The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 2.2

Feb 1, 1999

"These narcotic induced calculations
Have led me to these abominations,
Creatures vile and wet and free,
Their souls driven to devour me."
- Fireaxe "Hounds of Tindalos"

Death has come roaring to life. The newly mastered "A Dream of Death" CD is now available. The tracks have been equalized, normalized, and energized and they jump off the CD and into your brain wreaking havoc and madness. The standard disclaimers apply. If you've got a copy of the old CD, the new one is available to you for free. Read on to find out more.

Recording on the new Fireaxe project, a CD version of "Lovecraftian Nightmares" is almost complete. The art on and in the CD booklet is simply stunning including a breathtaking vision of the poem "Nathicana". You are sure to appreciate the elegance and beauty of the CD as it drags you screaming into the abyss.

A lot has happened already for Fireaxe this year and the next few months hold more good things in store. A big 'Hello' to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the first time.

"A Dream of Death" version 2.0

The big news is that the finishing touches have finally been put on the premiere Fireaxe CD "A Dream of Death". I didn't know how much mastering could affect the sound of a CD until I sat down and went through the process with Rob Elfaizy of Goofy Lucy's in Laguna Niguel. I learned that it can make a big difference. First the sound of the CD was enriched with some EQing applied through all the tracks. Where once the sound was somewhat flat and weak, it is now full and strong. Second the songs were normalized to make them sound louder on the CD. And the last, and certainly not least, step was to use audio energization on all the tracks. This is a process I don't fully understand myself but I've been told that it cranks up the more audible frequencies while tuning out the less audible ones. However it works, one thing is for sure, and that is that it makes the tracks seem to be a lot louder than they were before. If you've ever wondered why something you recorded doesn't sound as nearly as loud as something recorded professionally, audio energization is probably the reason. If you're trying to put together a production quality CD, look into getting this done, you'll like it.

The end product is a CD that stronger and richer and ready to make you stand up, put your fist in the air, and scream. Try not to do that if you are driving your car.

As mentioned earlier the mastered CD is available to anyone who already has the unmastered CD, after all, I feel that this is the version you paid to get. Treat this like a typical software release and this version has all the new features with a lot fewer bugs. Unfortunately due to limitations on disk space and bandwidth, the new version is not available for FTP downloads. Maybe one day in the future this will be the standard for distribution.

Until then you will have to send e-mail to and request that a new CD be sent out to you. That's all you have to do. There is no charge.

The new CDs will have a letter "M" printed on the label so that you will know that you are getting a mastered copy, but keep the old case and booklet since you will not receive a complete CD package.

How to order "A Dream of Death"

If you don't have a copy of the old version and want to get a copy of the mastered one, you'll have to do the following:

  • 1. Send me e-mail requesting the new CD and giving your address (if you prefer, you can send your address via snail mail)
  • 2. Mail $5 ($7 if overseas) and a note requesting the Fireaxe CD "A Dream of Death" to the following address. Include your return address.

Brian Voth
21426 Lake Forest Dr. Apt H
Lake Forest, CA, 92630 USA

If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, the CD is free of charge in exchange for the review. In this case all I need is the e-mail request. Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your magazine with the review in it when it is ready. 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 CD comes with a booklet filled with awesome art, all the lyrics, a picture of yours truly in his studio, and some information about the CD which can also be found on this website.

New Project Update

The new recording sessions for "Lovecraftian Nightmares" are almost complete. The bad news is that nagging equipment failures are holding up the release. I wanted the CD to be done already, but hey, what can I do? The new CD will not simply be a remastering of the old demo tape. Every song is being re-recorded with the latest technology available (at a reasonable price of course). The drums will be done with a world class drum machine. Bass guitar tracks will be added. The guitar tone will be greatly improved. And the vocals will be dramatically better than they were previously. Also, two new tracks "Whispers in the Night" and "Hounds of Tindalos" are being added to the CD. The two poems which became lyrics for those songs were penned by Octavio Ramos who not only follows well in Lovecraft's tradition but adds a new dark dimension as well. Octavio was fired up when he heard the test mix of his poem "Whispers in the Night" set to music. That is the true mark of success.

Artist Kevin Dvorscak has outdone himself in putting together the art for the new CD. From discomforting and intense to soft and bewitching the art mirrors the rich sound of the music and the dark meanings of the poems. Check out Kevin's e-portfolio and feel free to throw some business his way, he's quite a master at digital effects and computer graphics as you will soon see.

Also, keep an eye out for Georgia Papadakis whose spellbinding image will grace the CD booklet as the enigmatic Nathicana. She was voted "Goth babe of the week" on may 17, 1998, and for good reason, she's drop dead gorgeous. Stop by and visit her website.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this project is that I have not met with any of the people listed above personally. All three I found via the internet (or they found me), and communication has been mostly through e-mail with some necessary snail mail. The new CD is truly proof that the internet is a powerful tool which can bring creative people together to produce much more than each one could do by themselves.

Down but not out

For those of you who love the Swedish Metal Inquisition you are probably wondering why the link to that site no longer works. Johan, the owner of that wild and heavy site made the mistake of putting some Jenna Jameson pictures up on his site and discovered a week later that over 5Gb of traffic had occurred as hundreds of fanatics swarmed his site downloading the gifs. Unfortunately the traffic exceeded his 1Gb per month limit and his ISP shut him down. He'll be back, and with a much better ISP. His new one is giving him a shitload of disk space to work with. Look for something damned impressive coming from Johan in the very near future.

Personally I'd like to think that the controversial nature of Fireaxe music is in some way responsible for Johan getting his site shut down, but it looks like that's just wishful thinking.

The meaning of the songs - "Fall to the Flame" and "Nemesis"

Some of you have written to me wanting to know what a particular song means. One good use of this newsletter would be to tell you all what the songs mean (at least to me) as well as give some other comments about how they were written and anything else interesting. This issue will look at two very dark but spirited Fireaxe songs, "Light of Day" and "Despair".

Fall to the Flame. Facing the fact that you are going to die one day is not an easy thing to do. A lot of people are simply terrified of that fact and do as much as they can not to think about it. Others cling to religious beliefs which assure them that life never ends. These people never truly face death, which is something that I think is essential to do, otherwise you spend your life living in fear.

People realize that they will die at a young age, often before they reach adolescence, thus the song addresses the listener as "young one". I tried to capture the fear and anxiety surrounding this discovery with some fast paced riffing and tense opening lyrics:

"The truth had set your mind on fire and was no more a friend.
Pleasures always fleeting in a world that has an end.
Powerless and trembling and feeling left behind.
Life losing its meaning as fear engulfs your mind."

Death makes us all feel profoundly powerless. It's inevitable. There's nothing you can do about it. That makes many people feel extremely uncomfortable and they'll do anything to make that feeling go away. Of course, any human need as intense as the fear of death is ripe for exploitation, and organized religion is there to do the exploiting. They sell their story of eternal life in exchange for money and obedience.

Not everyone falls for this line, but they still embrace religion as a way of avoiding having to face death. Some even make up their own belief system which is basically just an adaptation of what organized religion sells. I think they are just fooling themselves, thus the passage:

"And when you look inside yourself the answer's no surprise,
You find only reflections of the things you know are lies."

There are worse things than death. One of them is spending your life living in fear. Another is living in a world driven by it. Obedience is gained through fear, so if you want to be free, you'll need to be free of fear.

Nemesis. This song is pretty cool. I came up with a great riff for it, added some nifty keyboard interludes and packed it full of gripping solos. The downside is that I repeated my great riff far too many times when I put the song together. Hearing the same progression 10 times for the 10 verses is a little much for some people. So the best news about this song is that it will be undergoing a major facelift for the new "Lovecraftian Nightmares" CD.

Adding in complimentary second rhythm guitar parts breathes new life into this song. The old riff is preserved but only for the first song segment. An interesting variation takes its place for the second segment and the third segment is a radical departure at half speed. It works together well and the song is greatly improved. It feels more like a journey through time than a replay of the same scene over and over.

The poem itself is a scenic tour through the life of the planet earth. The narrator has lived through life after life and has seen the wonders and horrors of the universe. True to the title, the narrator is pursued by his nemesis. H.P. Lovecraft is never quite clear what the terrifying force is that surrounds the narrator, but that is in keeping with his style. The reader is awed in wonder of how powerful and wise the narrator is and is impressed by the sights the narrator has seen. The idea that someone as amazing as the one who is telling the story could ever be afraid of something is somewhat mind boggling. Lovecraft hides what this frightening thing is leaving it up to the reader's imagination to create a truly horrid and distinctly personalized idea of this dark and powerful cosmic force.

The Future

Re-recording the songs on the "Lovecraftian Nightmares" demo tape, adding a couple more Lovecraftian poems set to music, and putting them on a CD is the current Fireaxe project. This will improve the quality of these songs tremendously as well as give me a chance to add some things to the songs that I couldn't before due to equipment limitations. Also, there are two poems that one Fireaxe listener has submitted that are excellent and that I have promised to set to music, one of which is already complete. I am pleased to announce that "Whispers in the Night" and "Hounds of Tindalos" by Octavio Ramos will be included on the Lovecraftian Nightmares CD. Recording on this CD is almost complete and it is shaping up to be quite an impressive work.

Over the last year, I've been thinking of some new song ideas revolving around a theme of religious warfare, fundamentalism, and ideological conflict. Although we feel safe in our modern world that open warfare and chaos cannot happen in our "sane" and "stable" society, nothing could be further from the truth. Volatility seems to be at an all time high for the latter half of this century. Throughout the world people are embracing extremism in greater and greater numbers. These people's beliefs are far outside the mainstream and they are willing to commit all manner of atrocity to support those beliefs. It appears that this situation will only escalate. The next Fireaxe CD (after "Lovecraftian Nightmares") will explore this theme. It will examine why people embrace radical ideologies, explore the emotions which typify extremism, and study the seeds of violence which are prevalent in our society. The CD will be titled "Food for the Gods" meaning that WE are the food for the gods. Any extremist ideology is effectively "God" and people are slaughtered or enslaved in that God's name (i.e. the ideology feeds on the bodies of the slain and beaten down). The CD will fit loosely around the themes in "A Dream of Death" but will explore the more violent aspects of belief in depth. If you ever wondered what drives a person to kill and commit horrible acts, "Food for the Gods" will try to answer that question. It will be an extremely intense CD.

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 required to crank the song "I Am the Destroyer of Dreams" as loud as you can at least once in your life. Singing along is optional but highly recommended.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. Fireaxe will not be held responsible for the destruction of hopes and dreams that may come while listening to this CD. Also, any subsequent social revolution which follows from this CD is simply not my fault. It's all part of the big picture. Just listen to the disk and you'll understand what I mean.
  • 8. 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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