The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 3.1

Dec 4, 1999

"Say it doesn't matter, give in to the machine.
There's much to keep you satisfied upon the TV screen."
- Fireaxe "DeathMachine" - (Official song of the Seattle WTO conference)

Welcome to the New World Order, have some tear gas.

While the haves divide the world's wealth among themselves in Seattle, we can still freely trade MP3 files on the internet. The internet underground metal infrastructure is growing day by day thanks to people like you. Spending a little extra time adding links, following leads, spreading the word, and exploring strange new worlds helps to grow the metal web. It won't be long before commercial interests are flooding the net in an attempt to drown us out. Let's make sure our parts of the net stay afloat.

"Lovecraftian Nightmares" is enjoying a successful release. Positive comments continue to roll in. Also, high quality MP3 files of all the tracks from the new CD are available on the internet for free. And a chaotic band whose drummer is a Fireaxe listener makes its wild debut on

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

More reviews of "Lovecraftian Nightmares"

The positive reviews keep rolling in:

"During more tranquil stanzas, the music is mellow and soothing.
The guitars take a more classical sound, and on some tracks there's a soft
piano (okay, keyboard) accompaniment. But as the horror rears its ugly
head, the drums, bass, and heavier guitars really kick in to drive the terror

"Voth's vocals are well-suited to both the music and the subject
matter. He packs a lot of feeling and emotion into every track, whether
he's reciting or singing the stanzas."

"The end result is a haunting tribute that any Lovecraft fan is
sure to enjoy." - Mike Oliveri

"(Fireaxe) gives us an amazing experience with this album, the
record has so many different moods and musical parts..."

"He has many long running songs, like 'Nathicana' and 'Nemesis',
and these songs are two of my favorites. These two tracks take you through
a voyage through the music, they bring me new things every time I hear
them." - Johnny Angelund

"I thought your Lovecraftian album to be an excellent, original
piece of work that honours the old poems well. Your voice has an unearthly
quality to it, which reminds me a bit of Rush, but then again, any voice not
of this Earth, reminds one of Rush." - Mike "JD" Sorvani

"Haunting rhythms and pro vocals sounded all great. And I do
admit, the first track (Beyond Zimbabwe) truly did blow me away."
- Carlo DeShouten

"There is 10 tracks on this CD! And their highlights are: 'The
Outpost' a 8minutes long saga that reminds me a lot of those Kings of
Metal 'Manowar'. There is some great Guitar playing on this song, Brian
really likes to use a lot of Distortion. "Nemesis" A 11 minutes long Metal
Anthem! "Festival" a really good Ballad, again with some great Guitar
playing! This song sounds like a mixture of Queensryche and those
Viking albums that Bathory did."
- Wally

Thanks to all of you who've shared your opinions. Art needs an audience.

How to order "Lovecraftian Nightmares"

Order your copy of the second Fireaxe CD "Lovecraftian Nightmares" by doing 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 "Lovecraftian Nightmares" to the following address. Make sure to 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, a picture of yours truly in his studio, and some information about the CD which can also be found on this website.

Free Fireaxe MP3s for "Lovecraftian Nightmares"

Once again Jarmo Tolvanen has converted an entire Fireaxe CD to MP3 format and put it up on the net for all to enjoy. He uses 160kbs sampling which gives a quality superior to that which you can get from (128kbs). So now anyone with a modem, winamp, and a little patience can enjoy nearly two and a half hours of Fireaxe completely free of charge. Both "A Dream of Death" and "Lovecraftian Nightmares" can be found on his website.

or go directly to the Fireaxe users page.

You are more than welcome to download, play, burn to CD, distribute, or do whatever you want to with those files. The only thing you can't do is sell them for a profit. If you do I'll find out and I'll make life very painful for you. I have connections that would make Randolph Carter quite envious (and rather terrified).

Gortician invades

Jason Christie is completely nuts, he's also a drummer for a death metal band, but I repeat myself. Seriously, one of my favorite internet personalities has taken his own brand of music and strange sense of humor to the ranks of His is a site to behold. It looks more like he hacked his way into and slammed up whatever code he felt like rather than set up a normal site, but anyone who knows anything about Gortician knows that the chaos couldn't be any more appropriate.

And speaking of chaos, one song that is a must for anyone who thinks that they have heard it all musically is "Alien Abduction - Minderaser". The song is over seven minutes of audio horror. It is a digital barrage of noise, samples, screams, and death metal that will definitely challenge you musically. It's not for everyone, and a lot of people will find it hard to appreciate, but if you enjoying peering over the ragged edge of sanity now and again this song is right up your alley.

While you're waiting for the download to complete, look at the rest of the page. It's a blast.

Don't say that I didn't warn you.

The meaning of the songs - "All in Flames" and "Where's the Sun?"

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 continue to look at the songs off the Fireaxe CD "A Dream of Death" with the seventh and eighth tracks, "All in Flames" and "Where's the Sun?".

All in Flames. This is an epic Fireaxe song which charges through a number of movements at breakneck speed. The song was crafted to represent the ferocious war between the protagonist and the powers that be. The music reflects this conflict with speed, power, and an overarching sense of grandeur. This is the protagonist's final assault on the world which has caused him so much pain. He harnesses, redirects, and unleashes his pain upon the world in an attempt to destroy the dreams that enslave it.

The opening line sets the stage for the song:

"Damn the false prophets and the true believers, full speed ahead!"

The music breaks into a very fast rhythm with pulsed double bass drumming which gives it the power and feel of a locomotive. The sound is intense and doesn't let up for several minutes, shifting from strong lyrical lines to guitar solos and back again. The protagonist attacks what the world holds the most sacred: God, Joy, Dreams, and the Future. The challenges eventually attract the attention of the powers that be who fight back in their defense. The music changes depending on which side is speaking and meshes together well. The protagonist's challenges are made backed by energetic speed metal while the powers that be are backed with thunderous power metal.

The conflict shifts back and forth until the protagonist realizes that the powers that be are hiding behind their dreams. He changes tactics and accuses them of blinding themselves with lies in a much slower and rather dark section of the song.

Enraged, the powers that be pass judgment on the protagonist and accuse him of trying to destroy the world. He is sentenced to death. The music changes to match the despair and laments of the protagonist. His challenges were never answered, only brushed aside. He is swallowed whole by a world in denial.

I really enjoy the final solo guitar part, it stands in such contrast to the way the song begins over 11 minutes earlier. Who would have thought a song that began so fast and full of energy would end up so slow and sorrowful. The song is truly epic, capturing the plight of the protagonist wonderfully.

The four sacred concepts that are attacked in the song are all prevalent in the world today and each could use a good debunking. The first is God, an unfalsifiable concept which can only be proven to exist via circular logic or an unsupported claim. The second is Joy, the necessary compliment to pain and suffering. The third is the Dream, the promise of a better future in exchange for hardship today. And the fourth is the Future, more specifically a better future for the children. The assault on this concept is truly brutal:

"Don't you see the pain your children
suffer on the brutal rack?
Don't you see the fear you teach them
as you force them to adopt your dreams?"

"The dream needs your kids to remove
all the pain in the world
but they must be taught on the rack
which propagates all of the pain
makes it worse makes them hurt makes
them need a more powerful dream
to ease the pain makes it worse
and they pass it all down to their children."

Instead of making the world better for our children we only make it worse. We infuse them with our fears, our pain, our anxieties, and all that torments us. We try to alleviate their suffering by passing down our empty concepts of God, Joy, and Dreams. And finally we charge them with the task of fixing a world that is becoming more fierce, competitive, and hostile with every passing generation. They inherit a legacy of pain.

Faced with that kind of reality what choice do we have but to cling to our dreams and rationalize their absurdities? No reality can compare to the dreams that we have created. No person can give us what we request from our imagined gods. No reward can satisfy us compared to those in the distant future or which await us after our death. And no Joy compares to that gained from the release from a greater pain than you have ever known before. It is not that we do not want to face reality, it is that we cannot bear to do so. We are dependent on our illusions.

Where's the Sun? I consider this to be one of the best Fireaxe songs of all. At times I think it is the best. It captures the existential fear of the protagonist so well, flowing perfectly from the ending phrases of "All in Flames" and descending down into a dark and silent emotional pit. The goal of any art form is to make the person experiencing it feel the same emotions that the artist is trying to convey. I feel that I've done so with "Where's the Sun" better than I have with any other song.

The music begins with a pair of layered guitars played with a two second delayed echo. I'd played around with the delayed echo for years and liked what I could do with it, but I never found a good place to use it until this song. The layered harmony sounds beautiful in the context of the song. It is like wave after wave of rain washing over you, taking you deeper and deeper into the song. The solos add to both the mood and the harmony, superimposing themselves upon the music like fleeting memories.

In the second half of the song the distorted rhythm guitars kick in. The waves of rain have given way to a torrential downpour that is drowning the listener. The lyrics give way to a single wailing lament "Where's the Sun?" which itself is lost in a beautifully layered descending solo guitar part. The delay works well at the end making the fade out ebb and flow like the tide. The listener disappears into a sea of entropy.

My favorite verse of the CD occurs in this song:

"I never wanted to live forever,
rejoice in heaven or be born again and again.
All I ever wanted was just a simple pleasure,
to be alive, and feel the warmth of the sun."

"Where's the Sun?"

It eloquently captures the theme of the CD. It symbolizes not only the plight of the protagonist, but that of the entire human race. Humans are simple creatures who once lived at peace with the world. There was no need for dreams to insulate them from reality, and death was not feared. Perhaps their lives were like ours during those long summer days when we were young. We had no cares or concerns and the world seemed eternal. But one thing is certain, and that is that we cannot go back. Once a child is indoctrinated into the world of fear and pain, no simple pleasure can fill the void, but the romantic image of a much simpler time can only serve as yet another elusive dream.

Although the story could easily end with this revelation, there is one more chapter yet to be written. The bottom has not yet been reached.

The Future

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 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.

In light of the recent Columbine High School incident, and the following Conyers, Georgia shooting (a city one Fireaxe listener hails from), it's become apparent that the eventual release of "Food for the Gods" might meet with a lot of objections. The CD will glorify violence in parts, it will be graphic, it will be intense, and it will capture all manner of 'negative' emotions. I feel that there is simply no other way to approach the subject matter. One song planned for the CD will be an examination of the explosive suicide trend which has swept not only through our high schools, but through the general public as well. One thing I could do is to scrap my plans for the CD and produce something more socially acceptable. I won't. Another thing I could do is put up a false righteousness and claim that the CD is really against violence. It isn't. What I will do is stay true to my concept and produce the CD that I envision. In other words, "Damn the false prophets and the true believers, full speed ahead!".

The opposition to violence in art and media is truly hypocritical. Watching Bill Clinton proclaiming that "violence is not the answer" while at the same time bombing the crap out of Serbia and Kosovo is truly the pinnacle of cognitive dissonance. He says one thing and does another. If there is any message coming from the White House, it is that when you can't get what you want, violence is the solution. Columbine is only a reflection of the big picture. The big picture is what I will attempt to reveal in "Food for the Gods".

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 "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?
  • 6. 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.
  • 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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