To use the words of Samuel L.'s character in "Jurassic Park", "hold on to your butts", for I am in a ranting mood. I have recently seen one too many films in which religion is used to keep the masses down, and the horrifying thing is that this kind of shit was going down all over the place in our not so recent history. In fact, similar shit in a marginally different guise is still happening today. Women's right are trodden on, freedom of speech is flouted, people of different creeds are persecuted. That sucks. I don't understand how anyone could take a completely fictitious character, build a whole system of beliefs around it, and wield that to oppress others, to dictate obsolete laws and force down people's throats outrageous rules of behaviour.

Quite a few years ago I was into this rather religious girl. I wanted her, or at least I guess I wanted to get in her pants, so in order to come closer to her I began to take the whole reli stuff rather seriously. And I came damn near being sucked in, such as in-love suckers are prone to be. Thank god (well, actually, I guess I'd have to thank someone else) that I discovered I would never get her...well in time, well before I got irrevocably sucked into this group of benevolent people who smiled at you and all wanted the best for you and sundry. I shrugged off all the religious banter and went on to live a, well, I guess you'd call it a more or less agnostic life style. I don't need other people's belief systems. My parents raised me to think for myself, I have enough brains to judge for myself what's good and what's bad. I let people be, and I want others to let me be. That works fine.

I can so vividly image people getting right pissed off at the clergy. When I see certain movies or read certain books I can hardly believe that people were once so cowed into submission that they swallowed all the religious bull shit that was uttered by priests, popes, imams and rabbis alike. Life's value lessons don't need to be taught in a religious environment, and the world's miracles don't get any more explicable if you explain them through anything divine. Wise men rule, but wise religious men are just didactically weak.

So, as far as I am concerned, even today's Christianity deserves all the flak they're getting. Seeing masses of holier-than-thou Christians makes me sick. If I were in a death metal band, it would cause me to write some seethingly anti-christian songs. If I look at the message board of a Christian band (such as the horrendously and rather plagiaristically named Fear of God at I want to connect my brain to their network and let go of every christ-raping, anti-religious, god-slagging thought that has ever entered and will ever enter my mind. I think I find them every iota as misguided as they no doubt find me.

"Crucify the Priest" reflects the right state of mind for those individuals who believe that religion does more ill than good. Old people who practically stare death in the face get a lot of consolation from religion, they say. So I guess religion is to the weak like the pacifier is to the infant. The fact that religion helps some people doesn't mean it's good. Substance abuse seems to help some people. Suicide helps some people. Pulling out an UZI and climbing a bell tower helps some people. But, like junkies and mass murderers, the religious will in the end find out the sobering truth: In the end there is only you. There is no god, there is no afterlife. In the end you're just worm feed, sinners and saints united eternally.

Bludgeon's CD just happens to be called "Crucify the Priest", and for some reason, to use a paraphrase from Sir Bob, that just caused the silicon chip inside my head to overload. Well, temporarily, anyway. There are few things that can rile me more than betrayal, injustice and religion (well, there's American Head Charge, obviously - see the Metal Fest 2002 concert review elsewhere - but let's not get into that). It is only logical that, in a world where the clergy still have massive influence over some rather more easily goaded people, bands like Bludgeon (and countless others) pop up like little anti-christian fungi. It is interesting to contemplate for a while on what may happen when the Muslim world gets their first death metal band. How filled with seething, justified anger that band could be!

Having said all that, I would also like to add that performing any vile, barbaric or otherwise ill-seeming act on any Christian/Muslim/whatever out there would be exactly that: A vile, barbaric or otherwise ill-seeming act. I think we - agnosts, disbelievers, atheists, whatever - should never stoop down to their level. You can think about it, write lyrics about it, stand on a soapbox and scream about it...but that's it. Basically, what I'm saying is a "don't confront me with potential 'he made me do it' crap" disclaimer...

And I'll get right off my soapbox now and continue with what I was here to review Bludgeon's "Crucify the Priest". One of these days, I solemnly promise you, I may get ahold of myself sufficiently to not spout forth all these non-music-related babblings. Well, at least I stopped bothering you with the details of how I emotionally handled my divorce, right? :-)

Bludgeon were discovered by Manowar's Joey DeMaio, signed to his Magic Circle label, and consequently given a distribution deal on Metal Blade. According to the bio, Bludgeon lives, breathes, eats and bleeds metal. That may very well be true, but it's just words. The thing that matters is the music, and thankfully that is metal as well. Not all of the tracks are anti-religious, by the way, nor would they need to be. "Crucify the Priest" contains a dozen shortish, fast-paced, bile-filled tracks. A couple of them really stand out, in particular "Zero Tolerance". If anything, the album suffers from a certain degree of same-ish-ness. Partly on account of there being scant breaks between the songs, one would tend to interpret the album is one flat-out sonic assault. Meaning to say that the band has something to say and to play, but I am not necessarily as convinced of their viability as Mr. DeMaio.

(For which comment he will, provided this ever reaches him, flail me with the black wind and brand me with a "false metal" sign on both buttocks)



Written March 2002


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