A Journal Of The Dark Arts
isis, the rainbow of sapphire mysteries
you are the calling i hear
from the wind in my bones.
O mother of life
begotten from yr womb of light,
we rise now out of the masculine death
that is Jehovah’s enslavement.
In the fullness of sweet woman’s blood
and faerie rage
our touch blossoms.
Like the tides of earth,
we are strong
to come again.
I believe in the goddess
the movement for life
formed by our generalist
brightening for our powerless
and suckling our struggle.
By the rose in my chakras
i tap the androgyne.
with you, our love is revolt
with you, we are each atoms of significance
Diana, my lover of Amazons,
my Triumph of faggot witches
feed us the lunar nectar.
Between poems and tears,
Between silence and celebrations.
And guide us to destroy the machinery that alienates us
Then shall our captors parasite upon themselves.
O, Kali, the source, the destroyer, the return,
In Pain’s dignity, yr face is behind our faces
We are strong to come again.
So begins Why Do The Heathens Rage?, the first album in 10 years from Drew Daniels, of Matmos, under his The Soft Pink Truth moniker.
“Invocation For Strength”, where the above lyrics come from, taken from Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, by Arthur Evans and invoked by Antony Hegarty, in a silken spidery croon, alongside Daniels’ pitchshift demonic growl, both serves to call the circle, and act as mission statement.
Why Do The Heathens Rage?, appropriately subtitled “Electronic Profanations Of Black Metal”, re-imagines classic black metal tracks as avant-House and gay club anthems.
Daniels got the idea from the Rainbow In The Dark club night, in NYC, dedicated to “gay men, Satanists, and metal enthusiasts”.
Rather than just acting as mere appropriation or piss-take, Daniels, a Metal-lover, realized that a lot of the Black Metal he was loving all had insanely infectious riffs, and WDTHR? began by him wondering if they would translate to electronic music.
To bring these classics from Mayham, Sargeist, Venom, Hellhammer, Darkthrone + others, Daniel enlisted the help of Terence Hannum (Locrian), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), and Owen Gaertner (Horse Lords).
After the “Invocation”, things begin with the beginning, Venom’s classic “Black Metal”, which named a genre. Neubauten industrial percussion meets tight Trap beats and drill ‘n bass and Dutch gabba/hardcore, beneath a rasping voice demanding “Lay down yr soul to the god’s rock ‘n roll”.
It sets the mood for what is to come – classic thrashy, trashy black metal, reconfigured into rap, dubstep, clubstep, diva house soulful anthems. Blast beats become trap beats, flying V guitars become Game Boys and 808s.
It’s a carnivalesque romp through the dark and depraved side of Human sexuality, questioning and parodying fundamentalist religions with scathing, lisping vitriol.
Check out “Ready To Fuck”‘s transfiguration into a disco house number, laced with Aleister Crowley samples, with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner playing the role of Donna Summers, as a prime example of all that is great and (un)holy about this record.
Why Do The Heathens Rage? is one of the best examples of many of the themes we have been exploring here at Forestpunk: genre-bending, trans/queer/gender theory, witchcraft, satanism, black metal, hip-hop, and all manner of electronic music. Like we mentioned in the Boris review the other day, we admire the force and ferocity of metal music, but it’s emotional scope and subject matter is rather limited. The Soft Pink Truths takes that transgressive, libidinal energy, and brings it to the dancefloor, to be experienced by a whole wide swathe of humanity.
Why Do The Heathens Rage? offers a re-evaluation of what we consider satanism and witchcraft. On the surface level, there is the typical, cartoon-ish black mass of “fornicating on Christian altars”, as “Sadomatic Rites” would have it, but on another level, witchcraft and devil worshippers were people who wouldn’t play by the rules, who lived on the margins of society. Who went to the woods on Sunday morning, to be alone with their thoughts on Sunday morning, rather than joining the congregation.
I think it’s all summed up in “Invocation Of Strengths” adage “we rise now out of the masculine death that is Jehovah’s enslavement. In the fullness of sweet woman’s blood
and faerie rage our touch blossoms.”
Lately, i’ve been reading the book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, by Hanna Rosin and getting pissed and frustrated by the changing social/economic climate. I’ve done a lot of things, for work, in my day, but i have a long history in the labor field, and have been watching those jobs dissipate for a decade. I have realized that i have no interest in either the traditional patriarchy, with its insistence on loyalty and allegiance to causes that don’t even matter, just as i am dis-interested in traditional femininity, as i am not nearly well-coiffed or submissive enough to fit in.
What i am calling for, what i believe The Soft Pink Truth, and the emerging gender-fluid movement, is a new way. I am what you could describe as a “feminine male”. I have insane amounts of drive and stamina, and can be furiously one-pointed when i am on the scent of an idea, but i am also nurturing, compassionate, sensitive, and have a great fashion sense. I want to see a world where men are not limited by rote obligation, don’t just follow orders blindly. I want more room for men to explore their actual selves, not how people see them or what they’re supposed to do. I am calling for a 4 day work week, straight across the board. And, dudes, if you happen to be reading this, do some fucking dishes! Learn to cook! Go for a walk! But also, be fierce! Be primal! Be bloodthirsty! Don’t take no shit! And, for the love of all that is (un)holy, learn to keep yr dick in yr pants!
This reflects in the music i make and listen to. I am interested in both the “straight” (no pun intended) versions of things, traditional black, death, sludge metal, hip-hop, dance music, and all of the many mutations and permutations (read some of our posts on the industrial techno, for ruminations on how this meeting of styles, in this case noise and techno, can create new and interesting psychic dimensions, and says something unique and interesting about our culture, and the times we are living in.
I would like to see these tracks work their way into clubs, and i would like to see more people daring to make music along these lines. To that end, i have taken the liberty of putting together a playlist of the black metal originals, which i will post along with a stream of the record. Analyze, deconstruct, speculate as to what other unlikely sources are rife for plundering and pillaging.
We are so far beyond black and white. We are entering the Greyed Rainbow.
Kudos to Drew Daniel, and the ever-mighty Thrill Jockey, for having the backbone to put out a record that could offend almost everybody. But, as Daniels said in a recent interview with Dazed Magazine: “I guess my goal is to try and be an outsider wherever I go.” Us too, buddy, us too (although we don’t have to try). Drew Daniel, you are an honorary Forestpunk, even if you don’t know it.
Stream @ Spotify:
Get a copy (first 666 vinyl copies come on pink vinyl): Why Do the Heathen Rage?