The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 5.2

February 5, 2002

"you must utterly destroy them, you shall make
no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them."
- Jehovah to Moses regarding how to deal
with the inhabitants of the promised land - and
seemingly the driving force behind Israel's
current Palestinian policy.

Everyone is a victim demanding the right to victimize others. Even those who mock the cries of "Everyone’s a victim" feel victimized by those seeking compensation and feel a desire to righteously punish the whiners for their protestations. It is the modern way to grab the moral high ground of self defense regardless of whether it is warranted. Whether you're a laid-off employee with your retirement reduced to nothing, a wealthy executive assailed by forces beyond your control, a politician fighting against a sea of corruption, a lawyer defending the rule of law, a leader protecting his people and his nation from hostile forces, a soldier under siege, a warrior seeking to liberate and avenge, or one of many thousands of mothers and fathers weeping over the corpse of a fallen child, the feeling is the same: justice must be served. It is the legacy of Christ that the fallen and the weak can wield such influence, for while the power to kill and destroy will sway or silence many, the voiceless victims’ cries speak louder to others, and martyrdom becomes the most powerful motivating force. But in a world where all are victims and all seek champions, or seek to be a champion, the warfare knows no end. Every act of justice for one group is an act of injustice for another. The victims fall like dominos, each becoming a new martyr, and the world burns ever hotter.

Fireaxe recording is also burning hotter as not one but two new cuts from "Food for the Gods" are available at Also, the seven part series "On the Origins of Violence" has been compiled into a single document and is available on the net.

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

Rough cuts from the Fireaxe studio - "Heresy" and "The Covenant"


Recording on the next Fireaxe CD, "Food for the Gods" is currently underway. The digital studio is working out very well and the sound quality is another major step up from that previously attained in "Lovecraftian Nightmares". The third and fourth preview tracks are now available as mp3s for free.

The name of the third preview track is "Heresy" and "Food for the Gods" turns to Egyptian history for inspiration. For this track the subject is Akenaten, also known as the "heretic pharaoh", who lived a short but dramatic life in the thirteenth century B.C. Even as far back as Akenaten's time, Egypt was a very old civilization with gods who had been worshipped for thousands of years. The exploits of the gods and their Pharaoh descendants were written in stone that had endured for thousands of years and would endure for thousands more. Such a long standing tradition and culture is almost impossible to break a civilization away from, but that is what Akenaten did. Not only did he throw down every god that the Egyptians worshipped, but he dismissed the priests who supported those gods, discarded the holy capital of Egypt, and took his followers up the Nile to the site of their new holy city, Amarna. There they would worship a single god, Aten, the sun disk, and forget about Isis, Ra, Horace, Osiris, and all the other gods. Akenaten’s rebellion could have very well been the most dramatic act of heresy in history.

It was also a power grab, and was most likely in response to The growing number of gods and priests who sought to share the power and wealth of the Pharaoh. All gods demand tributes, and the gods' priests are the ones who are the (ahem, ahem) caretakers of those tributes. As new gods were added to the pantheon, either by conquering a people and adding their god or gods as subservient to the all father or by Breakaway cults who are brought back into the fold, the Pharaoh’s power is slowly eroded. Even within one big happy pantheon there is infighting and the power struggle between the King and the priests (Prime minister and members of parliament, President and Congress) continues in a similar fashion to this day.

Akenaten sought to take absolute power and dismissed not only the gods and priests, but the generals as well. In modern times this would not have been possible, a military coup would have happened immediately, but in ancient Egypt the Pharaoh's word was law, and while not as all powerful as it was in centuries past (not all Egyptians followed him to Amarna), the Pharaoh's word was enough to keep him in power until the day he died. After his death though, the priests and generals moved quickly to regain power over Egypt and nearly succeeded in erasing his name and memory from history entirely. Akenaten’s blood line was severed and his city was destroyed. Such is the price of heresy.

History remembers Akenaten as a charismatic, romantic, and rebellious figure and the Fireaxe track presents him in this heroic role. But his story is an epic tragedy as his dream to create a simple and peaceful new civilization that would unify the world ended in ruin. Many other leaders since then have tried to do this very same thing and ended up meeting similar or more grisly fates. How often has the world witnessed a charismatic religious figure who leads his people to a utopia only to see it come crashing down is horrifying fashion. The moral of the story is painfully clear, while gods can bring war easily enough, they cannot bring peace.

The track "Heresy" captures the revolutionary spirit of the time and also of Akenaten's rise in becoming the world's first monotheist. Sing along with the chorus of "Smash all the statues and desecrate the temples" and listen for one of my favorite lines, "But what will become of the priests? I care not for a false god’s whores". Sentiments which reverberate strongly in modern times. Also in the track, but not in the preview, are a Gregorian chant (me x5) and a section of Akenaten's beautifully written "Hymn to Aten" set to music. But you'll have to wait for the disc to hear those two parts.

The Covenant

The name of the fourth preview track is "The Covenant" and gets its inspiration from the Old Testament, specifically the first five books. This, of course, would make you think that it is a fearsome and punishing track, and indeed it is. One thing about setting ancient writings to music is that the music breathes life into the words. It is one thing to read a poem or hymn about a god or king and get a feel for the beauty, admiration, power, vengefulness, and epic nature of the work, it is another to hear it blasting out of a large pair of speakers. In "The Covenant" I get to sing/scream the words of the god Jehovah as he lays down the punishments and commands obedience from his early Jewish followers. It wasn't until I was finished with the guitar, bass, and vocals and played it back that I really got the feel for how cruel a god Jehovah is made out to be. Considering how he treated his "chosen people" one might ask what is was that they were chosen for, endless suffering?

How behaviors flow from beliefs is demonstrated clearly in the track as well as in the Old Testament as Jehovah's absolute rule of law and extreme punishments are lived out by Joshua and the house of Israel as they conquered and the promised land and utterly destroyed all it’s inhabitants. This is comparable to the cycle of violence where an abused child becomes an abusive parent. In the Old Testament, this cycle is given divine reinforcement. The god is a punishing god and so are it’s people.

Of course, there is the matter of whether or not the exodus and Joshua's conquests really happened at all. Archeologists have yet to dig up any evidence to support any biblical history prior to the death of King David, and only one fragment has ever been dug up to support the existence of David outside of the bible. The consensus is that such dramatic events such as those portrayed in the bible would have some kind of supporting evidence such as obvious signs of total destruction in the ruins of the towns that Joshua is said to have destroyed or some mention of the exodus in the meticulously kept Egyptian records. I'm of the opinion that while the bible contains many obvious exaggerations, the basic outline of events is probably accurate. Amongst the myths and unbelievable numbers is probably a story of a large group of refugees led by a charismatic and probably schizophrenic man who heard the commanding voice of god in his head and imposed its will upon his followers. People raised under the abusive power of such a person would likely be abusive themselves and would be capable of such destruction that is told of in the bible, but probably not on the scale that the bible would have us believe. The house of Israel was probably somewhere in between a marauding band of thieves and a fanatical religious cult. Since then it has of course mellowed out, but a strong devotion to the ancient covenant still lives in modern Judaism and one wonders how much those ancient stories influence modern events.

You can download and listen to the new tracks at the Fireaxe IUMA site

One recurring theme in the Old Testament is how often the early Jews turned away from Jehovah and embraced idol worship. If the bible is to be taken literally this seems absurd. How could anyone, after seeing acts of god with their own eyes over and over again actually doubt the existence of such a deity? The real problem is that the Jews were the first people to try to believe in a completely imaginary god. While other gods of that time were the ancestors of kings and who had statues and reliefs carved of them, and who had pyramids and ziggurats built for them, Jehovah had none of these and specifically commanded that none be made. Without statues and representations, it was difficult for the primitive mind to grasp the concept of a god. It was perhaps the equivalent as rocket science is today. So many believers were not able to believe strongly enough in Jehovah and worshipped other gods. But the completely imaginary god concept had its strength when it came to surviving after being conquered. If someone's religious beliefs are dependent on statues and holy structures, destroying these things destroys their faith and enables the conquering army to impose a new faith on the people who would eventually adopt it in the absence of their own. But those whose beliefs did not require any physical representations could hold onto their religious beliefs during an extended period of enslavement and even pass their beliefs down to their children so that their religion could survive for centuries within a foreign culture. It is this mental discipline, enforced through the fear of a strict, punishing god, that enabled Judaism to survive while the pagan religions of the middle east conquered each other and eventually fell to ruin.

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

The Future

Over the years, 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.

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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