Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
The old adage ‘the devil has the best tunes’certainly rings true when it comes to Rock N Roll. In fact, it is a byline which we here at Rue Morgue Records proudly throw around with some of our advertising collateral. That’s ‘cos it is something we most assuredly believe in. In more ways than one!
At the same time, Satan and his minions can lay claim to his own musical note – or more precisely – his own musical interval. First discovered sometime in the 11th century, the church was outraged at what it labelled the Devil’s Interval or Diabolus In Musica which is achieved by playing a tritone. In modern times, it famously reared it’s horned head via Black Sabbath on their debut self-titled opus and opening track. Surely this is Satan’s greatest hit! 🙂
The Devil’s Interval does, however, have a foreboding history. The 18th-century violinist Giuseppe Tartini claimed that he composed his Devil’s Trill Sonata after Satan himself gave him instructions on how to do it, which might help explain why this piece of music is so incredibly difficult to play.
In Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, the diminished fifth illustrates a scene of pagan excess; Camille Saint-Saëns used it to tell the story of skeletons coming alive at Halloween in his Danse Macabre. Jimi Hendrix nailed it in the intro to Purple Haze to bring home the message that hallucinogenic drugs may be exciting but they’re scary, too.
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste
These days the devil in music is usually common place in the bastion of Heavy Metal and all it’s derivative’s. And whilst we’re huge fans of all things Metal and all things that praise the Dark Lord… good old Beelzebub has popped his head in many other musical genres and to be honest, this is where things get very, very interesting! And much more tasty! Read… this is music one can really sink their teeth into!
So let’s do just that! Let’s explore some exciting new music which has befallen towards us and taken considerable influence from the Lightbringer.
Zeal & Ardor
Out of the blue, (or is that black?) came forth Zeal And Ardor a couple of short years ago, an act that is sure to leave one scratching their head in wonderment.
The album Devil Is Fine masterminded by Manuel Gagneux when taunted by 4chan website posters who suggested to him that he combine Black Metal and ‘nigger’ (sic) music.
Unbeknownst to the usual trolls that populate the 4chan network, Gagneux took on the challenge head on! And the results?
African American spiritual and gospel chants mixed with harsh cacophony inspired Black Metal? Surely you jest!
Add liberal doses of Aleister Crowley recorded spells and mix it up with Orthodox priest chants and prose. It is eclectic as you can get. On paper, the influences and samples sound like this is a record that cannot work. But it does. Scarily so.
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Myrkur burst into the scene without anyone knowing the true identity of whoever was behind the project. It has been revealed now, however, that Amalie Bruun was the mastermind.
Although Myrkur’s music could hardly be labelled as Satanic, she mixes traditional folk and acoustic songs with insane splashes of Black Metal like a seasoned pro. So much so that Black Metal purists had made it a habit to proliferate her social media with death threats and other vile behaviour.
“I know that some of you have noticed you can no longer send me private messages. The reason for this is I am getting tired of the death threats and hate emails. Believe it or not but that shit looses it’s charm after a while. I am of course sad that I then no longer can receive personal letters from supporters + fan-art in private messages, but please continue to post your beautiful pieces on this page or to my instagram @myrkurmyrkur .”
But if she is pissing off that lot, you know she’s doing something right! Her ability to marry diverse genres from the subliminally beautiful to the absolute reprehensible is a joy to listen to in any given situation. She does it well. An eclectic mix of the ethereal to the visceral has created a sound that is both unique and refreshing and quite possibly… quite possibly the very future of Black Metal.
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Alexandra and Zachary James are the high priests of Twin Temple, the Satanic doo-wop band hailing from the city of Angels.
The band was started on Halloween (a witch’s sabbath) in 2016 when a destruction ritual was performed, and Alexandra and Zachary stepped into their power as Twin Temple, energetically killing all their previous incarnations up until that point.
Although you may expect heavy guitar riffs and a thumping bass to accompany cries of “Hail Satan,” instead you’ll hear old-school, classic riffs and Alexandra’s crooning voice that sounds straight out of the ‘60s. While many confine Satan to the likes of black metal, the duo is breaking the notion that Satan has a type. After all, who says Satan wouldn’t get down to some classic Americana? Inspired by the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll, Twin Temple rejects conformity of any kind, whether it’s through their magick, performance, or sound.
And while a lot of “Satanic” metal bands begin and end their worship of Satan on stage, the same can’t be said for Twin Temple. Both their music and their practice of Satanism, on and off the stage, are rooted in the ideals of free will and giving space to those who are often not allowed any.
So no, Twin Temple doesn’t drink the blood of virgins or kill babies to sacrifice on the full moon. They are challenging notions about what it means to free the oppressed, fight back against dated and binary ways of thinking, and doing it all while hailing the dark lord himself.
If there’s anything to expect with Twin Temple, it’s the unexpected.
From Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads to the blood-soaked black metal of Norway, Satan has long loomed large over the music world, striking fear into the hearts of the sanctimonious. But nothing that has gone before will prepare you for the arrival of Twin Temple: Los Angeles’ one and only purveyors of Satanic Doo-Wop. Devout Satanists and meticulous preservers of rock’n’roll’s ancient, timeless spirit, this black-clad and effortlessly stylish duo have created a sound that blends their Satanic ideology with the irresistible sass and melody of classic ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’roll. The result is “Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound…Satanic Doo-Wop)“, a debut album that not only serves to salute the Dark One, but also delivers some of the catchiest and coolest music to emerge from any genre in years.
I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Amigo The Devil
Amigo the Devil is the stage name of Danny Kiranos (with frequent credit to his partner Hayley Miller).
Kiranos was born in 1987 and grew up in Miami, Florida. Starting out playing hardcore, he transitioned to folk music with a dark edge that he labels ‘murderfolk’, although it might more widely be categorised punk-folk.
Amigo the Devil offers a unique brand of folk rock that has resonated with the Hard Rock and Metal community. In fact, his album is produced by Ross Robinson (Korn, At the Drive-In) and he is managed by DevilDriver’s Dez Fafara.
“I think there’s always been a fascination since I was a kid with just dark themes in general, and dark stories,” says Danny. “Even within fairytales and kids’ stories… there were parts that seemed like everybody was so quick to demonize that made sense to me. With the villain, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s just jealous.’ I’ve felt jealousy before. He just feels it on a different scale than I do. And I think the initial intent was to explore that, just kind of thread together a sense of normalcy in these extreme situations. It’s not an excuse [for serial killers]. It’s a terrible, terrible thing that they’ve done, and I don’t think they should ever be glorified, or pitied. But there’s something behind there to learn. The majority of the population acknowledges, ‘Okay, I’m sad. Why am I sad?’, or they just dwell and live with it. But there’s a small percentage of people that just react. They don’t have that gate that says, ‘Oh, hold on, hold on, what are we doing here? What the hell is going on?’
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
Of course I discover the music of King Dude just as he has toured Australia. All over town I saw these incredible posters advertising a gig by someone called King Dude and I had no idea who or what he was. The poster was striking. The photography brilliant. But the name had me thinking it was a rap act or something.
Oh how stupidly wrong I was.
I have now immersed myself in his vast catalogue of devilishly stunning folk music and now call myself a fan.
The king’s real name is TJ Cowgill, a Luciferian Satanist who musically sounds like a cross between Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and everything that is cool about the plethora of UK Goth bands. It’s tongue in cheek but it is deadly serious too. And he delivers it all with such a loose and calm candour that one can’t help but get quite literally hooked!
From a bio somewhere… “King Dude is the dark neo-folk project of TJ Cowgill. Cowgill began his musical journey fronting the Satanic blackened death metal band Book Of Black Earth. But by 2006, he found himself drawn towards creating music in the folk tradition, and King Dude was born shortly thereafter. Pulling together the biblical sound and isolation of the bygone days of revelation and an atmosphere filled with hope and salvation, King Dude weaves a brand of doom-folk that blends the myth of Robert Johnson, the preaching hand of Johnny Cash, and the aesthetic displeasures of Death in June. With deep baritone vocals and reverberated guitars, King Dude’s sound paints us a picture of apocalyptic desert landscapes superimposed onto visions of transformation through fire to a higher spiritual existence. King Dude offers us stories of the constant struggle of man’s turbulent affair with the Lord and the Devil, abstractly juxtaposed with coal dust spirituals mined from the haunting backwoods landscape of the Pacific Northwest…”
I rode a tank
Held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Meanwhile… do check out these gems from Anton LaVey and Aleister Crowley!
All cover art from courtesy the artist’s websites.
Zeal & Ardor photography by John Raptis.
Satanists are born, not made – Anton Szandor LaVey