The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 10.4

June 1, 2007

“I have taken doping. I have taken EPO.”
- Bjarne Riis, 1996 winner of the Tour de France,
adding that he had his winner's yellow jersey in
a box at home and that Tour officials were,
"…welcome to come and get it."

Humans make the rules and humans break the rules. And although professional sports has often been closely associated with athletes trying to game the system in order to achieve victory, the problem of cheating, corruption, and the collapse of the system is something that occurs in every arena from politics, to religion, to the marketplace. To understand it in one arena is to understand it everywhere, but merely understanding why it happens doesn't enable us humans to find a lasting solution to the problem. Nonetheless it's a good place to start.

It's not exactly clear why Bjarne confessed when he did, no French lab had suddenly announced that a urine sample that he'd given years ago contained a banned substance, but perhaps watching the twisted saga that is the Floyd Landis doping investigation filled him with enough guilt to overcome the shame that came from confessing. Athletes are notorious for denying that they've cheated, even when the evidence is as iron clad as it can be, so his confession is remarkable because it is so rare. In Floyd's case, the recent Tour de France winner was "super-human" for a day and his urine tests concurred with that assessment, but he is desperately grasping at straws for any angle that will let him keep his title. If he's innocent, it's a great story of a man struggling to clear his name and sports is nothing if it isn't about human drama, but if he's guilty, and I see little chance that he isn't, it's a sick spectacle that makes a mockery out of professional cycling.

Nobody wants to see their heroes fall. Nobody likes finding out that their idol is a cheater. I'd like to think that Lance Armstrong is clean, after all he inspired me in my fight against cancer and his training methods helped me to ride faster, but after seeing all of his old rivals drop out of last year's Tour de France under the cloud of yet another doping scandal, I have found it very hard to believe that Lance could have beaten those riders as soundly as he did for seven years. Simply put, if his rivals had all been doping, the only way that Lance could have beaten them riding clean is on a motorcycle. In cycling, doping gives you a huge advantage, one that genetics and working extra hard cannot overcome.

And in Major League Baseball, where the home run record was broken numerous times during what is being called the "steroid era", there is the ongoing pursuit of the game's most prized record by a man who had all but admitted that he has cheated. Yet when you bring all these cheaters before congress, they will lie through their teeth and profess their innocence. A few years ago we got to witness men with freakishly huge biceps and who'd hit spectacularly long home runs deny that they'd ever injected testosterone or used any banned substance. It was a joke, just like the hearings where tobacco company executives lied about what they knew of their product's addictive nature, and like the hearings for cabinet members, justice department officials, and of course, members of the NSA when they were brought to testify. Why do we even have public hearings anymore? Did someone ever confess to being guilty at a hearing in the past or are my only memories of such admissions actually recollections of movies that I've seen? Are people getting less honorable or has it always been so bad? It's hard for me to tell since I've only been alive for forty years.

When most of us think of cheating, we think of a situation where everyone is playing by the rules except for one greedy and unscrupulous player who wants to win at all costs. This is not a very realistic scenario, but it appeals to those of us who indulge in hero worship. We want to think that the game is clean, that the system isn't corrupt, and that our heroes are winning through sheer will and determination. This fits in perfectly with the "Protestant Work Ethic" and similar notions in other ideologies that success is earned through hard work and diligence. The notion that a game is rigged, or that cheating is widespread, not only dethrones our heroes, but attacks the very ideologies that we hold dear. But every now and then some brave soul tries to pull back the curtain and reveal the sordid reality behind the things that we want to believe are noble and pure. Usually those in control react by trying to kill the messenger and apply as little damage control as is necessary to make the faithful feel good about things again, but every now and then the messenger succeeds and a true revolution takes hold.

The truth is that cheating is contagious. It's difficult if not impossible to catch someone cheating, but it is often the case that the first people to realize that someone is cheating are the cheater's rivals. Sometimes they see an obvious quantum leap in their rival's abilities that can't be explained through other means, and sometimes, if the players are on the same team, they know that their teammate is cheating and will simply look the other way since they benefit from the rule-breaking as well. But if you suspect that someone else is winning by cheating and you want to win instead, you will realize that the only way for you to win is to cheat also. This type of cheating can be seen as acceptable on an ethical level since it can be viewed not so much as cheating, but as leveling the playing field. Furthermore, in a very competitive field, it can be the case that when cheating becomes widespread, the only way to compete at the highest levels is to cheat. At that point, cheating simply becomes a part of the game. You do it because you have to no matter how you feel about it.

So where are the watchdogs? Usually they are a step behind. First they need to figure out if someone is cheating, then they need to find out how they are cheating and then they need to figure out a way to catch that person with proof that will stand up in court. It's a cat and mouse game that has been going on in sports for decades and in society ever since the first laws were written. But there is also the case that the watch dogs have a conflict of interest, such as when Major League Baseball revenues went way up when home runs starting flying out of ballparks, or when political parties appoint cronies into watchdog positions where they can prosecute members of all parties. In those cases policing can become lax, non-existent, or applied selectively since the watchdogs benefit as much as everyone from rule-breaking. Rules may exist on the books, but there can be an understanding that they will not be enforced in certain cases and thus the cheating has spread to those who are charged with preventing it. Conflicts of interest can develop in every oversight position and the people in charge are only human, so corruption always tends to find a way into the system.

So why do athletes, and so many others, cling to the story that they aren't cheating? The logic seems clear. If everyone is doing it then the playing field is back to being level and the winner truly did earn his victory. It makes sense that the winner would be adamant about defending the hard work and sacrifice that were most definitely a part of winning. Also, even if the accused wanted to come clean, trying to defend one's own cheating by accusing everyone else of cheating, especially when you have little or no proof that they did so, is doomed to fail and will make you look even worse. And sometimes there are extenuating circumstances which make cheating feel ethically sound to the cheater, such as in Floyd's case, where bonking on one stage, through no fault of his own, knocked him out of the lead and could have given him the justification to make up his lost time on the next stage by using testosterone. Before he bonked, he was going to win, and he certainly deserved to win since he was the best rider in the race, but fate had other plans. Life isn't fair, but can you make it fair by cheating? And how about in Lance's case? Having a very promising career destroyed by cancer would seem to provide a compelling reason for him to do whatever it took to get back to that competitive level and achieve what he felt he deserved. And lets not forget the influence of big money and sponsorship deals that come in professional sports. Sometimes it is the owners and team managers who condone and encourage cheating as a way to improve the bottom line and these forces could have also played a role for Bjarne, Floyd, Lance, and many others. Sure, these are only speculations, but when I think about the times in my life where I bent the rules it was in similar situations and my thinking fell along similar lines.

Yeah, I've cheated. Not on anything major, like school or work or personal relations, but if the things that I cheated on weren't major, why did I feel the need to cheat? The truth is that I wanted to win too much in my younger years. I blame myself for my inability to restrain my ego, and have done my best to play on the level in the years since, but I can also point the finger at ideologies which honor greatness with such tempting rewards. Of course, ideologies abhor cheaters, but when ideologies imbue their followers with such a strong sense of entitlement that a large number of them feel that they deserve things that are only available to a few, the fact that some of them will end up cheating is inevitable. And when someone decide to cheat, the cheating will often spread to others until it engulfs the system and corrupts the ideology.

In sports, in politics, in the financial sphere, and everywhere else it seems, we have a deep need to get what we feel we deserve and if that means that we have to cheat then we often end up changing the definition of what cheating really is. Often it's easy to discard the rules altogether and say that "all's fair in love and war, and this is both". Another way is to campaign to change the rules so that they permit whatever cheating is going on. But the problem with cheating is that it is self-defeating. In pursuit of what we must have we end up devaluing that which we treasure so much. We debauch the very system that we use to measure our self worth. This seeming paradox reveals the self-destructive nature of ideologies, which need to survive in the present, even if it means sacrificing the future to do so. While clouds of suspicion will follow some of our greatest heroes around for the rest of their lives, there is no way to go back in time and bestow glory upon those who should have been our heroes if the game had been played straight. This is the way of the world, the notorious fiends are well known while the unsung heroes are forgotten.

Long in appearing but not forgotten is, "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" of which all but the final track has been recorded in final form. It won't be long before the CD has entered the mixing and mastering stages, and the cover art is well on its way to completion as well. I don’t think that it will all be ready by the next edition of The Burning Blade at the end of July, but by then I should be close to putting the final product into your hands. I'll include another sneak preview in two months. I appreciate your patience.

A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the first time. This is the Fireaxe newsletter.

"Black Knight" and Virginia Tech

Those of you who've been Fireaxe listeners for a long time know that I have more than a little amount of sympathy for the all too many malcontents who found no better course of action than to go on a killing spree inside the hallowed halls of their educational institutions. By sympathy I of course don't mean to suggest that I approve of their actions in any way, but you will definitely not find me among the shrieking chorus of people excoriating these "school shooters" and trying to affix the most abhorrent labels next to their names. Indeed, it appears that the violent revenge that these killers sought resulted only in an amplification of the treatment that they received before they even considered buying a gun and taking it to school. Even in death these individuals are hated, smeared, insulted, marginalized, and shunned, the very things that they experienced for years which compelled them to do what they did.

The media spewed out the usual tripe after the latest tragedy at Virginia Tech university: focusing on the anguish of the victims' friends and family, telling tales of heroism and sacrifice, finding evidence of an unstable personality and wondering why the telltale signs of a potential mass murderer weren't picked up on, and of course there were the obligatory cries for more pointless gun laws. Every now and then some media talking head would ask a mental health professional why the shooter did what he did, but their answers never seemed to touch on the things that I saw as being critically important. Why did Seung-Hui Cho kill thirty-two people? The blame went in the usual directions: violent video games, violent movies, psychiatric drugs, easy access to guns, the coverage of other school shootings and the copycat syndrome, PTSD from coverage of things like 9/11, the Challenger disaster, and the Oklahoma City bombing, speculations that he was sexually abused, and simply proclaiming him to be mentally ill and leaving it at that. The media made him out to be a madman, and that's certainly what he became, but how he got to be that way was left as an open question, one that needs to be answered definitively if any progress is to be made. I'll try to make some progress on this issue, drawing from the Fireaxe theory and my own personal experience.

The massacre at Virginia Tech is the first major school shooting since I wrote the song "Black Knight", which is a song about someone who experiences alienation and persecution at the hands of others and fantasizes about putting them to death. As I watched the coverage I have to admit that I was a little nervous that some reference to Fireaxe would turn up, like a CD, mp3s on his computer, or lyrics from "Black Knight" written over and over again in a notebook. But the only band that was mentioned was Collective Soul, and since they are neither rap or heavy metal, no one tried to pin the blame on the type of music that the shooter listened to. The bulk of the song "Black Knight" comes from personal experience, which is why I have a lot of sympathy for those who've gone through a similar ordeal as the character in the song but ended up turning their revenge fantasies into reality. Regarding my own life, I never came close to going on a violent rampage. Although I didn't have many friends when I was young, the ones I had, and still have are wonderful people who make life very much worth living. And being able to get good grades gave me hope that when I graduated I would be able to prosper in the real world and leave the ridiculous joke of high school far behind. Things worked out for me and I'm glad that I didn't sacrifice anything in exchange for petty, but perhaps gratifying, revenge, but I can't say that I didn't leave a valuable part of myself behind in the uncaring halls of my educational institutions. I learned lessons that caused me to question just about everyone and everything at some point, which is not necessarily a good thing. I wasn't born a cynic and a subversive, that's just how you end up when the system betrays you.

Trust in the system is the first casualty when the bullies select you as someone they're going to pick on. Nothing you do can stop the abuse. If you do nothing and just take it, it just gets worse. If you fight back you only get in trouble for your courageous efforts. And though the bully gets in trouble along with you, you get punished worse. The principal, and your parents too, will all give you that sorry line about how they expect better from you. Sure, the bully is a troublemaker, they say, but you're an honor student, and you shouldn't sink down to his level. But their words are empty and their suggestions for what you should do are useless. You wonder if they truly care about you since they don't do anything to help, and you just get picked on more since the bully knows that if you fight back that it will hurt your future a lot more than it will hurt his. So you're trapped, and that's just how it is, day after day, week after week, and year after year. Time travels slow when you're young, and things like high school and college seem to take an eternity to get through. That's just a reminder to us older folks who think that telling someone to put up with the abuse is reasonable advice. Sure, the vast majority of people who get bullied and abused in school don't go on killing sprees, but that's mainly because they see the wisdom in not throwing their whole life away in an act of vengeance. In the end, most of us are left with no good options. So you keep going to school and you keep taking abuse and hope that your psyche can endure it.

Bullying is one well-known trigger, and some schools have tried to crack down on the problem, but if you dig a little deeper into the lives of many school shooters you'll find that the absence of a girlfriend plays a far more important role. Television, books, movies, and the occasional story told by an elder mostly tend to romanticize the high school years as being that wonderful time in your life where you fall in love and experience so many joyous "firsts" (your first date, your first kiss, etc.) with that special someone. Well, it doesn't happen for everyone, and the feelings of loneliness and despair that come from a mixture of sexual desire and emotional longing is something that you simply can't escape from. Bullies don't follow you home and mock you when you lie awake on weekend nights, but every time your natural desires are aroused by the sight of a pretty girl, and every time you try and fail to make a good impression on one of them, you feel that hole in your heart grow a little bit bigger, and it hurts worse with each passing day.

As if the absence of love wasn't enough, a loner must endure the even more painful experience of watching a girl who they can love only from a distance fall for someone else. When you have nothing a fantasy is more than just a daydream. Your fantasies of love are powerful dreams which take away the pain of loneliness, if only in a limited way. Still, they are far better than nothing, and seeing the object of your fantasy in someone else's arms tears away that special dream that covers up your emotional wounds. Worse still, when you see the object of your desires get abused, dumped, and wind up heart- broken it adds rage to that mixture of sickening emotions that roil inside of you. After all, you know in your heart that you would never have treated her that way if she had fallen for you. You would have cherished her like a rare jewel if she had only given you the chance. But even after her break-up the target of your unrequited love still turns you down and finds love in the arms of another. To you it makes no sense, and it doesn't seem fair at all. But you watch as girl after girl passes you over only to be deceived and discarded by guys who care only about sex and little about love. Slowly but surely the dream of finding that special someone and experiencing true, pure love, is strangled to death by lies, lust, and loneliness. And when the dream dies, there is nothing left to hold back the pain.

Now, some of you might answer that we all experience those things in high school. We all get picked on. We all get heart-ache. We all get depressed. But we are all strong enough to get through those times, and if someone has to go and shoot up his classmates, then it is all his fault for being weak. After all, we endured all that stuff and we made it through just fine, so obviously there's something wrong with the killer. I think that people who think that way fail to understand the degree to which some people suffer at the hands of others and may be trying to wash their hands of the abuse that they used to heap on misfits and malcontents. The Virginia Tech killer, Seung-Hui Cho, was bullied not only at his junior high school and high school, but he was picked on in his church group by rich kids. Honestly, in church too, where was his god then? And for years he was picked on relentlessly. Also it wasn't that he suffered from the painful but short-lived heartache that comes when you break up with your sweetheart, it was that he never had a sweetheart to begin with, ever. In the aftermath of a breakup some people moan that they will never be loved again, but when you have lived a life of emptiness, the idea that you may never find someone who loves you is not just the product of a fleeting bout of depression, but a cold hard reality that grows more probable with each passing day. Yes, growing up is hard and often painful, so much so that it can push people over the edge without any help from violent images in the media, anti-depressant drugs, or the second amendment.

The last casualty is one's faith in justice. No one can stop the bullies, no one can warm your heart, and no one truly seems to care. Everyone else seems to get what they need and some get far more than they deserve, but you get little or nothing. Where is justice? It is simply nowhere to be found. No god comes down to punish those who bullied you or abused the girl you loved from afar, and no parent, principal, authority figure, cares enough to try to set things right. There is no one there to punish the wicked, and thus there is no justice in the world. Unless, of course, you take matters into your own hands.

Here are parts of Cho's manifesto, which was delivered to a television station after he killed the girl he loved from afar and her lover, but before he went on his killing spree. After knowing more about what he went through, does what he said make any more sense?

Regarding the nature of ideologies:

"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today. But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."

"You just loved to crucify me. You loved inducing cancer in my head, terror in my heart and ripping my soul all this time."

"You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people."

"Do you know what it feels like to be stood on your face and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and bleed to death for your amusement?"

"You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives because you can? Just because you can? You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn't enough you brats. Your golden necklaces weren't enough you snobs. Your trust fund wasn't enough. Your vodka and your cognac weren't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything."

It all seems perfectly clear to me. Cho bemoans the rape of his purity, which comes from the feeling that he will never be able to experience love in a pure and innocent way. He emphasizes the degree of his suffering since he was exposed to so much and since that is what had consumed him. And he laments the lack of justice in the world which not only allows the rich to have so much, but which allows them to take even more from others and leave him with what he feels is nothing. I find his manifesto to be clear, honest, and an accurate description of his past. The world craps on people like Cho and this is how they feel inside. In my opinion the television station did us all a service by broadcasting Cho's manifesto. Perhaps watching it or reading it will make a few more people stop abusing others and thus make a few less people act out in a violent and self- destructive way. Of course, I had those same hopes after Columbine.

The Fireaxe theory asserts that ideology plays a role in the development of consciousness by creating a permanent sense of inadequacy in the mind of its followers. The purpose of this state of mind is to motivate the individual to perform tasks that benefit the ideology and the ideology then rewards the individual with temporary feelings of increased self esteem. In this way the ideology thrives by enslaving its followers and channeling their actions towards productive pursuits, but the process of indoctrination is not always perfect and sometimes the result is a broken mind.

Cho was made to feel inadequate in a number of ways. His parents instilled within him a sense that academic excellence was of primary importance and the example set by his gifted and successful sister would have made him feel even more inadequate even though he was of above average intelligence. Bullies relieve their own sense of inadequacy by picking on others, which makes those who they pick on feel even more inadequate. When you're at the bottom of the food chain, like Cho, you have no one to pick on in turn and so that outlet is closed to you. Also, ideologies instill a sense of conformity which prompts their followers into picking on those who are different or who do things which are not in line with what the ideology teaches. Even though western ideologies values individualism and freedom, they still demand a high degree of conformity from their members and Cho was outside the norm in many ways. The public humiliation of outcasts is an ideological ritual which benefits the group by instilling a sense of solidarity in the majority and encouraging conformity, but there is always a need for someone to play the role of whipping boy and that person ends up getting continually picked on in order to pacify the inadequacies of the group.

Lastly, Cho felt desperately inadequate in the realm of love. In the past, marriages were either arranged or social pressures forced people to pair up during their teen years and stay together for life, but in modern times dating follows the rules of the free market with those who are more desirable getting most of the attention and those who aren’t getting little to none. In such an environment there will be people who end up without someone with whom they can express their most profound and personal feelings and desires. Now, one could argue whether being trapped in a loveless marriage is worse than being adrift in loveless loneliness, but in either case, inadequacy is instilled as a result of ideological forces and people are compelled to find other ways to satisfy their needs.

There are a lot of people like Cho out there, but most of them endure all the hardships of growing up as an outcast. The strong sense of inadequacy inside them can often inspire them to do great things in order to feel adequate. When this happens it is very beneficial to the ideology, which rewards those who make it stronger. But in some cases the hardship is too great and a person loses their faith in their ideology. They can no longer attain a sense of adequacy by following the rules of the ideology and so something must give. The result is often ideological mutation on an individual scale. In Cho's case it appears that he created a new personal ideology that was a hybrid between Christianity and Rambo style action-hero revenge. He envisioned himself blazing a path to salvation for himself and other downtrodden souls by punishing the wicked.

Given this analysis, can future outbreaks of suicidal revenge be prevented? Well, if the pressure that an ideology puts on its members is decreased, it will reduce the number of people who end up cracking, like Cho, but at the same time it will reduce the amount of motivation instilled within others, which will make them less likely to do the great things which support the ideology. Note that Seung- Hui's sister grew up in the same crucible as he did, yet she is a very successful Princeton graduate. It would seem that we cannot have one without the other. The forces that produce greatness are also those that produce mass murderers. Furthermore, if the forces that produce motivation in the population are reduced, the ideology will grow weaker and be less able to reward those who excel, which would add to the general dissatisfaction and thus add to the risk of internal struggle and ideological mutation. This is undesirable for the ideology and thus the reaction will generally be to increase, not decrease, the pressure during indoctrination. This was seen in the crackdown after Columbine and is likely to be seen again after Virginia Tech.

In other words, Seung-Hui Cho and his innocent victims were, in essence, sacrificed for the greater good of the ideology. They died as the result of being part of a high pressure system of indoctrination which not only produces the best and the brightest people in the world but which inevitably produces people with shattered minds and dark desires. The struggle is for a stronger ideology and the victims were merely collateral damage. They are food for the gods.

I think, however, that such a conclusion is completely unpalatable to most people, and thus the question of why things like Virginia Tech happen will always be left inadequately answered.

The Fireaxe theory - Outline

I. Basics - well established theories

  • 1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the interactions of simple things
  • 2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete, with the "losers" becoming extinct
  • 3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function according to the rules of conditioning
  • 4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases, which limits the amount of transformation that can occur

II. Extensions

  • 1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
  • 2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
  • 3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological interactions of conscious humans
  • 4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much the same way that organisms do
  • 5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system

III. Contentions regarding consciousness

  • 1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
  • 2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
  • 3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an ideology's survival
  • 4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
  • 5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person is motivated - generally to serve their ideology

IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle

  • 1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including, but not limited to, war and enslavement
  • 2. That aggression is a survival advantage
  • 3. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive, thus creating a vicious circle
  • 4. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy their needs
  • 5. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation

V. Contentions regarding the future

  • 1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply that continuous growth is not sustainable
  • 2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
  • 3. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of a suicidal ideology which will attempt to save the human race by destroying it

How to order Fireaxe CDs

Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which contains the following:

  • 1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
  • 2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
  • 3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.

Here is a price list. The first number is the cost for U.S. based customers, the second is for outside the U.S. The prices include shipping and handling.

Food for the Gods: $12 / $14
Victory or Death: $5 / $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares: $5 / $7 (SOLD OUT)
A Dream of Death: $3 / $5 (booklet out of print)

Send everything to:

Brian Voth
1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
Chula Vista, CA, 91911 USA

If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in exchange for the review. In this case all I need is a request by e-mail. Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your magazine with the review in it when it is done. If you want to exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.

The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a letter about the project, and some information about the CD which can also be found on the Fireaxe site.

Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project. The tiff disk is free so just say the word.

The Future

For the rest of this year and part of the next I will be recording the next Fireaxe CD entitled "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess". I'd like to have it complete by the middle of 2007. The new CD will dig deep into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth the myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what they are. While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams, and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times. It will be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.

My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in whatever way is necessary. Whatever the market demands, I will supply, but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel. Exposure is fine, but in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to match the demands of the marketplace. This would totally defeat the purpose of why I write music in the first place. I write music because it is a way to express my emotions. What I both think and feel goes into the songs. That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion diminishes the emotive effect. Thus I try to avoid such diversions. That is how art should be.

Rights to duplicate Fireaxe materials

Currently Fireaxe is not for profit. I sell the CDs for $5 each which covers the production and mailing costs. For CDs sent out of the country, I'll have to charge $7 per disk to cover the additional mailing cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a CD for free. Since I am not making any money with the current recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as long as you obey the following guidelines:

  • 1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or less, plus any delivery cost. You are not allowed to make any profit with the music.
  • 2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so I can keep track. Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
  • 3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious link back to my website. This includes putting Fireaxe song samples on your site as well.
  • 4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided you are an unsigned band without a marketting tie-in. You are not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
  • 5. You are food for the gods.
  • 6. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud as you can as often as you can. It's your only defense against THEM. Be warned, they come through angles. Note that the CD is round. Are your speaker cabinets square?
  • 7. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and other fiction authors. None of it is real, at least that's what I'm going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening to the "Lovecraftian Nightmares" CD too much.
  • 8. You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world. Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
  • 9. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe song. I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute. On a serious note, if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me if you have no one else to talk to. When I was in my teens the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me. Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You" would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal. I'm just trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that effect on you, please get in touch. You aren't alone.

The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of credit for having written it. I'm open to any methods of distributing my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording label distribution. However, you will need my direct permission to do so or some kind of legal agreement.
Brian Voth - Creator of Fireaxe

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