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Legendary Creatures

Sunday, 7th September, 2003

A whole bunch of synchronicity today. As part of my research into National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) for my forthcoming website on extreme music, I've been working my way through Gavin Baddeley's 'Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship & Rock 'n' Roll', kindly lent to me by a Polish friend. Thanks again, Michael.

Only parts of it are truly relevant to my current research but the remainder is still fascinating. Baddeley is an acknowledged expert on gothic culture but his knowledge spreads far wider than that. As an ordained priest in the Church of Satan, it is understandable that he should bring in Anton LaVey quite so often in 'Lucifer Rising', but then the man does deserve his place in a book such as this. I have Anton LaVey's biography and knew a little about him but I hadn't heard about his daughter Zeena LaVey who seems to be fascinating on her own account.

Zeena LaVey hooked up with a gentleman by the name of Nikolas Schreck, who seems to be a little extreme for even Anton, the Black Pope himself. He founded an organisation called the Werewolf Order, named after the Nazi Werwolf Korps, which Zeena caused to become allied for a time with her father's Church of Satan. The Werewolf Order has unambiguous ties to fascism, paganism and satanism, and it's the core beliefs that meld these three philosophies together that form much of the ground out of which NSBM has evolved.

Talking of music, Schreck also created what he termed a 'propaganda unit' known as Radio Werewolf. This was a gothic Nazi band, of all things, that lasted for six albums and was a major influence on a wide range of bands that came later. Given that Radio Werewolf is defunct, Schreck is hiding from the world in the fear of assassination and Zeena is apparently focusing on being high priestess of The Storm, vanguard of the International Setian Movement, that stems from a more extreme offshoot of her father's church, I'm not sure how easy it will be to find Radio Werewolf material but I'll certainly give it a go.

From werewolfs to vampires, the American rock band deadbyday have an album available for free download in mp3 format. This is a group who have taken the theatrical precedents set by Kiss, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson and taken them to their logical extreme. Rather than following the corpse paint direction to evilness taken by so many Scandinavian black metal bands, deadbyday look like reapers escaped from Blade II.

It would be easy to focus entirely on the makeup effects, created by frontman Ralis Kahn, who by day provides makeup effects for horror movies, as well as for rock bands such as Marilyn Manson, Danzig or Nine Inch Nails. He's even worked on George Romero zombies for a Japanese commercial for the Resident Evil 2 video game. However, unlike other bands who foster outrageous imagery like GWAR, the music of deadbyday is not without merit. I'm enjoying their gothic metal and not just for their beautifully half speed rendition of Billy Idol's 'White Wedding'.

And with werewolfs, vampires and zombies cropping up all over this evening, it seems surprising that the other band I'm enjoying tonight don't touch this material at all, given that they're of a nationality much more associated with such material than all these Americans. The wonderfully named Zdob Si Zdub, which means 'Hit the Drum' in Romanian, are Moldovans who play traditional folk material in a much more modern style with punk, metal and even rap elements. They've supported such artists as Rage Against the Machine, Biohazard and The Rollins Band across the eastern end of Europe and have garnered a major amount of acclaim.

Usually associated with all sorts of horrors but not at the moment, I listened earlier to the new Misfits album, which really shouldn't have been labelled as such. 'Project 1950' is a bizarre cover album by a lineup of Jerry Only (The Misfits), Marky Ramone (The Ramones) and Dez Cadena (Black Flag) with guests like Ronnie Spector. Yes, Ronnie Spector on a Misfits record! The covers are all from the early rock'n'roll era of the fifties that the participants seem to idolise so much, including well known titles such as 'Monster Mash', 'Dream Lover' and 'Great Balls of Fire'. It's about as scary as N*Sync but it's great fun.

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