Saturday, 28 December 2013

"In our sick society, everyone is sick": Sludge music, pt.1

History lesson

If punk rock is the working class hero and heavy metal is the god of thunder, then sludge is the scab riddled junkie. There's no such majesty to this music, there's no call to arms, no political unrest, no glorious anger and no aggressive righteousness. It's not about missing your girlfriend, hating your government, long Summer days and boozing it up with your pals. It's simply about existence; beautiful, disgusting, bleak and priceless existence. While Punk and Metal celebrate rebellion, hedonism and angst, Sludge celebrates nothing. The term "Sludge" itself can mean anything, the music can sound like anything and the lyrics can be about nothing, the only chemical present that holds the whole operation together is its ugliness. There's something there that can't be found in Crust, Death Metal or anything in between. There's something terrible about Sludge that lurks underneath the drowsy waves of guitar feedback and cancerous vocals, there's something there that cannot be found anywhere else and it's frustrates even attempting to put a finger on it. It's then that you realize that Sludge isn't a musical genre, at least not anymore. It's not a riff or a lyric or a patch on your jacket, it's an atmosphere.

Of course, the above block of text is a heap of generic shit. Just a bunch of skin-deep truths that any drunk teen at a Crowbar gig can tell you. That's another thing about this "Sludge" phenomenon, it's a liar. It's also comically insane. It doesn't mean anything, it has no loyalty whatsoever, it's just a word we've given to bands that simply don't fit in anywhere else. So what is Sludge then? What does the word imply? After five years of devotion to these outlaw bands, those referred to by this label, I still have absolutely no idea what it means. I know I love it, but I can't for the life of me put a face to the name.

Sludge is largely described as "the sound of New Orleans", it was there that this music began to bubble and congeal in the late 80s and early 90s. NOLA bands like EyeHateGod, Crowbar and Acid Bath emerged from the primordial slime left behind by The Melvins' seminal Gluey Porch Treatments, a record which put forward the argument for a "Black Flag played by Black Sabbath", hardcore meets doom and blues marriage. However, the concept is where the influence ends, because these fledgling NOLA bands each invented their own twist on this new sound and none of them ended up as a bad Melvins cover band. Though it can be said that The Melvins invented it, the Sludge "movement" really began in New Orleans with these young bands, each of them sounding different, but each of them as nasty and repulsive as the other.

EyeHateGod (Live 1996)

Of course, a sickness can only be isolated for so long. By 1994, North Carolina had squirted out the influential and infamous Buzzoven, Los Angeles had given us 16 and Corrupted were taking their first steps in Osaka, Japan. Even the mainstream at the time was sodden with music one might describe as something close to Sludge, with bands like Alice In Chains charting globally, and Nirvana dominating those very charts. Crooked spoon angst and apathy were not just realities for many people at this time, they were becoming trendy as well. Grunge was today's special and suddenly dark, swampy music was exposed on a global scale. Of course, there's "sexy dark" and then there's just "dark", and bands like EyeHateGod and Buzzoven were far from the tortured artists making headlines at the time. They were just drunk, fucked-up rockers from outer space, and they toured relentlessly. 

In the same year that Kurt Cobain decided that enough was enough, it seemed like this new, dejected and despondent music was as popular on the underground as ever. Corrupted and Noothgrush had formed, EyeHateGod, Buzzoven and Grief all had two albums under their belts, Pantera's Phil Anselmo was (Another son of NOLA) name-dropping and advertising his hometown bands at sold-out arenas and home printers all over the world were tirelessly spitting out crude, pornographic and colourless gig fliers. It was probably a beautiful time to be a fan of this music, but don't call it the "golden era". These bands, with their growing drug habits, multiple felonies and perpetual financial struggles, probably never experienced such an era. Then again, maybe that's exactly what a Sludge golden era looks like; a young, bloodied Mike Williams smiling ear-to-ear, being bundled into the back of a squad car.

Noothgrush - Crawl

The mid 90s were abundant with dark sarcasm, dry humour, plaid shirts and bowl cuts. Teenage angst had found its way to the television with Grunge, adult cartoons like Daria and movies like The Doom Generation. MTV was selling suicide like the latest must-have accessory and day time talk shows were engaged in an all-out arms race to find and exhibit the most disturbed punk rock kids and rock stars around. GG Allin was already in the ground, Marilyn Manson was frying on acid and reciting The Cat in The Hat to thousands and Norwegian teenagers were being arrested for murder and arson. Music was already in a strange place, and though the emergence of Sludge fell under the radar considerably, it still couldn't have happened at any other time. Satan never really goes out of fashion, but during the early and mid 90s; he was definitely being used as a fashion statement. 

Then a little three-piece from Dorset, England, showed up to the party.

It is in 1995, in my undoubtedly retarded opinion, that we begin to see the building blocks for modern heavy music. Electric Wizard had just released their first, self-titled album, and this can be seen as the rebirth of Doom metal. Where The Melvins' Gluey Porch Treatments had introduced slow music to a hardcore punk and death metal audience, it had no doubt reintroduced many to Doom. Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General and Pentegram were once again hot topics among tape traders and record collectors and this is, I believe, why Doom came back in a big way during this period. 

Throw this revived genre into the mix with Sludge and you've got a partnership forged in Satan's toilet. We can hardly divorce Doom from Sludge in 2013 because they are so irreversibly connected, and this connection, though inherent, could no doubt have been strengthened during this period when the UK was churning out bands like Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin and Iron Monkey. There was a pick n' mix of "heavy" that began in 1995 and one that is only becoming more and more considerable as time goes on. The snowball started rolling from there. Though that's a story for another day.

Iron Monkey - Web Of Piss

Though the ball had certainly started rolling by 1996 and Sludge had definitely become a widespread term, so too had the rotting process. By 2001, EyeHateGod had released their last studio album and their long history with drugs had started to take its toll on the band, Grief, Buzzoven, Iron Monkey and Noothgrush had all disbanded and all but a few of the trail-blazing groups remained. It may have seemed like these Sludge groups were coming down after a ten year binge, and they probably were. Electric Wizard, however, were enjoying massive success with their third album, Dopethrone, which had been released a year before and now had them hailed as "the heaviest band in the world", and young Sludge and Doom bands were still popping up from all corners of the earth. Though the stems had been cut, there was still something growing, but the "golden era" was most definitely dead and gone, and so were the bands that kicked it off. But just as Sludge was birthed in New Orleans, so too would it come back from the dead.

On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana, killing 1,464 people.

While Katrina threatened The Big Easy, EyeHateGod's then estranged vocalist, Mike Williams, was arrested on a narcotics charge in Morgan City, Louisiana. It was during 91 days in a dreary state prison and on a diet of bread and water, that Mike Williams successfully kicked his heroin habit. With the support of long-time friend Phil Anselmo, Williams made bail and was released from prison. Seeing Mike kicking this habit is what inspired EyeHateGod guitarist, Jimmy Bower, to follow suit and soon enough; EyeHateGod were starting to become a band again.

Since 2006, the band have toured restlessly and are on the cusp of releasing a new album. Though the death of drummer, Joey LaCaze, this year has shaken the band and left fans devastated, they have vowed to continue on with new drummer Aaron Hill (Mountain Of Wizard, Missing Monuments).

Noothgrush reformed in 2011 and have since released two splits and a live CD.

16 reformed after a brief hiatus in 2007 and have released two studio albums since.

Whatever you make of the term "Sludge", whether it means anything or not, it is one of the most used and widespread terms in underground music today. There are more bands playing highly distorted, sluggish blues and punk tinged metal now than ever and there doesn't seem to be any let up. You cannot turn a page in a magazine, listen to a mix tape or browse your favourite music blog without hearing it or seeing it mentioned. The music founded on teenage alcoholism, petty crime and street-living is now as infectious as ever. Is it popular to call yourself "Sludge"? Probably. However, whatever you make of labels, there is a legacy behind that term that can't be denied. It might be a legacy with a pistol down its throat or a needle in its arm, but it's a legacy. If you don't "get it" by now, you probably never will. Don't start writing up a definitive history of it though, because this movement has only just begun.

Buzzoven - Shove

Friday, 27 December 2013

Get the "Attila look" for the New Year.

Attila sporting a 33 A.D. inspired robe w/ matching cross and internal bleeding pattern.

This Spring is all about Pagan ritual and Nercomancy, to say the least; we're rolling into a season dominated by extremes for the fashion enthusiast. Where iron helms and broad swords were staples in our Winter wardrobes, this new season will naturally be about warmer, glossier textures and the return of the ceremonial robe (for those of us who have the waistline for it). Yes, the ceremonial robe. No doubt you've seen it pop up every now and again on the runway these past few months, but this Spring will see it return in all its flowing glory. Indeed, the Attila look is on its way back and its presence will no doubt be felt in every respectable city center clothing store this side of the equator.

Early on in the Spring we'll start to see this festive, cheeky little number popping up in the aisles. Its playfulness is highlighted by its stark colours and baggy design, the perfect way to bring in the New Year and the new you. Fake beards have been teased at for the last few years, but this time around we'll see them come full-circle and fulfill their piquant duty.This flirty look is ideal for those big day outs or afternoon lunches in the city, it's just saucy enough to garner attention, but not enough to give off the wrong impression.

Little bit of advice? Capes never go out of fashion, let no one tell you otherwise. This Transylvanian inspired frock is confidence made fabric. Though one of the darker colours this Spring, it is the perfect chaser to the muted and neutral greys and browns of the Winter wardrobe. Just when your family, friends, co-workers and that special someone think they've seen YOU, this little ditty will knock their blocks off. Nothing says "I'm ready for that raise" or "Get into my bed" like this black velvet piece and matching inverted, four-armed Jesus crucifix. 

What did I say about ceremonial robe wear? IN. What did I say about branches and thorns? Nothing, because I wanted to surprise you. Yes, the Attila look, diverse as it is, has absorbed the "nature" look over the past few years and this design is the perfect marriage of the two. Who knew the delightful burlap robe would blend together so well with the twisted, curling branches of the Carpathians? Looking for something to wear on that big night on the town? Look no further. You won't just be painting the town red, you'll be painting everyone else green with envy. 

Please don't tell me you've forgotten about the dirty beige cowl and ritual mask from 2010. Please. Don't Tell. Me. That. You. Dirty. Bastard. While dated, this is what the entire Spring is going to be about, it's a celebration and a return. This is the very base for your wardrobe this season and a number that no wardrobe should be deprived of. The Attila look is simply not complete without the loose-fitting, Pagan Wanderer robes and matching crimson/white mask. Sorry to break it to you, but shoulders are out this season, and nothing serves as a greater declaration of war on the former like a good wide-sleeved, drooping cowl.

"It's always snowing in Miami"; New Retro Wave.

"Nice to know there's still a little poetry left in the world." ~ Sonny Crockett

Revivals have been as frequent over the last ten years as a wino's relapses. We had hair-brained thrash metal rubbing shoulders with good ol' timey garage rock while the mid 00s London scene gave birth to thousands of Curtis worshiping androids. Girls suddenly decided that daisy dukes were back on the cards for informal Summer-wear, a decision that aroused a rapturous applause from those of us dressed like Kurt Cobain's jocks. We've seen the b-movie come back in a big way with cult hits like Machete, Hobo With a Shotgun and Black Dynamite. The cult of Chuck Norris rose up with no ceiling in sight, but thankfully, died a most ungraceful death before it could rise any further and there are now more teenagers claiming right to the 1990s than there were actual births in the 1990s. If the last ten years have been proof of anything; it's that there is most certainly a vogue cycle and we are spinning that bastard like the wheel of fortune. Unlike the game show, however, we never really won the jackpot with any of our attempts, we just got into a bad habit of flogging dead horses we never even had a saddle on.

Lame as some of those revivals were, it wasn't all sugarless. The movie Drive (2011), with all of its nodding, harking, and speeding, introduced us to something we'd probably never really heard before; real electronic pop, straight from the 80s. Cliff Martinez, the man behind the soundtrack, plucked this dated sound right from its deathbed in 1987 (before Rave and Dance began slobbering everywhere) and brought it right back to life like some kind of neon necromancer. Drive's soundtrack is as popular as Ryan Gosling is, and that's because we were hearing something we'd been deprived of in our time; catchy electronic hooks without an overbearing vocalist robbing the limelight. We could hear and appreciate the music behind it all without some RnB singer's arse jiggling in our faces. The music behind Drive was the perfect marriage of cinematic atmosphere and the sound of a Ferrari rolling along the Sunset Strip. It provided a platform for artists like Kavinsky, College and Desire to spread the good news that, yes, electronic pop in its purest form is alive, kicking and stealing your car. And they weren't and aren't the only ones spreading that message. I'm not even sure if it's right to call it a revival, because for something that's been dug up out of the ground, nothing has sounded as fresh as this "New Retro Wave" does.

I'm not sure where the term New Retro Wave comes from other than it is the title of a Youtube channel that tirelessly promotes artists with an 80s electronic sound, but it's as fitting a title as any for the movement. "Movement? Movement!?", take one look at the New Retro Wave Youtube channel and tell me this isn't a movement. Hundreds of artists are now adopting this sound that Cliff Martinez, Kavinsky and bands like Daft Punk and Crystal Castles have made great use of over their careers and they're making it their very own. It's "new wave", it's retro, but it actually sounds new. Still not following me? That's okay, I'm not following myself the best of times, here's some music to chop up on that dash board:

Tesla Boy - Rebecca

Desire- If I Can't Hold You

Artists like Tesla Boy and Desire hark back to a time when electronic music was a multifaceted beast, where space shuttle atmospheres blended in seamlessly with livening beats, jumping bass lines and melancholy harmonies. There's a complexity there that is balanced out only by blunt, innocent and romantic lyrics. The words are simple and powerful, but the music itself remains intricate even amid the candid lyrics. I'd wager this is pop music at its very best; beautifully dumb and shockingly ambitious. These two groups in particular show how widespread this sound has become over the past few years, Desire are split between the US and Canada, while Tesla Boy hail from Russia. Proof enough that music is the great bonding agent.

Lazerhawk - Dream Machine

Neon Vandal - ShadowDancer

Far more loyal to the old school electronic sound are artists like Lazerhawk and Neon Vandal, who essentially sound like a coke binge in a vintage arcade. About three years ago, when I first heard Lazerhawk, I left a comment on one of their videos declaring; "I love this. I love that this exists. I love you guys". That is what Lazerhawk sound like, pure glee. There's nostalgia there, even for those of us who never grew up with this music, it's in our SEGA Megadrive and in our old VHS tapes. These are two very dangerous artists in that they are taking a risk by employing this uniform sound. If I could sound like a pretentious old fogey for a moment (Moment? Hah!), today's electronic audience demand "the drop" or "dat bass", they want instant gratification in their music. My English lecturer, Malcolm Sen, calls that capitalist, when one enjoys something for a period, only to discard it in favour of the next "drop". There's no such comfort or ease of consumption with Neon Vandal and Lazerhawk, it might sound knuckle-dragging, but they're dragging their knuckles in an entirely different direction.

You can call it what you like, but there's definitely something excellent brewing in the world of 'leccie tronic at the moment. It might sound like the soundtrack to your favorite Arnie film, I might sound like the final encounter with Dr. Eggman in Sonic the Hedgehog, whatever it sounds like; it's either back in a big way or its on its way back. Lets hope we aren't calling it a revival in 2014, because this is too good to call it anything other than "ours". 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Ridiculously indefensible album artwork #1 (NSFW)

Art is something that should always be taken with a grain of salt. Despite how violent, graphic and disgusting a piece of art can be, we should always try to see the artistic merit behind it and try to enjoy it, even if it isn't traditional biscuits and tea. The same goes for music, except sometimes it's very, very difficult to defend some of lyrics and imagery employed by certain artists...especially those in extreme metal circles.

Now I started off, like most other fledgling headbangers, as one of these "extreme knights of the round table". The sort of mid-teen defender of the faith that would gladly try to put forward reasons as to why a band like Anal Cunt are as musically adept as Metallica. For a fifteen year old black metal fan, defending my taste in music was something I had to do almost daily, be it at the gate outside school or on some kind of lame Internet forum. As years went on and I started to take everything far less seriously, I realized that there's really no point in trying to convince a Trivium guy that the latest Torsofuck album is anything other than pornographic noise. If someone doesn't "get it", they just don't get it.

Because I now realize that extreme metal is certainly not for everyone, I also realize how people can find the imagery of album artwork and t-shirts utterly repulsive. It's nasty, disgusting, often disgraceful, but I love it. I'm not going to defend it anymore, but I love it. It's in your face and insensitive, much in line with the manner of the music being recorded and performed live. However, there are certain aspects that I simply cannot defend. If someone were to ask me, "What the fuck is going on here?" and showed me the last Spasm record, I'd probably have to brush it off with a nervous laugh. No one has ever confronted me in such a manner, but if they did; I'd have no idea what to say to them. It's not something I'd be worried about, but it's a scenario that I'd find hilariously awkward.

You can't take everything seriously, but Christ on a stick, there are some things even I can't sugar up. Here are some examples of metal album artwork taken to heinous new levels of nasty:

"Hellcock's Pornflakes" by Rompeprop

"Okay, we need to promote the new album guys. I was thinking maybe we could get that comic boo-"
"Man jizzing into bowl of cornflakes."
"Man jizzing into bowl of cornflakes."
"I mean, we've got to try and actually SELL some-"
"Man jizzing into bowl of cornflakes, or I'm out."

"Demonrape" by Urgehal

Even Enzifer himself must have been thinking "Fuck me, this is a bit much, isn't it?" as he straddled that half-naked model with a knife to her throat. This album art isn't just an RIAA nightmare, it also inspires that kind of post-porn guilt reserved for hangover fapping. Great use of shock tactics, guys, but I am not touching you with a ten-foot pole when the armchair activists get wind of this.

"Alien Proton Burst Dildo Insertion" by Spermswamp

I'm not going to lie, I have absolutely no idea where this comes from. I recognize the logo as Spermswamp's, but I've never seen this record mentioned anywhere. It is in equal parts amazing and ridiculous. No doubt it's a screen capture from one of the most demented sci-fi/pornography crossovers of all time and I'd pay money just to see how the story led up to this very moment. This girl probably wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, she could have been anything she wanted to...but here she is; having her vaginal fluids drained through a long tube held by a blue cyborg/alien hybrid.

"Splatter Fetish 2" compilation, V.A.

I don't know what to say about this. Should I write about it? Is there any need to? I'm not even employed yet, but I already feel fired. There's a masked woman eating some dudes dismembered penis, she's also pooping on his face while her friend impales him on her giant, razorized dildo sword. There's a few guys looking on in horror and disgust from a suspended cage, there's urine and vomit everywhere.

There, I did it. I'm not proud of it, but I did it. Mother, auntie Dawn, auntie Sharon, if you're reading this article, I'm so, so sorry.

Here's a picture of a baby otter hugging a woman's face. That's your reward for reading this.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Top ten bands of 2013

2013 was a whopper year for new music. We had new releases from (Acoustic group), (British hip-hop artist), (British hip-hop artist), (Garge rock band that has never been previously mentioned in an article), (Folk duo), a new David Bowie album and a collective and resounding sigh of defeat from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Indeed, it's been a great year for music, again. So instead of boring you all with the same old top tens you can find anywhere else on far more reputable blogs and webzines, I'd like to offer you ten bands, new and old, that have been constants on my electronic music devices all year round.

For this sniveling keyboard monkey, on scanning my own list, it seems like good old fashioned rock n' roll was on the cards this past year. With seven of the bands featured on the list owning most of their back catalogue to KISS and AC/DC, it looks like I must have spent 2013 with a perpetual aura of sleaze. It certainly explains all the denim and the lack of human contact. I also wore a particularly lecherous mustache for a lot of this year. Here are some of the bands to blame for that;


Turbonegro have been my go-to band for good vibes this year. From their shameless cock rock to their seething, snarling death punk tracks, they're the kind of band that kick you right in the arse and say "Little sissy man, get out of that chair. It is time to make fuck to your brain".

Electric Six

A band that I had forgotten about entirely until last January. Our exams were coming up and I had Electric Six's "Absolute Pleasure" live album on repeat throughout the harrowing experience. Nothing fills a man up with confidence like some down and dirty, drunk uncle rock n' roll.

Dragged Into Sunlight

Nothing but filthy, depraved extreme metal to be found here. I use the term "extreme metal", because there's no other way to define this band. They take all of those metal genres, mash them up into a fine powder and snort them up with a hollowed out finger.

Nine Pound Hammer

Nine Pound Hammer go well with just about anything. You drinking? Nine Pound Hammer. You on your way to college? Nine Pound Hammer. You running aimlessly on a treadmill? Nine Pound Hammer. They open up a whole can of worms with every listen, and each worm has its own set of good feels.


The stench of Motorhead off this band is undeniable and neither is their ability to rattle your boots. This is the kind of band that can break your neck and break your "edge". They are probably responsible for more terrible decisions I made this year than I am.

Church Of Misery

Had this been last year, most of this list would have been populated by bands like Church Of Misery, but that is not the case. These Japanese doomsters survived the great doom clear-out of 2013 simply by being the only one to release a new album, one that had me reeling for months afterwards.

The Hookers

I think I've blared Horror Rises From The Tombs a good (insert exaggerated number here) times this year and it never fails to please. This band deliver the kind of rock n' roll fix that's soaked with whisky, testosterone and bad intentions.

Eagles Of Death Metal

It's no surprise I looked like a 1950s greaser most of this year. The lords Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme and their tainted devil music told me to do it. The world isn't going to end if you drink another jagerbomb, do it. Wax your hair back, do it. Dance using only your pelvis. Do it. Satan commands you.


Another set of doom giants to make the cut this year was Conan. There are none heavier and none as vicious as this three-piece from Liverpool. They are the sound of early man discovering fire and immediately using it to burn down everything in his path.

The entire Powerviolence genre at once

No video needed.

I'm still new to Powerviolence, I am but an initiate in the world of this nasty, bold boy music, but nothing has sounded so right since I first heard Sex Prisoner and Sick/Tired. While 2013 has most certainly been the year of rock n' roll, I expect 2014 will be a return to full filthy heaviness. I've Powerviolence to thank for that. 

Filth, death and enlightenment; The Aghori.

An Aghori in meditation.

Chances are, this is not the first time you've read about the Aghori. You've heard the tales of self-mutilation, chronic drug abuse and ritualistic cannibalism all before, on the television, the Internet or in passing conversation. You have, like myself, also probably wondered how much truth there is behind all of these stories and whether or not these people are truly as they are portrayed in the media. Are the cremation sites of India and Nepal really haunted by wandering Shaivite ghouls and are they really bound to the dark sacraments we've come to associate them with? Due to the Sadhu lifestyle, it's hard to tell exactly how many Aghori there are and how far the sect extends outside of India and Nepal, but after further reading and a little bit of research, it is fair to say that the Aghori, and their grim customs, are very real.

The Aghori are a sect of the Shaivite Hindu (Those who regard Shiva as the supreme being) religion and hold the belief that everything material is imbued with the energy of Shiva. Shaivites believe that Shiva is the creator and destroyer of all things, and so all creation and destruction is intrinsically good. With these very base beliefs in mind, the ideals and reasons behind the actions of the Aghori begin to take shape. As all things are good, there is no reason to fear, so it is the Aghori mission to become fearless and to cleanse one's soul of the "Astha maha pasha" (Human passions, fears, pleasures etc.) in order to prove their devotion to Shiva and thus break the circle of reincarnation and ascend to a higher plane of existence.

The Aghori are also largely associated as a Sadhu religion. The Sadhu are those that have rejected social norms in favour of living a life solely dedicated to their religious enlightenment ("Moksa") through choice homelessness, long bouts of meditation and by depriving themselves of most human comforts and pleasures. This extreme dedication to their religion has them hanging in a kind of social limbo, they are seen as both outcasts and the martyrs by those who live more traditional lifestyles.

Now that we have these terms unpacked, we can relate them to the Aghori twist on Shaivam. Because all things are inherently good, the Aghori choose to prove their fearlessness to Shiva by living in constant squalor, because to the Aghori, there is no such thing as squalor. By living a completely wretched lifestyle, they are accepting that all of Shiva's creations are good and that there is nothing to be afraid of because fears and passions corrupt meditation. The Aghori believe that we are all born into this mode of thinking, that a child is born without the concepts of right or wrong, and that over time, socially constructed norms teach them to fear. The elimination of fear through experience is perhaps the most important of Aghori beliefs, that one must rid themselves of the bonds of fear and shame by desensitizing themselves to them. So it is that the Aghori seek to enter into a new state of consciousness by hurling themselves into harms way and embracing the most dangerous and repulsive of taboos.

The Aghori are perhaps the most feared of the Sadhu due the dangerous manner in which they conduct themselves. Though they are known to pose little threat to those around them, some Aghori choose to keep themselves in a constant state of intoxication (Fearlessness) through drug and alcohol abuse, and this can make their actions unpredictable and thus something to be avoided by the general public. It is perhaps this abuse that renders them immune to the pain of the extreme acts of self-harm that they have become synonymous with.

Cremation Ground at Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, India.

Though they are known to wander, the Aghori are more often to be found living on the cremation grounds of India and Nepal. These cremation grounds are found close to water, where bodies can be disposed of and remains are scattered easier. It is on these cremation grounds that the Aghori find their means of living, food, clothing, shelter and the ash with which they paint themselves white in the image of Shiva. All of these things are abundant on the cremation grounds.

During the Aghori initiation period, the initiate must spend years living on a cremation site. There they will clothe themselves with the dead, feed on the dead and meditate for 12 years. It is during this time that the Aghori will also forge themselves a begging bowl from a human skull and it is this bowl that they will use to feed themselves for the rest of their lives. When this period is finished, the Aghori initiate will be free to roam as he or she pleases, though meditation on the cremation grounds will still be a must.

The ritualistic consumption of human flesh is one of the most taboo of Aghori traditions and is perhaps the reason they are so feared by other religious sects. Though there have been no reported instances where an Aghori has murdered in order to obtain flesh for their ritual, their grave robbing is a well noted fact. As Shaivism dictates that all things are made from the power of Shiva and that we are all one in primordial kin, the Aghori partake in the consumption of human flesh without shame because to them, they are eating their own flesh also. This act of spiritual cannibalism is a symbol for all that the Aghori hold to be true, that we are all one and that we must not fear.

The Aghori are perhaps the most survivalist of the Sadhu in that they are unafraid to partake in waste foods found in rubbish bags, animal feces and carcasses. As it is a large part of their religion to accept all that Shiva has put before them, they relish in that which most would find disgusting. As previously stated, the large quantities of drugs and alcohol (often mixed with human or animal urine) that some of them ingest could be responsible for their sickly diets and ability to make a bed of any surface. It is not unusual to find an Aghori smoking hashish and opium, though how they acquire these drugs without the money to pay for them leaves little to the imagination.

Sometimes found drunk and nodding-off in the streets, covered in human ash and remains, it is easy for their beliefs to be dismissed as simple barbarism without cause. Though repugnant, when studied closely, there is a deep theology behind the Aghori that sees them as equal to that of any other Sadhu sect. It is the manner in which they attempt to reach 'Moksa' that most find questionable, not their conceptualization of such enlightenment.

What do the critics matter, eh? What have we learned today?

The Aghori are fucking insane, out of control and utterly brilliant. Thank you for existing.

Further reading;

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The ThatMakesItNotInsane Christmas wish list

Dear Father Christmas,

My name is Liam and I am a 22 year old man from Rathdrum, Co.Wicklow. I have been a very good man in 2013 as I have not gotten sick after red wine, haven't said bold things to girls and haven't visited the doctor all year. I have sought to be pious in all of my actions, indeed, I have been a very good man. This year I gave a fiver to my mate Mark so he could purchase noodles for his dinner, I have been a tireless activist for white supremacy and have created several oil paintings of panda bears in aid of SARS prevention research. I am very well aware of your busy schedule, Fr. Christmas, and so I won't waste any more of your time on frivolous self-endorsement and I will cut right to the chase. Here are a list of things I would like to receive as restitution for my year's good deeds and all-around good guyery. If you can give Clive Martin a job at Vice magazine, surely you can grant me the following:

1. The EyeHateGod album that's supposed to have been out since forever.

I'm not sure if you are familiar with the works of EyeHateGod, Fr. Christmas, but I have been a fan since I was old enough to be angry at absolutely everyone and everything under the sun. We were teased with the release of their single "New Orleans Is The New Vietnam", a track which has set a high bar for the rest of the album to follow, but it's been a full year and yet there is still no album. I request that you get in contact with the band and ask them to hurry it up because absolutely everything else at the moment sounds like a boat load of horse shit and only a new EyeHateGod release can remedy the pain of having to endure a year's worth of minimalist techno and acoustic guitar songs about summertime. Also, I'm not sure if you have any jurisdiction in the afterlife, but if you could tell Joey LaCaze "Thanks for everything" for me, that would also be much appreciated.

2. A bottle of Buckfast that doesn't make you try to reach out to complete strangers.

For the longest time, I've suffered from this most vile of Buckfast's side-effects and I simply cannot go another bottle knowing that I'll probably try to befriend another frightening Dublin skinhead with facial tattoos. I am a firm believer in "Dutch courage", but the effects of Buckfast on the human mind take this concept to entirely heinous new level. I would like to, for once, enjoy this spectacular beverage without worrying that I might try to start a Gospel band with one of the toilet attendants in Fibber Magees.

3. A gun, so I can make the bullies go away.

You've been arming American children for the last number of decades and it doesn't seem fair that we Irish have been exempt from such gifts. I've been trying to reason with the nightclub poodlemen for years now, tried to learn their ways and patterns, tried to integrate with them, but this has all been for naught. I now realize that the only way I'll be able to go to a nightclub without having the absolute piss ripped out of me by a gang of popped-collar, pop-culture victims is by arming myself with the Lawgiver from Judge Dredd. If I can roll around in and rub myself with the blood and cerebral tissue of just one Le Coq Sportif with a faux hawk, it would make my life.

4. The end of "found-footage" horror movies.

Please, it's gone too far. Cannibal Holocaust was great, Blair Witch was great, Rec was great, but please, no more. No one loves to see teenagers being gutted as much as I do, but please, this lazy "found-footage" style of filming has to end now. Oh, you're being gnawed on by a horde of the undead, yet you still keep the camera rolling? I like my boneheaded horror, but the idea that someone would basically try to take a selfie with their murderous pursuant is absolutely appalling. I've spent many nights watching that prick from Most Haunted having a seizure while talking to the ghost of a Victorian milkmaid, so I know when a concept has become tired and irritating.

5. The entire box set of every series of The Big Bang Theory.

So I can break them.

6. A ticket to a Shining gig.

Don't get me wrong, Shining are a great band and I'd definitely enjoy them in a live setting. However, the reason I'd like a ticket to go see them is so, when that throbbing dickhead Kvarforth starts handing out razor blades to the audience, I can hand him a meat cleaver so he can just end it all, then and there. "Oh, look, I'm Kvarforth, I have to fake my own death and self-harm in public so people will pay me the attention that I deserve. I'm so sad. Look at how sad my eyeliner makes me look. Don't I look sad? This hat definitely doesn't make me look like a pirate captain's suicidal cabin boy. Don't I look sad though? Here, let me show you how I transform my sadness into art by cutting myself with razor blades. Look, look at my blood, it's everywhere. I'm super into darkness. Look at this professionally constructed photograph of me covered in naked supermodels. How depressing is that? My life is terrible and so is your's. Please buy a t-shirt at my gig, I'm saving up to buy some New Rocks and a pair of baggies with the long chain attached to the pocket".

Fuck you, man.

7. A floor-cleaning robot slave.

You have elves, right? You know the pulsating gratification boner of being able to hand out orders and punishments as you see fit. You're a man at the top of the food chain and you swing that bad boy around like a gold club. I, for once in my life, would like to know that power. I want to be able to order someone or something around like one of Dick Dastardly's henchmen. I want that feel. If you can provide me with one of those little robot people that goes "zoom" and cleans your floor for you, I would at least be given a taste of superiority. I want to feel like a coked-up Japanese salaryman in a strip club on a Friday night. Feed me degradation and robot tears. Clean that floor, you lifeless, subordinate bitch.

8. The ability to command forest creatures.

I'm talking Animals of Farthing Wood shit right here. I don't have any kind of violent agenda in mind, I'm not trying to assemble an army of grey squirrels to fight my battles for me, I just want to be able to help. Had I been present, Badger would have never died as he did. I could have led this motley crew of furry adventurers to their destination without any of the death and sadness they had to endure. Were I in charge, rather than Fox, these creatures would have been safe. I can assure you that because, as an avid black metal listener, I feel a particular closeness to the forest that the average metal fan does not. Badger would still be alive. His blood is on your hands, Fox, not mine.

9. A house boat and an alligator friend.

Maybe I've been watching too much Miami Vice, but this just seems like the absolute pinnacle of masculinity. The boat represents Sonny Crockett's freedom, he can go anywhere and do anything he pleases, he's a wild man and has shaken off the restraints of society. His boat is his home and his home is nowhere. The alligator represents his fighting spirit. Though he will travel, live and love, there will always be that rage inside of him. Those thick jaws of seething hunger, the only thing in his life that he is not the master of.

Maybe I'm just really, really gay for Sonny Crockett, though. I think that could be it.

10. Peace, love and joy to the world.

Except not really. Happiness is an illusion and we are all merely the pawns of pawns of a vast, never-ending evil that lurks behind cosmic veils and partakes in the music of our own self-destruction. We are toys and the emotions we feel are trivial in the greater scheme of things. One day, when our dark masters rise from the depths, we will all become one in our suffering. No, not suffering, listless servitude. We are the worker ants and we will work as we are told. An age of darkness beckons and it is as inescapable as our own destructive, sadistic desires...


Spit; an interview with Mantar.

A week ago, I first opened my ears to a band called Mantar, and I've been licking my wounds since. There aren't enough bandages, painkillers or jars of Manuka honey in the world can ease the agony of the sonic beating I took that fateful morning. They're rough, they're stripped down, they remind you why you love heavy music. Armored elephant riffs and deeper-than-hell drumming comprise the backbone of this colossal two-piece from Hamburg, Germany, and if my ridiculous similes haven't convinced you, then listen to them for yourself. Then ,when you've finished listening, adopt the fetal position and cry. It's all you can do. It's fucking vicious and it hurts so good.

Death by Burning, cover art by Aron Wiesenfeld

How did Mantar come about? For a band that has only existed for less than a year, you sound very taught. Have you played in bands together before?

Always been stuck deep to the underground of Germany. We both played in several local bands. Did some records with other bands but mostly stuff that has been only available in Germany. We both saw shitloads of rehearsal rooms and small clubs. We are very happy to get this much attention right now. You know, we aint 18 anymore, which means that we had plenty of time to get tight as musicians in general. We both play music since we are kids or at least early teens. Furthermore we are close friends for a very long time and always jammed together from time to time within the last 15 years. The drummer actually was some kind of a role model for me as he is some years older and always introduced me into bands when I was young. He is a big part of my musical socialisation.

There's no bass whatsoever on Death By Burning, yet it still sounds filthy as a whore's mouth. Did you decide at the beginning to exclude bass guitar from the recordings or was it a happy mistake?

We more or less knew pretty early that we wanted to play as a duo. It´s just so simple and we knew that we both were up for hard work and always have been pretty focused on the band from day one. Actually it wasn't any kind of a master plan to exclude the bass guitar but due to the fact that it was just the two of us we haven't had the chance to come up with a bass. So we just played with drums and guitar. Like other two piece bands do as well. Not because it was fancy or "cool" or shit like that. We just wanted to play as the two of us. Easiest way was to set up a line up with guitar/drums only. We never thought that there´s any need for a bass. I play a pretty bad ass guitar set up and we basically compensate the lack of bass with pure volume and rage.

You mentioned on your Bandcamp page that Mantar shouldn't be thought of as a sludge band. How important is it for you to remain separate from the genre? It has definitely become very popular over the last few years.

I think that the genre "sludge" isn´t something you can rely on any more as a trademark for something particularly good. It´s pretty worn out these days and a lot of bands use it in 2013 as a brand because they don't have any own character or don't know about their own roots. Maybe due to the fact they never had any. Don't get me wrong I love shitloads of stuff that is branded as "sludge". Great bands out there, but well... some kind of inflation is going on nowadays.

Judging by the tracks posted on your Bandcamp page, this is shaping up to be an extremely confident record. There's a lot of different elements and influences thrown into the broth, but the music doesn't sound like a tribute or a caricature of anyone. If you had to describe yourselves to someone who hasn't listened to you yet, how would you?

Thank you for your kind words. I hope people understand Mantar as that what it is: pure rage. Display of power. We don't have any message. It´s just about power and violence. In a good way, a powerful band. A powerful record. Pretty mean from time to time. Pretty dark, but not in a cheesy, gothic way. Not even in a classic black metal way, even though I love a lot of black metal stuff. I guess we have too much real groove to be labeled as a real black metal band, but yeah, it´s dark. Too dark for rock ´n roll music. I guess a lot of people from different music genres can agree on the band as pure power is something that is more important than a certain genre. Basically if you like heavy music you might like the band. If you don´t it´s easy, fuck off then.

As a two-piece, how does the music translate in a live setting? Have you played many gigs as of yet?

We haven't played to many shows yet as we are just together for a short time. Hope to play a lot of shows/tours asap. We did the record pretty quick, self-produced and for less money a usual band spends on drinking on a regular weekend. As we are a 2 piece band its pretty easy to come up with new songs. The music always comes out from jamming. We usually don´t do any overdubs and no guitar solos on a record. That´s why the recording process is pretty easy and basic. The record is basically what the band stands for.
What you hear is what you get. No tricks, no image. You know, it´s a two piece band, we have to play super heavy to keep up with 4 or 5 piece bands. And that´s what we do.

The album drops on February 7th 2014, are there any plans for a tour yet? If so, can we expect to see Mantar visit Ireland in the near future?

February, 7th the record comes out. We did a 7 inch in advance which is desperately sold out. But we are about to drop another one. Hope we will play a lot of shows all over the country or even the world.. We will go to Turkey and likely play south East Asia as I have a lot of friends over there and been there 2 years ago to check out the local scene. And seriously, it´s awesome! So many good punk/metal band. A very healthy underground scene. For sure you don’t get any money over there. Actually you lose some, but it´s good fun. We are just together for a band for a year now, so no side projects at this time. We never have been to Ireland. we would love to go there. If you or your mates can set up a gig, we will be there. Sure thing.

Thanks for speaking with me. Is there anything you'd like to say to the listeners, new and old? How badly are they going to shit their brains out when they hear the new record?

Yeah, seriously, make sure to check out the record. Get a shirt. Tell your friends.

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Putrid Pile "Blood Fetish" video needs an award for something.

I'll never forget the first time I saw the music video for Cattle Decapitation's "Forced Gender  Reassignment". Myself and a few others huddled around a laptop, faces numb with awe and disgust, watching some poor bastard having his testicles removed one by one. This was a video so vile that it could only be hosted on a website more suitable for hardcore porn than for music. It was repulsive, it was wrong, it was snuff, and it was also probably the coolest thing we'd ever seen at the time.

Before that video hit, I thought that metal videos were lame. You tend to adopt that frame of mind when you're used to flicking between Kerrang! and Scuzz and watching the same ol' shiny-haired trollops headbanging in a garage or on top of a skyscraper. Cattle Decapitation changed the game, but the ball is now in someone else's court. Enter Putrid Pile.

Putrid Pile - Blood Fetish

Now this video isn't half as gruesome as "Forced Gender Reassignment", so why does it stand out? Blood? Check. Boobies? Check. Terrifyingly realistic snuff? Check. What's so great about it, you ask?

There are four Shaun LaCannes.

FOUR (4)

For those of you who haven't heard much Putrid Pile or know little of the music, it is essentially the one-man death metal assault tank of Wisconsin's Shaun LaCanne. He records by himself and plays live by himself (Plays with himself?). It's all the one guy.

Now if blood and guts isn't your thing, you can find a censored version of the video somewhere on the Yoochube, and I seriously urge that you do so immediately. I say this because this video is not all about the blood and guts, it's not just about the serial killer imagery and the torture...it's about 1:56 - 2:03.

Easily the greatest piece of synchronized headbanging I've ever seen. Even if you're one of the sensitive types that kicked up a stink over that Robin Thicke video (I'm getting into that later on), you cannot deny the intensity of those few seconds. Four Shaun LaCannes getting their crab on and headbutting the ground like it's just made a fierce comment about your mother. You can't pay for that.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Alien fish monster spotted in Bristol harbour. The time is upon us.

Embrace your loved ones, leave no knots untied, drink that ancient wine, for the world as we know it is soon to be masked in darkness eternal.

The Telegraph today reported a sighting in Bristol harbour of a luminous, tentacled creature lurking in the waters. Video footage shows a number of people huddled together with their cameras, trying to record the alien creature and though hazy at times, there are very clear shots of the alien beast. This occurrence has left marine biologists puzzled and though many explanations have been put forward and wavered, we all know what this really means.

Scientists have claimed that perhaps this creature was of a variety of jellyfish or marine salp, others have claimed it a hoax by Bristol street artist Banksy. All are incorrect.

Video footage of our coming doom

I, for one, will welcome our ancient alien masters with open arms. Though we may be enslaved, tortured and harvested for cosmic energy, we, as the human race, will finally be of some use to someone. Cultural walls will be smashed, race and creed will no longer be of any use, we will all become willing servants to the evil that creeps from the sea.

If you are, however, fearful of the coming holocaust, I suggest that you spend your final few hours with your loved ones. Do the things you'd always planned on doing. Dropkick your boss, tell her you love her, drink an entire bottle of Toilet Duck. Do what you must, but please remember, this is for the best. If you are sent to the death camps, you will at least know eternal silence, while the rest of us toil for our darkened sea emperor.

As this will be my final blog entry, I would just like to get something off my chest.

You are all arseholes. Each and every one of you. I never liked any of you. Especially you. I dipped my finger in your pint while you weren't looking. You prick.

Farewell comrades. The aurora of a black and wicked age begins.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Aeternum Vale from the perspective of a magpie.

CAW!! Melodic blackened darkness iron from Dublin is shiny and thus worthy of my tiny beak. CAW!!! I have yet to devote mine ears to a full record though I had at one point picked upon feed neath the bins outside of the album listening party in Fibber's. CAW!!! There are none more black. None more shiny. Sacred ritual magic from the frosted mountain lord. Impenetrable darkness it is. CAWW!!! C-C-CAWW! Where is Nocturnal Holocaust!? Where have they been!? In their place lurks the candle-lit ceremony of Aeternum Vale. CAAAAAWWWW!..

EVIL SMOKE! The kind of which lingers and stalks, a thick fog molesting the night sky. Melody, yet wrong. An ordinal filth. CAW!! Were they a bin, I would partake.

Partake in them, indeed, at Seasons Beatings in Fibbers on the sixth of our 12th month. As well as many other shiny musical groups. CAW!!! 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A letter of apology to Irishfurries.com

Dear Irish Furries,

I am a simple man of good intentions. I never seek to harm or defame others because I believe that, beneath all of our socially constructed masks, we are all the same. We are all brethren, though I know that inequality and intolerance lurks in the shadows of every walk of life.

Though I do not know why you refused to answer my questions, when so many of you offered yourselves up to me, I understand that there are some questions you would rather be left alone. I can only imagine your plight, my furry friends. You did not choose this life, rather, this life took you by the shoulders and said "Yes, this one please".

I can only imagine the intolerance you have suffered over your lifetimes. The anguish, the torment and the ridicule. All of these obstacles thrown before you and yet there you are, standing proudly. Indeed, it is a proud and laborious life you lead, and yet you take it all in your stride. Far be it from me, a mere satirist blogger, to even attempt to make mere pencil-work of the dangerous, anti-establishment culture that you belong to. You, the true anarchists of the modern age.

It pains me deeply that you have banned me from your delightful forum. I do not know why you chose to banish me, but I deeply regret anything I may have said or done to earn such punishment. For you see, my friends...I, too, am a Furry.

My name is ShadowRabbit and like you, I have suffered at the hands of internet forum bullying, dehumanizing memes and general bigotry. All I ever wanted to do was dress as a rabbit and parade around with my friends, proud, strong and invulnerable.

I had hoped to write an article about you, about us, so that light may be shed on our troubles, so that we may one day be taken as seriously as we take ourselves. Alas, I am the pariah of pariahs.

My deepest apologies, Irish Furries. I meant no harm.

Liam "ShadowRabbit" Doyle

The Powerviolence prison workout / diet

It's getting closer to Christmas and you know what that means; a bloated and gluttonous Christmas dinner that will ensure you're a gargantuan by the New Year. I've spent much time considering ways to combat this festive affliction and there are only two options available. You can exercise regularly, eat healthily and live a booze-free lifestyle.

But you don't want to do that, do you? You scumbag.

The second option, one I've just brought to the table, is the Powerviolence prison work out. It is the only sure fire way to burn those carbs and put the beat down on the expanding waistline that you would most certainly find by January. By combining the filth and depravity of Powerviolence with the sweaty campaign you're about to embark on, you will find results. I have absolutely no fitness knowledge, so you're just going to have to put your trust in a man who absolutely cannot be trusted under any circumstances ever. You want some serious shit? I'm about to lay down some serious shit right now.

Cardio/Lower body

Listen to this album on full blast while walking 4-5mph on a manual treadmill on some kind of incline (I think 4-5%). Do not stop or rest until you have finished the entire album. Repeat this cycle daily until you can run the entire album. When you have reached this point, you are one step closer to becoming He-Man. Have a cigarette afterwards to ensure that you can hardly breath by the next set.

If you're a Powerviolence fan, you're also probably a fairly financially stable Arts student with little direction. That's a good thing, that's what leads us to the next cardiovascular exercise. You usually leave your apartment about twenty minutes before your two o'clock "Ancient Lithuanian poetry" class. Nuh-uh, you're going to leave five minutes before your class. Though it probably won't matter all too much if you're late to this class or not, you should aim to be there on time. Run as fast as you can from your doorstep to the lecture hall. Just to note; make sure you do not sit next to that lil' blonde with the glasses when you arrive. There's nothing quite as bad as trying to appear suave while falling asleep in a pool of your own sweat.

Upper body

You need to be able to do at least 100 push-ups in this session. Start off with five sets of twenty reps with a 30 second break in between each set. Your 30 second break should be spent punching your bedroom wall or swigging from last night's half-empty can of Dutch Gold. Slowly build up from that until you are capable of 110 push ups. The album will probably have ended by your third set, but that's okay, just hit repeat over and over again until you begin to hate your arms, your chest and ACxDC.

Begin with 50 sit-ups, slowly working your way each day to 100, because for some reason; 100 of something seems to be the ultimate goal number for everything.

You're really angry, what better way to take out your suburban, white boy rage than by punching your neighbour's nice stone pillar with the cherub statue? Keep punching it until your knuckles bleed and mother is looming over you with the box of Scooby-Doo plasters.

You, too, can one day look as good as "Sick" Nick Mondo.

Five day diet plan

As they say, fitness begins in the kitchen. Except not for you. Here is a five-day plan for some Powerviolence-friendly dishes that will be sure to give you the energy you need to continue your vigorous training.

Day one

1 bowl of Fruit & Fibre w/water instead of milk
A can of Dutch Gold.
A fag.
A tin of sweetcorn.
A fag.
Instant noodles.
Half a can of Dutch Gold.

Day two

1 healthy snack bar or whatever looks like it might be healthy because the label tells you it is
The other half of last night's Dutch Gold mixed with water.
A fag.
A tin of kidney beans.
A fag.
Microwave Chicken Korma.
A can of Dutch Gold.

Day three

The rest of last night's Chicken Korma.
The fag you didn't finish the night before.
A tin of spiced tuna.
A fag.
The tears of 1st year exam students.
A can of Dutch Gold.
A can of Dutch Gold.

Day four

Inner turmoil.
Can of Dutch Gold.

Day five

Instant noodles.
A can of Dutch Gold.
A fag.
The fucking floor at a gig.
The change you pick up at said gig.
An orange.


Be sure to consult your local physician before undertaking any exercise or diet plan.