The Burning Blade

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 8.6

Sept 30, 2005

"And when it comes to merit, the word rings hollow within
our government, the music industry, and throughout our entire
social system. Of course, it's not as if those at the highest
levels of government or the bands that get the most airplay are
completely incompetent. They do have at least some merit. But
when comparing the credentials of those selected to those passed
over it's difficult to not be aghast at the injustice involved in the
selection process."
- The Burning Blade 8.5

It's always nice to have the real world produce a magnificent example of what I had been writing about in the previous newsletter. In the case of hurricane Katrina the incompetence at all levels of a crony ridden and sometimes merit-less government cost hundreds if not thousands of lives and inflicted untold suffering upon at least a million people. The price we pay for allowing our institutions to be continually mismanaged can be very high indeed.

Beyond massive incompetence, many horrid things were revealed after the hurricane and flood that followed, things that reveal how bad things have become in the United States such as the sorry state of our inner cities, the volatile animosity between the poor and the police, and the unconscionable degree to which infighting has dominated politics. Most of these things have been swept under the rug in the weeks since. After one week of angry journalists and often livid commentators asking difficult questions of their government and demanding satisfactory answers the press corps has turned from lions into kittens, running stories about loved ones being reunited and how wonderful the reconstruction effort is coming along. Only the head of FEMA lost his job and it appears that nothing else will change. It's back to business as usual.

The looting continues. The widely televised theft of plasma- screen TVs and tennis shoes by poor New Orleans residents and even some police officers pales in comparison to the graft and fraud which is digging deep into the billions of dollars of federal funds heading into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. We are already seeing a large number of no-bid contracts, excessive compensation awarded to favored contractors, millions of dollars awarded to faith-based charities aligned with the Republican party, the suspension of the minimum wage law, and the waving of many rules which protect the environment. One good example of the flood gates being thrown wide open to unaccountable expenditures is that the one-store spending limit on government backed credit cards given to federal officials has been raised from $2,500 to a quarter of a million dollars. Those cards were already notorious for misuse and fraud and now the amount of misappropriation will likely increase by a hundredfold.

To pay for it all the U.S. government plans to borrow even more from foreign central banks. No surprise there. Despite majority public support for repealing tax cuts and/or bugging out of Iraq to help pay for the reconstruction effort neither course of action will be followed. Red ink is now as American as apple pie, just ask the growing number of U.S. homeowners who have no intention of paying off their mortgages in the foreseeable future. It is becoming the norm to cash out equity as if it were another source of income and spend it like there was no tomorrow while debt grows and grows. Financial solvency has been redefined as having just enough income to pay the interest on what you owe. There is little or no room for unforeseen problems.

It's hard not to draw comparisons between the current state of the US economy and the New Orleans flood. In both cases we are living dangerously below sea level, protected by inadequate levees, and spending money on frivolous things instead of thinking about the future and what hazards it might bring. We've all seen the results and I foresee that sometime soon the world will see America's bloated corpse floating in a sea of debt. I'm not looking forward to such an event. I'd prefer to be completely wrong. But I must respect the destructive forces of nature, and of human nature as well.

Speaking of destructive forces, "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" is one track away from being completely written. Only the centerpiece remains, an epic and dramatic conclusion to a dark and brutal tale. The recording process will begin later this year and I am itching to get back into the grind. My health continues to improve as modern medicine continues to win out over modern infections. I'm glad for that. The last thing that I want is to put out a half-assed effort. I feel that you guys deserve both buttocks.

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

The Future of "A Dream of Death" - listeners respond

In the previous newsletter I asked Fireaxe listeners your opinions about what should be done about "A Dream of Death". I was on the fence between investing the time and energy into re-recording something that I've already done before versus producing a version of "A Dream of Death" that sounded as good or better than "Food for the Gods". So I decided to let you decide for me. The responses were positive and unanimous and thus the "Dream" will be reborn. Unless events conspire against such a project, the CD which Fireaxe will release after "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" will be a remake of the first Fireaxe CD. I'm already looking forward to recording it.

Now, if I weren't just one man working in a home studio and was instead a leader of five piece metal band, the natural thing to do would be to release a live CD featuring the tracks off of "A Dream of Death" recorded at some famous venue in front of thousands of screaming fans. And though that would be very cool, for now I will be satisfied with cranking it out on my Mac. Of course, I can always dream.

Fireaxe removes Wikipedia again

Those bastards! I've been WikiPeedOn!

For some reason the Fireaxe entry on Wikipedia has been completely removed for the second time. I'm not sure why. It’s possible that it might have fallen under the self-promotion clause, but then, they do have rather elaborate pages for Britney Spears and Aerosmith. Another possibility is that there weren't enough contributions to it and lack of content is another reason WikiPedia gives for deleting a page. I'd like to find out why but the Wikipedia site is almost impenetrable when it comes to finding an e-mail address to send my queries. Thus, I think that giving up before I waste any more of my time probing their site for answers is probably the best option. I'll focus my future efforts on the Fireaxe home page.

Are all ideologies necessarily based on falsehoods?

The charge that some ideologies are based on falsehoods is an easy case to make, provided the examples that you use do not expose the ideologies that your audience embraces. If you address the inconsistencies of religious or political systems that your audience opposes, you will find the bar set remarkably low in terms of the support that you need to prove your case. However, if you directly challenge your audience's beliefs, you will likely find the bar for proof set either very high or placed completely out of reach altogether. That is the epitome of hypocrisy, but most of us fall into the trap. Ideology claims to be truth and thus must be victorious against any challenge. That being said, the topic that I discuss below opposes all ideologies simultaneously and so I realize that I'll need to stack my proofs up extremely high for even a modest amount of acknowledgement. Still, I think my case is quite strong.

The basis for my contention is rooted in the Fireaxe theory. Now, I'd like to point out once again that the Fireaxe theory is not an ideology and thus I'm not using one skewed perspective to supposedly invalidate all other skewed perspectives. There are more than enough essays of that nature in the world and I wouldn't want to add another. Instead, the Fireaxe theory is based on the idea of applying "Darwinistic" rules of survival to social systems and posits that the survival of an ideology depends not so much upon it being the truth, but upon it getting its members to behave in ways that propagate the beliefs of the system. One example of this argument is to theorize that Christianity has not survived for two thousand years because Jesus was actually the son of a god, but because the principles of delayed gratification and internalized morality inherent in the religion give its believers a strong work ethic and sense of trust in one another. It is obvious how people sharing these kinds of characteristics can survive and thrive in the world.

With the naturalistic framework that the Fireaxe theory provides I think that am able to dispassionately examine ideologies, not favoring any one or the other. My intent is to provide an analysis and understanding of the world and the role that ideology plays.

In previous issues of the Burning Blade I discussed the confrontational nature of both ideologies (Issue 7.6) and consciousness (Issue 8.2). To summarize, both ideologies and consciousness are constructed in opposition to a particular concept. This opposition is a permanent condition and it results in an individual or ideology being in constant conflict with some manifestation of that concept. For example, Christianity is built in opposition to the concept of Satan, which is perceived to manifest in many forms. For an individual, Satan is generally perceived as the urge to sin. For the ideology, Satan is often perceived as being the god of a rival religion. The persistent belief that Satan is alive in the world and must be confronted gives rise to a constant state of vigilance which motivates the members of the ideology towards self improvement, preparations for war, and many other behaviors which enhance individual and group survivability. To further extend this example, imagine two separate social groups with one being content to deal with problems as they come and the other worrying every day that a malevolent force will bring a natural disaster or war down upon them. One group will live in relative peace with a somewhat sedate lifestyle while the other will be very busy building stronger houses, levees, and manufacturing weapons of war. When a calamity hits, the group that is more prepared will stand a much better chance of survival, all of its hard work paying off, while the other group is completely at the mercy of mother nature. Furthermore, even if both groups survive despite various hardships, the group with the superior military strength will inevitably dominate the other, perhaps destroying it in the pursuit of more resources so that it can make further preparations against an imagined foe. History has not been kind to those groups which have fallen behind the curve.

There is a psychological price to pay for existing in a state of continuous danger. Stress takes its toll on the mind and some kind of relief or reward is required on a regular basis. Delayed gratification is central to most religions and most promise a wonderful reward for good behavior: eternal bliss in the realm of a loving deity or some variation on that theme. Whenever believers are down they can think about their heavenly reward for their perseverance in the face of adversity. Simply imagining such a realm is good enough for some people, such as the recently converted, but for most people, a tangible reward or a convincing sign that salvation will one day come is necessary to offset the rigors of a demanding ideology. Thus earthly rewards are required to support ideological beliefs. The rewards for exceptional service can take many forms with money and power being the most obvious, but there are limitations on these forms. Not everyone can be wealthy nor can everyone rise to the top of the hierarchy. For the rest, great rewards need to come in the form of some act or demonstration which serves to concretely remind members of the ideology that they will achieve future greatness, such as expanded freedoms, eternal salvation, or world domination. There are many rituals which serve to reinforce ideological beliefs in the mind of the believer. The most obvious is attending some sort of religious service, but patriotic celebrations, military parades, and the simple act of holding an election are equally important rituals for politically based ideologies. When a nation gathers around their television sets to watch their leader give an important speech it is not unlike a congregation sitting before a preacher who is giving a sermon. Like his religious counterparts, a nation's leader will always reinforce the idea that his ideology is correct, that his flock is on the right path, and that future rewards will be great indeed if everyone follows his prescribed plan of action. However, speeches, flag- waving, and promises of prosperity are often not enough to satisfy the population, especially in lean times when rewards are scarce. Thus, other ways must be found to reinforce the idea that one's ideology is right, just, and is making progress towards its goal. It is here where acts such as declarations of war, the burning of heretics, and the outright manufacture of falsehoods serve the critical purpose of keeping the faith by delivering rewards.

War is often a tool for the acquisition of more resources which allows for greater material rewards to be bestowed upon the victors, but war is also spun towards serving the deeply ideological purpose of proving the merits of the winner's belief system. A victory on a far-off battlefield is a victory for every member of the ideology, and the resulting feelings of power and joy can have the same psychological effect on someone as a sizable increase in their salary would have. Conquest makes the dream of future gains become more real in the minds of believers.

The burning of heretics and other forms of public punishment of critics and 'others' also serves to reinforce the idea that those who stand against the ideology are losing the struggle. Instead of a victory against a foreign enemy, purges serve as a sign of victory against the enemy within. Since ideologies have a confrontational nature, the world is seen as a great battleground which is divided into the rival camps of 'us' and 'them'. When 'they' lose or are punished, 'we' win and are rewarded, and the psychological benefits are very real.

And of course, those in power can always lie to the members of the ideology to make them believe that greatness will soon be upon them. It is unfortunate that this form of deception is working its way into the realms of hard science and economics. Bending scientific studies and economic data to fit political purposes is intellectual suicide. But for those convinced that things truly are different than the reported facts, the only conclusion is that the facts must be in error. This is a serious problem since the most dangerous liar is the liar who believes his own bullshit.

By understanding the need for psychological reinforcement of one's beliefs the pathological behaviors of ideologies can be understood. Torture, slaughter, and deception serve to reinforce ideological beliefs when other forms of rewards are either unavailable or are no longer effective. And because ideological demands and consciousness require a constant stream of rewards to offset the psychological stress of servitude, ideologies must continue to find ways to satisfy its members. The beasts must feed.

In a world of infinite resources it would be possible for ideologies to deliver satisfying rewards to its members without having to resort to reinforcement methods that victimize others. But the resources of the world are not infinite, and as ideologies grow and add members the needs for the rewards that those members feel entitled to bring ideologies into conflict. There is simply not enough coveted stuff to go around. One way to resolve this conflict is for the members of ideologies to be satisfied with less. Aside from being psychologically unpalatable, this solution is problematic in that those who have the motivation and ability to take resources from others also have a strong sense of entitlement. Those who back down or desire less will end up losing out to others who do not follow suit and will thus will end up with even less then they expected. The only way to get this solution to work is if everyone collectively diminishes their sense of entitlement and realizes that conflict is against the general interest. However, real world examples of attaining such a compromise have all ended in failure as the power to enforce such an order has always led to corruption, abuse, and the violation of the compromise.

Given this framework of understanding the world and how ideologies operate within it, I contend that all ideologies are necessarily based on falsehoods due to the fact that they must all make promises to their members that cannot be delivered. Ideological survival in a world of conflict requires that the members of ideologies fight with a greater fervor than their rivals if they are to achieve victory. Since a greater motivation to fight requires a greater promise of reward, two sides fighting for the same goal will have equal desire and thus be on equal psychological footing, but if one side both needs more and is promised more it will have an edge. Since the principal of delayed gratification is well conditioned for members of all ideologies the reward doesn't have to be delivered immediately in order to evoke the desired motivation. Promises cost little and rewards can be exaggerated far beyond what is available in reality. Yet they can still motivate. For instance, you can tell a group of soldiers that if they are victorious that each one of them will be able to live like a king on a vast stretch of land in the vanquished kingdom. But when the war is won, the land is divided, and economic realities set in, a much lower standard of living ends up being delivered. Now, would the soldiers have fought hard enough to win if they knew what their reward was really going to be? Perhaps not, but the falsehood has ensured the survival of the ideology. Of course, some promises do get delivered upon, but when viewed collectively they cannot all be met, and thus many of them will be exposed either as falsehoods or outright lies.

Ideological struggle demands increased motivational forces which results in the escalation of future rewards. From this perspective it's no wonder why several modern religions maintain that their god is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful and that obedience will be rewarded with rapturous joy forever and ever. You simply cannot promise people any greater spiritual reward. An omnipotent god and eternal salvation is the natural conclusion to an escalation in spiritual rewards.

Furthermore, even if a single ideology were to vanquish all others, a paradise of sufficient rewards for all would not ensue. The confrontational nature of consciousness ensures some kind of struggle, and members of ideologies generally have differences which tend to be overlooked when united against a common enemy but resume when the enemy has been defeated. A single victorious ideology will soon turn upon itself and break into pieces and the struggle for limited resources between rival ideologies will continue. In that struggle, the perceived menace of the opposition and the false promises of future glories will blare forth their siren's call.

There are several good examples of finite resources leading to conflict out of perceived necessity and oil is one of them, but perhaps more relevant is the natural tendencies for fiat currencies to lead to oversupply and hyperinflation. I promise not to make this a boring discussion of economics, my main point is to show how strong the sense of entitlement is in the modern world.

In the past money was gold and silver, in fact it was made out of gold and silver. The value of the metal in a coin itself was exactly that of the value stamped onto the coin. Because these coins were heavy and inconvenient, governments would print paper money as a replacement and ensure that they were equivalently valued to precious metal coins by passing a law that stated that anyone could trade their paper dollars in to the government for gold or silver. Not only did this make paper money as good as gold, but it prevented governments from printing more money than they had gold in their vault. Gold is a finite resource and is difficult to come by. Its role as a store of value has lasted for millennia for those very reasons.

A fiat currency is paper money that isn't backed by gold, land, or anything else of value. As you may or may not know every form of currency in the world today is a fiat currency. Most used to be backed by gold, but were taken off the gold standard in the last few decades. No money issued by any government is backed by gold and the value of the paper money is determined by market forces just like anything else. As we've seen recently in Mexico, Argentina, and Southeast Asia, exchange rates can change and change dramatically. One way that they can change is when a government starts to print a great deal of money in order to pay off debts or buy things that it cannot currently afford. The oversupply of their currency drives its value down and thus prices up. This is inflation.

However, almost everyone wants more money due to their strong feelings of entitlement. This puts a lot of pressure on government to print more money and give it away to its people in the form of tax breaks, public works projects, and disaster relief efforts. Most governments start out fiscally responsible, but in a crisis, printing money is an easy solution. When the initial rush of new wealth sets in everyone is happy, but soon inflation creeps up and the public needs more money. In response the government prints more money, which causes another rush of wealth followed by more inflation. Once this cycle gets started it is impossible to stop. In the history of fiat currencies, no government has been able to resist the urge to keep printing money and a vicious cycle of inflation and money printing ensues, generally ending in a total breakdown of the social order. This doesn't happen only in banana republics, it has happened to some of the most enlightened nations in the world.

A second way to create wealth out of nothing is by borrowing in a system of lax bank regulation. Imagine if you owned a used car dealership and someone bought one of your cars for $10,000 using money loaned from your bank. You then deposit that money in your bank account which the bank loans out to someone else who also buys a car from your lot. So you deposit that $10,000, which someone else loans out and so on and so forth. At one point your bank account shows $150,000, but in reality it is just the same $10,000 which has been used over and over again. If you tried to withdraw all of your money, it would break the bank, assuming it had no other customers, since they'd only have $10,000 in their vault. That is, unless they'd loaned it out to someone else. Then you'd have nothing. Now, you have been promised that at some point in the future you will have your full $150,000 available to you, assuming that no one defaults on their loans. But until everyone pays off their debts, your money isn't there. It doesn't exist yet. Which is very bad if you were to need it for some kind of emergency. To prevent this kind of thing from happening, banks can only lend out a certain percentage of their assets, and they must also apply very stringent requirements for collateral on their loans. Imagine what would happen if there was an accident between several of the people who bought your cars and none of them had insurance nor could keep working in order to pay off their debts. There would be no collateral left and no way to get back the money which was loaned out. You and your bank would be stuck holding the bag. This is one reason why banks are, or at least were, tight with their money. But people's strong need for rewards puts pressure on governments to deregulate banks and on banks to relax their standards for loans. As a result, everyone is able to get more than they used to provided that everyone borrows more on the future, and if the payments get too high in the present, the solution is to simply borrow even farther into the future. The trouble is that without restraint in banking or money printing, the wealthy future that has been promised us in the form of our paper money, our investment returns, and our valuable assets is simply too much for reality to deliver. We end up collectively bankrupting our future, a future that will fall far short of our expectations. In essence, money becomes a falsehood. It's value and potential ends up far overstated, just as stock prices were and house prices are.

The feeding frenzies surrounding speculative booms reveals just how strong the sense of entitlement is in modern people. Our needs are barely held in check by economic forces and once those barriers are removed we rush through the breach with blinding speed, devouring all that lies beyond. This kind of thing can be easily seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and all the looting and 'disaster millionaires' that were made in it's wake.

A good analogy for the situation we find ourselves in is a room completely filled with balloons. Each balloon represents an individual, the amount of air inside each balloon represents that individual's sense of entitlement, and the space the balloon takes up represents the individual's wealth or power. The room represents a world of limited resources. If we inflate each balloon and fill the room without forcing the balloons inside we end up with a lot of gaps in between the balloons. There is room to breath and to grow. If we inflate each balloon more (which is analogous to increasing each individual's sense of entitlement) the balloons will expand to fill all the gaps, pushing hard against each other and squeezing each other out of their natural shape. Now, if the amount of air in each balloon is not equal, the fuller balloons (more motivated) end up larger (wealthier) and the less motivated balloons end up smaller. If you add air to some of the balloons, they grow and they force the others to shrink in response. If you add air to all the balloons equally, their sizes won't change, but any time that you add air to the balloons the overall pressure in the room increases, which not only makes it more likely that balloons will burst, but it makes the system more volatile and prone to violent restructuring in the wake of a disaster.

Extending this analogy to accommodate ideologies, imagine filling several large balloon with many smaller balloons and placing them all in a larger room. Each of the smaller balloons represents an individual and each of the larger balloons represents an ideology (or perhaps more accurately, a nation). The same rules apply. While an increase in the air for some small balloons in one large balloon squeezes the other smaller balloons inside it also allows the large balloon to grow while squeezing out the other large balloons. In this analogy its clear why ideologies benefit from increasing the sense of entitlement in its members. As individuals grow, so does the ideology. But on the whole the pressure grows and grows.

Accepting this analogy as being reasonable, one has to wonder how much pressure there is in the modern world. Are we gently pressing against each other and living comfortably? Are we inflated beyond our physical limits and pushing back against the others just to maintain our space? I think that the tendency towards excess when barriers to our entitlements are removed gives us the answer and it's not a pleasant one to think about.

Lastly, keep in mind that although my examples deal with money and material things, "spiritual entitlement", which can be defined as the need to see one's belief system thriving, is just as competitive and dangerous if not more dangerous than material entitlement. The spiritual realm's resources are also finite in that the affirmations of a person's beliefs are necessarily grounded in events which occur in the real world. The building of a mosque or the conversion of a person to Christianity takes resources away from other religions that need them to prove their perceived righteousness. Revealed truths need proof to affirm them, and in a world of competing belief systems there is a limited supply of potential converts, bookshelf space, quotable prophecies, ardent devotees, and public attention span available to feed the need for spiritual rewards. Dreams are nice but they do not satisfy an empty stomach, and even our imagined gods need real food to sustain themselves.

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.

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.

Food for the Gods: $12 / $14
Victory or Death: $5 / $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares: $5 / $7 (SOLD OUT)
A Dream of Death: $3 / $5 (booklet out of print)

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

For the rest of this year and part of the next I will be recording the next Fireaxe CD entitled "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess". I'd like to have it complete by the end of 2006. The new CD will dig deep into the dark crevices of our society and our minds, pull forth the myths that we cling to and hold dear, and expose them all for what they are. While “A Dream of Death” explored the madness of dreams, and “Food for the Gods” described the chaos wrought upon the earth by ideologies, “Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess” will depict the psychological enslavement of the individual in modern times. It will be the darkest Fireaxe work ever.

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 food for the gods.
  • 6. 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?
  • 7. 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.
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. 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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