Beyond Syria: Life After the State

Several weeks ago, when I wrote this piece for CVLT Nation, my aim was to make people aware of something hugely important happening in a part of the world that the press won’t touch. Understandably worried that they’ll end up in the next ISIS beheading video, news agencies don’t have people on the ground in Rojava, embedded amongst not the people fighting for their freedom, but those living it day to day.

The original article got a lot of comments. Probably as many as if I’d written the article ‘Liturgy: Greatest Band Ever or Just Greatest Metal Band Ever?’. Most pointed out, quite correctly, that I was leaving out the subtleties of the conflict in Syria and post-state politics in general (which I reduced to the term ‘anarchism,’ though there are a lot of ways that what is happening in Rojava isn’t anarchist). The huge range of ideas that can be called ‘anarchist,’ even broadly, create the same problem that always comes up when discussing metal. So many contrary ideas are contained within these two words that every time they are invoked, everything inevitably devolves into a replay of the most incisive thing ever written about revolutionary politics: this Monty Python bit.

Read More at Cvltnation


(Image © Zoriah


Cops Can Just Take Your Stuff: The Injustice of Civil Forfeiture

Imagine that you’re driving across the United States with $2500 in cash. Maybe it’s a deposit on a new apartment; it doesn’t really matter – it’s yours and it’s all legally acquired. You get pulled over. You weren’t speeding, but this stretch of highway has been used by drug runners before, all of whom were regular people driving regular cars, just like yourself. The fact that you’re not doing anything suspicious is highly suspicious. When they discover the cash their suspicions are confirmed – you are now definitely, definitelyinvolved in the drug trade, but you’re not under arrest or even accused of a crime. Your $2500 cash is gone, though, but the local police department doesn’t have to stop there. Since your car was being used to transport the money, it can be seized too. Your phone could have been used to call your drug cartel contacts, so it belongs to them now. You’re not on trial: your car, phone and money have to prove that they are not involved in anything illegal, leading to bizarre legal cases like State of New Jersey v. One 1990 Ford Thunderbird.

This is civil asset forfeiture, and it brings two billion dollars in to US police departments every year, with more coming in to the Canadian provinces that have also adopted the practice. The idea seemed logical when it started in the eighties at the height of both Reagan’s get-tough-on-crime rhetoric and the birth of the crack-cocaine epidemic: allow police to seize the Escalades and white tigers drug dealers were buying – don’t just take away the guns and kilos of uncut Peruvian flake, but also the plastic baggies and weight scales, all the mundane items that make the drug trade possible.


Horns of Baphomet: The Story Behind the Symbol

he word ‘Baphomet’ appears in the names of twenty-seven metal bands: six are just called Baphomet, then there’s Baphomet’s Blood, Baphomet’s Temple, Baphomet’s Cunt. You read that last one right. The number of bands that have a goat-headed creature on their covers is incalculable. The idea of Satan as being somehow goat-like has persisted, despite it appearing nowhere in the Bible or Apocrypha, where he is described as being a serpent or dragon – when he is described at all. More recently, the Satanic Temple has moved to build a statue of ‘Satan’ in an Oklahoma Courthouse (CVLT Nation covered this of course).

The problem is that ‘Baphomet,’ a hermaphrodite half-goat usually seen with an index and middle finger raised skyward, isn’t supposed to be Satan and was never meant to be. The name has its roots in the Crusades that tore apart the Middle East for two hundred years – the symbol in later occultism – but even when it was used to slander the Knights Templar, it was never understood to actually be Satan.


Review: Goat Semen – Ego Svm Satana

Some bands you can’t simply listen to, but must imbibe, must drink down deep within, to sample with each of the senses. Friends, I want you to taste Goat Semen.

The Peruvian quartet have spent the past decade working on Ego Svm Satana, most likely because if your debut album is going to declare in Latin that you are in fact Satan, then you’d better have the songs to back that up. Goat Semen do. With Ego Svm Satana, Goat Semen has released a perfect blackened death metal record. Goat Semen’s guitars sound like chainsaws on every tree in the Amazon, the drums create a horrifying wall of static broken by the sounds of medieval warfare, the vocals are turned up high enough in the mix that you can fully comprehend the ugliness that the human voice is capable of. This is an album (by Goat Semen) in which the sounds of air-raid sirens and gunfire are your brief moment of respite.

I trust that you can look beyond the name (because I clearly can’t) and give Goat Semen the respect they’ve been working for since 2002.