Today I listened to the second album by The Antichrist Imperium. It was fine, but I was disappointed. I was disappointed because when it comes to Satan and spiritual desolation, I have no interest in the merely passable.
Why? Because there’s a fucking mountain of subpar Satanic art out there that is so comically juvenile that it may as well be written by 12-yr olds, for 12-yr olds — I’m familiar with all of it, and I’m sick of it. I’ve had my fill of lousy Satanic art over the years and that makes me hypersensitive to anything Satanic that has even the slightest hint of being mediocre. If it doesn’t legitimately scare me now, I have no time for it.
Not that I blame artists who fall short of the mark in my eyes. I think that when you’re an artist who is trying to communicate something as serious and weighty as perversion of the human heart, you’ve got a tall task ahead of you. I think it’s like any other heavy topic in that it’s difficult to pay homage to it with the appropriate gravitas — it takes a special mind to craft something that is serious, powerful, genuine and honest.
The flip side of my dismissive approach to much Satanic art is that I LOVE the stuff that I think is really good. It’s such a rare treat to find something that makes me feel like I’m offending all the natural positive forces in the universe just by taking in a song, film, painting, whatever. Should I now list some of my favourite Satanic things? But of course!
- The Exorcist (it’s the bar by which all other evil art is measured)
- Rosemary’s Baby
- Danzig’s II and IV albums
- Akercocke’s Antichrist, Words That Go Unspoken, and Choronzon albums
- Possession (a film from 1982)
- Morbid Angel’s Covenant album
- A lot of songs by The Doors in the latter half of their career
- Faust (a film from 1994)
- Faust (a book by Robert Nye)
- The song Shed by Meshuggah
- All the scenes featuring Satan in The Passion of the Christ
- About half of The Last Temptation of Christ
- a five-minute clip of a claymation movie called The Mysterious Stranger
What else is there? I’m sure there are a few others that I’m missing. I’ll add to this list as I remember them. There are some things on this list that have a vaguely Satanic vibe without even mentioning The Desolate One, like some material by The Doors, which many people might disagree with but hey, if it makes me feel like I’m doomed to hell, it’s going on the bloody list.
I don’t know why I’m drawn to stuff that scares the living shit out of me, and the devil in particular. I used to be scared of everything when I was a kid. I guess my fascination with fear began when I was about nine years old when I would watch Friday the 13th films with my friend, Stephen. He wasn’t scared at all, and I didn’t want to let on that I was so I sat through them with him. Gradually, I started to enjoy being scared, and found it became increasingly difficult to attain the feeling. So I wonder if I’m some kind of fear addict now, continually chasing the dragon, searching for stronger and stronger hits. Or maybe it’s become the way I cope with fear, to confront it continually.
I don’t know, I don’t think it’s really clear why I’m drawn to scary shit and Satan himself, and I don’t think it really matters anyway. Do what you love, even if what you love is terrifying yourself with thoughts of eternal damnation.