Metal lyrics expose our hidden lizard overlords
Why are so many metal bands convinced that the world is secretly ruled by extraterrestrials called reptoids who are breeding with humans in their hidden caves?
If you believe reptoid "expert" David Icke, our planet is secretly ruled by extraterrestrials who walk on two legs, appear human, and live in tunnels and caves…when they're not crossbreeding with humans to produce leaders like the Egyptian pharaohs, every U.S. president, and the Queen of England. Icke believes the reptoids are the same race, the Anunnaki, discussed in Babylonian creation mythology, and they are prominently featured in his books The Biggest Secret, Children of the Matrix, Tales from the Time Loop and Infinite Love is the Only Truth, all of which are sold as nonfiction.
This wouldn't interest me in the slightest were it not for Icke's curious popularity within the heavy metal scene. As a journalist covering metal, I've encountered multiple artists citing his books in their album liner notes, and/or writing songs about reptoid mythology. Here are some of the greatest hits of reptoid rock.
High On Fire, "Cyclopian Scape" (from Death is This Communion, 2007)
I'm not sure how seriously High On Fire frontman Matt Pike takes reptoid mythology. I've interviewed him a couple of times, and I get the feeling he just thinks it's a funny and awesomely metal thing to write about. Here are the lyrics to "Cyclopian Scape":
Reptile race crossbred down through the golden age
Lemurian throne taken and usurped by the alien drones
Controlled and honed
Atlantean keys sunken and destroyed by catastrophe
Bloodline kings slither down through society's reptoid dreams
Cataclysm to the elder tribes
Anunnaki have survived
Continents underwater shrine
Ocean vaults holding time
Say ye grace unto the serpent line
Unveil curse and their lies
Contemplate the lengths they'll go to rule
As their fangs dig into you
Embryonic Devourment, "Eating the Flesh of Gods" (from Fear of Reality Exceeds Fantasy, 2008)
The death metal band Embryonic Devourment seem to take reptoid mythology much more seriously—it's the subject of both their albums, 2008's Fear of Reality Exceeds Fantasy and 2010's Vivid Interpretations of the Void. There's no way you're gonna be able to decipher the lyrics of "Eating the Flesh of Gods," the opening track from Fear of Reality…, by yourself, so here they are:
We live by prophecies of fate employed by the reptilian beings inside flesh
Humans from advanced machines they try to keep ties in royal bloodlines
Manipulated by the gods into using military for resolve
We are being played like a filthy game upon a Republican's chessboard
The smell from the conjured bodies resonates the nostril valves
Lizards going mad creating humans for power
We are merely a sacrifice rooted from a small seedling
We are merely a food source for reptilian god breeding
I am brought into a dim light cave
To be shown a special food that's been kept secret amongst the keepers of ancient knowledge
All our members bow and nod for we are eating the flesh of gods
Hungry lizards devour flesh
To get blood that is so pure
So they can see…
Enlightened scenes I now see clearly as I ingest god skin
Its tough chewy scale-like substance
The taste burns my tongue and boils my throat
For the next few days I am sick with a surging power
I am conducted to a different frequency wave
What is this new found power
I feasted upon the reptile race
The Faceless, "Legions of the Serpent" (from Planetary Duality, 2008)
Technical death metal band The Faceless made reptoid mythology the subject of their 2008 album Planetary Duality, making things most explicit on "Legions of the Serpent." Again, the traditional ultra-guttural death metal vocals make things difficult for the casual listener (though the jazzy elements within the extreme metal sound may draw in some non-headbanging listeners from the world of prog rock), so here are the lyrics:
Bring forth the commencing days
An infernal Saurian nemesis appears
The keepers of Earth
Inferior minions of draconian descent
Enforcing the rules of the ancient covenant
Blazing orbs of the Sun
Beating on a helpless Earth
The serpentine order shall no longer hide
The dimensional door brings the Gods to their side
Warm blooded sacrifice to appease the thirst of the creatures who've hidden so long
A servant of the omni-dimensional
Tall and strange bloodthirsty sentinels
Sent to possess the hybrid creation
Keepers of the doorway between worlds
Patrons of destruction
Planters of ignorance
Breeders of malevolence
Sorcerers of possession
There are numerous other examples—Agent Steel put the song "Hybridized" on their album Alienigma in 2007, and the band Nutrition has released three EPs to date for free download from their MySpace page, all about reptoid conspiracy theories. There's also a Chicago-based band simply called Reptoids, but their lyrics seem to be about more conventionally metal topics. And while stoner rock hero Scott "Wino" Weinrich (of St. Vitus, The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Shrinebuilder, etc.) hasn't actually written about the reptoids, he approvingly cited Icke's earlier, more conventionally conspiracy-minded book And the Truth Shall Set You Free in the liner notes to The Hidden Hand's 2003 debut album, Divine Propaganda.
Sure, you could laugh at all this and take it as proof that metalheads are gullible and prone to believe in crazy bullshit…but what if that's just what the reptoids want you to think?
[This article originally appeared atio9.com, an awesome sci-fi site I visit pretty much daily. Go check it out.]
Or has metal just become a sausagefest (again)?
There's also an accompanying calendar. Here are some images from that, proving that I, too, know the traffic-driving potential of cheesecake.
Here's the (very mildly) interesting thing, though. For four years straight, this issue was known as the "Hottest Chicks in Metal" issue. Now, in year five, it's the "Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock" issue. Are they trying to say that, for example, Alissa and Anissa Rodriguez of Eyes Set to Kill are not in a metal band? Are they claiming that metal doesn't have enough women in it? Or are they trying to expand their territory because they don't think metal offers enough of a revenue stream anymore? I think the choice of Taylor Momsen—a teenaged TV actress with a vanity-project "band"—for the cover makes it pretty clear where they're going with this.
Around the same time Metal Edge, the magazine I used to edit, closed its doors for good, Revolver went from a monthly magazine to a bi-monthly (six issues a year). Their page counts have gone down, too; I've seen some issues that felt barely thicker than a comic book when I held them in my hand. Are they gonna try to make a shift from covering just metal to covering radio rock? Are we gonna see Daughtry or Nickelback on the cover sometime soon?
Hardcore supergroup's new album came out yesterday
Insecurity Notoriety, the first full-length release by Arson Anthem, came out yesterday. The band features vocalist Mike Williams of Eyehategod, bassist Collin Yeo of Ponykiller, drummer Hank Williams III of Assjack, Superjoint Ritual and his own solo country career, and Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Down, Necrophagia, Christ Inversion and Superjoint Ritual on guitar.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Anselmo about Pantera's deluxe reissue of Cowboys from Hell, and while I had him on the phone, we talked about Arson Anthem, as well as some of his other side (as in, "not Pantera or Down") projects. Here's that.
So I’ve heard the new Arson Anthem record…
Do you hate it?
No, I don’t. In fact, I was really surprised by it, ‘cause I was expecting more Discharge-y stuff like the debut, but it’s very different.
There’s too many D-beat bands that just get by by doing that. I’m influenced by Black Flag, I mean really, Greg Ginn, that whole style, but also, I like the anthemic stuff. Like take the title track, “Insecurity Notoriety,” man, to me that’s a great hardcore song. It’s a catchy, anthemic song, man. Yeah, I can do some creative stuff with the guitar. I may not be the best guitarist, but I can write some creative stuff.
Yeah, the band really evolved into something different and unexpected between the first EP and this album.
Yeah and you know what, I don’t think any of us expected it either. We really didn’t. And I gotta say, to me, comparatively, the EP versus the new stuff, the EP’s like child’s play compared to the new stuff. I think the new stuff, it’s true, there really, really is something different there for people to dissect for themselves.
That tends to happen with your bands, though, cause Superjoint Ritual evolved between the first and second records, too.
You know, I play guitar, I wrote most of the stuff in Superjoint as well…I like the first Superjoint better than the second Superjoint, personally. And really I think it’s more of a vocal thing. I think I was a little out of my mind when I did the second record—matter of fact, I guarandamntee I was way out of my mind when I did the second record. Lyrically and vocally I should have taken some more time. But I didn’t. But yeah man, I’ve been playing guitar a while, believe it or not, I’ve written riffs for Pantera that you know totally sound different when I play ’em, for God sakes [laughs], but I’ve written plenty of stuff for Down, most of the stuff for Superjoint, all the stuff for Necrophagia, all the stuff for Christ Inversion, most of the stuff for Arson Anthem, you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I love playing guitar. And I want every band I play in to sound different and be different from the other bands. To me, it would almost crush my heart if someone said that Arson Anthem was an extension of Superjoint or something like that, because I think it’s a different animal, you know. Hopefully it inspires people to check out some old Die Kreuzen records [laughs].
So are you planning on touring with Arson Anthem?
We’re discussing that right now and I think—you know, it’s really all on Hank, because Hank does a lot of touring.
Yeah, he gets around. Mike’s been touring quite a bit recently with Eyehategod, too.
Yeah, but he’s been off the road now for over a month, so you know, we been talking, in contact. He’s up for these shows. He knows he has to practice these songs cause he can’t get away with what he does with Eyehategod with Arson Anthem. Cause you know, that’s the clearest Mike you’ve ever heard on the new Arson Anthem. So he’s gotta know his chops, just like I do. But we’re trying to get something together right now. I cannot say anything definite or I’d be a liar. But I would love to do any shows, as many as possible, with Arson. It’s just up to Hank’s schedule, man.
Fall kicks off with a bucketload of new music and reissues
All That Remains, For We Are Many (Prosthetic/Razor & Tie): A surprisingly strong effort by this Massachusetts metalcore squad.
Annihilator, Waking the Fury (reissue) (Earache): I've never heard this particular album, but Jeff Waters is a hell of a guitar player, so it's probably worth your time.
Arson Anthem, Insecurity Notoriety (Housecore): Noisy, discordant hardcore album by a supergroup featuring vocalist Mike Williams of Eyehategod, guitarist Phil Anselmo (you may have heard him sing a time or two), and drummer Hank Williams III (who you may have also seen/heard as a solo act or with Anselmo's now-defunct Superjoint Ritual). Good stuff.
Circle of Animals, Destroy the Light (Relapse): Interesting, arty industrial side project of Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Sanford Parker (Minsk, Twilight, highly regarded producer), plus a bunch of guest drummers including Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, Municipal Waste's Dave Witte, Cephalic Carnage's John Merryman and others.
The Crown, Doomsday King (Century Media): Comeback album by the excellent Swedish death metal band. Very welcome.
Dimmu Borgir, Abrahadabra (Nuclear Blast): The latest slab of pomptastic post-black metal from these Norwegians. If you like 'em, you'll like this. It's not as bad as their last one, to be honest, but I still don't really love anything since Death Cult Armageddon.
Donnybrook, The Beast Inside (Eulogy): Knuckle-dragging hardcore.
Hail of Bullets, On Divine Winds (Metal Blade): Second full-length by mad Dutchman Martin van Drunen (Pestilence, Asphyx). The debut was a concept album about war on the Russian front in World War II; this one's about the battles against the Japanese in the Pacific theater.
Intronaut, Valley of Smoke (Century Media): A pretty fervent cult is building around this prog-metal band. I don't think that's quite the right term for their music, but I don't have a better one. In any case, this is really good and you should hop on the bandwagon and try to make them Tool-level famous, 'cause they're much better than Tool.
Madball, Empire (Good Fight Music): See Donnybrook.
Titan, Sweet Dreams (Relapse): Instrumentally adventurous, psychedelic stoner metal. I liked their last album better than this one, but this is still pretty good.
Twitter's true purpose, revealed
ABBA: 1-7 "The aliens spoke and dressed oddly. Oh, how we laughed!" 8 "We didn't realize what they'd given us until after they were gone."
Foo Fighters: 1-6 "My old position was eliminated and I am seeking employment. I have a strong knowledge of current trends in my industry."
Steely Dan: 1-3 "Yes, it's funny when you make your 'ironic jazz hipster face'..." 4-9 "...but one day it's just gonna get stuck like that."
Radiohead: 1 not a novelty; 2 not "alternative"; 3 not prog; 4-5 not of this earth; 6 not budging; 7 not (conventionally) for sale.
He (I'm assuming it's a he) has also tackled Van Halen, Metallica, Guns N' Roses and Black Sabbath, but metal's not his primary focus. So @METALdiscogs has stepped into the breach. Here are a few samples from his feed, which kicked off on September 30:
Iron Maiden: 1-2 punky 3-5 soaring 6-7 epic 8-11 plodding 12-13 renewed hope 14-15 dreams destroyed
Halford: 1 freshman fifteen 2 honor roll 3 mid-semester elective 4 senioritis
Immortal: 1-8 “There has to be something else we can do in Norway before we get a professional wrestling league.”
Dream Theater: 1 the rough debut, 2 the hit, 3 most polished, 4 for Phish fans, 5-6, 9 for super-fans, 7-8 for Portnoy, 10 for no one
Manowar: 1-6 “wimps and posers leave the hall!” 7-8 “but move quickly since” 9-10 “we’re right behind you"
Both @discographies and @METALdiscogs are well worth following. (As is @MSNMetal, if you're gonna be on Twitter anyway.)
Drummer was the band's secret weapon; now what?
Here's his official statement:
"It is with deep sadness that I am announcing my departure from The Sword. After nearly seven years and some of the most amazing adventures of a lifetime, I have arrived at a place where I am physically and emotionally unable to continue on as part of The Sword. If I could go any further, I would as I love the music and JD, Bryan and Kyle are people that I deeply respect, but I have reached a point where I just can't do this anymore. I would like to thank the wonderful people who made this experience what it has been: the fans, the people that I have worked and all of the bands and musicians that have inspired me over the years. I thank you and apologize for any disappointment that this may cause anyone, not least of which The Sword."
Here's the band's official statement:
"We wish Trivett nothing but the best, and it is with heavy hearts that we bid him farewell. He is a phenomenal musician and has been an integral part of this band's success. He helped to lay the foundation that we will continue to build upon, and we wouldn't be where we are without him. We wish he could continue the adventure with us, but we understand that the life of a touring musician is not for everyone. It's been a hell of a ride, and we're sad to see this part of the journey end. The show must go on, though, and will be back on the road as soon as humanly possible." - JD, Kyle & Bryan
Here's my thoughts on the matter:
Trivett Wingo was the best musician in The Sword. His driving rhythms gave their early records a lot of the impact they had, and their newest (and best) album, Warp Riders, really let him stretch out on some killer grooves, incorporating the influence of ZZ Top and Thin Lizzy into their stoner metal sound. The band really seemed to be reaching an artistic peak, and losing their drummer at this of all possible moments is a harsh blow indeed. I'll be very interested to see and hear what happens once they have someone else in that spot.
Here's some video I shot of the band performing at South by Southwest back in March:
San Francisco independent record store celebrating its 40th anniversary
When I was in San Francisco the other week, I stopped into the store and conducted a brief but enjoyable interview with co-owners Andee Connors and Allan Horrocks, both of whom are knowledgeable and generous fans of metal and adventurous music in general. Excerpts can be viewed below. Enjoy, and visit aquariusrecords.org for all your loud/weird/noisy/arty musical needs.
Stupid hecklers, faceless black metal bands, and lame local openers
The first show of the first U.S. tour by Hellhammer/Celtic Frost frontman Tom G. Warrior's new band Triptykon took place at New York's Gramercy Theatre on Wednesday, October 6. The ads all said the doors would open at 7 PM, and I was there right on time, waiting to see psychedelic jazz-metal act Yakuza, who were the listed opener. But at 7:20, out came two baldhead shlubs in cargo shorts carrying pointy guitars, a longhaired dude who looked like he belonged in some other band (he looked kinda like Oli Herbert from All That Remains with a perm, actually), and a singing drummer wearing a Britney Spears-style headset microphone. They bashed through half an hour of ultra-generic black metal; I was pissed at first, but then I just got bored. (They're called Immolith, by the way.)
Yakuza finally took the stage at 8:15. (Full disclosure: I consider frontman Bruce Lamont a friend, and have written the liner notes for his forthcoming solo album.) Their half-hour set, from which one song had been shaved to accomodate Immolith, consisted entirely of material from their 2010 release Of Seismic Consequence. Their music has become steadily more psychedelic and adventurous over the course of five albums in ten years; at this point, they sound like a cross between Pink Floyd and Killing Joke, with Lamont switching back and forth, from a chantlike croon to a hoarse roar, and periodically blowing tenor or soprano saxophone. (This aspect of their music seemed to particularly irritate one d-bag, who was already shouting "1349!" at every quiet moment of Yakuza's set, and at one point shouted "Kenny G!" Lamont responded by growing ever more wild-eyed and frenzied in his performance, but never addressed the audience directly.)
Norwegian black metal band 1349 have a long-standing relationship with Tom G. Warrior—he's joined them onstage in the past, and co-produced their last two records, 2009's Revelations of the Black Flame and 2010's Demonoir. I guess they're okay, but black metal generally doesn't do much for me, and their set—which took place almost entirely in the dark—was a morass of blast beats (the drums, by Satyricon's Frost, were the loudest element of the mix, by far) and noisy, ultra-distorted guitar riffs. I didn't pay much attention to them, and was glad when they were done.
Triptykon finally took the stage shortly before 10:30. I was extremely excited to see them, because I didn't make it to what turned out to be Celtic Frost's final U.S. tour, in support of 2006's amazing Monotheist. And I wasn't disappointed. Tom G. Warrior's guitar tone and playing style are instantly recognizable. He's not the fastest or most technically skilled player, but his caveman-like riffing perfectly suits his harsh, barking voice and the doomy, ultra-downtuned rhythm section he's always depended on, from Hellhammer to Celtic Frost and now Triptykon. While his earlier bands were trios, Triptykon is a quartet, with second guitarist Vanja Slajh, female bassist V. Santura and drummer Norman Lonhard contributing to a churning roar. The songs on Triptykon's debut CD, Eparistera Daimones, are long, heavy, and mostly slow; aside from the two-minute interlude "Shrine," the shortest track is still more than five minutes long, and the album closes with the ironically titled "The Prolonging," which comes in at a staggering 19:22. The set was heavy on Celtic Frost material, including classics like "Procreation (Of the Wicked)," "Circle of the Tyrants," and "Babylon Fell" and two tracks from Monotheist—"Synagoga Satanae" and "Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale)"—and only three from Eparistera Daimones ("Goetia," "Abyss Within My Soul" and "The Prolonging"). Everything fit together seamlessly, though, and the crowd greeted every song with howls of ecstasy and chants of "Warr-i-or! Warr-i-or! Warr-i-or!" The man himself cracked a smile and said, "It seems like we're home again."
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