Friday, March 19, 2010


We are a divided people. It seems that of the most important things in our lives, debates on healthcare, the economy, climate change, terrorism and war, human rights, civil rights, all the things that will define our age when history looks back at us, we are at odds with one another about.
Where do these disagreements come from? Is this how it has always been? Has there always been an onslaught of misinformation coming from all sides aimed to discredit the opposing views? What makes one view right and another wrong? If there really is a definitive right and wrong out there, for claiming to be an intelligent, rational species we are incredibly irrational; As this would mean a large portion of us fail to see the logical 'truth' on many issues.
This is an incredibly disheartening realization. I have many questions and very little answers. But it is my objective to come to terms with this dichotomy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Religious Perspective

The evolution of the human mind has been a remarkable one. With history, we are able to look back upon the things our ancestors did and didn't do to learn valuable lessons on how we should live our own lives. The most difficult things in doing this, though, is to first look at history with a perspective unbiased by the social, cultural, moral, and political climate we live in, and second, to attempt to empathize with the perspectives of people living in the past to better understand why things were the way they were. Of course, this is merely using the evidence presented from the writings and artifacts of old to make educated speculations on the conscious and unconscious mind of people we never personally knew, but having the insights that may be extracted from this is much more valuable than no insight at all. To quote George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Consider now, how our era can be compared to previous ones; particularly in a sense of religious belief. There are people around today who practice the same faiths that have been practiced for thousands of years, but due to the advances in science and technology most of these practitioners do not devote themselves with the same fervor to their faith that people in the past have. A large number of people have even shed faith altogether and claimed atheism. This of course is not a bad thing, but I do believe we had lost a part of ourselves when "God died," as Nietzsche so bluntly put it.

What is it that we lost? Purpose. We lost what we believed to be our purpose in existing in this world. When the masses believed in God, particularly that of the great organized religions, they lived to worship and serve God. They did this for the promise of salvation after leaving this world for the afterlife. This was a human being's purpose on earth, whether they consciously realized it or not. Ever since the scientific revolution shook the human mind with ways to naturally explain the world without God, we have been unconsciously scrambling to find meaning in in a cold, indifferent, mechanical universe.

So what have we found to fill this void? We turned to science and technology. We placed ourselves onto the pedestal on which God once sat. There was nothing the human mind cannot conquer, our technology brings comfort to our lives and stands as a testament to our greatness. This was the zealous fervor we had at the beginnings of the scientific revolution. As time went on, we lost this momentum. We began to encounter the problems this mentality brings with it. And there was still a nagging feeling of spiritual emptiness beneath it all. So what did we do? We ignored the problems and began to consume more. Why not, as that is all we can do in our short lives, right? If we compare this to the religious mentalities of old, we have in a sense reverted back to a form of narcissistic, earth worshiping paganism.

The fruits of this lifestyle aside, the problems that the cult of consumerism brings are ever more daunting. Anthropogenic climate change, seemingly constant wars for resources and domination, the stresses of a highly competitive working world, these all are taking their tolls on the minds of people worldwide. We cannot sustain this forever, lest we be forced to live with the guilt of destroying a planet's ecosystem while at the same time oppressing others for the very fact that there are not enough resources on this planet to allow 6+ billion people and growing to enjoy the same lifestyle we do. We cannot revert back to the old religious mentality of serving God, though. To do so would be to cling to an archaic way of life. It may be difficult for some to understand, but the God of old is dead. He is never coming back.

What can we do, then? I will offer you a suggestion. Having wrestled with this dilemma for some time, I came to this conclusion. This is the mantra by which I live my life.

The sense of purpose our ancestors enjoyed through the worship of God must once again be turned to. We must use it differently this time, though. If we consider ourselves to be smarter, we should recognize the idea of a guiding purpose as the tool that gave structure to our existence it once was. We should then personally wield this tool, instead of having it's power centralized in the figureheads of various religious institutions. It is a fusion of the things learned through natural science and the ways of living before that revolution. Humanity cannot only manipulate their environment but can also manipulate their mind.

How can we manipulate our minds? Through learning and gaining different perspectives. That is all that really matters in this world. Unlike material items, you can never take away an idea or thought from someone. This is our purpose - to learn. Being open minded, attempting to empathize with different perspectives, and accepting or rejecting things based on what you already know is the most efficient way to better yourself. It goes beyond what you materially have and don't have, and to preoccupy yourself with the obsessive need for those things stifles your personal growth.

Go into every moment of your life looking to find something new, some new idea or perspective, scenery or art that you find strikingly beautiful, a new rhythm or melody you've never heard, in a seemingly infinite universe the possibilities are endless. See it, appreciate it, understand it, move on. After some time, the quest for money and useless material crap begins to seem a bit childish.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thou/Salome split - Our Enemy Civilization (2009)

I had the privilege of picking this up from Salome personally when they came through NYC last Thursday. Let me first talk about that show.

SALOME IS FUCKING AWESOME. To see a band like this live is to experience how they are supposed to be heard. No high end stereo system can compare to it. Somehow, Rob Moore is able to get crushingly low frequencies out of his guitar, which leaves no need for a bassist. That's right, a sludge band with NO BASSIST. He also manages to write some of the grooviest riffs I have heard while keeping it crushing (see: With Hell For a Mouth from this release). Drummer, Aaron Deal reinforces this with rock solid skin thumping accentuated with quick passages that hit like a hook you never saw coming. Finally, singer Katherine Katz is a demon. There is no way a mere mortal of her stature (5'1" I believe) can shriek and growl like she does. Watching her bare her teeth while screaming til she was red in the face was something I will never forget, and hope to see many more times in the future. They opened for Wolves in the Throne Room and the already legendary Shrinebuilder, but they were easily the best act of the night. They played both tracks from this split, three new ones, and one from their self titled release. Mr. Deal did inform me after the show that they should have a new full length out this summer. Fuck yea.

On this release, we get two tracks each from doomers Thou and Salome. The Thou side is good, but I got this for Salome, as you could probably already tell.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wolves in the Throne Room - Malevolent Grain (2009)

This wonderful EP is the precursor to WITTR's full length Black Cascade. One track on each side of 12" 180 gram vinyl, played a 45 rpm. Pure earcandy.

Jamie Myers (formerly of Hammers of Misfortune) offers her hauntingly beautiful voice for the gloomy psychedelic black metal masterpiece that is "A Looming Resonance."

You are then reminded why WITTR is at the forefront of American black metal with "Hate Crystal", a relentlessly driving composition that leaves you invigorated with the energy of a primal and pristine wilderness.



Take a step back and look at the world you live in. What is it like? What do people do there? What do you do there? What motivates people to do what they do?

I live in the 'Western World'. More specifically, the United States of America. From where I stand, people seem to be driven by one thing, wealth. Now, when I say wealth, what is it you think of? Something tangible like money or gold or jewelery? Or is it something intangible, like information, knowledge, power, or even love? Your concept of what wealth is lies at the basis of what motivates you to 'do' in this world, and in the western world I feel that most people's concept of wealth is that of the tangible.

It is easy to understand why most are fixated on material things, it comes as a very rewarding feeling when you get something new, especially when you feel you have worked hard to get it. It may also be argued that the attachment to material items is ingrained in the most primal instincts of our psyche. After all, it is material that has fed us, clothed us, sheltered us, and made us comfortable since man's ancestors birthed the concept of tools. But where are we now? We have finally made it easy to acquire food, made it easy to become clothed, and made it easy to shelter ourselves. We have made ourselves very, very comfortable. How much more do we really stand to gain in acquiring more 'stuff''?

We have brought this childlike fixation of wanting more to its limits. We are already hurting our planet with our habits, and if we continue like this we will only succeed in hurting ourselves. It is time we recognize that we need to transcend our ancestors, to bring new meaning to what it is to be human.

This leaves a gaping question: What do we do instead? How can we break out of the old cycle of work for reward? The answer lies within that which we are already very familiar with. It is what has gotten us to the point we are at now, though most people have gone through life using it as a means to the end, the way to acquire more material wealth. It is time to make the means the end itself, to make knowledge and intelligence what we strive for. Our intelligence is what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, as a race, we should focus on life achievement in that aspect.

This does not mean we should shun all material, technology, and the like. It is just shifting our focus away from what is materially unnecessary to our survival and comfort in the pursuit of personal growth through wealth of information and perspective. Like I stated earlier, instead of using intelligence as the means to acquire material, we use material as a means of acquiring intelligence.

It also does not mean we should spend our lives with our heads buried in books, or trapped in institutional learning facilities. The best intelligence comes from experience, which comes from merely living in the world. So, in a sense one could argue that we already do this, but for the most part we do not do this consciously. This notion of living your life, always looking to learn, always looking for new experience, is what I call for. We should be eternally thirsty for knowledge and insatiably eager to share our knowledge with others.

With this new philosophically enlightened perspective, we can use it as a basis for a completely new society, attempting to free ourselves from the greedy and dominating shackles of crass materialism.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


What am I doing here? I'm blogging.

About what, you may ask? Whatever I feel like. Isn't that the spirit of the blog? But as of right now, I see this as a place to collect and my thoughts and ideas on the issues that I torture my brain with on a daily basis.

The motive of writing this is my desire to have my voice out there where all can hear. For two long the questions I ask, problems I see, ideas I have, and solutions I present have been limited to being heard through personal conversations with friends and acquaintances. It is time for what I have to say to get lost amongst the countless other blogs populating the wonderful world of the internet.

I am also an avid listener of off the beaten path music, indie if you will, but not indie music as the mainstream defines it. My plan is to also post links to download the awesome things that I listen to, as well as talk about the cool bands that I see at all the concerts I attend. This will at least give a better chance for the music lovers and pirates out there to stumble upon this bullshit.