an insulting term that clearly implies that the music is designed to pander to those who are lovers of weed (alongside copious amounts of droning,  reverberating guitar chords as well as psychedelic echoes, of course). It adds no substance to the band itself; instead it promotes the band as being limited to a certain demographic, and I would think that would annoy the group more than anything else. Because of all these reasons, it has has led me to believe that we need one blanket genre to support bands that don’t quite fit in with any of ’em.

This genre is dedicated entirely to the idea of retaining the classic sound of Heavy Metal, as well as promoting the folk instruments, Neo-classical sound, and the rich tri-tone of classic metal groups. At first, I couldn’t decide what to call it. I wanted it to revolve around the idea of the band that best represents the origin of Metal: Black Sabbath.

Seeing as how “Black Metal” is taken though, I’ve had to resort to a much more technical idea. The name of this genre is indicative of everything you would hear from the fundamentals of classic metal albums; single solos that stretch over a minute, simple distortion, and the loud studio sound that you would expect from such a powerhouse group. When people hear of Sabbath now, they recognize them for the classics they put out. It is seemingly everyone’s first encounter with metal, and for this reason I have concluded that there can only be one title for this genre:

Primary Metal

This genre perfectly describes all of the elements of why it is necessary to keep them separate from their brothers and sisters. They seek to establish a classic mindset to new sounds. It’s the best of both worlds, in one broad package. You don’t even have to tread on the feet of other bands to do it. Candlemass is perfectly content being the grandfather of Doom. The Sword however, fits quite nicely as the head of this brave new world of metal; a realm that recognizes and reveres the sound put out by bands such as Sabbath, Maiden, Pentagram, Motorhead, and Judas Priest. They don’t want to mimic it; they want to enhance it.

I hope some of you will take away a fresh understanding of the genres of metal. I know some people will want to remain neutral and keep to the idea of, “It’s musical taste! Who are you to say what should and should not be?”, and that’s absolutely fair. However, I only want to help grow the idea of metal, and in order for newer, better bands to grow out of sub-genres to spawn their own ideas of the genre, sometimes you have to shave off some of the trash that is trailing around behind them. These quadruple sub-genres only limit the image that bands can have for themselves, and it gives idiots a very narrow view of what Heavy Metal is from the perspective of an outsider. This genre is so much more than most people can imagine, and if people can unite under as few banners as possible, Metal can once again overcome the non-stop drivel of horrible, anti-intellectual music that pollutes the minds of people everywhere.

It’s your one way ticket to midnight
Call it Heavy Metal
Higher than high, feelin’ just right
Call it Heavy Metal
Desperation on a red line
Call it Heavy Metal noise

-Jake


An Alternative To Freedom

In our ever-changing world of social acceptance, we’ve come to see shifts in attitude towards everything from ethnicity, to sexuality.

While these issues were seemingly simple hurdles to conquer for a society built upon innovation and progress, our species has proven time, and time again that we lack the will and cooperation to change worldviews at a reasonable pace. The difficulties that come with being part of a minority are sobering, and the threat of being demonized by your peers can be a grim reality for those unlucky souls in the wrong community.

The minority I’m speaking of, however, has nothing to do with the color of your skin, or your sexual orientation. Today, I’m here to discuss the last notable group to be outnumbered, but not yet exhausted of their will to fight socioeconomic trends:

ATHEISTS.

That’s right. The one group on the planet who should reasonably not be threatening to anyone, is evidently last on the list of people who can share their beliefs (or lack thereof), in public.

While I usually would tend to drift off into a rant regarding religion, that’s not my aim here. Today, I want to ask the faith-based people who represent the majority of our small planet to briefly consider the possibility that humans are perfectly capable of leading morally-acceptable lives without having a god to call their own. While I understand that this sentiment is usually met with stiff opposition, I implore my religious and spiritual readers to at least suppress their urge to close out this page for a few minutes.

We’re not that different.

How can I compare myself to you? It’s simple. We’re all atheists when it comes to Thor, (I hope) and we all grasp what a silly idea it is to believe in the god of thunder, even if he does make for an interesting story. I can go as far as to say that we’re both atheists on the majority of the gods on planet Earth today. If you don’t believe me, allow yourself a moment to consider how many religions there are in the world. Think of all the organized, well-known religious denominations, as well as the lesser known tribal religions. Many of these have countless numbers of followers, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism (although technically it’s not a religion). From the perspective of an atheist, I understand that all of these people can’t possibly be insane, and that it must have an internal value to believe in god’s existence. That means that there are some rational people who choose to believe in god because they feel it brings purpose, and meaning to their lives. From the viewpoint of a devoutly religious individual, however, they have the misfortune of being able to only see the purpose of existence through the pages of their sacred text. This is to be expected, as one raised with such a tradition would naturally be inclined to revere, cherish, and cling to what brings them peace and understanding of the world around them.

atheists

As an atheist, I don’t have a sacred book to guide my life. I don’t have lessons through scripture, or the looming threat of punishment in the afterlife. That doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person, immoral, worship Satan, or that I eat children. It means that I have to appropriately measure all of my decisions in life so that I cause the least amount of damage. I don’t go out and kill people, or cause them bodily harm for no reason. I don’t steal from other people, since I have no right to the property of others. I don’t rape women, because that is a cruel, sick, and vicious way to treat them or obtain sexual release. None of these fundamental rules require a background in religion. That’s because morality exists without it, and is a more than conventional way for someone to live their life.

I don’t require prayers to obtain things in life. If you’ve ever spent a long time accomplishing a goal, whether that be studying for a test, working towards a promotion at your job, or something as simple as writing a new post for your blog, you grasp how much discipline, and determination it takes to achieve such things. Atheists have those same goals, and accomplish them every single day without so much as a thought about a divine being. How can this be, if you are a creature of god and have been granted blessings in your life that a non-believer shouldn’t? This is because prayer, however useful and righteous it seems, does little in the real world to further any cause. Yes, it will grant you a fleeting sensation of contentment, but in the end the probability of your prayer being answered is the same as flipping a coin. It either will, or it won’t. It’s my experience that in this situation, if it comes true- many individuals tend to have a restored faith that their god is listening, and this is proof of it. However, if it doesn’t work in their favor, the same individuals will acquiesce to the idea that it was god’s plan for their wish to not come true. Atheists calculate things rather than pray, because we understand the probability, or the likeliness of something to occur is a more practical approach to understanding whether or not your wish will be granted. If you desire a promotion at work, you may add up the amount of hours you put in, as well as the quality of the work combined with how much the managers like you. You may also think that asking for god’s blessing is an asset to your cause. Atheists can’t do that. We try to see how a manager would effectively grade our work, as well as how our quality stacks up against competitors. There is no third-party to intervene, and if we receive such a position it would be through the gracious regard of our superiors, as well as the sweat we put into the daily grind itself.

I have a challenge to all believers. Before you shut me down, know that you won’t have to sacrifice a thing.

When you wake up tomorrow, I want you to do one simple thing:

Go on about your day.

That’s it. You don’t have to do anything else. Not a single thing. Tomorrow, do every single chore you would usually do. Go to work just like you would any other day. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner the same way. Take a shower or bath, in the same manner. Talk to your friends, family, or co-workers the same way. Live your life in the same peaceful, wonderful manner that you’re already used to.

However…

Leave God out of it. Don’t stop to pray for things, and don’t ask for blessings. Don’t thank him for your food, or for any simple victories. Don’t worry about a threat of a bad place in the afterlife, and don’t get nervous over what god will think.  Calculate the probability of things, and use logic and a constant scale of morality to solve your daily woes and issues. I think you’ll find it’s easy to do if you simply feel as if you’re taking a day off from faith. Do this for one day, and you can return to your life with God on your side. I do ask that you undergo this task with some manner of discipline though, because if you’re just going to flake halfway through the day, then your fear of the unknown is clearly affecting your life.

When you go back to your life with god however, I request that you review your day off from him. You might be surprised to discover that nothing has changed. The world didn’t end, you weren’t stricken by a disgusting illness, and no horrible tragedies befell you. Now ask yourself, could you do this for two days? Three? Even a week? Could you live your life like this? Were you slowed down one bit by not having to worry about god? I think you’ll find the answer is “no”, and through this you will be granted a knowledge that few faith-based people have the privilege of understanding:

It’s possible to live a good life without god.

For those of you out there who are hesitant to accept my challenge, undoubtedly because you’re unsure if there will be negative repercussions, I beg you to reconsider.

After all, if your faith is half as unshakable as you claim it is, then you’ve got nothing to lose by humoring me, and your connection with God might very well be strengthened.

Blissful, but not content.

Overjoyed with sentiment.

All the world is a place…

…for your mind to waste.

-Jake


The Lonely Grave of Sacerdotus

Deep in the bowels of the Twitterverse, there lurks a creature of ridiculous nature.

This poor soul is known simply as “Sacerdotus”, and is a self-proclaimed future priest/Twitter user. For those of us who know him, Sac has made himself known by a multitude of tweets and propaganda designed to demonize atheists. He has also made numerous claims that he is inclined to a civilized debate, but any and all attempts to organize one have been in vain. Though various offers for debate still stand for this “prepared contender”, Sacerdotus’ popularity ironically stems from his ability to avoid all requests made by atheists who challenge him.

This, along with his usual list of pre-made logical fallacies has earned him quite the reputation as a dishonest debate partner. Let’s take a deeper look into why no one should ever take Sacerdotus seriously, shall we?

Every time someone brings up the topic of his faith, he takes painstaking efforts to claim that he, himself was an atheist once. Ironically, his conversion story is as dull as it is implausible. Throughout the tale, Sac shows how clever one must be when weaving a tale of inspirational change. Peppered generously between the lines of the tale are popular, stereotypical atheist lines that are used only by the most incompetent of godless ranters. He then explains what brought him to Catholicism, exposing his past for what it actually was.

 I read up on them, got a catechism and read it, etc. I loved how the Catechism is set up with citations and explanations of why Catholics believe.

With a quote like the one above, it’s amusing that anyone could buy such a shamelessly invented story. We’re supposed to believe that while he couldn’t see an iota of logic from any other religion on the planet, the one that dresses up in the most absurd clothing and participates in some of the silliest rituals in existence is the ideology that brought him in contact with “god”. Just thinking about how many times he had to repeat that to himself for it to sound reasonable, makes my head hurt. Had he ended this idiocy here, his credibility might have been salvageable. Unfortunately, his determination to make others believe he was actually an atheist led him to construct a final part to his transformation, which is a magical adventure for the whole family.

However, I never stepped foot in a Catholic building.  This came way after when this random lady approached me and called me “father.”   I was dressed like an urban youth from NYC and she called me “father” and asked me to pray for her daughter.  This just sent chills through my spine.  I did not know what to say only that I wasn’t a “father” but nonetheless went to the Church nearby with her and we prayed – or she did because I did not know the words she was using.  But I did do something mentally and basically said, “Ok mister sky inter-dimensional entity, this is your chance, stop hiding.”

I felt this peace like the peace a child feels when he/she is in his/her mother’s arms – nothing matters anymore, no worries, no stresses, just this never ending peace that fills you inside and you literally feel like you’re glowing.  That’s when I realized that there is something about this God stuff that is for real.  I was not “stimulated” by emotions, music or a social gathering as with the Evangelicals.  I was with this lady in a dark empty Catholic building, no music, just the random car horns from traffic outside echoing.  God made the move.

To add to to the “chills,” the lady stepped to the vestibule to get “holy water” and I went after her a few seconds later to ask her name and observe this act and she was not there.  I stepped outside and no one was around.  Either she ran like Flash or was transported to the Enterprise because she just vanished.  I know she did not leave because I would’ve seen the sunlight enter as the front door opened, but no such thing happened.  Those doors were the only exit and entrance.

Well, that just settles it. Only a true, skeptical atheist would come up with a story as rational as this one. I can’t imagine how unsettling it must’ve been for Sac to find out that the old lady was actually Batman. He also takes the time to explain to the reader that, “I would’ve seen the sunlight enter as the front door opened“. Checkmate, atheists. His powers of observation are not to be questioned, nor shall you analyze whether or not any of this garbage happened at all.

It is funny though, that for being a former atheist, Sacerdotus seemingly comes up dry when talking to other atheists. Common sense would dictate that if he was such a strong disbeliever, it would take a mind as great as his in order to convince other atheists why his religion is the right way. Tragically, he seems to be just as clueless as any other theist on Twitter. If Sacerdotus was an actual atheist at one point, he would be more than capable of showing compassion towards the perspective of other atheists, not to mention be able to empathize with the views we hold, as he would’ve shared them originally. Ironically, he has only ever argued like an indoctrinated creationist, and therefore I’d have to say the notion that he was ever an atheist is hereby debunked.

As for him pining away for an honest debate, I’ve yet to see any proof of that. He has a wonderful track record of tactical evasion when it comes to debate requests. An ever growing list of excuses grows by the day as to why he won’t go anywhere but his own webpage. Worst of all, is that he is in denial about it. He wants everything to go his way, to prevent any incidents that might be out of his control from occurring. When asked repeatedly to select any other site than his own for a debate, he has refused every offer; immediately followed by a request of his own to go to his website out of some misguided notion that it’s not fair to him to speak anywhere else. Even when asked objectively to debate somewhere neutral to both parties, he deflects the question and tries to assert without knowledge that it would be unfair, such as when asked by this person:

As you can see, he has clearly evaded the point of the question itself. Even without knowing WHAT forum the person was talking about, he has already dismissed it as not neutral. Only a person who is afraid to tread outside their comfort zone could possibly be this paranoid about the setting of a debate before even being offered a place.

Even when he does engage someone with a point, Sacerdotus is not known for his willingness to accept facts. He’s not even willing to incorporate other people’s opinions, for that matter. Unfailingly, the overwhelming majority of URLs and “evidence” he has to provide are simply links back to his blog. Why? Because he wants hits, and the only way to accomplish this is to drag people to his page, in the hopes that they’ll see something there that makes some sense, and return. He has sunk to this trick so often now, that ALL of his links return to his pages, where he recycles the same posts incessantly. This charade is meant to promote the idea that he has done his homework, and prevent him from stumbling over his own arguments. If he doesn’t have to repeat a lie, he assumes he’ll never get caught in one. Unfortunately, if you have a webpage designed to tell people why others are “afraid to debate you”, you’ve already exposed yourself as spineless:

http://www.sacerdotus.com/2013/02/the-fear-to-debate-me.html

What have we learned from this? Well, you should probably not call yourself an avid debater if you’re so quick to deny an invitation to every fuckin’ debate you’re offered, especially if you’re given the choice of going anywhere except your own website. Secondly, claiming you once represented the demographic of the people you are debating is not an effective tool for argument if you only know how to argue from the side you “converted” to. As an atheist, I am insulted and disgusted by the way Sacerdotus throws out one-liners and catchphrases designed to make himself seem well-articulated when discussing atheism. All he has ever proven is that he sounds like a resentful single on the ChristianMingle dating site. Exhausted, defeated, and grasping at straws, he has made every conscious effort to point the finger at everyone else for not wanting to play by his rules. Quite possibly most embarrassing, is his inability to provide any evidence that he hasn’t already touched. Even the least skillful opponents of atheism know that you should at least include some sort of third-party source of information to back up their claims. Sacerdotus refuses to do this. All of his links are his, and he will take you to his site to show you his claims, and back them up using links to his website to show more claims, that link to other pages of his information. Seeing a pattern? This doesn’t make him a scholar, or a researcher.

This makes him an overt narcissist.

I don’t owe any respect to this cretin. He is the worst type of person to argue with, but more importantly he is the person least likely to give you any sort of sliver of useful knowledge. When he is recruiting, he is obnoxious and loud. When he is debating, he is dishonest and evasive. When he is defensive, he is malicious and a hypocrite. If you don’t know Sacerdotus, you’re fortunate. For the rest of us, he is a constant reminder that all it takes to garner support for religion is volume, belligerence, and repetition.

Since Sacerdotus will undoubtedly never admit to any of this, and will oppose any idea that comes his direction by showing you another link to his website, I encourage people to link him here. Repeatedly, in fact. Maybe for once, looking at a single webpage all the time will grant him some clarity, rather than feed into his constant vacuum of egoism.

-Jake


Invent the Truth II

When engaging with a conservative on a social media website, one expects to find what you would with any common debater:

 

  • a series of easy-to-grasp talking points
  • data to back up their assertions
  • reliable sources of information, taken from independent parties
  • a lack of logical fallacies
  • ZERO shameless gimmicks that serve no purpose

 

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. While, admittedly there are many wonderful examples of well-versed modern conservatives who have a true grasp on current events, and have a talent for balancing various different topics including politics, the majority of them lack any clear direction with their arguments, which usually forces them to become belligerent and resort to defensive techniques. Instead of putting in an effort to add a bit of substance to their party-obsessed aggression, they avoid the conflict from the start by outlining a disgustingly useless wall of text that denotes their political affiliations, as well as various other keywords that prove their ‘purity’ and show what they believe to be online credibility to any offenders of their cause.

While it can be argued that a few well-placed words in one’s short profile header can be useful in distinguishing an individual’s attributes and stances, the same can not be said for the plethora of semi-competent sheep who recycle the same catchphrases, one-liners, and titles for themselves as if promoting themselves as an effigy of some right-swaying hero.

That brings me to where I keep my evidence, for my claim. These people, while undoubtedly functional citizens, haven’t the slightest clue how crippling their ignorance is when it comes to debating. The wound they inflict upon themselves comes when they choose to provide a wide list of terms that all make them easy to categorize, as well as dissect before a single word from them is uttered. While this tactic makes them the simplest of targets to shred in verbal combat, they hilariously believe it serves as protection; a showcase of patriotism and godliness that gives them limitless integrity in the eyes of their peers.

To show how tragically common this is, I have taken the top fourteen out of a total of thirty-nine that I was able to find on Twitter in a matter of minutes. Note the ridiculous similarities:

 

Now that you’ve witnessed the absurdity, have any patterns emerged from this mess? The most obvious regurgitations are assuredly the abuse of the word “Constitution”, as well as the usage of the title “Constitutionalist”. This is primarily used as a form of pseudo-patriotism to give the impression that the person has rigorously studied the text of the United States’ Constitution, and that by placing this tag in their bio they believe it demands a higher level of respect. This is nonsense, of course. This shroud is only meant to conceal a lack of reading into the document itself, as none of them who place this phrase have taken the time to memorize such a notable work, or they would not throw its name about with such pomp and disdain.

Noting that words such as “freedom”, and “liberty” also make numerous appearances, it would be a joke to state that they also take these words seriously, considering that the majority of the users who paste these patriotic words in with their name ironically belong to a party that constantly seeks to limit the freedom and liberty of women, minorities, and a multitude of other interest groups. While I’ve covered this issue many times in the past, I would like to reiterate that the right is a wing dedicated to the constant abuse of religious principles, creating a moral shield that allows them to believe that their actions are justified, when in reality they may be truly unethical and discriminatory.

Lastly, and possibly most humorous is the prospect of party-affiliation they have chosen to shift to in this brave new age of voting we’ve entered into. If you’ll take a quick glance back at the list, you may discover that all of them seem to hail from some offshoot of “Constitutional Conservatism”, or “Libertarianism”. Amusingly, many of these have also somehow come to identify themselves as “independent”, which is already neutralized by the idea of swerving to the far right in the first place. Forgive that statement for sounding too forward, but it is not a stretch to imagine by some of the quotes above that these people are far into the red to the point of no return.

Now, the question that no one has asked yet stabs at the loyalty of these people, to their respected parties. For such right-leaning individuals to suddenly pull themselves gently towards the center by bestowing the title of “Libertarian” to themselves, they absolutely don’t seem that inclined to follow that structure. In actuality, it would seem that the Libertarian party that has recently gained a significant boost in popularity due to the mild success of Congressmen Ron Paul, and Governor Gary Johnson, has created a new “safe-zone” for Conservatives who wish to evade the negative light their archaic party has brought upon them as of late.

While you can see a myriad of different terms and names plastered above, denoting all kinds of wonderful and noble causes these people are dedicated to, not ONE of them chooses to be affiliated with the Republican party that more accurately suits their demographic. Curiously, even the most radical of these neo-conservatives chooses to place their flag at the feet of the TEA party, rather than be seen with the Republicans, undoubtedly because of the horrific reputation they’ve earned as of the past decade.

Why does this crowd feel that they must shield themselves behind a wall of pseudo-nationalistic, incessantly repeated, vaguely-distinguished flags? This is not the way for them to prove they can talk politics. This isn’t even the right way for them to choose their party affiliation. This is one more gimmick for the right-wing to hide behind, simply because they refuse to detach themselves from the misguided ethics that they cherish.

How long until they stop being “Constitutionalists”, and start paying attention to what’s actually in the Constitution?

-Jake