As Usual, Vice is Full of Shit (this time about Satanism in Metal)

Vice is a terrible publication, run by a bunch of know-it-all hipsters with more money than talent and integrity. When they’re not busy running racist pieces on Uganda (summarized as “look at these niggers getting drunk!”), sending some tinfoil hat-wearing, mouthbreathing moron to cover the influence of Reptilians overlords in our everyday life, giving a positive spin to a brothel full of trafficked women, or revealing the location of their supposedly secret sources, they can be found just being all-around ignorant imbeciles. In the words of Times media columnist David Carr, their style of journalism basically consists of “putting on a safari hat and looking at poop”.

They’re ignorant and they’re damn proud about it. Their style of “gonzo” journalism (backed by millions of dollars) thrives amongst the uneducated masses, who are all-too-happy to read about any of their clickbaiting articles, without even a shred of an attempt to produce decent material. Just like Fox News, they’re responsible for giving their audience a false sense of knowledge, although in this case instead of an audience made up of bible-thumping neocons, their audience consists of assholes with skinny jeans, Che Guevara posters and an overwhelming sense of entitlement.

Vice's target audience. Not pictured: Cancer.
Vice’s target audience. Not pictured: Cancer.

In the realm of music coverage, their famous “True Norwegian Black Metal” feature was shamefully edited to convey the image of Gaahl looking like a sociopath, and they downright changed the context of everything to make sure their narrative was clear. For Vice, facts are secondary to their agenda. Of course, I get it; when you only have a couple of days to go somewhere, paint a story, and come back home to attend the latest art show in which some art school dropout painted a portrait of Bush with her menstrual blood, facts be damned.

Vice’s latest piece on heavy metal, titled “Death to False Satanism“, deals with Black Metal and Satanism from such an ignorant, stupid, condescending and incompetent position, that it truly shows why Vice is Buzzfeed for those who find gifs of Dr. Who too mainstream and hard to understand.

What Vice aimed to do with this piece was to show that “Satanism” in Black Metal is nothing more than a pose, since REAL Satanism has nothing to do with it. In order to prove their point, Emma Hernandez interviews a representative of the Church of Satan (you know, the one founded by scammer and compulsive liar Anton LaVey) to demonstrate that bands like Watain have nothing to do with Satanism.

Anton LaVey, portrayed here being all serious about his sect.
Anton LaVey, portrayed here being all serious about his totally not crackpot sect.

Since I’m an agnostic, and see all religions as inherently bullshit, I don’t really care about Satanism. Still, while I’m sure that many bands use Satan as a symbol or even as a gimmick, the truth is that many bands, for better or for worse, do subscribe to some sort of Satanic worldview. In light of this, Hernandez‘s piece comes off as nothing more than an example of willful ignorance, created with the sole aim of attracting readers or concocting a controversy (I know, I know, I’m playing into it). To simply dismiss any kind of creed as “false”, vis a vis whatever you choose to consider “true”, is the kind of bigoted idea that Vice hipsters would usually oppose.

To illustrate what this piece argues, suffice it to say that it’s the equivalent of saying that all non-Catholic Christian denominations are false, because they don’t follow the rules set by the Vatican. In other words, what Hernandez did was to pick a single example of a philosophical creed, and deem it the only authority on the matter. So, for example, the article argues that because Watain is not sanctioned by the Church of Satan, “if you were at the show and got a little pig’s blood splattered on you, you’re really weren’t participating in an authentic satanic ritual (sorry Watain).”

This is particularly stupid when you consider that bands that come from the MLO branch of Satanism (e.g. Dissection, Watain and The Devil’s Blood) openly mock or criticize the LaVeyan religion; so, for example, after Dissection‘s Jon Nödtveidt decided to commit suicide, guitarist Set Teitan made sure to dispel any rumors suggesting that he had been involved with the Church of Satan:

“This also [has] to be cleared up before it becomes another rumor, as [journalists], of course, invent things in their ignorance: It’s not any atheist, humanist and ego-worshipping ‘Satanic Bible’ by Anton LaVey that Jon had in front of him, but a Satanic Grimoire. He despised LaVey and ‘Church of Satan’.”

We reached out to Erik Danielsson, singer of Watain, to get his impressions on Vice’s article. Here’s what he said:

These are debates that should be taking place among people who call themselves Satanists. I can not see any other reason for others to partake in this “discussion” (which has been going on ever since some bourgeois Hollywood atheists in the 60s decided to adapt the term “Satan” to define their worldview) other than the preposterous sensationalist whoredom that seems to be most journalist’s birthright, and the general nourishment for modern culture. I am sure the atheists in COS embrace such things with flamboyant giggling, but I can asure you that Satanists do not. We do not invite outsiders into our discussions. Did you think that the peasants of the middle ages partook in the doings and the debates of sorcerers? Not in any other way than paying them for their services, and eventually burning them at the stakes. You are all better of surfing, texting and twittering your way into oblivion without putting your infamous elongated noses in the business of others.

Emma, this seems to be your first article for Vice; I’m looking forward to the next one in which you explain why Sunni Islam is the wrong kind of Islam, because Shiites don’t agree with it. Pro Tip: Talking to a single person does not constitute “research”.

Dungeons and Dragons also played an important role in Satanism back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe Hernandez should interview their makers next time.



  • somnium163

    The Vice article is obviously immature, but I’m more concerned about, say, Watain using words like “atheism” and “humanism” in a negative context and this passing through as totally ok by the metal community, which mostly avoids interpreting the message and what is being implied. Sure, there is a lot of stuff in the metal underground that makes La Vey-ians look like innocent bunnies playing on the grass, a much truer Satanism, if you like. But I’m not convinced that this is something we should be proud of, or indifferent towards.

    • J_MetalBlast

      I agree with you completely. As a matter of fact, I wrote an article before dealing with precisely how the metal community has a double standard in regards to satanism, while mocking any other religion:
      Personally, I find the whole blood thing, as well as the us of animal carcasses, whether for shock value or true religious conviction, to be campy, silly and disgusting. I don’t want to go to a concert to end up covered in rotting meat or blood, just because someone thought it’s TRVE KVLT (or religious) to do so.

      For what I’ve already written about it:

      And yes, I love self-promotion.

      Thanks a lot for reading and, especially, for sharing your thoughts with us. 🙂

      • somnium163

        Exactly, this double standard is most evident in the theistic branch of black metal, which is now pretty much the direction all bands which are drawn by the “Luciferian” (adversarial) outlook are now taking. There is an interesting observation to be made; deep down black metal was actually pretty religious (spiritual if you want to be more precise) from the beginning, finding no thrills at the atheist, rational, down to earth approach that death metal had at that time, wanting to go to a totally opposite direction. This way of thinking is pushed to the extreme nowadays, to the point where most records are filled with mysticist quackery and obscurantism, in the vain attempt to infuse the band with an air of superiority. Result? No interesting lyrics or something essential to say any more. Notice how an esteemed and very smart band like Blut Aus Nord doesn’t print any lyrics in 95% of their songs. The pedestal had been (falsely) set so high, that it’s impossible to even step into.

        Thanks for other links, I read them all so this is a total answer to all of this stuff heh.

    • Adam Abramowitz

      Don’t forget the infamous incident at a Mayhem show, where an audience member was knocked unconscious by a flying cow head…

      • And a fan died during Lamb of God’s set in the Czech Republic. What are you getting at?