The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 6.3

March 25, 2003

"So as the rulers spread their order,
to satisfy their people and gods,
from the hatred of the denied
would emerge the sum of all fears."
- Fireaxe "The Last Man"

The truth within the simple quote above reveals the futility of our attempts to achieve final victory. For every hideous creature which is dispatched by the righteous conquerors, another always seems to rise in its place. And while those in power grasp at their false dichotomies to explain why "evil" springs forth from a seemingly ever-flowing font none dare to raise the issue of their own complicity in fanning the fires of their own destruction.

Fear is the most powerful emotion of all and all rulers use it to control their people. People fear both the terrible punishments that can be inflicted by those in power as well as the removal of the things they need most in order to live and thrive. Fear can take many forms: physical, emotional, and psychological; and all people are susceptible to it in one way or another. Civilization itself is built upon making people as fearful as possible in order to motivate them to a degree necessary to survive and conquer in a hostile world, for what builds the terrifying weapons of war, motivates soldiers to fight in the face of a ruthless foe, and drives us to achieve greatness in any form and at any cost other than the fear that if we do not do these things we will lose everything that we hold dear? Fear is the catalyst for all that we do.

But fear is both a source of strength and a source of vulnerability. The stronger our fears make us, the more vulnerable we become, and many civilizations have been driven to the point of paranoia and beyond in their quest to survive in our modern world. Fear is power, and those who can elicit peopleís fears become stronger and can challenge for supremacy if they are proficient enough in the art of turning fear into purpose. What we call terrorism is nothing new, it is merely the modern manifestation of what those in power fear the most. The reaction is nothing new either, the use of overwhelming force to strike fear into the heart of all who dare disobey is as old as civilization itself. Terror is met with more terror, with the victors gaining the authority to determine which terrifying tactics are righteous and which are atrocities.

But humans cannot cower forever, and all rulers are assailed from without and within by challengers who have built up the nerve to not shrink from the lionís roar. They forge new weapons of fear to counter those used against, rise to power and overthrow those in power and then resolve to force a new order upon the world. But though they may claim to be relieving the world of itís burdens, order can only be enforced in one way, and the new rulers must wield more power than the old rulers did to keep the old rulers from rising again. This is as true in democracies as it is in Fascist states, Communist countries, and Totalitarian regimes. The US is the leader of the world in fear with its politicians and media pumping both minor anxieties and nightmarish scenarios into the minds of adults and children relentlessly. Ours is a culture of fear spread by all those in power, not just the government, in order to craft public resolve towards each leaderís purpose.

But as we spread out fears, others are sure to adopt our methods, find our weaknesses, and develop their own ways of striking fear into our hearts. Our fears will be our undoing, and the cycle will repeat itself until the worst fear of all is realized.

The spread of horror and fear are more than just headlines, they are the subjects of the latest rough cut from "Food for the Gods". "Failure of the Fathers" is a powerful and aggressive cut describing how every generation fails to solve the problems of the world and passes even more down to the next generation. Fireaxe is on the homestretch for completion of this epic musical project and it appears that, barring some major disruption, a mid-year release will become a reality. Lastly, Fireaxe is also in need of one or more talented artists to create some of the art for "Food for the Gods". If this is you, or you know someone who can generate cool images on their computer. Send me an e-mail.

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

Call for a graphic artist

Itís getting to be that time when I need to start thinking about the non-musical aspects of "Food for the Gods". The most pressing of which is finding someone to share the workload for doing the art for the CD. Iíll be putting all the words into a booklet, which is going to make the booklet quite large. And since Iíd like to put imagery related to each track in the booklet, itís going to take a lot of work. If anyone out there is interested. Show me your stuff. If you know anyone who is interested, let them know about this opportunity. You donít need to be a professional artist, you just need to be good, and you will get paid for your efforts. My goal is to create a thing of beauty. The insert imagery doesnít have to be cover art quality, it just has to look cool and add to the overall mood of the track in question. It should be something youíd enjoy looking at while listening to the CD and reading the lyrics as you went along. If this sounds like something that youíd like to be a part of, or if you know someone whoís good at this sort of thing, send me an e-mail. Also, if you are Kevin Dvorscak, send me an e-mail as your old address no longer works. I could use your help again.

Rough cut from the Fireaxe studio - "Failure of the Fathers"

Recording on the next Fireaxe CD, "Food for the Gods" is moving along steadily. 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 fourteenth preview track is now available as an mp3 for free.

The name of the fourteenth preview track is "Failure of the Fathers" and it is a fiery slice of venomous Fireaxe powerthrash. From the opening lines to the final screams it is filled with energy and vitriol that will rock you out of your skull for four heart stopping minutes. Like many other cuts on "Food for the Gods" it is part of a longer piece, this one titled "On Earth as it is in Hell", which takes the listener down the steep descent into the dark world of the future. The forces driving us are described and their consequences are revealed. The world descends into extremism and the earth is turned into a flaming ball.

There are many possible "singles" that could come off of "Food for the Gods": "Chariot", "Cut or be Cut", and "Where Eagles Fly" come to mind provided I deftly chop them out of their longer works to make them palatable for a market with a short attention span. But I think that "Failure of the Fathers" is probably the one track in the project that would be the one that people latch onto as being the essence of Fireaxe. Of course, each time I thought I knew which track on a CD would be the most popular I have been proven wrong, so thereís no telling what you will like. But "Failure of the Fathers" has a great chorus that you can sing along with and a brutal theme that should keep it off any play list in the U.S. since it could be construed, properly, as dissention. In any case itís a personal favorite of mine and Iím sure that you will enjoy it as well.

The music is fast and heavy and lets up only once to drop a bombshell on the listener. Youíll be buried in metal, burned with guitar solos, lacerated with razor sharp vocals, and deafened by pounding bass and drum work. This is an auditory weapon of mass destruction. The UN will be inspecting my studio after it comes out. Hans Blix will demand that all copies of it be destroyed. Yes, itís that ferocious. Itís going to tear you a new asshole and then stick its fist in it. The CD is going to be released with bandages and antibiotics. Itís a freaking biohazard. Your modem is going to start smoking when you download it. Be warned.

It seems Iím getting ahead of myself for the April foolís edition.

The thrust of "Failure of the Fathers" is not that fathers do a bad job of raising their children and it would be all too easy to dismiss the track as being the product of a son who is lashing out at his father. But although the problems of our society are inevitably passed down from generation to generation from parent to child, the meaning of the track is concerned with fathers in the more general sense. The fathers of our civilization are priests, leaders, politicians, generals, and those who had a hand in crafting the laws we live by. History shows us that despite their best efforts, the institutions that so many "fathers" worked so hard to establish are now relegated to pages in old books that few ever read. And while our modern institutions seem more robust than those of old and promise to last forever, widespread corruption throughout many of these bastions is clearly evident today. One only need pick up the daily paper to see politicians forcing their singular will on democratic institutions, priests committing grave sins against innocents and trying to cover up their crimes, and business leaders who believe that nothing is illegal if you donít get caught doing it. Nothing is sacred, and as much as weíd like to think that uncovering corruption leads to reform, we tend to forget that the preventive acts of the past were not sufficient to stop the crimes of the present. How can we believe that a brighter future awaits us? One of my favorite lines from the track is in the second verse where parents pass down corrupt teachings to their children:

"We feed them our fears and we feed them our hatred.
We show them our anger and make them obey us.
We promise them hope and we fill them with dreams,
and we show them our gods but instead all they see is the
(chorus) Failures of the fathers."

How many of us have rejected the things that we have been taught by our parents, leaders, and other authorities? It seems to be the natural way of the world, but breaking from tradition every few years is hardly natural. Of course, clinging to the past is a fast ticket to becoming obsolete, so we really have no choice. Our fathers have failed to make a lasting impression on the earth and we are dragged into service to fix what was broken long ago. But despite whether we believe it to be futile or not, our survival depends on trying to build a new future and so we make our best efforts to create new and lasting institutions that we can only hope will stand the test of time. Or at least stand the test of our lifetime. How many problems have we already decided to leave to future generations?

In the process the world slowly descends into hell. The cry of "On Earth as it is in Hell" is not an appeal to some sort of anti-Christian theology, it is a statement that things on earth are becoming more like the mythical lake of fire rather than the equally mythical divine paradise, and all this during a time when the most powerful leaders in the world profess to be Christian. Although it is rationalized away in the US, several presidents have conspired to essentially torture a half million Iraqi children to death with economic sanctions due to their leaderís refusal to meet US demands. As a piece de resistance, the current president has decided to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into inflicting even greater suffering on Iraq while ignoring massive domestic suffering due to a collapsing economy. Corruption and favoritism between the administration and choice US corporations can be measured in billions of dollars, and all this is from a man who feels that he is led by the Christian god. This is the failure of the fathers beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The track "On Earth as it is in Hell" proceeds to reveal the hand of nature in the order of things:

"Just as the flowers, the grass, and the trees
fight a war over every piece of dirt.
Just as the insects, fish, and animals
are both predators and prey.
So do humans clash with each other
over words, ideas, and gods.
Chasing after their visions of peace
across a battlefield soaked with their blood."

We like to think of nature as being peaceful but it is anything but. Humans are merely acting out the roles of all living things while doing so with actions that get more extreme by the year. Modern survival strategies are too complicated to be coded in our genes, and now they must take the form of dynamic ideologies which demonstrate extreme aggression and a predatory nature. We rationalize these characteristics away to give us hope for the future while displaying the same merciless qualities common in the most voracious and predatory life forms found on earth. Furthermore, we construct elaborate word games to rationalize, justify, and convince others to do our bidding because words are as powerful as the battlefieldís most powerful weapons. Both are the tools of war. And all ideologies are becoming more extreme, not just the ones whose followers are attacking us, with the conflicts taking a far greater toll than ever before.

I see this as continuing to a natural conclusion, one which I describe in "On Earth as it is in Hell". Iíll try not to spoil the ending of the song but I will say that at some point in our future someone will create the ultimate weapon. Such a thing would be feared by all and thus would establish a new order, but all threats must one day be delivered upon and the ultimate weapon will be used.

So that wraps it up for all life on earth. Where can I possibly go with the final remaining track for "Food for the Gods"? Youíll have to wait just a little longer to find out.

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

Fireaxe would like to thank all the fanatics world wide for doing their part to make the subject matter of "Food for the Gods" so relevant. Keep in mind that I had the entire script for the project laid out prior to September 11th, 2001. The events that have followed have given me a wealth of topical examples from which to draw and create a work that echoes through the past and up to the present day. So hereís to the Osamas, Saddams, Bushs, and Blairs of the world who are busy making the world safe for nihilism.

"Food for the Gods" to be a multi-CD project

One CD is not enough to contain "Food for the Gods" and I have no desire to try to force everything I want to put into this project on to an 80 minute disk. The average Fireaxe song is over 7 minutes long and seldom follows typical song structure. This is something that has been true since the very first release. Iíve never been one to follow musical conventions or to let arbitrarily defined limits impose on my creations, and thus the one CD limit on musical releases will not be an exception. "Food for the Gods" needs to span three CDs, and so three CDs it will be.

Which puts me in a quandary. The material I have lined up to record plus the time to mix and master everything could easily push the release to next year, perhaps even a year from now, and that is a long time for you to wait, especially since itís been a couple years since the last Fireaxe CD. I suppose that getting three CDs with "Food for the Gods" will make up for the long wait, but I feel obligated to offer something in the meantime, something more than a few mp3s to download to whet your appetite.

Iím reluctant to release "Food for the Gods" piecemeal, with the first CD coming out soon and the next in a year or so. Iíd like the work to be complete. Itís a concept project and I want to present it to you as a cohesive whole. However, for those of you out there who are hungry for a taste of the new project Iíd be happy to send you a copy of the first CD in unmastered form. There will be no booklet, no insert, no label, maybe just "Fireaxe - Food for the Gods" scribbled on the disk itself, but it would be packed with the very latest Fireaxe music.

Iíd be very interested in hearing what you think about this idea. Send me e-mail and give me your thoughts or to request an advance copy. Your feedback is appreciated.

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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