Mar 012014

“There are two kinds of people in the world…”  That’s the preface to a thousand sentences that end in contrasts usually stated in black and white terms.  Good and bad, happy and sad, fatalistic and optimistic, generous and greedy, self-centered and self-sacrificing, and on and on. But of course most people are not at either end of whatever spectrum you can think of; they’re somewhere along the continuum, and the world is rarely black and white. Except when it comes to music. When it comes to music, there really are two kinds of people in the world. More about that in a minute.


I haven’t been able to blog much lately. I spent the last three days in Los Angeles working the job that pays the bills for our humble site. Over time, I’ve spent an accumulation of days in LA that amounts to years. It’s a maddening, frustrating, upside-down place with fucked up priorities, a place where ambitions and honesty go to die. It’s also a beautiful, vibrant, immensely creative place where hopes flourish and dreams become reality. It truly is a city of angels, even if many of them are fallen. All things considered, I usually love being there, even if I love being home more.

Off and on, it rained like a motherfucker while I was there. That played hell with the traffic, which is godawful even on dry days. But during the hours between the storms, the weather was glorious, and the elevated views to the west from the place where I was working were crystal clear, all the way to the swath of blue that marked the edge of the great Pacific.

When I travel for my fucking day job, I tend to have no time to myself, day or night, which sucks, because I feel cut off from the world of metal. I wasn’t able to listen to music for more than fleeting moments before collapsing into bed late at night. Yesterday morning, I had to wake up at 3:30 am for work, and the only reward was that by 8 am I was on a rocky flight back to Seattle. When I woke up, there was a riff running through my head.

I could hear the vocals and the words in my head, too. But I couldn’t place the band! It was maddening. And precisely because I couldn’t get an exact fix on the song, it stuck with me for a big chunk of the day. This was depressing. I used to be able to recall the most arcane, minuscule, unimportant facts in a nanosecond. Now I have to use fucking Google. But this time I said “fuck Google” (that felt good!), because I remembered I had included the track in one of our annual “Most Infectious Song” lists. By browsing those lists, I found it last night at home, about 10 minutes before dragging my ass to bed rather than fall asleep sitting up.


When it comes to music, there really are two kinds of people in the world:  Those who are truly passionate about it, and those for whom it’s just part of the general atmosphere of their existence not much different from the great mass of other sounds that surround them, one of many indistinguishable forms of periodic entertainment, perhaps like the background clatter in a restaurant or bar, or the conversation on a bus or subway; something that would be missed if it didn’t exist, but in the grand scheme of things, is far down on the list of their priorities.

This isn’t a test of human worth. I’m not claiming that people for whom music is a vital part of their life are better human beings than those for whom it’s not a matter of life or death (figuratively speaking). It’s just one of the many things that distinguish some people from other people. It’s certainly not unique to metal; there are fans of jazz, classical, rap, and so on, who are just as passionate about their music as we are about metal. But everyone I know who is into metal is passionate about it. And when you’re that passionate about something in your life, you make sacrifices for it. I’m wrestling with a sacrifice I may have to make for it; maybe more about that later.


Here’s that song that ran through my head all day yesterday. Kind of like Amon Amarth, if Amon Amarth were more rocking, more Lovecraftian occult, and more psychedelic. And goddamn, that main riff will not be denied. “The Cult of No Return” by Finland’s Arkhamin Kirjasto from Torches Ablaze (2012). Why this song from two years ago popped into my head, out of the tens of thousands of metal songs I’ve heard, I have no idea.



Having remembered the song and the band, I checked on what they’ve been up to lately and discovered that last summer they released a three-song EP entitled Undead Priest of Holy Trinity of Death. The songs were recorded during the Torches Ablaze sessions. Here’s the title track:




Later today and tomorrow, we’ll have some new-music roundups. But on Sunday I have to hit the road again and won’t see home for a solid week. That probably means the volume of our site’s content will be sub-par for the next week, but I do know we will have a great interview plus a couple of song premieres and companion album reviews in the early part of the week. After that, the crystal ball is cloudy.

  41 Responses to “TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE…”

  1. I had not heard of this band, but this is excellent, and for that, I thank you.

  2. If it’s not too intrusive (if it is, I apologise for the rude question!), what’s the job? I hear you blog a lot about it, and often wonder what requires you to travel so much.

    On another note – if you’re away, would guest contributions be appreciated at all?

    and thanks, the song is awesome. m/ The riffs feel more old-school heavy metal than Amon Amarth to me, a bit like Slegest (just the first of the recent slew of BM-tinged heavy metal revival bands that popped into my cliche-laden head).

  3. Great article. Tom Robbins once wrote: “There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.” Funny stuff.

  4. Ive been wondering about this myself lately. Lately I havent really been actively into/seeking metal nearly as much as I used to. I was thinking that it’s simply the fact that i recently deployed which is messing up my normal music consumption rhythm, but I ‘ve felt like this as far back as a few months ago before I left. I know that what hasnt changed is that my favorite songs are always on my mind and in my heart, like an internal soundtrack that enriches the experiences of my life. On the other hand, I more often than not only listen to music when Im weightlifting/working out or stuck here in my “office” glued to the computer, and as a result it sorta it feels like Im treating it more like the background static you describe than motivational fuel.

    I’m not necessarily worried about “falling out of love” with music or anything, but now that im getting older, have a wife (I find myself endlessy fantasizing about her exponentially more than I find myself humming my favorite tune) , and, frankly have a lot more important shit to worry about at the moment (not getting my comrades/my own ass blown off), perhaps its simply natural that it gets put on the back burner in my list of priorities, at least for a little while. I’m confident that once I get back from this beatiful shithole, all it will take is a solid live show to rekindle the metallic flame; it always has before.

    Also, Im quite cetain that based on your job description, you are a professional Hitman for hire. Tim Lambesis shoulda called you first (Too soon?). Please dont trace this line back and take me out Gross Pointe Blank style. I wont tell if you wont.

    • HA! I guess you could say I’m a kind of hitman for hire, but the targets are still walking around afterward, though not quite in the same condition. Unlike you, I’m in no danger of getting my ass blown off. Speaking of which, you stay safe out there, wherever you are.

    • I think it’s natural that sometimes other things in life come to the fore to such an extent that metal and music end up taking a backseat – it’s just the nature of life. Besides, it sounds like you in particular have a lot of other stuff to worry about! Also, nothing like fantasizing over the ladies 😉 they can make you feel alive and fascinate just like some good tunes 🙂

      Still if your perceiving waning interest in metal worries you, maybe I’ll chime in with a personal anecdote:

      Probabaly about 8-10 years ago music just didn’t capture me as much. I still threw on albums I loved and got into it, but I can’t really explain it, somehow it just didn’t carry the same magic, didn’t click the same. (Maybe because also around the early 2000’s I think there was a bit of slouch in music in general that extended into metal, kind of a global lack of originality and enthusiasm where people would just sample and throw some rap in and hope it worked (not even good rap, just half-assed rap).. maybe that’s just my impression of the early 2000s). But I think in large part it was because I had so much going on in life at the time, and knew that the act of listening to metal wouldn’t change the circumstances of my life – that feeling of being more alive that a good tune would bring was always fleeting and the emotion of it seemed a bit more distant. It’s hard to describe.

      But fear not, those dark times of not really feeling the music passed for me, so I’d be guessing they could pass for you too. The stars re-aligned, and after I got out of a few ridiculous commitments and got some sleep and time and space to really listen to metal again, I felt more alive than ever – that feeling where you throw something on and all you can think is: where has this shit been? that’s what I’m talking about! Fuck yeah!!!

  5. i’ve always been a little baffled by people who don’t have a favorite band or style of music, they don’t buy albums and their knowledge of a particular artist is limited to what they hear on the radio. music has been an obsession of mine for thirty some years, and i guess it’s just become hard for me wrap my head around the idea of music as nothing more than background noise. but i’m sure those people are just as baffled by my infatuation with music.
    something else i don’t understand is the people that think metal/hard rock is something you’re supposed to stop listening to after you graduate high school. wtf? but that’s a topic for another post, i suppose.

    • “people that think metal/hard rock is something you’re supposed to stop listening to after you graduate high school”. Yeah this. It’s so strange, and it seems to me just part of the larger picture where people just don’t understand this genre of music. Someone had the nerve to ask me when I’d grow out of it a while ago, and I replied ‘shortly after I grow out of breathing’ 🙂 I still don’t think they quite understood and interpreted it to mean I was in a state of arrested development that would last the rest of my life. *sigh*

      • I remember being terrified as a kid that I’d reach a certain age and start listening to Neil Diamond, but I’m almost 47 and my tastes have only gotten more extreme. Most metalheads I know are the same way.

        If music is a measure of maturity, we must all be Benjamin Button.

        • “If music is a measure of maturity, we must all be Benjamin Button.” You get some kind of internet Oscar for that line. That sums me up to a T. The older I’ve gotten, the more extreme my musical tastes have become.

          • Ditto. Like a fine wine my tastes have only got more intense and complex with age. Of course, sometimes you open an old wine and find it’s just gone rancid and vile. That could be me too 🙂

  6. It did indeed rain like a motherfondler down here in SD too. My friend’s band had to cancel their house show due to inclement weather, which probably marks the only time ever a show in San Diego has been canceled due to inclement weather.

    On another quick note, do you find it as maddening as I do, (Islander, when you’re down in SoCal) that SoCal completely forgets how to operate their motor vehicles at the first drop of rain?

    and djneibarger, I know exactly what you mean when you say that most people think metal is a adolescent phase. As a high school senior, my family still thinks I’m going to grow out of this eventually.

    • my parents were exactly the same, but here i am at 43 still going to metal concerts. and my 21 year old son is right there with me throwing up the devil horns \m/

    • “do you find it as maddening as I do, (Islander, when you’re down in SoCal) that SoCal completely forgets how to operate their motor vehicles at the first drop of rain?” That is abundantly clear. The freeways turn into parking lots. It’s kind of like what happens here in Seattle when it snows — immediate clusterfuck.

      • when my wife and i were driving back from Minnesota on Wednesday, it was single digit temperature with 40 mph winds and white out conditions from the snow drifting across the highway. all the other drivers (mostly truckers) couldn’t decide if they wanted to coast along at 35 mph while blocking both lanes, or scream down the highway at 80 mph weaving all over the road and scaring the shit out of everybody. we pulled into rest stops several times just to get away from the packs of lunatics. i had to listen to Slayer and Cannibal Corpse the whole trip just to calm my nerves.

        • The “scream down the highway at 80 mph weaving all over the road and scaring the shit out of everybody,” approach always confuses me. It’s like they think, “Oh no, it’s snowing. I’d better get home as fast as I possibly can.” Thankfully there is much less of that since I moved to Kentucky.

  7. Music is such a big part of my life. I even thought I’d make music. I tried, but that hobby is not for me. I’ll let the other guys make music.
    I’m also an album person. I play start to finish. I don’t shuffle.
    I don’t understand why I listen to what I listen to. I can start the day with metal, next pop, after that hip hop, fit some classical in there, and finish the day with metal.
    We hit up the 80s channel on SiriusXM the other day. I know all those songs pretty much by heart, but I like listening to new music. I crave new beats, new music, new sounds, etc. I heard the one song from Sulphur Aeon last year, and obsessed about it until I bought it. I heard the one song from Mastic Scum posted the other day, and obsessed about it until I bought it. I heard a song from Schoolboy Q the other day, and obsessed about it until I bought it. This happens with all most all music.
    No Clean Singing is one of the best things I’ve discovered, and it’s really fueled my love for metal.

    • I have a strong sense that just about everyone who spends time here regularly, and certainly the people who write comments, are the kind of people who feel passionately about music, whether it’s metal only or a bigger spectrum of music. I’m glad we’ve helped you find new metal that you’ve liked.

    • Like you, I’m an album person, never use shuffle. Then again, with my ipod, shuffle could get weird fast. Unlike you, I rarely deviate from metal. For me it’s more like start the day with black metal, next death metal, after that blackened death metal, fit some heavy metal in there, and finish the day with black metal.
      No Clean Singing is definitely one of the bast things I’ve discovered as well, along with Bandcamp (which I discovered through this site). NCS has definitely increased my passion for metal, as well as broadened my previously somewhat myopic view of the genre and various sub-genres. Combine that with the awesomeness that is Bandcamp, and I have managed to come across an incredible amount of new music to listen to and enjoy. On rare occasions, I actually mange to find something cool on BC before it shows up here (amongst all the other excellence I encounter) , which makes me feel like I’m definitely doing this whole metal thing right.

      • Yeah, I’m an album guy too, and that started even before I was really a metalhead, back in my Nirvana/bad Metallica days (the stage after classic rock singles on the journey from pop/rap to underground metal); I think Nevermind is the first full album I bought. I honestly can’t listen to just singles (except for track premieres and such on the internet, of course), it’s almost an obsessive compulsive thing for me now.

        Bandcamp and NCS represent the Unholy Duo that drive my metallic existence (though my writing career in other places has made it so that email/Facebook helps me discover stuff too). I wish I was more varied in my listening, but I really do only listen to metal these days when I get to choose the music. I figure I get a good enough fix of other genres from other people playing them or just from hearing them around.

        • I bought Nevermind on the format Digital Compact Cassette (DCC), which I thought was cool. That was one of the tech regrets I have. I’m not sure why I didn’t get it on CD, and I’ve never replaced that copy. Kurt Cobain gained popularity, even when he didn’t want it, and kept trying to suck worse, and got even more popular, and then killed himself. I was just done with Nirvana after that.

          I’m always praising bandcamp in my comments here. I keep thinking I’m putting money right into the artists pockets.

  8. Bah, you’re right that there are two kinds of people in the world, but you’re wrong about the division. There are those for whom a nice, big shit is the epitome of divine pleasure and there are the heathens who must be wiped from the puckering anus we call earth. LONG LIVE THE SHITLORDS. MAY ALL YOUR WIPES BE BLOODLESS.

  9. “I tend to have no time to myself, day or night, which sucks, because I feel cut off from the world of metal.”
    It’s like, may I say we?, always have this kind of hum in our heads, sometimes higher, sometimes deeper, like a talk that goes on quietly. It may sound very silly, but I think of music (my beloved metal, or anything else) as another way of thinking.
    I like this kind of posts very much.

    • Thank you sir. The constant hum in the head… that’s a good way of putting it. For me, it takes very little to turn the hum into a buzz, even without actual music. So many things remind me of what I’ve heard and wish I were hearing when I can’t.

      • “So many things remind me of what I’ve heard and wish I were hearing when I can’t”

        This happens all the time, particularly when I read a certain “trigger word” that makes me think of a band or song. Considering that I’ve had to read a lot of Shakespeare lately for my English class, Thou has been on my mind a lot, while in prior calculus classes talk of things converging and diverging always brought my mind to Converge. There’s a bagillion other examples of this that happen daily, of course.

  10. “I could hear the vocals and the words in my head, too. But I couldn’t place the band! It was maddening. And precisely because I couldn’t get an exact fix on the song, it stuck with me for a big chunk of the day.”

    Almost the exact same thing happened to me about a month ago. I got a riff stuck in my head and couldn’t remember where it was from. I knew it was something I listened to enough to be familiar with it, but not enough that I knew the song verbatim. And I knew it was from something/someone atmospheric/black metal/post-metal in nature, but the part itself stuck out so much as to be almost out of place. So before I could go to bed, I spent three hours non-stop listening to what I thought were the most likely suspects in FAST FORWARD until I found it. Turned out to be the soaring solo from Deafheaven’s “Vertigo” that kicks in at about 4:30.

    • That’s a fine song. I’m lucky it didn’t take me 3 hours to find “The Cult of No Return”, but I would have stuck with it that long if it had been necessary,

    • This is a weekly occurrence for me. I guess my memory’s a bit more shoddy than everyone else’s.

    • This happened to me a little while back as well. It was bugging me most of the day at work. Luckily I was able to listen to enough other music to push it out of my head. I don’t think I ever figured out what it was; now I can’t remember what it sounded like and that’s starting to bug me. Ah crap…

  11. Very cool track, reminds me a bit of the more rock-oriented tracks from Edge of Sanity.

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