Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I think Steve Delchin is my new hero.


Old news from CNET UK (April 1, 2010):

A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.

The LHC successfully collided particles at record force earlier this week, a milestone Mr Cole was attempting to disrupt by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment's vending machines. He also claimed responsibility for the infamous baguette sabotage in November last year.

Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his 'time machine power unit', a device that resembled a kitchen blender.


Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."

This isn't the first time time-travel has been blamed for mishaps at the LHC. Last year, the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya and Danish string-theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen put forward the hypothesis that the Higgs boson was so "abhorrent" that it somehow caused a ripple in time that prevented its own discovery.


Professor Brian Cox, a CERN physicist and full-time rock'n'roll TV scientist, was sympathetic to Mr Cole. "Bless him, he sounds harmless enough. At least he didn't mention bloody black holes."

“Doc, I’ve got something important to show you from the future.”

Big ups to JGD over at The Living Doorway for the scoop.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dead Reptile Shrine - A Journey Through the Darkest of Forests (2005)

Sure, you're already an expert in Finnish Death Metal by now, but Finnish Black Metal? Not so much. These a Beast kicked it off with the post below mine. I invite you to continue your vision quest with Dead Reptile Shrine. Hammer Smashed Sound turned me on to em a few months ago and their spot in the rotation is pretty secure at the moment.

So yeah Dead Reptile Shrine. The base is sloppy, raw, primitive black metal. The tempos drag and sometimes forget a beat here or there. Suddenly, there is a techno song that makes no apologies for its derivative, lazy nature (Illud Divinum Insanus this is not) even though it's patently bad. Then, you get a riff that sounds like you did when you got your first electric - just a series of fourths (one finger, two strings, same fret) up and down the neck. You get primordial chants, flutes, and ogres lurking in the brume. You get straight-up d-beat bangers. Not infrequently do you wonder whether the haphazard performances are intentional or symptomatic of a talent deficit. This is Black Metal Roky Erickson.

Over at The Left Hand Path, Todd DePalma describes their sound thusly: "The Fernow-esque gold plated cock-in-socket fumbling manufacturing death moans, gulag dances, and clunky faux-percussion, which explodes like rows of compressed air-canisters." Sure, it's not a complete sentence, but it says enough.

Dead Reptile Shrine - A Journey Through the Darkest of Forests

Monday, November 28, 2011

Enochian Crescent - Black Church (2006)

Today's the first day in 2 weeks I've had a free moment to write, and when I'm done I'm going to reward myself by opening up Skyrim and saying goodbye to family, friends, and my new job for 200 hours.

Before I do that I'm going to present to you Enochian Crescent. They're popular enough to have their own misheard lyrics video (an honor I thought was only bestowed upon balless, soulless, spiritless, corporate little bitches, suckers of Satan's cock like Fallout Boy), but I've never heard a peep about them stateside.

Hailing from Finland, these dudes shot into the Finnish limelight in 1997 after the singer sliced himself up on stage so badly that he was hospitalized. Maybe not such a rare occurrence except that in this case they were opening up for Emperor, who refused to play until someone cleaned up all the blood. As a result they got a pretty sweet record deal. Cheers, bros.

Actually, the dudes seem to have quite a following back home. In 2006 they were nominated for Band of the Year (lost to Children of Boredom) and Album of the Year (lost to Mokoma's Kuoleman laulukunnaat... wha?) for their album Black Church. Nominated by whom? The Finnish Metal Awards.

Yea, Finland has their own awards show for metal. Pretty cool, right? But as founding member Karri Suoraniemi said in an interview for Promised Land of Heavy Metal, "Mainstream and rebellion are incompatible," and what's extreme metal without rebellion?

What happens when extreme metal becomes mainstream? Girls start showing up to metal parties, that's what.

Anyway enough pontificating, let's get to the fucking metal:

Without further ado I give you 2006's Black Church, which stood as the band's comeback full-length after a 5 year hiatus. They fall under the black metal umbrella, but they're getting a little wet. Upside down crosses? Check. Shrieking vocals? Check. Pig hearts thrown into the audience? Check. But then there's a hairless black metal Billy Corgan cutting himself on stage, group vocals, poppy riffs, a bubble machine, and this guy lurking somewhere in the background:



Metallum /

Red Dwarf - Between the Wall (1990)

A few months ago I ran into a post on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus about Red Dwarf's Behind the Wall. The only information offered was that it was trad doom, a "Real underground project from USA" and a tracklist. Fortunately there was a download link. After listening I became intrigued by its music and did a little "research". Red Dwarf is not on Metal Archives, and the only other thing I could find was the whole demo on the youtube, posted by the creator. During the early 90s he made several demos under the title of in his garage.
Musically it's fuzzed out trad doom with low, heavily reverbed out clean vocals of the "wizard" variety. The production is definitely of demo quality, but does not detract from its quality. There is a certain quality of "ritual" to the demo, maybe due to the steady throb of the drums, the drone of the vocals or the production. Bonus points for weird ass acoustic piece "The 9th Key:" 
 Shame this band get lost the way it did. This band coulda been a major doom game changer in the early 90's if they got more exposure. They totally predated E-Wiz's steez by a couple of years. Forgotten is an understatement.

Friday, November 25, 2011


So once again I'm riding the coattails of someone else's work; this time it's Aegipan and his superb take on Disembowelment's album Transcendence into the Peripheral. Yes, the album rips, yes it's a genre touchstone, yes they're from Australia, etc etc etc wait, hold up, come again, Australia?

Yeah dude AUSTRALIA.

One thing I've always loved about metal is its connection to place. Whether it's this blog, a tet a tet with your bros down the pub, or tracing a genre's roots, the conversation ultimately turns to place eventually. Sure you've got your Swedens, your Finlands, your Norways, but there's a million other places usually left out for one reason or another. Like Australia.

AUSSIE METAL. You've heard of it, you always kinda knew it's a thing, but you never scratched the surface. Every now and again some new album will drop and you'll be banging it out your LeBaron pulling all kinds of girls with it and then you'll find out the band is from Australia. And you think to yourself, "Huh, Australia, well that's odd oh well LOL @ Australia."


While Australia has a bumper crop of metal powerhouses, it rarely comes up in conversation as a hotbed of metal inspiration/innovation. Overall trends you find in Aussie metal are good songwriting, bad cover art (see aforementioned dISEMBOWELMENT post), and a rather intense surrealist impulse attributable to the country's overabundance of psilocybe cubensis.


Whatever the cause, something's brewing on that giant island in the South Pacific and deep scrutiny is utterly mandatory to your comprehension of metal. I'll take you through some Aussie metal highlights; your homework is to get on metal-archives, filter by country, put on your gum boots, and slog through some of this shit for me. DoomUnicorn can only do so much.

Since I'm piggybacking on Aegipan's Aussie-doom motif, I am compelled to start at Mournful Congregation. Everyone can get behind this band. Mournful Congregation make some of the sickest, most wretched, agonizingly slow, and haunting funeral doom this side of the Murray-Darling basin. They recently released Book of Kings, the band's crowning achievement (which is saying something considering the quality of their body of work) and a release of such monumentally depressing and beautiful proportions that it somehow feels like doom's apogee. As we swing into end-of-year list season, I'm certain Book of Kings will occupy its fair share of 1 and 2 slots. I mean sure, there will be those detractors out there who LIKED THE EARLIER STUFF BRAH but these folks are false. The best elements of Cathedral, Evoken, dISEMBOWELMENT, and even Musk Ox rolled into one. You can't not find something to love on this record. All u haters kill yourself.

On deck is Destroyer 666, another band with which you're undoubtedly familiar, which crushes all posers with a blackened thrash melange calling to mind Von (only more evil), Beherit (only slightly less evil), and Bathory (about as evil). Crawling from the disbanded detritus of Bestial Warlust, Destroyer 666's finest moment was 1996's Cold Steel...for an Iron Age. You get the phrase "all killer, no filler" in a lot of metal reviews and no where is this truer than in Cold Steel...for an Iron Age. Each track oozes a palpable intensity buttressed by KK Warslut's vocals. (i only wrote that last sentence to have an excuse to type KK Warslut's name, KK Warslut). Truly, this is the sound of extreme metal, with flecks of black, death, and thrash all orbiting around metal's raison detre: songs about satan, war, death, and crucifix rape.

Destroyer 666 - Cold Steel...For an Iron Age

Still not a believer? Shall I go on?

The next logical stop is Urgrund which has connections to, let's see, among others, Destroyer 666, Tzun Tzu and Ignivomous. My head is beginning to hurt. I'm going down a These a Beast-ian 'Six Degrees of' rabbit hole. You can easily identify the Destroyer 666 in Urgrund's sound, perhaps with a bit more control and a flair for the epic. They're like an early, heathen-era Enslaved filtered through a thrashy Australian lens. Tempos rarely notch above 100 BPM or so and the vocals are discernible, revealing a lyrical depth uncharacteristic of the genre. Non-essential but important to understanding the Australian metal ouvre.

Urgrund - The Graven Sign

All right, buckle in. Drowning the Light up next. I had a difficult time picking just one record from their considerable discography but I settled on Of Celtic Blood and Satanic Pride because I think it's fairly emblematic of the overall DTL aesthetic (blown out, raped, vomited, dope sick BM filth). It's clear Azgorh, the band's sole member, was meant to have have been spawned in Norway and not New South Wales from his tense, paranoid, frosty delivery and the rampant Burzumisms. It often sounds like he'd play faster if he could, but he can't, so he doesn't. This is my favorite defining characteristic of DTL. He sounds like he's eternally practicing. The most common DTL complaint is he's a poor-man's Darkthrone/Striborg/what have you and, indeed, it's true somewhat; but, he's enveloped everything in a distinctly Australian sheen that saves it from copycattism. Whereas Burzum is all horns, trees, and mead, DTL is all spiders, sedimentary basins, and Ayahuasca. Does this clarify anything?

Drowning the Light - Of Celtic Blood and Satanic Pride

Bridging the gap between Black and Death is StarGazer (that's a big S little tar big G little azer). StarGazer is Absu minus Proscriptor. It'll do for when your Mom borrowed your Absu tapes but most other times it just leaves you pining for the real thing. They do the whole mindfuck-via-time-signature shifts thing which I personally outgrew after binging on Yes and Nile back in junior high. According to metal-archives, there is notable membership overlap between SarGazer, Portal, Mournful Congregation, and others. Again, non-essential IMO but there are those whose opinions I hold in high regard who would disagree, and they are important to the discussion.

StarGazer - The Scream That Tore the Sky

Now, of course, Portal.

(OK first, when I searched IllCon to make sure no one beat me to the punch on this already-classic, the only search result was this. It would behoove you to go back and read that in its entirely.)

OK, done? Great.

I can't really add anything insightful about this record you haven't read or intuited yourself so I'll just cut to the chase and say THEY'RE FROM AUSTRALIA and LOOK AT THESE DAFT ASSHOLES. no but srs do yourself a favor and cop this if you haven't already and prepare for the aural equivalent of an unanesthetized liver biopsy. But before you dig in, don't let the over-adjectivization (murky, cavernous, frightening, atmospheric, etc. etc.) that surrounds this album fool you: motherfuckers can PLAY. Peep game.

Portal - Outre

We wrap up with Impetuous Ritual, whose 2009 debut Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence completely flew under my radar. Who let me drop the ball on this one? Why the fvk is it so good you may wonder? Oh that's just cuz it's Portal's ENTIRE rhythm section doing the downtuned DM thang, so this release comes to you immediately authenticated before they even play a note. Ignis Fatuus and Omenous (sic) Fugue nail the disorienting, nauseating DM vibe with generous sludge n' doom intervals for the druggies like you to get off on. This is Portal with the Entombed levels turned up to 11--Portal-lite if you will--combining the oppressive, foggy atmospherics of Portal with slightly more accessible songs. SLIGHTLY.

Impetuous Ritual - Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence

So that's your Aussie metal snapshot. I'm sure I forgot your favorite band, and you know more than me, and you've got all these on vinyl, so tell me all about it in the comments sweetie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Gonna try something new today, so just bear with me.
I know not everyone out there in the Contrap-Nation is podcast-savvy just yet, but if you are, feel free to skip this post altogether. I know a lot of folks will be doing quite a bit of travelling this week, and I figured that rather than poisoning your precious ear canals with a bunch of shitty death metal, I'd instead upload a six-pack of my favorite podcast episodes (in easy-to-use mp3 form), to help you expand your mind and maybe even learn something during this heinous period of mind-numbing airport Hell.
I covered most of my favorite podcasts back here, but I figured one last shove in the right direction couldn't hurt--especially at this crucial time when "tuning out" is absolutely essential.

So here you go: 8 or 9 hours of mind-bending chit-chat, narrowed down from hundreds (if not thousands) of hours that I've endured in the last year or so. No "subscribing", "sync-ing", or "directory searching" necessary--just click the link and enjoy!
If any of these shows peak your interest, make sure you go back and check out my previous podcast post--there's plenty more fun to be had.

First off, I've got 3 full episodes from one of my favorites, the unfortunately-defunct Out There Radio:

- Out There Radio Episode 9: Dropping Acid With The CIA
Good times with MKULTRA and government-sponsored mind control--IllCon approved!
- Out There Radio Episode 40: Those Crazy Occult Nazis
In which our intrepid hosts explore the occult/secret society roots (Thule, anyone?) of the early Nazis.
- Out There Radio Episode 48: The Psychedelic Torchbearers
In-depth study into the lives and philosophies of IC heroes Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna. Guaranteed to blow your fragile little mind.

Then get this:

- The Joe Rogan Experience #125: Giorgio "Ancient Aliens" Tsoukalos
Joe Rogan is a surpisingly intelligent dude, and I'm not sure why it took me so long to subscribe to his podcast--especially considering his fascination with The DMT Elves and stuff... Maybe it's those shitty Fleshlight commercials.
Anyhow, Giorgio Tsoukalos, as you know, is a complete fucking fruit bat, and their 2-and-a-half hour discussion is pretty awesome, starting with specualtion as to whether David Icke is a government disinformation agent and just getting weirder from there (more Joe Rogan Experience HERE).

Then get this:

- The Psychedelic Salon #178: Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson: A Random Walk Through Two Great Minds
Another groovy podcast I discovered only recently, featuring a shit-ton of archival recordings from all your favorites--Leary, McKenna, Wilson, Peter Gormley, etc etc etc... (more Psychedelic Salon HERE)

Then get this:

- Requiem Metal Podcast #105: Death, The Sound of Perseverance
A great show about one of the greatest death metal albums of all time. Mark and Jason always do it up proper.

Here's a couple more shows I've discovered since I last publicly confronted my podcast addiction. All of them highly recommended:

Kissing Contest: Two dudes (and their producer) in Brooklyn, who basically have the opposite tastes in everything, arguing about pop culture and insulting each other. Definitely one of the better "underground" podcasts.
Mysterious Universe: Coast To Coast AM from New Zealand. Cryptozoology, paranormal, occult, etc etc etc...
Stuff You Should Know: Makes you smart.
WNYC's RadioLab: Ditto.
PRI: Science And Creativity: Same here, but in easy-to-digest 10-to-15 minute chunks.
The World And Why: A drunk dude (Dizzo) interviews underground rappers. It's better than it sounds on paper, trust me.
Pool Party Radio: Another, more general, podcast from Parker--one of the three hosts of the excellent Junk Food Dinner. Pointless banter, but often funny and weird.

..... Aaaaaand of course, we can't forget good old Illogical Contraption Radio (see links everywhere), which I'm sure you guys are all caught up on already. Speaking of which, no show this week, as we're all out of town eating delicious turkey breasts. But I'd like to wish everyone out there a happy Indiginous Slaughter Day, and if you're unfortunate enough to live somewhere outside the goddamned U.S. of A... Well, tough shit.

See you guys next week.

Da mystery of Sokushinbutsu

The Sokushinbutsu were Japanese monks of the Shingon sect who committed suicide in a manner that caused them to become mummified.

The process to almost 9 years and much hardship. The monks that tried this were Shingon Buddhists, a major Japanese sect. It is believed that many hundred of monks tried this but only a few succeeded.

First let's discuss the why. The Sokushinbutsu and other Shingon Buddhists believed that life is an illusion and if you do not break from the illusion you will continue to be reincarnated  in it. If you do break from the illusion you will become one with the enlightened being or Buddha. I have been taught that only death is real, different strokes I guess. An important aspect of the Shingon sect is the denial of the importance of their physical selves, often by physical degradation. It is common for Shingon monks to meditate under freezing waterfalls. The Sokushinbutsu achieved this by undergoing the long an difficult suicide process.I'd just shoot myself in the head and have a friend take pictures.
Or at least that's what I can get from reading a couple of websites. There's a lot I don't know about Buddhism, like how can a peaceful religion justify killing the shit out of people with their bare hands, death point strikes and whatnot? I really don't know or care much about any religions, but I hope I didn't offend any Buddhists reading this.

Now for the how. From start to end the entire process of mummification took 3000 days or almost 9 years. It was undertaken by elderly monks near the end of their lives anyways.
For the first 1000 days the monk would only eat nuts and seeds and subject himself to a very strenuous exercise regime. This reduced the monks fat deposits, and fat is easily decomposed.
The next 1000 the monk only ate bark and roots of pine trees. Near the end of this stage he began drinking tea made from the sap of the usrushi tree (Toxicodendron verniciflum), a poisonous sap usually used to lacquer bowls and furniture. The tea would induce vomiting, sweating and urination  reducing his body moisture. It also made his body so poisonous that maggots couldn't eat it. By the end of the first 2000 days he had almost no body fat from the exercise and diet,  was chronically dehydrated and poisonous from the urushi.
He would then be entombed in an airtight chamber with just enough room for him to sit in the lotus position. There was an airhole and a string tied to a bell outside. Everyday he would ring the bell to tell his crew that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing they would seal the airhole, leaving the monk to desiccate for another 1000 days. At the end they would unseal the tomb. Most of the they found a rotted body because of the bacteria that lives inside of humans. But every once in a while the monk would be successful in his mummification. The mummy would then be removed from the tomb and placed on display in the temple and viewed as a Buddha. Those that failed would be admired for their determination and endurance and retombed (dibs on band name).

Unfortunately the Japanese government pussied out and outlawed the practice in the 19th century. While suicide remains legal to this day there, assisted suicide and exhumation are not. There are about 16-24 known Sokushinbutsu in Japan and several can be seen to this day at various temples.

Here is a site with more information about the subject:

All this talk about the far east is getting me even more pumped up for the new DIM MAK

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Am I wrong, or does Deutschland lag just a little in the death metal category? I mean sure, they gave us national treasures like Pavor, Defeated Sanity, and Necrophagist (not to mention current tech darlings Obscura), but when compared to their neighbors to the north (that's Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, for the topographically challenged), Germany pales in comparison. Don't get me wrong here, I know that a shit-ton of great music has come from this country throughout the years--I'm just pointing out that their death metal contributions, quite specifically, might be a bit out of proportion. So what's the deal, Germany? Why are you holding back on the crushing slammz? What gives?
But again, I digress. Today's post offers Germany a fair chance to redeem themselves in the Grinding Death Department, via three albums from two bands, all released in 1991 and 1992. Hail Satan.

First off, we have the only two full-length albums from the terribly-named and awesomely-haircutted LEMMING PROJECT. LP, like their fellow Teutonic shred-wizards Pavor, hailed from North Rhine-Westphalia, and delivered an odd, shambling, semi-repetitive take on chugging DM, replete with cool intros, weird, out-of-nowhere gang shouts, and Tardy-esque vocals (although these guys veer toward thrash where Obituary favored doom). While the drums here are a little sloppy and the "Lemming Project sound" tends to stick in the "mid-tempo" range a little more than I prefer, both 1991's Extinction and 1992's Hate And Despise are both undeniable winners, functioning as solid opening and closing statements for a kick-ass band that disappeared long before its time.
If pressed, I'd say Extinction is the better of these two releases for my money, but both albums contain plenty of thunderous, drunken-brontosaurus diminished-chord march-riffing, and both will serve well as balm for the chafed and brittle Hessian soul. Behold:


Download HERE


Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Lemming Project Metallum/Last.FM


Next up, we have the also-unfortunately-named JUMPIN' JESUS, who, like Pavor and Lemming Project, came from North Rhine-Westphalia as well. If you download any of the three albums in this post, I urge you to make it The Art of Crucifying, as I consider this oddball gem to be one of the lost classics of the Early-90's-European-Death-Metal Pantheon. Seriously... If there is a fault somewhere within this album, I have yet to find it--Crucifying is a solid face-melter from start to finish, with just enough curveballs buried deep inside to ensure repeat listenings for nigh unto infinity.
As is always the case, Jumpin' Jesus ceased to be immediately after the release of this album--which begs the question: could it be that perhaps Germany isn't death metal-deficient at all, that maybe they've merely mastered the concept of "quality over quantity" in said genre?


Download HERE

Jumpin' Jesus Metallum/Last.FM

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cerulean Transience Of All My Imagined Shores

Sometime in the late '80s and early '90s there came about a band. Not just any sort of though. A band that was decrepit, evil, bludgeoning, and transcending. A band that exuded despair and chaos and precision all in one. They were brutal, desolate, and unrelenting all the same. This band put out some of the ugliest and down-right doomiest death metal heard this side of the galaxy. Ever.

Kind of like this guy:

(Wait, that's not quite what I had in mind)

Or this guy:

(Eh... that's not quite what I was looking for either but you get the idea, no?)

Anyways, imagine if you crossed early Mayhem and Winter together, while throwing in a little Incantation and perhaps even Asunder for good measure. You'd get something kind of like this:

(wtf?! Scheiße, that wasn't the picture I wanted. I blame Google! Sorry...)

The band in question was signed to Relapse Records so that should give you an idea as to how awesome they were. Aside from the obvious doom influence, this particular band had an interesting approach to their song writing often using tense tremolo-picking that is usually followed with really sludgy, slow riffing. This is usually followed by an abrupt frenzy of blast beats and another change in picking. Despite the drums sounding a little too synthetic and triggered, the percussion is phenomenal and surprisingly full sounding. There are periods of grinding blast beats to simple death marches. This change in tempo keeps the listener on edge.
The vocals are hauntingly dissonant yet surprisingly well-balanced, albeit hard to decipher (even for those with the most hardened ears). There's only one song on the album that I seem to have trouble with. This particular track features female spoken word-like vocals interlaced with acoustic-electric guitar. Its an odd number and to be upfront, I don't know what to make of it really. I mean I have nothing against female vocals but it doesn't really work in this context. Maybe I'll have to listen to it a few more times before I "get it."
But despite that track sticking out from the rest of the album, it highlights the willingness of the band to experiment and incorporate something completely off-the-wall. Each track is like its own person and adds a dimension to the album as a whole that was completely unique to the genre at the time. This album may be as close to perfection as one will get with regards to the death/doom genre.

So what is this band I'm talking about??
Ha! I was waiting for you to ask...

Well, I DID give you a hint in the 'title' of the post but OK, I'll give you another hint:
Cobras featured them in this post a couple weeks back...

Still don't know? Give up?


Hailing from Australia, diSEMBOWELMENT were pioneers in a sea of countless bands that were pushing the boundaries (heck, they may as well had their own island). Along with bands like Abramelin, Acheron, Paramaecium, even Destroyer666 and Hobbs' Angel Of Death, it kind of makes you wonder what the hell those Aussies were (and still are) drinking over there. Hopefully its not Foster's Lager 'cause that would just suck. Whatever it is, there's been some killer music coming from the land down under!

Unfortunately, Transcendence into the Peripheral would be Disembowelment's swansong. At a time when death metal was at its peak and doom metal was well, still "doomy" for a lack of a better term, Transcendence into the Peripheral is regarded as one of the finest death/doom albums that has ever came out. Its unfortunate that Disembowelment split shortly afterwards but perhaps its a good thing as it would have been difficult to top this album.

This album I realize is not everyone's cup of tea but regardless if you're a fan of this stuff or not, you must give it a listen! Unless of course you already have, in which case you should listen to it again! Just sayin'...

Friday, November 18, 2011


Here's a wacky fun fact for you: Ted "The Unabomber" Kaczynski, while enrolled in Harvard from 1958-62, was subject to several of Professor Henry Murray's early "personality tests" involving stress and LSD. That's right, one of the most infamous domestic terrorists in United States history was involved in a program with deep links to the CIA and MKULTRA. As documented in the book Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist, Kaczynski served as a subject in some Murray's highly controversial experiments involving acid, psilocybin, and Personology over there at the Harvard Psychological Clinic Annex back then, and concrete details about these practices went to the grave with Murray in 1988.
Hm. As this 1999 article in Counterpunch puts it, "What did Murray give Kaczynski? Did the experiment’s long-term effects help tilt him into the Unabomber’s homicidal rampages? The CIA’s mind experiment program was vast. How many other human time bombs were thus primed? How many of them have exploded?"

Interesting indeed, the possibility that early studies in mind-control-via-psychedelics could have unhinged Kaczynski in such a manner, leading him on his ultimate path to anti-technological mass murder--after all, isn't our old friend Lysergic acid diethylamide often credited with quite a bit of that late-60's/early 70's "mind expansion" that gave birth to the Computer Age?

But I digress. I'm getting ahead of myself once again, and there's probably a pretty fair chance that some of our readers have never even heard of the Unabomber. Wikipedia, do your thing:

"Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski, born May 22, 1942, also known as the "Unabomber" (a portmanteau of university and airline bomber), is an American mathematician, social critic, anarcho-primitivist, and Neo-Luddite who engaged in a mail bombing campaign that spanned nearly 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23 others.

Kaczynski was born in Chicago, Illinois, where, as an intellectual child prodigy, he excelled academically from an early age. Kaczynski was accepted into Harvard University at the age of 16, where he earned an undergraduate degree, and later earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley at age 25, but resigned two years later.

In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water, in Lincoln, Montana, where he lived as a recluse while learning survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. He decided to start a bombing campaign after watching the wilderness around his home being destroyed by development. From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23. Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 and promised "to desist from terrorism" if the Times or The Washington Post published his manifesto. In his Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto"), he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization.

You can also study up on ol' Ted's side of the story by reading the "Unabomber Manifesto" in its entirety.

This snippet of a German (with english subtitles) documentary on Murray, Kaczynski, LSD, and MKULTRA is pretty helpful, too:

Also: "Harvard and the Making of The Unabomber" by Alston Chase, Atlantic Monthly

Some sweet photos of The Unabomber's digs right after the FBI nabbed him:

Good evening, ladies.

Can I interest you in a light snack?

A cocktail, perhaps?

Whatever the involvement of the CIA/OSS (Henry Murray was a main innovator in the establishment of the Office of Strategic Services, the direct predecessor of the CIA, by the way), or acid, or psilocybin, or "stress tests", on Kaczynski, it's safe to say that he had a definite, deep-seated hatred for industrialism and technology--and every coin has a flip side.

The "flip side" to the Unabomber's particular coin can be found in futurist, tranhumanist, author, inventor, trancendentalist, and synthesizer enthusiast Ray Kurzweil (above right).
Kurzweil is probably best known for his deep explorations of "The Singularity": the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means. According to most educated guesses, The Singularity will occur at some point in the 21st century, when computing power finally matches the abilities of the human brain, and we are all fused into massive, biomechanical, exoskeletal war machines, armed with surface-to-air missiles, lazer guns, and an unquenchable bloodlust knowing no bounds.

Consider this graph:

Click HERE for full size--trippy shit.

It won't be long, friends. Kurzweil's vector implies some pretty crazy, spooky things--things that Kaczynski sent 16 letter bombs to destroy. Although Mr. Kurzweil has nothing but optimism for the approaching Singularity and the fusion of human and AI, there are many who have their doubts--after all, what are the Robot Overlords' motivations to keep us around after they gain the ability to govern themselves? I don't know, man... I'm a big fan of Kurzweil's prescient 1990 book The Age of Spiritual Machines and all, but we all know what happens when the robots get too smart for their own good...

Don't we?

It's all just a matter of extremes, I guess.
Kaczynski acted out of fear for the loss of our humanity at the hands of technology, while "futurists" like Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge believe it will be our salvation. The concept of artificial intelligence and technology evolving beyond our ability to control it can indeed be a terrifying one, but the cold, hard fact is that eventually it will, and, barring some sort of massive, Kaczynskian "pre-emptive" strike against technology itself anytime in the near future, most of us will live to see it. And we will live beyond it as well... Toiling as slaves in the vast, cavernous Energy Mines under the watchful eye of the ruthless Cyborg Kings.

So what's my point here? I'm not sure, really. I actually just meant to write a post about Ted Kaczynski's tenuous ties to the MKULTRA program and got sidetracked. I fell down this whole "Kurzweil vs. Kaczynski rabbit hole" and blew my own mind.
I dunno... We live in a world of nanotechnology and evangelical Christians, of remote nuerosurgery and Holocaust deniers. The possibilities are endless, exciting, and frightening. The extremes are ugly and freaky.

Whatever, man. If you need me, I'll be in my shack.