29 October 2012

004 - The Playlist of Chapter 1

I have chosen to write the book alongside a personal selection of tracks from albums that matter (or don't matter at all but just have to be mentioned) to the international black metal scene, or more general, to an international conglomerate of occult songs or albums. To keep the book readable, I have mixed both the chronological order of things with a more instinctive order, based on the story presented...
The first chapter deals with occult music that existed before black metal was born. I have decided to include compositions of the following classical composers as my starting point: Giuseppe Tartini, Niccolò Paganini, Felix Mendelssohn, Hector Berlioz, Modest Mussorgski, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, Peter Warlock, and Carl Orff. Surely I could have chosen Wagner, or any other bloke that's in the famous LaVey list of 'Satanic Classics'. Since I find this list ill-informed and incomplete, I have labelled it as being a 'writer's favourites' list.
Surely, darkness is shining through in a lot of compositions, but that's also due to a fair amount of writing skills. Mozart might have been a rebellious odd fellow, writing a great requiem march, but I don't think that it has been born from the occult. On the other hand, I have also included stuff by, Dominique Frontiere (hardly a Mozart, by the way), but I doubt his Pagan Festival album is really rooted deeply in heathen soil. It's possibly his attempt to create 'exotic' music.
I did chose to include field recordings by Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey, Alex Sanders, Gerald Gardner, the mass murdering Reverend Jim Jones, and - continuing with infamous cult leaders - also the primitive country ramblings of Charles Manson and his Family.
I also fly past recordings of Sammy Davis Jr., Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, and some voodoo inspired stuff like Screamin' Jay Hawkings and Dr. John. But they are the minor players of the story. The first ones that are obligatory features are blues artists Peetie Wheatstraw and Robert Johnson. This last one laid the foundations for a lot of modern rock, and especially for occult driven bands in these genres - and that includes The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin - because of the famous crossroads legend. It also gives me the opportunity to side-track into material by The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper and Helter Skelter), The Eagles (yes, that's Hotel California and no, it's not Satanic), soundtracks for Invocation of My Demon Brother, Lucifer Rising, and The Omen (remember those intro's from black metal shows back in the early 1990s?), and sect-based releases like that of Ya Ho Wha 13.

The 1960s and 1970s unbottled loads of occult driven music, ranging from folk artists to psychedelic rock to experimental electronic music to hard rock and proto-heavy metal bands; both under the influence of outside the influence of the newly found freedom in psychotropic substances. You can think of bands like Sam Gopal, Dave And Toni Arthur, Donovan, H.P. Lovecraft, Strawberry Alarm Clock, King Crimson, Satan And Deciples, The Gun, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Burn, Bedemon, Boudewijn de Groot, Jacula, Lucifer, J.D. Blackfoot, Zior, White Noise, Roky Erickson, Bruce Haack, et cetera, who have all contributed in big or small ways to the unexisting genre of 'occult music'. I even managed to squeeze in a bit of Elly & Rikkert somewhere - despite their childrens gospel reputation!

Things all came together in the late 1970s, when more extreme music presented itself as both punk rock (hardcore in the United States) and heavy metal (with the NWoBHM as a powerful representative). The explicity of AC/DC's Highway to Hell, Venom's Welcome to Hell, Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast, and Death SS' Horned God of the Witches demo all predated the one album that started it all: Black Metal by Venom, released in late 1982. And that's where the second chapter kicks in...
If you have suggestions, please do so in the comments!

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