Satanists are nonconformists. We all know that. So when most of us think “Satanic music,” we think of Satanic death metal. However, there are quite a few musicians that Hail Satan in a different way.
Satanism is based on individualism, epicureanism, and an “eye for an eye” morality. So it just stands to reason that a lot of Satanic bands don’t follow the leader when it comes to what it means to play music influenced by Satan.
The High Priest of the church of Satan, Magus Peter H. Gilmore studied music at NYU and holds a B.S. and M.A. degree in composition. He listens exclusively to classical music and film scores. He is most intrigued by the work of Mahler, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, Brahms, Sibelius and Beethoven.
The above maestros influence what he composes.
His works are piano, voice, instrumental ensembles—some of which he has realized with synthesizers and samplers. Gilmore has also done purely electronically realized pieces with early patch-bay arrays which challenge one to create original sounds from scratch.
When asked how Satanism influences his music Gilmore replied:
“Satanism is a philosophy that encourages one’s pursuit of excellence through one’s passions and it embraces the full range of human emotion. Music is an art form that captures that panorama of feelings with exquisite flexibility and nuance—the tenderest of intimate gestures, contemplative rumination, fury, tragedy, mockery, heaven-shattering bombastic peals of victory, and so many more. And some music has a complexity of form which can equal in beauty exquisite works of architecture. I see music as an essential expression of what we Satanists call ‘vital existence’—living life to the fullest by exploring our human nature and celebrating our unique selves in the process.”
Nathan Gray sings for both BOYSETSFIRE, and I AM HERESY.
BOYSETSFIRE has been a band for 20 years now, and are currently playing anniversary shows in Europe and the US. Although Gray personally is an active member of the Church of Satan, no one else in the band is. In fact, the belief systems within the band are incredibly diverse.
Gray says, “I have always maintained, that Satanism is a very personal ideology that asserts itself when necessary, but mostly calls for its members to mind their own business. This of course makes it very easy to get along with others that stick to the same viewpoint. Seeing as Satanism praises earthly gain and success (unlike other religions that call for a humble and contrite nature on earth, in order to build treasure in heaven), being in a band like BSF, and ‘paying the bills’ so to speak through my art, is incredibly Satanic in and of itself. As I have said many times before, ‘Get a job, pay your bills, and live a life of true independence…Then you can speak to me of the imagery, symbolism, and archetypes of Satanic philosophy.’
“I AM HERESY is a newer project born to invoke the pageantry of Satanic archetypes and imagery. I wanted to form a band that was more outwardly ritualistic, and open about the symbolism that moves me. Self deification, ritual and greater magic, symbolically summoning demons, and calling out the theistic and ‘white light’ hypocrisy, of those religions that would define our basic and natural urges as ‘sinful.’ This band, as well as my upcoming solo material are a tribute to the atheistic religion, and indulgent ideology that defines who I am.”
Gyps Fulvus incorporates elements of Electronica, Industrial Metal, 20th Century Classical music from the Expressionist period, Drum ‘n Bass, Breakbeat, and film scores of the Horror, Thriller, and Sci-Fi genre.
So what does that mean exactly?
“I’ve made it a consorted effort to avoid the mindset of creating “Satanic music.” Rather, I’ve set out to make a cacophonous concoction of music that relies heavily on dissonance, chord clashing, and various tonal structures that are out of the parameters of Popular music. Each of my albums has something different to offer, while fully retaining the consistent Horror influence intact.
“I compose music designed to raise unsettling emotions and feelings within listeners. I gain my inspiration by tapping into the most disturbing aspects of my very own psyche, and expelling it forth into musical form. I incorporate a diverse number of themes and ideas into my works, all of which are related to fear, phobias, existential angst, and the darker side of the human animal.”
The Quintessentials is a fusion of Horror Punk and early ’90s Pop-Punk with a sound somewhere between the Misfits, Screeching Weasel and the Ramones, with just a splash of old school Black Metal thrown in. The band was founded by former member of The Catalogs and Church of Satan Warlock, Les Hernandez in 1998, and continues strong to this day. (Like them on Facebook here.)
Les Hernandez (lead singer, backup vocals, and lead guitar) says “I founded this band to push back against the idea that Metal bands somehow own the Satanism tag, and to get genuine Satanic principles and ideas represented in music, rather than the overused and paranoid ideas of devil worship that Metal bands were perpetuating, which all came from Christian paranoia and ignorance. Satanism, which promotes individuality, self-sufficiency, pride, and not blindly bowing to herd conformity, has a lot in common with the ideals of early Punk from the late 1970s and early ’80s–and being a fan of that music, it only seemed right to put the two together. Of course, Satanism isn’t the only thing we sing about, with other songs about my favorite Horror films and tongue-in-cheek tunes simply because they’re fun.”
Jeremiah Crow does creepy music for creepy folks. He says, “Jeremiah Crow’s Insufferable One Man Show is an exploration of all things nostalgic for me as a youngin’ growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania. Minus the bucktoothed hicks, bib overalls, and cow tipping, the haunted memories of the backwoods are essential to this project. My early experiences discovering abandoned farm houses, dense forests, and mysterious sounds in the middle of the night, play an integral role in creating these songs of sorrow and tales of horror. My Insufferable One Man Show is also paying homage to the tradition of dark roots music. I make good use of the banjo, musical saw, and washboard.
“Despite the fear based and irrational stereotypes of Satanism, I’ve found others who adhere to this religion are often creative, productive, honest, witty, rather good looking, and dedicated to the discovery of all the best things in life. I feel this is where my music fits in, and this is what Satanism means to me.”
Darren Deicide plays the blues, “Satanism has influenced my music deeply, but mostly on a subtler level. My lyrics aren’t about Satanism, per se. However, my music is squarely in the blues idiom, a style of music that has always been associated with the dark arts. It’s a tradition that I embrace. True to form also, the masters of the blues were often thought to be in communication with the devil and some were accused of having Faustian pacts to gain their skill. Satanism has pushed me, like these classic blues artists, to reach for higher levels of mastery. Paradoxically though, I do look to pioneer new territories of the genre. One valuable lesson Satanism taught me, that I think more people could benefit from learning, is that there is value in being original. We live in a society where homogeneity is extolled as the highest value, and with the globalization of capital and technology, I think that is accelerating exponentially. Humanity has created a monoculture, one that discourages uniqueness.”