The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 11.1.1

January 8, 2008

"And as the Dark Goddess descends, you will bid her welcome.
For by the Dark Goddess' hand, all your pain will disappear."
- Fireaxe "I Used to be Young"

"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is finally ready.

Yeah, I know. It's about damn time. Four years is a long time to wait between releases, but keep in mind that don't make music for a living and thus I need a full time job to pay the bills. The down side is that I can't spend as much time making music as I want to, but the up side is that I have full creative control over every part of the music and art that go into Fireaxe. I feel that it's worth the trade-off. But even if I were independently wealthy and could spend as much time as I wanted making music I don't think that I could write and record more than one CD every two years. Inspiration is critical to the creative process and good ideas don't happen on demand. You can't force a good song out of you. If you try it generally sounds derivative and flat. So part of the reason that Fireaxe releases don't happen very often is that it takes time for me to collect and assemble enough cool ideas to produce a work of art that measures up to my standards. I'm not going to produce junk. And yeah, I do other things besides just work and create music, so sometimes by favorite hobby has to be set aside now and then. But now the wait is over.

A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the first time. This is a special CD release issue of the Fireaxe newsletter.

"Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is available for purchase

The new CD is ready and waiting for your orders. It looks great, it sounds great, and if you're not careful it's going to knock you smartly on to your backside. Prepare yourself for the deepest Fireaxe descent into hell to date.

More good news is that I finally broke down and started up my own PayPal account, so now you will be able to buy Fireaxe CDs through the internet instead of sending checks, money orders, or cash through the mail. This is not such a big deal for U.S. residents, but for people living in other countries and using other currencies, PayPal makes things a lot simpler and cheaper. Wire transfers are too costly when the amounts are less than $20 and money orders are a pain. So now you can pay just by clicking a mouse. What could be simpler? But please finalize your order with me in e-mail before sending any money.

In the past I used to charge $5 for the single CD Fireaxe releases. Unfortunately this low, low price is a thing of the past now that I am producing pressed CDs with fancy full color 12-panel fold-up booklets. Add to that the cost of oil going up and inflation in general and you can see that I have to charge more than in the past. Brace yourself for a massive 20% price hike. Yes, "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is going to cost $6 per copy. Sorry, there's nothing that I can do about it. Personally, I blame Alan Greenspan.

However, because the replication houses aren't able to control the exact number of CDs they print in any run, I ended up with 20 extra copies of the CD complete with booklets and jewel cases. So I've decided to give away a free CD to the first twenty people who order "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess". Also, because replication houses don't press CDs in any quantity less than five-hundred, which is four hundred more copies than I sold of "Food for the Gods", I've got a lot of CDs which need to find good homes. So the more that you all can help me to spread the word the better. Thanks for everything you all have done so far in helping me get the word out and thanks in advance for everything to come as well.

Also available for purchase are a couple of full-size posters of the cover art. I wanted to make one poster for myself to hang on my wall and show off the long hours that I spent slaving over a hot Mac, so I blew up the cover art to three times its original size and took it to Kinko's for printing. The poster looked great when it came out of the printer, but they had some trouble with the lamination process and they had to try it a few times before they got it right. That left a few defective copies lying around that they were going to throw away. Now, while the "rejects" are flawed, they still look really good, and you can only see the defects if you look closely at them. So I asked if I could have the defective prints as well as the original in case anyway wanted one. Well, they couldn't just give them away, but they sold them to me at a huge discount, so now I have a couple of slightly flawed posters to offer to you.

These posters are big, 48" x 32", printed on glossy paper, which made the colors turn out brilliant, and laminated so you don't have to worry about them getting scratched, scuffed, or torn. Plus, you can see all of the details that I put into the artwork, which makes it look that much better than the CD booklet. I really love mine. Anyway, the price I paid for each defective poster was $15. The cost of shipping will be a little more since it requires a large mailing tube, so I will offer the two posters that I have for $20 each. That price might sound steep, but printers charge $12 per square foot for oversize prints, so the total price for the flawless copy hanging on my wall is over $100. Ouch. But I was willing to pay that much because I wanted a lasting copy of something that I was very proud of. Now, I wish that I could get that price down to what you pay for regular band posters, but until Fireaxe becomes popular enough so that mass production is viable, which doesn't seem very likely, there's really no good cost effective option for stuff like posters, T-shirts, wrist bands, pendants, or a wall mount display that features a pair of chrome plated crossed axes with an electric "eternal flame" pattern roiling over them and a glowing "Forever Vigilance" motto framing the piece. You'll have to make stuff like that yourself. However, JPGs of the cover art are available on request.

Check out a small version here.

A close-up is here.

Now, I thought that the new CD would be ready before Christmas but the first replication house that I went to turned out to be considerably less professional than they let on. I'm not too surprised since something always seems to go wrong when it comes time to make copies. I gave the shop a week to print up some swatches of the artwork so that I could verify that all was well but after trying a few things out they were unable to produce anything that they wanted to show me. Maybe they were incompetent or maybe they were spiritually opposed to printing up a satanic-looking CD. I don't really know. All I know is that after a few more days of getting nothing back from them I had to find another place to do the replication. So two weeks simply disappeared in a puff of smoke.

As it turned out things worked out for the better. I made a few slight but beneficial changes to the artwork before taking it in to a much more competent outfit. Everything went like clockwork at the new place and it looked like they would even be able to squeeze my order in so that it would be done before I went on vacation. That would have been great since it would have allowed me to hand deliver a number of CDs to family and friends. But after taking one last listen to the music through my three-way speakers I heard something in the mix that bothered me a little too much. I tried to resist the urge to make any more changes so late in the cycle, but I was overcome and I just had to fix it. So I had them pull the CD out of the replication queue, which they were able to do just in time, but that caused me to miss my deadline. I don't regret it though, ending up a few days late is better than delivering a flawed product, especially a pressed CD which is going to last a long time. Enjoy this one, it's a keeper.

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.

Or if you want to do PayPal, just send me the answers to 1 and 2 above in an e-mail and I'll tell you where to send the money.

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.

Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess: $6 / $8
Food for the Gods: $12 / $14 - 1 copy left
Victory or Death: $5 / $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares: $5 / $7 (SOLD OUT)
A Dream of Death: $3 / $5 (SOLD OUT)

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

In 2008, Fireaxe will take a step back and work on a couple of projects from the past. First of all, "Food for the Gods" has sold out and will be re-mastered before a second printing run is made. Also, it may also be re-mixed for even better sound quality depending on time constraints. Secondly, the first Fireaxe CD, "A Dream of Death" will be getting a complete overhaul before it is re-released. Everything will be re-recorded using much more modern equipment and with everything that I've learned over the last ten years going into it to make it better than ever. Also, since it was recorded at a time when CDs had a 74 minute limit instead of the current eighty, I will add six more minutes of music to the work in which I will explore a number of musical themes and make the CD that much better. So it looks like a year of sequels for Fireaxe. I'll probably leave the names the same but I've been kicking around a few new ideas for the CDs, such as "Food for the Gods - Regurgitated", "Desert for the Gods", and "A Dream of Undeath", "The Morning After Death", or "I'm Dreaming of a White Strait-Jacket - a Fireaxe Christmas in Hell".

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 single CDs for $5 or $6, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers the production and mailing costs. For CDs sent out of the country, I'll have to charge an extra $2 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. Do not fall in love with the Dark Goddess. I mean, seriously. She's the goddess of death after all. It's not a good idea. Furthermore, do not have sexual fantasies involving the Dark Goddess. She does not have a womb and thus lacks the entrance to that particular organ. Also, attempting to use other entrances will likely result in castration. Again, it's not a good idea.
  • 6. You are vehemently discouraged from doing anything depicted in the CD "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" such as: torturing someone, lying for corporate profit, rationalizing greed, beating, raping, and murdering your girlfriend, destroying the lives of those who wronged you and their families, corrupting the government, trying to kill yourself with pleasure, kidnapping and ransoming people, committing atrocities, cutting someone's face to pieces, destroying half the world as revenge, and especially stating that any of these things are okay because "God is on your side." Please, think before you act.
  • 7. You are food for the gods.
  • 8. 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?
  • 9. 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.
  • 10. 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.
  • 11. 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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