The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 11.4

May 30, 2008

"We’ve built this monstrosity of a machine, and there are
tons of architects always working on it. The problem is no one
knows what is going on in the entirety. Nothing this complex
has ever existed in history. I believe what we are watching is
an exercise in the folly of human ego."

- Mike Arnold, professional trader talking
about the financial system but could just as
well be talking about any number of systems
in the modern world especially our ideological

Mr. Arnold's point is well taken, and it is one of the reasons why the concept of an emergent system is so important to understanding anything in the world today given that the major forces that effect each of our lives are not controlled by individuals or institutions. As much as we might like to simplify the forces that change the world as the result of a coterie of powerful people who, behind closed doors, make decisions or plot conspiracies that bend the world to meet their ends, the reality of the situation is that even the most influential members of our societies are beholden to forces outside of their control. Of course, this is not to say that those leaders do not have any influence at all and that the ones who make poor decisions should not be removed from power, but merely that eliminating them does not necessarily solve the problems that plague our daily lives. To solve our problems means that we need to understand where they come from rather than to merely blame the guy "in charge".

Mr. Arnold makes another good point when he suggests that what is going on in the financial system is another "exercise in the folly of human ego". Certainly there is plenty of that to go around in the world whether it is the egotistical "Masters of the Universe" on Wall Street who believe that they have conquered the markets and made them serve their will, or the vanity of the central bankers who believe that they have conquered the business cycle and can steer the economy along a path of constant growth, or the self-indulgent blindness of the average person who became remarkably trusting of the system when it promised to make his dreams come true and allowed him to borrow himself into certain doom. A great many of us are worshipping at the altar of our own bloated egos. And although the "80s" were dubbed the "Me" decade it seems that the two decades that have followed have taken this egocentric perspective to such dizzying new heights that nothing, not even giving to charity, is done if it doesn't boost one's view of oneself and brought us to the point where admitting that one is wrong is the most horrifying thing that one can do.

Will this situation continue to get worse? Can it continue? And if it is due to change, how and why would it happen? It would seem that psycho-social thinking on a global scale has been moving from having an emphasis on selflessness to having an emphasis on selfishness for quite some time. This change appears to go hand in hand with the rise of capitalism, an ideology which champions the individual's desire for self-gratification as a force which drives economic progress. Capitalism in turn blossomed under liberal democracy, an ideology which champions an individual's desire for freedom. Combined, these ideologies refocused the attention of the masses away from what is best for the group towards what is best for the individual. In contrast, selflessness is more closely associated with ideologies such Communism and Socialism which champion feelings of a social nature, such as the pleasure of vicariously experiencing another's joy and the warm feeling of contributing to a group effort. For a while the world was somewhat balanced between the two extremes with Capitalism and Communism dividing the world between them after Fascism was conquered and its excesses exposed. But the fall of Communism and the rise of Capitalism and Democracy in the world over the last two decades mirrors the shift away from selflessness and towards selfishness, and while ideologies are neither exclusively selfish or selfless in nature they can have a strong preference for one over the other.

In other words, the folly of the human ego which is taking place in the financial markets is not so much a moral failing on the part of individuals, but rather their adherence to an ideology which supports the individual pursuit of wealth. To a degree the channeling of greed into productivity benefits society, but when taken to an extreme the result is social corrosion and a profound lack of trust between individuals which hurts society more than it helps. It would seem that at some point the social order would collapse if selfishness were to become more and more the rule and we may be reaching that point in more ways than just economic. Overindulgence in things such as sex, food, and narcotics have pushed us close to the point of collapse of both the institution of marriage and the health care system. It would probably be a good idea to reconsider the idea that the self is the most important aspect of one's world before these systems collapse, but it appears that we lack the capacity to do so, at least on a collective basis. However, a collapse will force a reconsideration to take place anyway, although it will occur in a less orderly fashion, so one way or another things are going to change.

In a post-collapse world one might predict that selflessness would come back into vogue, at least in the "West", where even our religions seem overly focused on helping us to attain supernatural rewards for ourselves rather than embracing a larger whole. It is likely that group loyalty, conformism, and solidarity will rise in power and influence in the wake of a collapse, but not before the well-conditioned focus on selfishness has been purged from the majority. This would occur quite naturally in a post-collapse environment where almost nothing will generate a positive outcome. Egotism will be associated with the failures of the past and become repulsive and people will shun the symbols of their former excesses. People who continue to behave in their selfish ways will end up getting punished over and over until they no longer act that way. In contrast, people who form into groups will weather the storms much better. Also, people will force others to earn their trust rather than implicitly trust those whom they don't know and that will force people to behave in more honorable and decent ways. This phase might follow a period where people become very desperate and act in the most despicable and devious ways to satisfy their selfish desires, even more so than they do now. Of course, these are only speculations on the mechanisms of how selfishness would be transformed into selflessness, but the empirical evidence is rather clear that disasters have a strong tendency to pull people together and work as a team. A major social and economic collapse would act like one long, drawn out disaster which would alter people's psychology in a lasting or even permanent way.

Of course, selfless socialism is not the most efficient ideology and it is far from being immune to excesses. One need only look at atrocities such as the Spanish Inquisition and witch burning to see examples of conformism run amok not to mention the eugenically- driven policies of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia which resulted in the deaths of millions. Also, the stifling of individualism and creativity inherent in socialistic ideology limits growth, both socially, politically, and economically. However, in the aftermath of a collapse it is likely that we will swing from extreme selfishness to extreme selflessness rather than stop at an ideal balance between the two. Moderation has never held much influence in the realm of human behavior.

And so I feel that in a post-collapse world we will see the rise of religions, reborn once more by adapting or ignoring their founding principles so that they cater to popular sentiment, and also the rise of secular forms of socialism which have become all but dormant in a world dominated by Capitalism. Whatever the form the fundamentals of those new ideologies will likely be the same, that individualism is to be discouraged and that the emphasis should be placed on what benefits the whole. While refreshing, to a degree, it should not be said that selfless ideologies will get along simply because they agree on that particular principle. In fact, they will be very antagonistic towards each other since they will still be driven by the fear of the "other" groups as people are today. Neither selfless ideologies nor selfish ones are strangers to war, and as the old system collapses there will be struggles over the remnants of its spent corpse. Thus, as always, we will be Food for the Gods.

Speaking of "Food for the Gods", the three-CD work is still undergoing an overhaul in the Fireaxe studio although work on it is being delayed due to a variety of issues. There is a lot to do and not enough time to do it and I refuse to release half-assed efforts. So I will have to ask you once again to be patient as I get everything sorted out.

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

The Meaning of the Songs - The Evil Men Do

It may surprise you to learn that "The Evil Men Do" is my favorite track on "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess". There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that I feel that it single-handedly destroys the illusions of Capitalism and exposes the depravity of the corrupted version of that anti-social ideology for all the world to see. Also, the emotions, the perspective, and especially the music make this track one that I love to play loud or sing when the spirit moves me. I might be alone in feeling that this track is my favorite as no one has written me and concurred, so allow me to give my reasons for liking it as I do.

First of all, this track is seriously depraved, or at least the things that the protagonist does and witnesses are far beyond the pale of civilized society, which is not to say that they aren't unheard of in the halls of power. In the previous track, "My Angel" the protagonist has killed the woman who betrayed him and the "voices" that he hears at the end of that song are not voices in his head but the voices of the members of the board of "the Firm". In "Masters of the Universe" the protagonist was able to use secrets that he learned from his mentor to blackmail the board and help him in his rise to power, but after "My Angel" the tables are now turned. However, instead of using the protagonist's crime to get rid of him the board finds an even better use for the protagonist: he is to do their dirty work.

In the vocal introduction to "The Evil Men Do" the members of the board aren't appalled by the murder, or at least they do not reveal it if they are. Instead they are relieved that they can no longer be blackmailed by the protagonist and they now see the opportunity to use him just as he used them. So they are sympathetic to his plight, describing their disdain for the protagonist's "angel", and give him comfort and reassurance while covering up his crime. The protagonist is stunned, expecting to go to jail for what he'd done, but he soon realizes that even more of what he naively assumed about the world, such as the sanctity of the rule of law, has been corrupted by the pursuit of power and wealth. Emotionally distraught and in a vulnerable state the protagonist protests, weakly, still clinging to what is left of his morality until he finally cracks and, in a particularly touching but dark moment, accepts his new role as the man the Firm turns to when they need to get something done, no questions asked.

The protagonist holds no illusions about his new position. He is enslaved to the Firm and must do its bidding, but his new role provides a channel for his anger and resentment and he has no sense of morality to prevent him from using his power in horrific ways. He begins by destroying the man who seduced his angel, but goes far beyond just taking an eye for an eye. In passages reminiscent of Tiglath Pilesar's soliloquy in "Written In Blood" the protagonist describes his exploits in detail, telling of the suffering he brought down upon not only the man who wronged him but upon his entire family. And in perhaps the most sinister part of all he says that none of his victims were aware of who had destroyed them or that anyone had been responsible for it at all. Now, if that doesn't repulse you, send a chill up your spine, and make you wonder how much that kind of thing goes on in the real world then I haven't done my job as an artist.

In the second verse the protagonist gets down to business, describing the ways in which the Firm corrupts the system and gains even more power and influence, which enables it to spread its tentacles even deeper into the halls of power. None of the things that I describe are made up in any way. Democracies are not immune to corruption and there are numerous examples of people in positions of power getting bought out, manipulated, coerced, or otherwise bent to the will of one of more wealthy people or institutions. The only question that remains is how deep the corruption goes in our respective governments. My favorite part of this verse is the final line, "This is no longer Democracy, this is Kleptocracy". The term "Kleptocrat" is one which is often used in reference to those who governed the former Soviet Union when it was making its transition to capitalism. In essence what happened was that those in power sold off the state's assets, such as the oil industry, at bargain basement prices to those who would give them kickbacks and other lucrative favors such as getting the enabling politicians reelected. In America this type of thing can be seen when politicians retire and end up getting large salaries for a do-nothing job in a corporation or go on speaking tours where they receive large sums of money to speak to people who, oddly enough, benefited in no small way from the politician's actions. There is also the ubiquitous "revolving door" where politicians become lobbyists and vice-versa and schemes where the friends and family members of politicians end up in high-paying positions of "friendly" companies and so on and so forth. Again, the only question that remains is how deep this sort of thing goes but the idea that someone will ride into Washington D.C. and clean the whole mess up is about as likely as Jesus returning to earth, or showing up in the first place for that matter.

The powerlessness of the people to prevent the corruption in their government and other institutions appears to contribute to the overall trend towards selfishness. When one is betrayed by those things who they trust it is natural to pull away from relationships and stop giving of oneself to groups and institutions. This is what happens to the protagonist over and over in the CD. He doesn't start off greedy or selfish, but he ends up that way and mostly against his will. In this way the protagonist is a model of society in general, forced into doing things that they abhor.

Which brings us to the chorus, which I like very much:

"No one knows the evil men do at the helm of the machine.
No one hears the cries of the fallen, the machine has only one speed.
I can't count the lives I have laid waste to.
Can't stop if I tried because the beast must feed."

Before we blame the protagonist for being evil and claiming that he is responsible for the corruption of the state it's important to look at the larger picture and the forces driving "the machine". For one there is the profit motive, and while trying to increase profits does not necessarily mean that one has to break the law, the competition between companies in the marketplace does mean that one has to match or exceed the actions of rivals in order to get ahead. So if your rivals are corrupting the government and gaining an advantage that way then you will need to do the same or worse or you will end up taking losses or going out of business. Secondly, those in charge of corporations do not act exclusively to get rich. Many have their own agendas and some are very ideologically driven. These men will often have no qualms about bending a few laws in pursuit of the greater good as they see it no matter how others view their point of view or their actions. Thirdly, many people in positions of power, especially civil servants, are quite willing to become corrupted if they get something which they desire in return. And the more that a society embraces the tenets of Capitalism and replaces the ideals of morality, honor, and decency with the pursuit of wealth the more that these forces will combine to create an environment rife with corruption. In other words, if it wasn't the protagonist who corrupted the state in the manner in which he did, it would have been someone else. Thus, it is not the individual who experiences a moral failure, it is that the system lends itself to immorality. And to make matters worse, as described in the quote above, "the beast must feed", which shows that the protagonist realizes that he is not in control any more and that the forces described previously are conspiring push things to the extreme whether he wants them to or not.

In the final verse we learn that the protagonist has been rising towards the highest position in the Firm and will soon gain such perks as having "a direct line to the president" as CEO. He ruthlessly smashes his rivals, both inside the Firm and outside, crushing another young hopeful, the "son of the chairman", for the coveted position of running the Firm. It is here where everything suddenly falls apart. The protagonist is brought before the board and, in a manner not unlike how the mafia operates, is given an offer that he cannot refuse. Perhaps my favorite line of the track is as follows:

"Accept our generous severance package
or have your sordid past turned over to the D.A."

The line is cold, calculating, and so very…corporate. Up until then the protagonist might have come to believe that he had become too important to the Firm to be blackmailed anymore and simply knew too much to be let go, but now the cold hands of fate are wrapping around him and strangling his ambitions once and for all. The machine has chewed him up and spit him out.

It is also here where we learn a few things about the antagonist in the story, the man who becomes the CEO and who later ends up interrogating the protagonist. The protagonist describes him as "strong and clever" and as "a true believer", setting the stage for the track "My Reflection" later in the CD. He also describes him as the "son of the chairman", with the subtext that perhaps the man does not truly deserve to be CEO, instead getting to the top due to his father's influence. I added that line on purpose, to portray the nepotism that is often found in corporations, and I would like to point out that in no way did I intend for the antagonist to be a rather loosely veiled portrayal of George W. Bush. Sure, George never would have gotten anywhere close to the seat of power anywhere he went in his life if performance was the standard by which he was judged. In every instance his father or someone powerful appointed him or pulled strings to get him where he was. In contrast the antagonist is modeled after a righteous crusader who both believes and lives his beliefs. Bush, on the other hand, has been accurately described as a man who is not a Christian in any real way but who believes that he is. As such Bush was never truly a danger along the lines of a Hitler, Stalin, or Torquemada, instead he is a blundering, delusional oaf who is far less clever than he thinks he is and who believes that he is strong when he is merely being stubborn. The antagonist is something that Bush can never be, a man truly committed to doing what he believes is the right thing no matter what the cost as opposed to a man who embraces half-assed measures and talks a far bigger game than he is prepared to play.

I love the music on this track as well. Of the few times that I've written a song in three-four time, such as "Beyond Zimbabwe" and "DeathMachine" I've always ended up with something that I like a lot. "The Evil Men Do" is no exception and the lightly swinging time signature mixed with the growling distorted guitars creates something that sounds like a death waltz. It matches perfectly with the theme of the song, that the dance of corruption between the corporations and the government is unstoppable, dragging you, me, and everyone else in the world down into a spiral of depravity and decadence. The spoken word sections are the darkest on the track and are backed by two guitars playing a pair of complementary rhythms. I love to sit back and listen to those parts intertwine as the protagonist lays down the ugly truth about the world. It feels like I'm being drowned in capitalistic filth. And before the third verse, when the guitar solo kicks in and rides on top of the two rhythms and finally splits into two parts as well it sounds simply amazing. These are the moments that make doing all of the recording and going through all of the trouble worth the effort. Building to such beautiful musical moments are what writing music is all about, even if such moment are mired in a track of hideousness and ugliness, but then, that is the essence of Fireaxe.

The Meaning of the Songs - Death's Angel

"Like a cancer they cut me out of their body
and threw me upon the refuse pile of the world."

And so begins the protagonist's brutal quest for revenge. This song, "Death's Angel", is where the protagonist is transformed from being an embittered, former executive to a crusading terrorist, casting aside his former ideology and embracing one of his own creation, but it takes a searing life experience to get him from one state to the other, and that is what occurs in this dark and brutal track.

At first the protagonist dreams of revenge, of dragging his former employers into the streets, burning down their fancy houses, and doing unspeakable things to them and their families. But as his evil fantasies escalate he sees that it isn't just a few people who deserve such a fate, but rather the entire system and everyone in it. In a passage that I just love, and please don't think that I desire to do any of the things that the protagonist dreams about, the protagonist delivers a twelve line assault on modern society, skewering the left, the right, and the center, and damning us all for our collective irresponsibility. But rather than start his crusade to destroy the system that made a mockery of his life the protagonist merely punts, leaving the world to drown in its own excrement, and decides to kill himself by overindulging in every earthly pleasure.

It's a fair question to ask whether or not this part of the CD is autobiographical in any way and certainly I've had both cause and opportunity to "get the most out of life" as it were. Not long ago a movie came out called "The Bucket List" where a pair of aging men decided to indulge in all of the things that they always wanted to do before they died and I know that in the past I figured that if I was given something like six months to live that I would probably do the same thing, but when I actually stood on death's door all those selfish thoughts simply disappeared. When you accept death, and I mean truly accept it rather than hallucinate your way into some fantastical afterlife or spiritual rebirth, one thing that goes away is your ego. The future that you see does not include you and so your thoughts naturally turn to what you can do for your friends and loved ones rather than what you can do for yourself, or at least that was how it worked for me. I could have easily cashed out a big chunk of my life savings, flown in a number of my most loyal Fireaxe listeners, and thrown a big party in Las Vegas where we could have done anything that we wanted to do, within the limits of my money that is, and had the wildest time of our lives, but those thoughts were unappealing to me. Even as my life appeared to be almost over, instant gratification held no sway over me. No, I still wanted to do something lasting and important, even if I wouldn't be around to enjoy it. So for me, finishing the musical project that I'd worked so hard on, "Food for the Gods", was the only thing that truly mattered. I wanted to give my friends and family the truest expression of who I was. If I died it would be my epitaph.

In contrast, the protagonist in "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" has no connections left to the world. He has a big pile of money but it means nothing to him, especially considering how he earned it. He has been betrayed by so many and he has seen how even his parent's affection can be bought off with simple materialistic things. The corruption in the world has infiltrated every part of him and completely robbed him of anything meaningful to live for, so he decides to kill himself, and do so in a style that is fitting in a world that is obsessed with pleasure and indulgence.

The protagonist's suicide attempt is, as one might expect, fraught with emotional turmoil as his body chemistry is thrown way out of whack by all of the drugs, alcohol, and fast living he indulges in. But as much as he tries to escape, he can't truly get away from his past, which culminates in a very touching verse:

"Sometimes when I dream I can feel her,
my angel,
a ray of warmth shining on my tortured soul
and I am whole again.
But as I wake her fleeting touch
leaves burning wounds that never heal.
For just one taste of heaven
I pay in the fires of hell.
Fate is cruel,
and if there is a god it deserves to die."

This is one of my favorite verses in the CD and yes, that part is very much autobiographical as I have felt that way for most of my life. It's a feeling that H. P. Lovecraft captured so brilliantly in his poem "Nathicana", which I set to music in "Lovecraftian Nightmares", or at least all but the last two lines of the verse above. Those lines are my personal touch and they feel perfect at that point in the CD. The protagonist has hit rock bottom, but even then he refuses to give in to the seductive call of kneeling before an imaginary deity and receiving salvation. No, he will find his own way in the world, even if that means loneliness and death.

The voice of the antagonist/interrogator speaks up here, reminding the listener that the tale is all part of the protagonist's confession. He hooks on to the protagonist's words and attempts to spin them in a way that befits his belief system, saying that the protagonist has merely lost his faith. The protagonist throws that notion back in his interrogator's face with another line that I like very much:

"I did not lose my faith it was taken from me,
but I found something better."

If faith was an act of sheer will, as many arrogant believers seem to think that it is, losing one's faith would indeed be a sign of weakness and moral failure. However, in reality faith is psychological conditioning and can be destroyed just as easily as any other form of conditioning in the human mind. All but the most pathological belief requires external reinforcement and when the world no longer works in a way that supports one's beliefs one's conditioning will break down and fade away. This is what has happened to the protagonist's belief in the system and the ideology behind that system. The promises that the system made to him: wealth, power, love, respect; if he only played by its rules, were each revealed to be a lie. The system had no honor, it was just a ravenous beast which used promises to trick its members into doing its bidding. Betrayed and cast out the protagonist realized this and thus the antagonist's words find no traction with him. But the protagonist does find something better than what he used to believe, that instead of covering over his pain and suffering with the pleasures and triumphs of achieving ideological goals he embraces his pain and uses it to motivate himself to destroy those who caused it in the first place.

The protagonist's rebirth is rather brutal. He is in some unspecified Latin American country where the rich live like kings and the poor live in squalor. Some of the poor have formed into a band of "freedom fighters" who decide to kidnap the protagonist and charge a ransom for him in order to fund their operations. The freedom fighters treat the protagonist harshly, after all, he is just another "white devil" come to exploit them and their countrymen. After suffering their abuse the protagonist begs them to kill him since that was what he was trying to do to himself personally, but they refuse since they wouldn't get their ransom if they did so. That turns out to be a serious mistake as the protagonist has his epiphany.

The protagonist is denied the easy way out. He can no longer escape the pain and humiliation that he suffers not only at the hands of the freedom fighters but from the world at large. It is here where his survival instinct kicks in and he begins to fight back, taking revenge upon his captors. In the process though he rediscovers himself, or rather, he rediscovers his anger and resentment and re-experiences the joy and release that comes destroying those who wronged him. All his life he's fought back, besting or punishing those who made him suffer, and when he feels those familiar emotions again as he extracts his pound of flesh from the freedom fighters his life is once again filled with meaning. He is now committed to doing what he only fantasized about doing at the beginning of the song: destroying the system that betrayed him.

Musically this track also has a number of very memorable moments, not the least of which is the twelve lines where the protagonist fires away at those he sees as being responsible for the mess that has been made of the modern world. Giving each line a different guitar rhythm makes it sound so much more dynamic than if I'd cranked out the same riff for each, and adding the descending church organ to them made the verses come together magnificently. It both sounds and feels like the protagonist is deconstructing the modern social order and leaving nothing but wreckage in his wake. I also enjoyed recording the part not longer after that one where there is a guitar solo with some odd vocal parts in the background depicting the protagonist's attempts to kill himself with pleasure. I love how the organ and solo guitar complement each other in that section, weaving a web of sadness which contrasts at first with the protagonist's lustful indulgences and then joins together as he almost reaches out to an imaginary deity. The chorus then hammers home the protagonist's feelings as he begs for a death that refuses to come. That all leads into the centerpiece of the song where the protagonist is singing against a backdrop which features little more than the church organ. This is another place where I do not regret spending a large sum of money to get a microphone of superior quality as well as a vocal processor which brings out the strengths of my voice. All the vocal practicing paid off as well here as I was able to deliver these lines the way that they needed to be delivered, with power and feeling. This was another one of those moments that made all the effort that has gone into Fireaxe over the years worthwhile.

The second half of the track switches to being more up tempo, borrowing a little from Latin style music to set the scene. I like the feel of this part, especially the contrast between it and the previous part which drives home the change which is happening to the protagonist in the story. It jumps from a smooth and depressing feel to one that assaults the senses and wakes you up, just as the protagonist is being awakened from his psychological slumber. Midway through the second half the music begins to build as the protagonist slowly regains his strength and motivation, culminating in the same chorus that was played in the first half of the song. But instead of clashing with the different musical style the chorus sounds towering, driving home the protagonist's deepest emotions as it finishes out the wild and roiling track. This time around the chorus is not depressing but uplifting, although in a dark way, as the protagonist embraces his suffering, channeling it into a force which will enable him to execute his darkest desires.

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 / $9
Food for the Gods: $12 / $14 (SOLD OUT)
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've 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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