Friday, August 31, 2012
Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 black and white movie by Shinya Tsukamoto which is considered the titan of Japanese cyberpunk. This was his third and most well-known to film to date.
The story involves a man only known as "the Metal Fetishist" (played by Tsukamoto) being run down by a car driven by a salaryman and his lady friend. After the accident, the salaryman slowly starts to turn into metal and a battle ensues between the two men.
While that plot may seem straightforward, this movie is anything but. What ensues is 70 minutes of total fucking insanity. Chaotic and frenetic camerawork, stop motion, maggots, coils, wires, and a truly awesome industrial soundtrack. There are some extremely graphic scenes, including the rather infamous sex scene between the salaryman and his woman which ends none too well for her.
Everything moves at lightning speed. The same way some video games or videos come with a warning for people prone to seizures, so should this movie. The first time I saw this I only made it halfway through before my head started pounding. The plot itself while important, is second to the images themselves. And what memorable images they are.
More than anything, this is surrealism at its unpretentious best. While one can easily draw comparisons with some of Cronenberg's body horror and Lynch's weirdoness (especially Eraserhead), Tsukamoto has crafted something unique and memorable. The sense of dread with technology taking over and metal and machinery replacing what once was an undotted landscape is one that is revisited in many of his films, but this is where it all started.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
What was the "transitional" moment for you when you realized that 'metal is the law'?
My mother listened to a lot of heavy stuff while I grew up, and she encouraged all things dark and evil in me, so there really wasn’t a transition, or a moment. But by the time I was eleven or twelve I was waging war on god and singing Venom songs like they were psalms.
What is your recollection of the Jersey metal scene back in the 80's/early 90's?
There were some real artists back then, and of course there was a lot of fucking scumbags too, just like in any other time or any other group of people. I was always disappointed in the scene, so I kept my distance from much of it, most of the time. When I started going to a lot of shows and meeting all the people involved in making the scene what it was, I realized only very few of them were really as insane and Satanic as they were fucking required to be. There was too many nerds and skanks, and shifty Dahmer types with ill fitting Wranglers lurking around. Everything turns to shit after it becomes more popular, because people fucking suck. It was all over after Biohazard made it big, they did much more damage than Nirvana. I don’t have a single close friend from those days who stayed Metal.
What year did you get involved in Deteriorot and what/who inspired you to go for that chunky sounding low end?
It was either 1990 or 91 that I was asked to join. I immediately suggested a different name for the band, perhaps the notion of this word following me around for twenty years didn’t feel right back then. What was I thinking? Paul and Jon were the creative forces behind Deteriorot. We were heavily influenced by the European bands at the time; Bolt Thrower, Grave, Entombed, etc. I had very little input, if any, in directing the sound of the band. I always had shitty equipment that was falling apart and had obnoxious buzzing problems, and I think Paul might agree that it actually may have contributed to some of the early sound. My guitar tracks were always way down in the mix to make room for Capt. Whammybar, hahahaa.
Can you tell me a little bit about Gomorrah? What/who was the inspiration for this band?
There were lots of influences, but Hellhammer and Cathedral were definitely among the strongest. I just wanted to write heavy, evil shit. My cousin and I started the band in 93 or 94 with a friend of ours. We had professionally recorded about ninety percent of an LP, but it was never finished because of a big disagreement. That disagreement ended the band as well. The studio material was eventually lost, but Elegy released a collection of rehearsals on CD a few years ago. I guess it’s noteworthy that I remember our strongest supporter back then, John Paradiso, in his Section 8 days, along with Rob from Solemn/Elegy were among the handful of people that attended our only show at Studio 1 in Newark in 93 or 94. Those songs were my first real attempts at writing music.
What led to your bowing out of Deteriorot
I’ve read Paul’s version of events and his account of it has some truth to it, but as I remember it, Paul just never called me or Jon to schedule a rehearsal and we didn’t really care enough to call him. Jon has a much better memory than mine. I’m sure there’s other dramatic details, but other events in my life have totally eclipsed any shred of memory there might of been left.
Can you tell me about the formation of 'Famine'?
I began working on Famine in 2003. There was a moment in the beginning when I considered forming a band but my methods of writing and recording dictate that no one else can be involved. I have a problem with musicians or artists that talk endlessly about their work and their over inflated stupid shit. I let Famine speak for itself.
Were you satisfied with the reaction to the self titled debut?
The reaction has been incredible, better than I anticipated. I always can tell who really listened to it, and who didn’t .
It's been almost 6 years since the release of the Famine debut. Are there any plans on releasing a second album?
It’s been a little over a year since it was properly released. The first release was a CDR given only to handful of people, and a handful of copies sold at Vintage Vinyl here in NJ. The vinyl release has 3 new tracks on it, and everything was completely remastered. The second album is being recorded and written slowly and I’m aiming for a release in 2013, but 2014 is more likely.
What year did you put 'Worthless Endeavors' together and what was your initial intent?
I formed Worthless Endeavors in 2010 as a way to release my own work , including paintings, sculptures, etc. , and release the work of other artists who I wouldn’t mind spending money on.
Is WE primarily a 'black metal' label and who are among the bands whose material you've released thus far?
Primarily I’d like to release Black Metal that is centered on the occult , but finding real artists within such a narrowly defined category is almost impossible. The Famine LP was the first release, and then recently a split 7” with Teratism and Morbus666 was pressed. The French band Gronde is on the roster and their insane self produced debut is available through WE. Hopefully the next album from them is coming soon. The Mexican band Ars Inferi was nearly on the roster until strange things started happening on their end.
Three albums you couldn't live without:
King D.’s Abigail, Shostakovich’s String Quartets 11, 12, 13 performed by The Beethoven String Quartet 1969 (Firma Melodya), Destruction’s Eternal Devastation, but that’s just the mood I’m in right now.
Jersey has never had a shortage of sick and blasphemous bands, yet it would seem that the underground media has remained somewhat ignorant of the area's contributions as opposed to the incessant praise lavished upon areas like Norway, Sweden, Florida, etc. Why do you think this is?
I have to disagree that New Jersey never had a shortage, but then again maybe I haven’t been paying too much attention . There’s always been a lot of shit bands here. I couldn’t begin to understand why people who represent “underground media” do anything they do. I equate the legacy that those failed, wannabe journalists have left behind to Tiger Beat and Teen magazine. It’s all so embarrassing and corny. They ‘ve diminished so much of all the great work that has been done everywhere, not just here.
Did you ever see the band called Rahway (http://www.rahwayband.com/)? When I hear the words Jersey Metal scene this is what I see in my mind. I have no desire to be any part of that world, I’d rather stab myself in the fucking neck .
Being a metal warrior from the days of old, what are thoughts on the current state of metal?
90% crap, just like always. Every once in a while I hear something that really fucking blows me away, but I don’t have much more room in my brain for absorbing the state of metal.
Any newer bands that have caught your attention? Any suggestions?
Usually I won’t check out new bands until somebody insists, but I definitely recommend Hellvetron from Texas, Galgeras from Holland isn’t new, and I don’t think they exist anymore but they were fucking great, Teratism, Morbus666, Bahimiron, Gronde , Incursus.
What does the future hold for 'Famine' and 'Worthless Endeavors'?
The next Famine album is gonna fucking destroy.
Alright Will, many thanks for your time. Any last words?
2 Kings 2:23-24 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
For more information on Famine or Worthless Endeavors, check out the website here.
Not sure why all the internet fags cried big drippy ass tears over this. I mean, this sounds MUCH fucking better than the salsa bullshit on the band's last album. The only thing I can find on here that would annoy me is the modern sounding production. That's a major factor why I haven't really fucked with too much death metal in the last few years. There's something overwhelmingly gay about the way albums are produced nowadays. Oh well. as far as the music is concerned, I'm somewhat perplexed as to why this album has gotten so much flak. Maybe it wasn't weak enough, which actually makes all the sense in the world to me considering that the shit that makes people jump for joy these days is usually big, pink and gay all over.
Aside from the homo production devised by some wheel chair ridden Jew down in Florida, the music on here sounds like the album that should have been released after 1991's 'Unquestionable Presence'.
Typically gay black metal. Out of Norway and Sweden, Sweden has always been the less homosexual of the two when it comes to crafting black metal, being that they usually cannot help but infuse some semblance of death metal riffing into the equation along with a mind numbing amount of blast beat retardation. Make no mistake though, black metal is gay in any of its guises.
A lot of pseudo-intellectual "connoisseurs" praise Marduk for their "brutality" whilst frowning through their brown eye at the vast host of wigger/slam bands, especially if they're American. Even though I find 98% of the latter genre to be laughably brain dead, I'd put California's 'Disgorge' up against the lot of European black metal bands ANY day of the week where brutality is concerned. There is nothing brutal sounding about a gang of idiots with make up on being severely throatfucked and sodomized by some fat, sore ridden creepzoid over a blast beat seemingly run on loop. Yeah, yeah, "they don't just blast on this". Sounds just as lame either way.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Tell me a little about the metal scene up in the Maine/Northern New England area.
The metal scene in Maine/northern New England is strong and vibrant with many bands. I think it's because for example where I live in a cold dirty mill town Brutal music is easily spawned.
Could you tell me a little bit about Malignant. What year did the band form and what were the primary influences?
Some friends of mine where rehearsing in a garage and I was in a band Abstract Psychology. I joined 'cause I thought they had some brutal extreme songs that was the style I was looking for. Russ and Bill were really into Brutal Truth, Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under,Mortician,Diecide and all the local metal from around New England.
How often did you guys play out in those days?
We practiced almost every day and gigged every weekend if possible.
You guys released a demo in 1997. How was the reaction to that and were you guys pleased with the end result?
The reaction was good people liked the sheer heaviness of it.
What were the events that led to the band breaking up?
Members leaving and not finding suitable replacements.
Were you involved in any other musical projects up until the formation of Endgame?
I was in a band called Blood Red Thrust from 1999 to 2009
Endgame features members of Malignant. What made you guys decide to get back at it?
We never got out of the scene to long. Russ and some of the other members of Endgame were in a band called Thought out Thought, and they got back together and stared writing some heavy songs they found a Bass player O. Stevens . I was looking to jam I tried out and that was it we all clicked.
Now you've got some particularly brutal and nasty sounding vocals. As a vocalist myself and someone who's been doing this since the late 80's, I gotta say, I was very impressed with what I heard on Malignant's 1997 demo. Who/what were your influences to bring your vocals to that level and can we expect to hear that same level of excellence on the upcoming Endgame full length?
My influences were any and all the early Death Metal and Grind Core bands especially those from the local New England scene. You can expect more Brutal and more dynamic vocals from Endgame. With the incredibly heavy guitar and brutal drums.
Speaking of the Endgame full length, what is the scheduled release date for that?
We have not scheduled a release date as of yet a we really want to take our time in the studio to make every thing as brutal as possible.
Do you guys have any upcoming shows to support the album? If so, where?
We are Playing a benefit concert with brutal bands to help some victims of tenement fire here locally. We will be playing all over the New England area when the album is released.
Name three albums that you absolutely cannot live without:
Three albums are (Carcass) Symphonies of Sickness ,(Slayer) Seasons In The Abyss,(Cannibal Corpse) The Bleeding.
The death metal scene has had a tumultuous history since its beginnings in the mid-80's. It would seem that with the advent of the internet, acceptance of this style of music is at an all time high. What are your thoughts on the current state of death metal and are there any bands that have caught your ear? Any suggestions?
Death Metal Is alive and well due in a major part to the Internet fan base and peoples hatred of the mainstream music industry.
Alright Sean, many thanks for your time. Any last words?
Thanks to all metal fans
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
If there was a competition for the most god-awful, terrible band to ever emerge, Silencer would win by a landslide. With only one actual album under their belt, this band has built a following of morons and angsty black metallers who think that crying like you have both the most terrible case of hemorrhoids AND someone is stomping on your balls is amazing. Silencer are part of the craptastic subgenre of DSBM (depressive suicidal black metal), or as I call it BSBM. There's a lot of rumors surrounding this band, mostly regarding their singer Nattramn. Stories ranging from how he hit some little girl with an ax to how he chopped off his hands and replaced them with pig's feet (stemming from a photo reportedly showing their blubbery frontman with a mask to hide his shame). Seriously, if you have any regard for yourself, stay away from this.
Khanate were one of those stupid fucking bands that thought that by making a bunch of low frequency drone/noise/garbage and having a rape victim scream into the mic, they were really onto some truly groundbreaking shit. What's worse is that each and every member of this band has about 12 other side projects that all sound the same. What the fuck?
I hate this fucking band. There's always some pretentious fuck who gets his nipples all hard when talking about how "frightening" and heavy this band is. Obviously that guys gateway drug was a big black nigger radiator hose slapping him in the face while being called a "chump white bitch".
There is absolutely nothing "frightening" or even remotely heavy about a band of pseudo-intellectual hipsters that make prolonged queef noises with their instruments all the while a homosexual rape victim mindlessly shrieks into the microphone, complaining about his "broken ass" and such. Not cool. Not cool what so ever.
It's been actually said that "Khanate's music is supposed to make you feel miserable". Ya think??
I want to take a brick and relentlessly bash someone in the fucking face every time I hear about the "genius" of this band. This is complete and utter fucking garbage. As soon as someone tells me that they consider this to be a good album, I immediately identify that person as a dolt.
I could never, for the life of me, understand why people like this kind of shit. The same could be said for the band's entire catalog. I'd rather watch retards fuck than endure a fraction of a second's worth of this bullshit. If listening to static with a drum beat is your type of thing, well, then you are undoubtedly of the pretentious and weak stock of individuals that I do my best to avoid. Go choke.
After being publicly and repeatedly dissed by fellow Malevolent Creation member and douche bag extraordinaire, Phil Fasciana (quite possibly the emperor of chumps), as well as having been kicked out of the band on countless occasions, you'd think that vocalist Brett Hoffmann would have the balls to tell douche lord Fasciana to go fuck off and kick rocks or at the very least, clock that fool in his overgrown, Jew sized schnauzer. Nope. Not Chump Hoffmann. Every time Fasciana winds up without yet another beanie clad, mediocre vocalist, he always ends up recruiting the Malevolent Creation 'go to chump', Brett Hoffmann. Apparently Brett's so desperate to be involved in the band and soak up any amount of attention the band receives, he's willing to allow himself to be viciously cock-slapped by Fasciana and company and for THAT, Brett Hoffmann is the 'Chump of the Month'.
Don't let the absolutely superior cover art fool you as it did I, so many years ago. This is probably the most awkward sounding release by the band. It sounds like they thought that not only ripping off Entombed's guitar sound was a great idea but that they'd give the whole 'Death -n- Roll' thing a go as well. The funny thing is that is doesn't sound as if the whole band was committed to this approach.
Whether you accepted the whole "rock & roll" thing that Entombed started to do shortly after the release of their penultimate LP, 'Clandestine', one thing is certain... they have always had a knack for writing good riffs. Death metal or not. Dismember's track record, however, is clustered with just as many misses as hits and this is perhaps the most bizarre album of their career. It's like some guy who sucks dick for $20 bags of crack but insists on telling himself that he's straight. The fact that in the CD booklet, one of the guitar players is wearing a bandana, Vatos Locos style, says a lot.
It seems like Dismember were on the verge of jumping out of the closet, full bore, but then had a change of heart and decided to remain hidden within. Aside from some of the goofier, more "rock" sounding riffs on this album, the ones that are firmly rooted in the death metal camp are just plain boring. There's absolutely nothing memorable or spectacular going on here. Just a band in the midst of an identity crisis, debating if they should tell the world that they are gay.
Friday, August 17, 2012
by Bob Black
(A rejoinder to an authoritarian polemic by "Walter Alter" published in Fringe Ware Review. The magazine didn't publish it, except for several sample paragraphs, but did post it on the Internet. It also appeared in Green Anarchist, BCM 1715, London WCIN 3XX , 5 pounds for 5 issues.)
The abstract affirmation of "change" is conservative, not progressive. It privileges all change, apparent or real, stylistic or substantive, reactionary or revolutionary. The more things change -- the more things that change -- the more they stay the same. Faster, faster, Speed Racer! -- (but keep going in circles).
For much the same reason the privileging of progress is also conservative. Progress is the notion that change tends toward improvement and improvement tends to be irreversible. Local setbacks occur as change is stalled or misdirected ("the ether," "phlogiston") but the secular tendency is forward (and secular). Nothing goes very wrong for very long, so there is never any compelling reason not to just keep doing what you're doing. It's gonna be all right. As some jurist once put it in another (but startlingly similar) context, the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they grind fine.
As his pseudonym suggests, Walter Alter is a self-sanctified high priest of progress (but does he know that in German, alter means "older"?). He disdains the past the better to perpetuate it. His writing only in small letters -- how modernist! -- was quite the rage when e.e. cummings pioneered it 80 years ago. Perhaps Alter's next advance will be to abandon punctuation only a few decades after James Joyce did. And well under 3000 years since the Romans did both. The pace of progress can be dizzying.
For Alter, the future is a program that Karl Marx and Jules Verne mapped out in a previous century. Evolution is unilinear, technologically driven and, for some strange reason, morally imperative. These notions were already old when Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx cobbled them together. Alter's positivism is no improvement on that of Comte, who gave the game away by founding a Positivist Church. And his mechanical materialism is actually a regression from Marxism to Stalinism. Like bad science fiction, but not as entertaining, Alterism is 19th century ideology declaimed in 21st century jargon. (One of the few facts about the future at once certain and reassuring is that it will not talk like Walter Alter any more than the present talks like Hugo Gernsback.) Alter hasn't written one word with which Newt Gingrich or Walt Disney, defrosted, would disagree. The "think tank social engineers" are on his side; or rather, he's on theirs. They don't think the way he does -- that barely qualifies as thinking at all -- but they want us to think the way he does. The only reason he isn't on their payroll is why pay him if he's willing to do it for nothing?
"Info overload is relative to your skill level," intones Alter. It's certainly relative to his. He bounces from technology to anthropology to history and back again like the atoms of the Newtonian billiard-bill universe that scientists, unlike Alter, no longer believe in. The breadth of his ignorance amazes, a wondering world can only, with Groucho Marx, ask: "Is there anything else you know absolutely nothing about?" If syndicalism is (as one wag put it) fascism minus the excitement, Alterism is empiricism minus the evidence. He sports the toga of reason without stating any reason for doing so. He expects us to take his rejection of faith on faith. He fiercely affirms that facts are facts without mentioning any.
Alter is much too upset to be articulate, but at least he's provided an enemies list -- although, like Senator McCarthy, he would rather issue vague categorical denunciations than name names. High on the list are "primitivo-nostalgic" "anthro-romanticists" who are either also, or are giving aid and comfort to, "anti-authoritarians" of the "anarcho-left." To the lay reader all these mysterious hyphenations are calculated to inspire a vague dread without communicating any information whom they refer to except dupes of the think tank social engineers and enemies of civilization. But why should the think tank social engineers want to destroy the civilization in which they flourish at the expense of most of the rest of us?
If by religion is meant reverence for something not understood, Alter is fervently religious. He mistakes science for codified knowledge (that was natural history, long since as defunct as phrenology). Science is a social practice with distinctive methods, not an accumulation of officially certified "facts." There are no naked, extracontextual facts. Facts are always relative to a context. Scientific facts are relative to a theory or a paradigm (i.e., to a formalized context). Are electrons particles or waves? Neither and both, according to Niels Bohr -- it depends on where you are looking from and why. Are the postulates and theorems of Euclidean geometry "true"? They correspond very well to much of the physical universe, but Einstein found that Riemann's non-Euclidean geometry better described such crucial phenomena as gravitation and the deflection of light rays. Each geometry is internally consistent; each is inconsistent with the other. No conceivable fact or facts would resolve their discrepancy. As much as they would like to transcend the inconsistency, physicists have learned to live with the incommensurable theories of relativity and quantum physics because they both work (almost). Newtonian physics is still very serviceable inside the solar system, where there are still a few "facts" (like the precession of Mercury) not amenable to Einsteinian relativity, but the latter is definitely the theory of choice for application to the rest of the universe. To call the one true and the other false is like calling a Toyota true and a Model-T false.
Theories create facts -- and theories destroy them. Science is simultaneously, and necessarily, progressive and regressive. Unlike Walter Alter, science privileges neither direction. There is no passive, preexisting, "organised, patterned, predicted and graspable" universe out there awaiting our Promethean touch. Insofar as the Universe is orderly -- which, for all we know, may not be all that far -- we make it so. Not only in the obvious sense that we form families and build cities, ordering our own life-ways, but merely by the patterning power of perception, by which we resolve a welter of sense-data into a "table" where there are "really" only a multitude of tiny particles and mostly empty space.
Alter rages against obnosis, his ill-formed neologism for ignoring the obvious. But ignoring the obvious is "obviously" the precondition for science. As S.F.C. Milsom put it, "things that are obvious cannot be slightly wrong: like the movement of the sun, they can only be fundamentally wrong." Obviously the sun circles the earth. Obviously the earth is flat. Obviously the table before me is solid, not, as atomic-science mystics claim, almost entirely empty space. Obviously particles cannot also be waves. Obviously human society is impossible without a state. Obviously hunter-gatherers work harder than contemporary wage-laborers. Obviously the death penalty deters crime. But nothing is more obvious, if anything is, than that all these propositions are false. Which is to say, they cannot qualify as "facts" within any framework which even their own proponents acknowledge as their own. Indeed, all the advocates (of such of these opinions as still have any) stridently affirm, like Alter, a positivist-empiricist framework in which their falsity is conspicuous.
So then -- to get down to details -- forward into the past. Alter rants against what he calls the "romanticist attachment to a 'simpler,' 'purer' existence in past times or among contemporary primitive or 'Eastern' societies." Hold it right there. Nobody that I know of is conflating past or present primitive societies with "Eastern" societies (presumably the civilizations of China and India and their offshoots in Japan, Korea, Burma, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, etc.). These "Eastern" societies much more closely resemble the society -- ours -- which "anarcho-leftists" want to overthrow than they do any primitive society. Both feature the state, the market, class stratification and sacerdotally controlled religion, which are absent from all band (forager) societies and many tribal societies. If primitive and Eastern societies have common features of any importance to his argument (had he troubled to formulate one) Alter does not identify them.
For Alter it is a "crushing reality that the innate direction that any sentient culture will take to amplify its well-being will be to increase the application of tool-extensions." Cultures are not "sentient"; that is to reify and mystify their nature. Nor do cultures necessarily have any "innate direction." As an ex- (or crypto-) Marxist -- he is a former (?) follower of Lyndon LaRouche in his Stalinist, "National Caucus of Labor Committees" phase -- Alter has no excuse for not knowing this. Although Marx was most interested in a mode of production -- capitalism -- which, he argued, did have an innate direction, he also identified an "Asiatic mode of production" which did not; Karl Wittfogel elaborated on the insight in his Oriental Despotism. Our seer prognosticates that "if that increase stops, the culture will die." This we know to be false.
If Alter is correct, for a society to regress to a simpler technology is inevitably suicidal. Anthropologists know better. For Alter it's an article of faith that agriculture is technologically superior to foraging. But the ancestors of the Plains Indians were sedentary or semisedentary agriculturists who abandoned that life-way because the arrival of the horse made possible (not necessary) the choice of a simpler hunting existence which they must have adjudged qualitatively superior. The Kpelle of Liberia refuse to switch from dry- to wet-cultivation of rice, their staple food, as economic development "experts" urge them to. The Kpelle are well aware that wet (irrigated) rice farming is much more productive than dry farming. But dry farming is conducted communally, with singing and feasting and drinking, in a way which wet farming cannot be -- and it's much easier work at a healthier, more comfortable "work station." If their culture should "die" as a result of this eminently reasonable choice it will be murder, not suicide. If by progress Alter means exterminating people because we can and because they're different, he can take his progress and shove it. He defames science by defending it.
Even the history of Western civilization (the only one our ethnocentric futurist takes seriously) contradicts Alter's theory of technological will-to-power. For well over a thousand years, classical civilization flourished without any significant "application of tool extension." Even when Hellenistic or Roman science advanced, its technology usually did not. It created the steam engine, then forgot about the toy, as China (another counter-example to Alterism) invented gunpowder and used it to scare away demons -- arguably its best use. Of course, ancient societies came to an end, but they all do: as Keynes put it, in the long run, we will all be dead.
And I have my suspicions about the phrase "tool extension." Isn't something to do with that advertised in the back of porn magazines?
Alter must be lying, not merely mistaken, when he reiterates the Hobbesian myth that "primitive life is short and brutal." He cannot possibly even be aware of the existence of those he tags as anthro-romanticists without knowing that they have demonstrated otherwise to the satisfaction of their fellow scientists. The word "primitive" is for many purposes -- including this one -- too vague and overinclusive to be useful. It might refer to anything from the few surviving hunter-gathering societies to the ethnic minority peasantry of modernizing Third World states (like the Indians of Mexico or Peru). Life expectancy is a case in point. Alter wants his readers to suppose that longevity is a function of techno-social complexity. It isn't, and it isn't the opposite either. As Richard Borshay Lee ascertained, the Kung San ("Bushmen") of Botswana have a population structure closer to that of the United States than to that of the typical Third World country with its peasant majority. Foragers' lives are not all that short. Only recently have the average lifespans in the privileged metropolis nations surpassed prehistoric rates.
As for whether the lives of primitives are "brutal," as compared to those of, say, Detroiters, that is obviously a moralistic, not a scientific, judgment. If brutality refers to the quality of life, foragers, as Marshall Sahlins demonstrated in "The Original Affluent Society," work much less and socialize and party much more than we moderns do. None of them take orders from an asshole boss or get up before noon or work a five-day week or -- well, you get the idea.
Alter smugly observes that "damn few aboriginal societies are being created and lived in fully by those doing the praising [of them]." No shit. So what? These societies never were created; they evolved. The same industrial and capitalist forces which are extinguishing existing aboriginal societies place powerful obstacles to forming new ones. What we deplore is precisely what we have lost, including the skills to recreate it. Alter is just cheerleading for the pigs. Like I said, they'd pay him (but probably not very well) if he weren't doing it for free.
Admittedly an occasional anthropologist and an occasional "anarcho-leftist" has in some respects romanticized primitive life at one time or another, but on nothing like the scale on which Alter falsifies the ethnographic record. Richard Borshay Lee and Marshall Sahlins today represent the conventional wisdom as regards hunter-gatherer societies. They don't romanticize anything. They don't have to. A romanticist would claim that the primitive society he or she studies is virtually free of conflict and violence, as did Elizabeth Marshall Thomas in her book on the San/Bushmen, The Harmless People. Lee's later, more painstaking observations established per capita homicide rates for the San not much lower than from those of the contemporary United States. Sahlins made clear that the tradeoff for the leisurely, well-fed hunting-gathering life was not accumulating any property which could not be conveniently carried away. Whether this is any great sacrifice is a value judgment, not a scientific finding -- a distinction to which Alter is as oblivious as any medieval monk.
About the only specific reference Alter makes is to Margaret Mead, "a semi-literate sectarian specializing in 'doping the samples' when they didn't fit into her pre-existent doctrine" (never specified). Mead was poorly trained prior to her first fieldwork in Samoa, but to call the author of a number of well-written best-sellers "semi-literate" falls well short of even semi-literate, it's just plain stupid. I'd say Alter was a semi-literate sectarian doping the facts except that he's really a semi-literate sectarian ignoring the facts.
Mead's major conclusions were that the Samoans were sexually liberal and that they were, relative to interwar Americans, more cooperative than competitive. Mead -- the bisexual protege of the lesbian Ruth Benedict -- may well have projected her own sexual liberalism onto the natives. But modern ethnographies (such as Robert Suggs' Mangaia) as well as historical sources from Captain Cook forwards confirm that most Pacific island societies really werecloser to the easygoing hedonistic idyll Mead thought she saw in Samoa than to some Hobbesian horrorshow. Alter rails against romanticism, subjectivity, mysticism -- the usual suspects -- but won't look the real, regularly replicated facts about primitive society in the face. He's in denial.
If Mead's findings as to sexuality and maturation have been revised by subsequent fieldwork, her characterization of competition and cooperation in the societies she studied has not. By any standard, our modern (state-) capitalist society is what statisticians call an outlier -- a sport, a freak, a monster -- at an extraordinary distance from most observations, the sort that pushes variance and variation far apart. There is no "double standard employing an extreme criticism against all bourgeoise [sic], capitalist, spectacular, commodity factors" -- the departure is only as extreme as the departure from community as it's been experienced by most hominid societies for the last several million years. It's as if Alter denounced a yardstick as prejudiced because it establishes that objects of three feet or more are longer than all those that are not. If this is science, give me mysticism or give me death.
Alter insinuates, without demonstrating, that Mead faked evidence. Even if she did, we know that many illustrious scientists, among them Galileo and Gregor Mendel, faked or fudged reports of their experiments to substantiate conclusions now universally accepted. Mendel, to make matters worse, was a Catholic monk, a "mystic" according to Alter's demonology, and yet he founded the science of genetics. Alter, far from founding any science, gives no indication of even beginning to understand any of them.
The merits and demerits of Margaret Mead's ethnography are less than peripheral to Alter's polemic. It wasn't Mead who discovered and reported that hunter-gatherers work a lot less than we do. There is something very off about a control freak who insists that ideas he cannot accept or understand are Fascist. I cannot denounce this kind of jerkoff opportunism too strongly. "Fascist" is not, as Alter supposes, an all-purpose epithet synonomous with "me no like." I once wrote an essay, "Feminism as Fascism," which occasioned a great deal of indignation, although it has held up only too well. But I didn't mind that because I'd been careful and specific about identifying the precise parallels between Fascism and so-called (radical) feminism -- about half a dozen. That's half a dozen more analogies between feminism and Fascism than Alter identifies between Fascism and anarcho-leftism or primito-nostagia. The only anarcho-leftists with any demonstrable affinities to Fascism (to which, in Italy, they provided many recruits) are the Syndicalists, a dwindling sect, the last anarchists to share Alter's retrograde scientism. It's Alter, not his enemies, who calls for "a guiding, cohesive body of knowledge and experience as a frame of reference" -- just one frame of reference, mind you -- for "diagrams and manuals," for marching orders. There happen to be real-life Fascists in this imperfect world of ours. By trivializing the word, Alter (who is far from alone in this), purporting to oppose Fascists, in fact equips them with a cloaking device.
Artists, wails Walter, "don't believe that technology is a good thing, intrinsically." I don't much care what artists believe, especially if Alter is typical of them, but their reported opinion does them credit. I'd have thought it obnosis, ignoring the obvious, to believe in technology "intrinsically," not as the means to an end or ends it's marketed as, but as some sort of be-all and end-all of no use to anybody. Art-for-art's-sake is a debatable credo but at least it furnishes art which for some pleases by its beauty. Technology for its own sake makes no sense at all, no more than Dr. Frankenstein's monster. If tech-for-tech's sake isn't the antithesis of reason, I don't know reason from squat and I'd rather not.
The communist-anarchist hunter-gatherers (for that is what, to be precise, they are), past and present, are important. Not (necessarily) for their successful habitat-specific adaptations since these are, by definition, not generalizable. But because they demonstrate that life once was, that life can be, radically different. The point is not to recreate that way of life (although there may be some occasions to do that) but to appreciate that, if a life-way so utterly contradictory to ours is feasible, which indeed has a million-year track record, then maybe other life-ways contradictory to ours are feasible.
For a 21st century schizoid man of wealth and taste, Alter has an awfully retarded vocabulary. He assumes that babytalk babblewords like "good" and "evil" mean something more than "me like" and "me no like," but if they do mean anything more to him he hasn't distributed the surplus to the rest of us. He accuses his chosen enemies of "infantilism and anti-parental vengeance," echoing the authoritarianism of Lenin ("Left-Wing" Communism, An Infantile Disorder) and Freud, respectively. A typical futurist -- and the original Futurists did embrace Fascism -- he's about a century behind Heisenberg and Nietzsche and the rest of us. Moralism is retrograde. You want something? Don't tell me you're "right" and I'm "wrong," I don't care what God or Santa Claus likes, never mind if I've been naughty or nice. Just tell me what you want that I have and why I should give it to you. I can't guarantee we'll come to terms, but articulation succeeded by negotiation is the only possible way to settle a dispute without coercion. As Proudhon put it, "I want no laws, but I am ready to bargain."
Alter clings to objective "physical reality" -- matter in motion -- with the same faith a child clutches his mother's hand. And faith, for Alter and children of all ages, is always shadowed by fear. Alter is (to quote Clifford Geertz) "afraid reality is going to go away unless we believe very hard in it." He'll never experience an Oedipal crisis because he'll never grow up that much. A wind-up world is the only kind he can understand. He thinks the solar system actually is an orrery. He has no tolerance for ambiguity, relativity, indeterminacy -- no tolerance, in fact, for tolerance.
Alter seems to have learned nothing of science except some badly bumbled-up jargon. In denouncing "bad scientific method" and "intuition" in almost the same bad breath, he advertises his ignorance of the pluralism of scientific method. Even so resolute a positivist as Karl Popper distinguished the "context of justification," which he thought entailed compliance with a rather rigid demonstrative orthodoxy, from the "context of discovery" where, as Paul Feyerabend gleefully observed, "anything goes." Alter reveals how utterly out of it he is by a casual reference to "true methods of discovery." There are no true methods of discovery, only useful ones. In principle, reading the Bible or dropping acid is as legitimate a practice in the context of discovery as is keeping up with the technical journals. Whether Archimedes actually gleaned inspiration from hopping in the tub or Newton from watching an apple fall is not important. What's important is that these -- any -- triggers to creativity are possible and, if effective, desirable.
Intuition is important, not as an occult authoritative faculty, but as a source of hypotheses in all fields. And also of insights not yet, if ever, formalizable, but nonetheless meaningful and heuristic in the hermeneutic disciplines which rightfully refuse to concede that if they are not susceptible to quantification they are mystical. Many disciplines since admitted to the pantheon of science (such as biology, geology and economics) would have been aborted by this anachronistic dogma. "Consider the source" is what Alter calls "bad scientific method." We hear much (too much) of the conflict between evolutionism and creationism. It takes only a nodding acquaintance with Western intellectual history to recognize that the theory of evolution is a secularization of the eschatology which distinguishes Christianity from other religious traditions. But having Christianity as its context of discovery is a very unscientific reason to reject evolution. Or, for that matter, to accept it.
Alter is not what he pretends to be, a paladin of reason assailing the irrationalist hordes. The only thing those on his enemies list have in common is that they're on it. Ayn Rand, whose hysterical espousal of "reason" was Alterism without the pop science jargon, had a list of irrationalists including homosexuals, liberals, Christians, anti-Zionists, Marxists, abstract expressionists, hippies, technophobes, racists, and smokers of pot (but not tobacco). Alter's list (surely incomplete) includes sado-masochists, New Agers, anthropologists, schizophrenics, anti-authoritarians, Christian Fundamentalists, think tank social engineers, Fascists, proto-Cubists . . . Round up the unusual suspects. Alter's just playing a naming-and-blaming game because he doesn't get enough tool extensions.
"How many times a day do you really strike forward on important matters intuitively?" Well said -- and as good a point as any to give this guy the hook. Riddle me this, Mr. or Ms. Reader: How many times a day do you really strike forward on important matters AT ALL? How many times a day do you "strike forward on important matters" -- intuitively, ironically, intellectually, impulsively, impassively, or any damn way? Or do you find as day follows day that day follows day, and that's about it? That the only "important matters" that affect you, if there even are any, are decided, if they even are, by somebody else? Have you noticed your lack of power to chart your own destiny? That your access to "virtual" reality increases in proportion as you distance yourself (a prudent move) from the real thing? That aside from working and paying, you are of absolutely no use to this society and can't expect to be kept around after you can't do either? And finally, does Walter Alter's technophiliac techno-capitalist caterwauling in any way help you to interpret the future, much less -- and much more important -- to change it?
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I realize that we "all gotta start some-fucking-where", so what was your first experience with 'metal' and what were you rocking out to prior to that 'cherry breaking' moment?
Luckily, my parents listened to some cool music while I was growing up like the Moody Blues, Steely Dan and Jethro Tull. I learned to appreciate good musicians at a young age. Then my first taste of the ‘heavy’ was AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ album. And Bad Company’s s/t. That was the gateway to Maiden, then onwards to thrash and beyond.
I've found myself going back to a lot of the stuff that I hated in the 80's, such as The Thompson Twins, etc..., and actually digging it these days. Obviously a lot of this has to do with memories and so on. Do you have any guilty pleasures from the old days?
Oh fuck yes, I’ll bust out some Duran Duran or The Fixx. Whoever says there wasn’t ANY good music besides underground Metal in the 80’s is full of shit . I’m not writing any gay riffs like that for my band, but I’ll slip back to the parachute pant wearin’, bandana on the knee, mullet-havin’ memories of that music sometimes. After listing to what’s ‘top 40’ nowadays, shit – Milli Vanilli could at least dance. That nigga Justin Beiber is just corny and looks like a lesbian. Won’t someone think of the children?!
Exodus. Slayer. McTallica. Megadeth. Which of these bands, in your opinion, fell the the farthest and the hardest and why?
Well, obviously Metallica shit the bed the messiest of all, ever. Budweiser and Taco Bell shits bro, non washable, no return. But that was SO long ago I almost forget about them completely. Last good Metallica$h record was in 19-fucking-88!!! I’m gonna have to go with Megadave. He had so much potential, pissed away so many good guitar players and line-ups. The way shit went commercial with his music, was such a disappointment to me, he’s a big reason I picked up the guitar in ’85 (!). He’s more talented than all the members of Shitallica combined. He just turned out to be a smack talking Jesus freak. THAT last part is the worst of all. PLAY THE CONJURING DAVE, YOU PUSSY.
I know you're not a very big "fan" of Pantera. I'm curious as to what the reasoning behind this militant displeasure of yours is.
Ah yes, I’ve gotten actual hate e-mail from strangers on FB asking ‘Yo bro, why the hate for Pantera man?’, or ‘fuck you dude, Pantera RULES’. Think about that for a second. THAT is their fan base. One step, or chromosome I’d like to say, away from a fuckin’ Juggalo chud. Would you ever take the time out of your day to mail a complete stranger if you saw some shit on their FB page dissing a band you like? Fuck no. Not to mention the glaring obviousness of it all…. tired of being a glam band, shit was dying out… get Terry Date (overkill) to produce, RIP OFF Exhorder’s guitar sound (thanks Phil) and shamelessly jump the bandwagon of ‘heavy’ to create the gayest most manufactured and hollow shitfest ever… ‘Cowfags from Hell’. Nah brah, ‘I AM THE NIGHT’ = That’s where these gaylords’ roots truly lie. And rednecks love them. Isn’t that enough reason to hate them?
Name three bands that you'd actually like to see get back together:
Razor, Defleshed, and Dark Angel (with Jim Durkin or nothing, Ron Rinehart is ill – so fuckin’ go find Don Doty, DO IT!!)
Name three bands that have committed the gayest acts of treason:
Metallica, Megadeth, and Overkill (for firing Bobby G.)
'Darkness Descends', 'Leave Scars' or 'Time Does Not Heal'. Why?
Leave fucking Scars!!!! I dig all three albums really, great band. But songs like ‘The Death of Innocence’, ‘Never to Rise Again’, ‘Older than Time Itself’, and OF COURSE ‘No One Answers’, my all time favorite thrash song ever, make Leave Scars the best DA album for me. \,,/ That, and the memories of the songs seen on Ultimate Revenge II when that album was just coming out. Killer.
In a perfect world, who would the 'dream line-up' consist of?
Wow… Martin Van Drunen – Vox, Bill Steer - Guitar, Samoth – Guitar, Blacky – Bass, Frost – Drums. Damn, could you imagine?
I know you're pretty heavy into the black metal scene. What areas are currently putting out the best shit?
FRANCE, BELGIUM and uh, yeah – France. Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Borgia, Vorkreist, Glorior Belli, Peste Noire, Arkhon Infaustus, Spektr, Mutiilation… the list goes ON.
Any glam bands from the 80's that you'd allow a 'get out of gay free card' to? Why?
The first two Motley Crue albums, ‘cause they ruled. The first two or three Ratt albums. Even the first two Dokken albums. That was some good stuff! Some of ‘em dressed like fags, but some of that shit was just good heavy metal.
Do you miss the days when metal heads were identifiable as being metal heads instead of a bunch of gay wiggers?
Holy shit yeah. The ‘Five Finger Death Punch’ meathead mall metal dudes gotta GO. Thanks in large part to those CUNTS Glamtera turning on the ‘frat dudes and farm boys’ into ‘rockin’ metal dudes’. And don’t even get me started on the fuckin’ Wigger Slam gay parade. Flat brim hats are the tell tale sign that the ‘scene’ has been so diluted and played out. Thankfully some young bucks are going underground and still carrying the torch – bands like Vektor for instance.
What's the craziest show you ever attended?
Craziest would have to be the BoltThrower riot at G-Willikers , in ’91 or ‘92’. Jo Bench, BT’s bassist, was dating a black guy at the time. The skins that frequented Willikers gigs back then didn’t let that go unnoticed and were hassling her. Next thing I know is the show stops and their singer runs off stage, a minute later runs back in with a night stick or something. Heads are getting cracked and I was out of there. Just pulling away as the cop cars were coming. Crazy shit.
Any people out there in the metal scene that you'd like to smack in the face with a brick?
Pantera fans. Get lots of bricks. No one person can be hated in the music world above all others for me. There’s plenty of cunts. But there’s more cool people than them so the music endures. That being said I’d like to punch Lars Ulrich in the face, three times.
What is your opinion of internet geeks who send friend requests to every has-been/nobody metal musician on Facebook like they're collecting Garbage Pail Kids?
Some of them are from different countries and look like they could be on that ‘send 45 cents a day’ commercial. So I give them a pass. Everyone else, gaaaaaay. I promote my band on Facebook no doubt, but that’s the ‘band’ page. My personal page ain’t for a popularity contest. That’s girlie shit.
What's the scoop with Dead in the Face? What are the bands immediate plans?
Well sir, its like this... we want to record real bad. Circumstances in the band right now have that a little delayed. Nothing insurmountable, but more of a financial thing. We’ve got a crop of new shit that is great stuff, so we think. I’d like to record an album. Not just a 4 song demo. We’re getting’ old. Each recording could be our last.
If you could only bring three albums along with you as a soundtrack to the post-apocalypse, what would they be?
Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath, Pestilence – Consuming Impulse, Emperor – Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. Typed that shit right out without even pausing to think. BAM.
What did you think of the Amon album?
Better and different than I expected. I think they went a tad overboard with the solos – Ralph Santolla wins every time, they should have just toned that down a bit. Some of the tunes were a little long, but a lot more technical than I expected. They can still write good shit. But it ain’t Once Upon the Cross, or Serpents of the Light. Or even Scars of the Crucifix. So Glen wins.
Who do you think are some of the most overrated bands at the moment?
Watain – I’ll just listen to Dissection do it better thanks. Asphyx – boring then, more boring now. Lamb of God – just, no.
What do you think of the whole death/metal/mall/whatever the fuck "core" scene that the mainstream metal media is currently enthralled by?
Its just that the ‘posers’ of today are worse than before. At least the ‘hair rock’ dudes never tried to ape the music we liked. They went full rock ‘n roll and did their thing. These wanna-be heavy kids just get pierced, tatted and the sweep cut – start crab walking during 5 minute ‘break downs’ and think they’re ‘metal’. But just like we did, there’s the kids that are into the true shit that despise them. So hopefully they’re forming bands in some garage with Kreator and Slayer posters on the wall somewhere right now.
Floyd or Sabbath?
Deep Purple. Sorry man. Had to.
Personally, I'm not bothered by someone's beliefs , especially if that person writes kick ass music and besides, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on life. What are your thoughts on people who cry about others being racist, etc?
I think its funny and hypocritical of metal fans getting upset about lyrics. Writing about raping kids, women, animals and shit is no prob it seems, I surely don’t care. Kill the nuns, priests, rip their guts out! Just don’t talk about the Jews or the Blacks or you’re a fuckin’ Nazi band! That’s pussy PC shit. As long as you don’t support violence in any way against anybody, you can say what the fuck you want as far as I’m concerned. The ones who cry ‘racist’ with that shit are the true Nazis. Believe it.
Metallica vs Megadeth
Megadeth, all day every day. Every album pound for pound vs. its counterpart, year by year Megadeth wrote Metallica under the table. Master of Puppets and Peace Sells could have been a tie if you wanna split red cunt hairs.
Favorite Maiden album. Why does this trump the rest?
KILLERS. Because Di’Anno is THE fuckin’ Maiden singer. That was the sound of perfected ‘NWOBHM’ for me on that album. Production, songwriting. ‘Prodigal Son’ gives me chills every time. Like a time gone by in metal history when I was a wee lad, over and done now for a long ass time. Where’s the Kleenex? PS – fuck Brucey Bruce.
All right my Brother. Any last words?
Smoke pot and be cool to everyone except assholes. Fuck them up.
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