Tuesday, October 20

An Open Letter to EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas, Anent Hill of Tara vs. M3 Motorway

The Magus, Russley 'Proscriptor' Givens of Plano, Texas subscribed my e-mail address to the mailing list of an organization called TaraWatch. I read the notifications that were sent out by this group and learned that their reason-for-being and aim is to dissuade the powers-that-be in Ireland from constructing the M3 Motorway. This is not an anti-industrial group that seeks to rid Ireland of roads and motor-vehicles by a process of attrition, but one that seeks to prevent this particular motorway from being constructed.

The proposed M3 Motorway, when constructed, would transect the area that was once known as Tara, or the Hill of Tara, the timeless seat of the Ard Righ, or High King of Ireland. I suppose that you could compare this to constructing a nuclear fusion reactor atop the grounds of what-was-once Buckingham Palace, in the years following the thermonuclear poly-macro-genocide of life on Earth that will be the final Act in the Play: World War III--currently in pre-production.

To get to the point, the latest notice that I received from TaraWatch urged me to send an e-mail to Stavros Dimas, the EU Environment Commissioner, who apparently has some sort of sway--I'VE never heard of him, but who can say what goes on in Europe, besides unbridled orgies of debauchery, chain-smoking and inadequate shaving standards for both men and women.

Here is the message that I wrote to Mr. Dimas, which I wrote with no forethought or consideration beforehand, nor do I find especially amusing, sharp or appropriate. Well, I've wasted this much of your time, so you may as well read the message and get closure. Thus:

Dear Commissioner,

"A Hill of Tara in the hand is worth two in the bush" is an example of the hearty wisdom that my Grandfather would often impart to me. He came to the United States of America from Ireland in the beginning of the 20th century, and the ancient hearth-stone wisdom of the Irish countryside accompanied him on this seabound voyage. His descendants may thank Manannan Mac Lir--Patron of the Irish people and Lord of the Sea--who in his wat'ry wisdom granted my Grandfather safe passage across the Atlantic abyss to a New World.

I dreamed a terrible dream yesternight: a vision of a great flood upon all of Europe, just missing Ireland and the Isle of Man. I do believe in prophecy, and I see that this dream was a warning from Manannan Mac Lir himself. I understood implicitly that His Will was for me to forward this message to you, Sir, so that you may know that praeternatural beings are involved in this issue.

Sir, if you do not respond to Our plea to re-route the M3 Motorway and thus do your part to save the site of Tara from annihilation, the spirits of long-dead Irishmen will surely haunt you and yours for the remainder of your Earthly life; you might not reach the Tir na Nog either. The Hill of Tara must not be violated, for it is the seat of the High King of Eire--the Ard Righ--who is one King and many Kings throughout the dimension of Time, and we must not tamper with things that we do not fully understand!

This is no longer a matter of a mere motorway, this is about preventing a cataclysm and the subsequent atavism of all European civilization. The hourglass has been turned: now it's your turn.

Thank you Sir,


Friday, October 2

Interview with Mikael of Night Conquers Day (R.I.P.) & Tearstained

Hail Northern darkness and the cold winds that howl throughout the winter night! I first became acquainted with NCD by hearing the album The First Snowfall, which was picked up in a used record store in Philly. Where I heard it is irrelevant, but I remember being struck by the music's authenticity of metal spirit. I recall imagining myself as the figure in the cover painting, listening to the music--quite a feeling. More recently, I picked up the second album Rebellion is the Art of Survival. This album, as did the first, features epic songs that sometimes last up to 15 minutes. I realize that this band is not currently active, but I like the music, so what's your problem? Y'wanna fight about it?

How did you become involved with metal, geographically speaking? Was it in NY that you began to make music; how strong is metal in your area, Rochester--unless I'm mistaken?

Well my first introduction to Metal was actually by my cousin down in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He played me Motley Crue and Wasp in 1984 when I was 13 years old. I immediately bought those albums. Then I bought 2 albums that changed everything: Mercyful Fate “Don’t Break The Oath” and Venom “Possessed”. The following year I discovered a radio show here in Rochester that was on Saturdays at Midnight til 4am called Metallic Overdrive, and that show turned me onto REAL metal. Metal Church, Razor, Metallica, Slayer, Bathory, Piledriver, Exodus, Hallow’s Eve, Nasty Savage, Destruction, Sodom, Kreator.... I mean they played the most extreme stuff. All the German Thrash, power speed black metal. And Rochester had a KILLER scene back then with constant concerts at a local place called The Penny Arcade (which is still there, but it’s not the same). I saw Death, Kreator, Slayer “Reign In Blood” tour, Overkill, Voivod, Sacrifice, Nasty Savage. There was a record shop called Lakeshore Record Exchange that had all metal albums. And my cousin in Pittsburgh turned me onto the Pittsburgh scene whenever I visited there. I got demos by Dream Death, Necropolis, Doom Watch, Eviction, etc. In the 90's the death metal and deathgrind scene flourished here in Rochester. Local bands like Disgorged and Matrikhore. There was my band Buried Beneath (‘92-95), Withered Earth, Lethargy. There was a handful of extreme metal bands here. But by 2000 our metal scene just dried up. It is total shit now. I don’t understand what happened. There’s no crowds at shows, so no concerts really come here any more except the occasional King Diamond tour (which I thrive on), and we had Judas Priest last year. Oh and Dimmu Borgir came here last year too, that was a good show. Otherwise that’s IT! The first band I had going was in 1988 called Morbid Ecstasy. I played guitar and wrote all the music/lyrics. We split up, and I played in a band called Raid briefly, and in Genital Asphyxiation (a thrash band that played at parties), and in a killer band called Secluded Violence for a month. Then from 1990-1992 I played in a band called Astaroth. I left Astaroth to join the forming of Buried Beneath. And then Night Conquers Day formed from the ashes of Buried Beneath. I also did some solo-projects: Shadowcaster (1992-1999) and Into The Sunless Meridian (1994-1999). And I still have Tearstained going (since 1995). Night Conquers Day came to rest by 2001.

The sense I get from listening to NCD is of the fierce will to live of a creature whose natural habitat is destroyed by the encroachment of modern (empty) human society--a modern-day society that builds a wall between the natural, phenomenal world and the individual, figuratively speaking. What are your thoughts on this plastic-like substance that is supplanting everything that links us, as humans, to the super-physical realm on Earth?

This is a very interesting question. I think you perfectly captured the idea of the debut CD actually, “The First Snowfall”. Mankind is not in harmony with nature on a grand scale. Animals have cohabitated, we have not. We “evolved”. We are almost alien to the planet. Modern day society is very plastic. It has been referred to as “game-life” by psychedelic philosophers and shaman. I agree with that. There are levels of understanding and consciousness that I believe all people do not share. The concept that many people are really just sheep, living out their drole lives without questioning anything and always being “safe”. I do not fall into this category whatsoever. I am an individual. The whole philosophical concept of NCD was to not follow a path, but to make your own path and leave a trail. This moved onto the philosophy of rebellion, a means of surviving in this world because of what is has become. Technology has split this world in half. Are you familiar with String Theory? If not, do a search on the Internet and watch the NOVA specials. Educate yourself. Knowledge is lifeblood. Religion has NO answers.

What role has Christianity played in this decay of the human spirit; religion collectively?

I believe christianity single handedly has destroyed 2000 years of history. They have destroyed more relics and historical data than any other group of malicious humans to have lived on earth thus far. Christianity worships the decay of the spirit. The middle ages saw it flourish on the decay of the spirit, so much so that they began Crusades and killed those who would not accept their god and die for him. Misled humans under a god they adore and worship are very dangerous. Muslims have done no better. They are, today, like the christians were 500 years ago. They started late with Muhammad. Both sides cry about who killed who. The Inquisitions decayed the human spirit. Anyone different had to hide or stay secretive. Even today it is merely a crutch for those who are weak in spirit. It is a religion of weakness, of lies and hypocrisy, of sickness and forgiveness. I do not accept that at all. Religion has caused all the worlds great wars. Killing in the name of god has killed more people than any other reason for killing.

Are you familiar with the VA metal scene; have you heard of bands such as: Hatred; Morbius; Witchhunt; Dwarf Grinder; Grand Belial's Key?

Definitely! First off, I must state that Grand Belial’s Key are THE best US black metal band bar none. There are some KILLER USBM bands, but GBK is the top. I remember tapetrading with them back in 1992 and getting the GBK demo from them. I’ve been a fan since then, and at that time I was playing in Buried Beneath (the pre-Night Conquers Day band that also had Tim playing bass). All 3 of their CD’s are complete masterpieces. Morbius, I have their debut CD from the 90's. Witchhunt I got the demo through tapetrading. There’s also Arghoslent, they’re killer death metal with a unique touch. I believe the 80's thrash outfit At War was from Virginia as well, and they were total cult! Virginia is also home to the infamous “Sniper”.

I forget whether you used your KD-like falsetto wails on the first album, but you do on RitAoS.

They are all over the debit CD. Especially in “The First Snowfall”.

I think that you use them sparingly, which makes them effective. A favorite musician of mine, named Sir Procriptor McGovern, who hails from the Glenorchy District, is also notorious for this kind of battle cry in Absu songs. What do you think about Absu, the Texan Tyrants?

I have known Proscriptor since 1994 when we got in touch and traded tapes. We realized that we had very similar tastes in music. I was into Necrovore since I bought the demo from the band back in 1988. I used to write with Jon DePlachett. I even photocopied the Necrovore stationary for him and for Equitant (we wrote and tapetraded as well). I was first turned on to Absu when I heard the debut CD “Barathrum:V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” and that album is a MASTERPIECE of american black metal. And I also love Proscriptor’s wails. They’re killer. We both just have the same inspirations. I, too, love Schmier and Destruction’s cult stuff. Had Proscriptor and I lived closer, perhaps we would have ended up in a band together. I think he is a PHENOMENAL drummer, and IF I ever had a band I would want him drumming. He is the American Hellhammer (Mayhem’s drummer). And Cazz Grant is the other great American drummer (ex-GBK, now Crucifier).

What about Proscriptor's solo works?

I have only the debut LP. I really like it. It’s atmospheric in a Celtic sense and I like the variation of instruments and folk feeling throughout it. Plus I have it on vinyl and I love the occasional crackle on the quiet parts.

Do you eat at McDonald's?

I have on occasion, but I’m not really a fan of their food. If I am grabbing burgers at McD’s it’s because it’s a low-cash day. I’m more of a Wendy’s person, their burgers are actually burgers at least. McD’s is like some sort of alien lifeform.

Have you had any experience with psychoactive chemicals such as LSD, psilocybin or mescaline? If so, what is the place of these powerful chemicals in the world, past/present/future?

I tried mushrooms once and I simply had a horrible stomach ache for 4 hours. But I have done a lot of acid (LSD). I also ingested morning glory seeds. Between 18 and 22 I did LSD just about every weekend. For the first year it was a bit more careless, but then I began to really have some great psychedelic experience under controlled circumstances. I could write volumes on what I gained from these experiences. LSD opens you up to another view. You learn about yourself and you separate from game-life and experience a state of non-ego. It was not recreational for me, it was about the experience. I listened to a lot of music or did optical stimulation. I delved into surrealist art. As I said I have a lot of experience, and I could write volumes on the subject. If you have done LSD I think you will understand what I mean. I have watched objects melt, controlled lamps with my breathing and seen with my eyes closed. These chemicals do have some meaning, but perhaps more so the natural ones with which I have not yet experienced. I refer to mushrooms, peyote and dpt. I know some Native Americans who have shared their peyote experiences with me. There is a lot of this information on the internet nowadays as well. I highly recommend a book by Terrance McKenna called “The Psychedelic Experience”.

Where have you gone to play shows, with NCD or otherwise? USA and Canada, or has Mexico also witnessed a NCD performance?

We only played 4 shows, and they were here in Rochester. We opened for Ancient when they toured for The Cainian Chronicles here in Rochester. In fact they all stayed at the house I lived in back then for a few days, and my girlfriend back then nearly had a nervous breakdown with all the boots walking around the place (she was a bit claustrophobic with all the people in the house). It was cool watching them rehearse new songs that would end up on the next album. The basement was a rehearsal room and recording studio. Our last show was supposed to be opening for MAYHEM when they came here. But our bassist quit the morning of the show, and we had to cancel. But at least Mayhem hung with me and I introduced the band to an insane crowd. Then on their bus we listened to classic thrash. Good memories. I doubt they even remember me.

I actually regret that I have not heard any material of your current project Tearstained. In fact, I had no idea it existed until you mentioned it! I'm sure I have heard the name before, but nothing more than that--I will correct this soon. What sort of response have you gotten to your work on Tearstained? (PHEW--cliche fucking question! But I couldn't help it.)

Mostly good. I think it appeals to a unique group of people. Obviously if you like Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, I think you’ll like the first 3 Tearstained albums as I use a lot of falsetto. Of course I vary my vocals a lot. The latest album is much more aggressive. Tearstained is simply unfiltered. It’s all me, all my ideas, all my music and song writing and lyrics. I guess I might be an egocentric control freak. Or perhaps I live in a shitty city where finding likeminded musicians/people/ideologists is impossible so therefore having a band is kind of pointless. Besides, there’s no people to even play to. It’s just cult black metal with lots of influences from the bands that are deeply ingrained in me from when I was a teenager, all the classic thrash and speed stuff. And some of the second wave of black metal influenced me as well, plus some technical thrash like Pestilence or Infernal Majesty.

What do you think about bands that infuse their heavy music with traditional folk styles? For example: Cruachan; Absurd; Falkenbach; Graveland; Storm, etc.?

PHENOMENAL! I love these types of bands, especially when they fuse it with something from their native land. Falkenbach is absolutely amazing! All of their CD’s are masterpieces. Cruachan is GREAT with their Celtic mix. Graveland is also extraordinary. Storm’s one CD is GREAT Viking metal. I like the folkish metal of Finntroll and Moonsorrow. Skyforger is all about about the Semigalls, and they play ripping folk inspired black metal. Bergthron has a lot of Germanic sound. Nokturnal Mortum is also bvery much into their native land of the Ukraine. And you learn something from bands that do their art with passion. Vikings, Slavs, Semigalls, Celts, etc.

Next, take those bands and separate the so-called NSBM bands; what's up with them?

I have no problem with them. Graveland, Nokturnal Mortum, Astrofaes, they are all killer bands. I don’t particularly like Absurd, but it’s just their music that I don’t care for. NSBM is a growing genre of black metal, and it’s very raw. Sometimes too raw for my tastes. I mean, there is a good bad sound and there is a bad bad sound. Sometimes a raw production can yield a unique cult sound, while other times it just sounds like shit. And a lot of NSBM bands just sound like shit. But some have been able to get into decent studios and put out masterpieces. Nokturnal Mortum is a member of the pagan front, which consists of a lot of bands in the Ukraine and central/eastern Europe. My personal ancestry is of central and northern European. French, Norse, Slovak and Swedish.

I am half-Irish and half-German, so I get drunk and my Irish side wants to listen to Cruachan, but my German side tells me that Cruachan is gay and to quit drinking because I have to go to work in 3 hours! What do I do?

I say you listen to some classic German thrash to satisfy the German in you. Wait, don’t the Germans like to get drunk too? Maybe you should just get twice as drunk.

Where do the most beautiful women in the world come from? For some reason, I have always been fascinated by Eastern European women. I have a theory: when I was a little kid, I was in the former Yugoslavia briefly, and went to the nude beaches there. Perhaps I saw so many Eastern European women's naked bodies that my brain was programmed to prioritize them ahead of other women.

That is very possible. Since I have never really been anywhere, to me it is the USA with the most beautiful and the greatest variety of women. But I have seen plenty of beautiful European women. I like a little variety. Perhaps I should start asking countries of origin when I fuck someone new. Hehe. I love a beautiful sultry central European woman with huge tits.

Lastly, and most importantly, what kind of amp's do you use? Just kidding...please don't answer this question!

I cannot expose the secrets of my sound. Heheh. Actually my original amp head was sold off by a crackhead whom I mistakenly trusted with it. Of course I didn’t know he was a crackhead til I finally showed up at his house to get my amp only to hear a bullshit excuse about it being stolen (he had lost like 20 pounds with sullen eyes and looking like death warmed over). Fucking asshole.

...Night conquered Day, and Day never returned...