Monday, May 16, 2011



Dennis Dread is proud to announce this latest grand declaration of art against the modern world, on display from June 2 through July 4 at Black Water Gallery in southeast Portland, Oregon with a very special Opening Reception on Thursday, June 2 featuring performances by The Bi-Marks and Weregoat! CUT & PASTED // BURNED & WASTED is an incendiary display of handmade relics and artifacts from the thriving international metal & punk underground, featuring more than a dozen artists from around the world. As always, neither the gallery nor the curator will take any percentage of sales from this show. That means if artists sell their work, the artists keep all the money. Support REAL underground art!

1925 SE Morrison
Portland, Oregon
(parking & entrance in the back)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Scrawls From The Crypt: Friday the 13th!

"Tch...Tch...Tch...Ha...Ha...Ha..." Today we celebrate superstitious numerology with a few hits from the machete archives! The cartoon above is circa 1992. The original was about 12" x 14" and in full color but, unfortunately, it didn't survive my cross-country adventures by freight train many years ago so this b/w doodle is all that remains. My apologies to Charles Schultz. Some of you may recall this drawing from Destroying Angels #3, where it appeared along with the following article penned by the great Chas Balun! This piece of literary brilliance is cut and pasted from a 1987 issue of Fangoria magazine (#62). I loved it back when I was a teenager and I suppose I still love it today. Enjoy...

You'll want to look closely toward the end of the article, nerds. That is indeed the letter I wrote to Fangoria way back in 1987 in response to Chas' article (I turned 15 the same month this was published!). Hilarious stuff. I think they edited my hand-scrawled letter and added a few fancy words like "Emeritus" that I probably didn't even understand back then but it was still pretty exciting to see my letter printed in Fango, dude.

And what the fuck is this? Another scrawl from the crypt, circa 1988! This was one of the drawings I brought with me to my first horror convention and nervously shoved in the faces of the very kind professional artists I met that fateful day. There's a lot of funny business going on here but instead of humiliating myself further, I'm off to grab a six-pack and the first 4 installments of Friday the 13th! "I'm tired of always being the goat!"

Happy Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Bobby BeauSoleil’s immortal soundtrack for Lucifer Rising, the legendary film by Kenneth Anger, is now available in digital download format in two versions. White Dog Music has partnered with CD Baby to offer audiophile quality MP3 downloads of these recordings at a special price.

LUCIFER RISING, the original motion picture soundtrack, unabridged. Download Now for only $5.99

THE LUCIFER RISING SUITE, the original soundtrack, plus the 1967 version of the soundtrack, plus all of the project recordings. Nearly 3 hours of music. Download Now for only $19.99

Also available for a limited time: THE LUCIFER RISING SUITE boxed LP set. We have fewer than 20 copies of this boxed album remaining, so you are urged to act now. This boxed set includes 4 LP's, each in their own full color sleeves, an extensive booklet with photos, and two large posters. Buy Now for only $54.99

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Occult Roots Of Metal Iconography


Sometimes I'll do just about anything to avoid washing dishes, fixing the towel rack in the bathroom, mowing the lawn, going to work or otherwise behaving like a boring fucking adult. Fortunately for you, dear reader, these episodes of liberated clarity frequently result in me diving headfirst into the thankless abyss that is this blog (can we please just call it an "online fanzine"?). So today we draw back the veil of time and dust to reveal the esoteric roots and unexpected lineage of some of the most cherished album covers of all time (and a few that no one cares about). Don't think for one moment that this is some smug post-ironic deconstruction meant to undermine the artists or bands depicted. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you're like me, you initially gravitated toward heavy metal because it granted you access to areas and ideas otherwise impenetrable and strictly forbidden. Is that not the compelling allure of the occult? Seek, pilgrims! Evil has no boundaries...


We shall start out with a specimen you should all be familiar with by now. The first Bathory LP boasted one of the most striking and memorable graphics of the decade but it was only in recent years that the true creator of the infamous yellow goat was finally celebrated. Quorthon's official website describes the history of the image as follows:

"Next up was the album cover artwork. It had already been decided that the main color for the album was going to be black. Not wanting to feature the classic Baphomet illustration on the front as first intended, a single monstrous goat like face was glued together from a collage of eyes, a nose and a mouth cut out from several horror comic magazines. Liberal amounts of tipex and black ink was used for masking and adding a few details such as the torso, fur, elongated ears and horns...[the] working title for the debut album was Pentagrammaton, but this working title was discarded when several people read it out as Pentagon. The pentagram was moved to the back of the album cover and replaced with a monster face made up from several bits cut out from various horror comics."

Well, we all know by now that it was no horror comic collage at all but, in fact, the original creation of American illustrator Joseph Smith, who teaches art and design at the acclaimed Pratt Institute to this very day. The illustration in question was swiped from page 81 in Erica Jong's beloved coffee table book Witches, published in 1981. Behold:

Metal journalist Todd DePalma contacted Black Mark Records in 2008 in an effort to clear up this misunderstanding once and for all. The response he received after several inquiries is as follows:

The Bathory site was made by Bathory/Quorthon, he constructed the site, he updated the site he wrote the site. He did have full controll over it and full reponse for it, it was his site and his souvereignty over it. We are a label without any permission to enter other artists site for changes! Nevermind if they`re living or not living any longer. You guys have to accept that the constructer of the site is dead and the site comes to be for all time as the artist Quorthon left it. As said we`re a label, Quorthon Bathory surely was the greatest artist we had but we did not own him for that and his artistical freedom was his own only. Please respect that. Please feel free to update other sides or your own side if you think the credits you are missing are such important for todays heavy metal world and their listeners.
All the best wishes,

Now the world knows the truth.
(Part II)

Ok, I'll be perfectly honest. I've never heard this CD or even seen it in real life. But it's too good to pass up for our purposes. Pretty great rendering of Lucifer either rising or falling from/to hell. At first glance the colors and textures resemble the Nifelheim LP Devil's Force (which was itself something of an homage to Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast single) but upon closer examination it is clear that the roots of this painting lay in Frank Frazetta's unforgettable image known as Against The Gods! The only thing more remarkable than this painting is the fact that Frazetta probably completed it in one casual evening while humming Frank Sinatra and playing with his camera collection. HAIL THE KING!


I've always adored this fantastically complex and luminescent masterpiece by Kristian "Necrolord" Wahlin. If the nonchalant observer was asked to paint a picture of "heavy metal" they would most likely attempt something along these lines: an icy realm inhabited by armed trolls, pointy medieval strongholds, frosty bridges, brooding clouds, malevolent nordic trees and of course...DEATH ON A PALE HORSE! In fact, that's the unofficial title of the classic engraving by suave as fuck French master (Paul) Gustave Doré from which these ghost riders in the sky were lifted. I'm not saying Necrolord didn't do this justice. He did. But at some point the band gave up and simply released this record with Doré's art photoshopped onto a pitch black background. Boring. Doré himself died relatively young and left a handsome corpse in 1883 but not before unleashing Lucifer and his legions upon the world in the form of hundreds of exquisitely detailed chiaroscuro engravings. The world will be playing catch-up for at least another century.


Don't worry, hellions. We'll get to the other Slayer momentarily. This, however, is Slayer from San Antonio, Texas' moment. I've never been entirely sure what's going on here. The only logical conclusion I can draw is that the classic EP cover pictured above is the band's photographic reproduction of "homage" to yet another Joseph Smith painting, this one also originally featured in Witches, first as the frontispiece inviting readers to push open that oaken door of mystery and again on page 65. One might wonder why Joe's work was so unabashedly stolen back then, but if you've ever had the pleasure of poring over his fantastic art it is almost more perplexing why even more bands haven't raided his creative legacy. He's just so damn good! Credit is finally given where credit is very clearly due:


This one is no secret but I'm still amazed and a bit bummed that this sacred icon of my youth came from such a profane source. Ok, most of my sacred icons came from profane sources but...CRYSTAR the Crystal Warrior???? I hope comic artist Michael Golden received some royalties. This grossly uncredited appropriation first appeared on Samhain's November Coming Fire but is most popularly remembered for its appearance on the debut Danzig gatefold LP. I can't believe I don't have this tattooed on my cock...


"Join us...Join Us...JOIN US!!!!" Say what you want about Slayer (or, better yet, please just stop saying, "SLAYER!") but Hell Awaits still rules. The chainsaw riffs shred your corpus callosum leaving you clapping like a one-handed conundrum, the brilliant poetry barely makes sense but somehow still pisses off your parents and Dave Lombardo sounds like he's hammering his way out of a coffin filled with wet skulls. The cover art is simply fucking awesome. So primitive and strange and absolutely at war with the rules of composition, negative space and God.

Where on Earth did cover artist Albert Cuellar come up with such an insane vision of hell? Do you really want to know? Can you accept the truth?

Whoa. It was lifted without much creative embellishment from the July 1977 issue of Heavy Metal magazine and the original artist was none other than French comix visionary Jean Giraud, otherwise known as Moebius. Let's take another look:


What about that other demon that's tearing that dude's face up with his savage fucking claw?

Oh. Well, have you ever wondered what else those demons did to that hapless captor of sin?

Now you know.

(Part II)

Another great record from Slayer's best period. This vinyl picture disc still hangs on my wall, right above my drawing desk, and never fails to inspire and amuse. Somehow you felt like you already knew this precise scene from the moment you saw it staring back at you from the record store wall. Hmm. Perhaps that feeling of deja vu was not so mystical after all...

Artist Albert Cuellar very conservatively referenced the central image from this very early panel by the master of macabre himself, Berni Wrightson! This drawing originally appeared in an EC horror spoof called Ghastly Horror Comix in 1969 but it was reprinted and made more widely available in the 1980 Wrightson collection The Mutants. You can hardly blame Cuellar for ripping this off. It's a perfectly archetypal zombie and, in the spirit of fair play, Wrightson himself was aping the great comic artist Graham "Ghastly" Ingels when he drew this for an underground fanzine in the late 60's.

What about ol' Dave Lombardo back there shaking his drumsticks at the moon? Lifted from another Wrightson sketch circa 1970. This one was also reprinted in The Mutants, which is most likely where Cuellar discovered it since this drawing appears exactly opposite the above mentioned one-page strip. You can still score this book very cheap at decent used book stores and it's exciting to see Wrightson's evolution from an immensely talented young Frazetta disciple to a genuine icon in his own right just a few years later. While we're on the subject of Frazetta again...


My kids think this one is a bit of a stretch. Their argument- and they supported it with a pretty convincing google image search- is that this painting is just a by the numbers viking-at-the-helm-of-a-longship rendering. Generic but not strictly derivative. But I'm sticking to my guns. The palette and composition are just too close for coincidence. C'mon. Take a look at Frank Frazetta's gorgeous painting Cane on the Golden Sea and draw your own conclusion. Either way, my kids are still grounded.


First of all, don't give me any snide commentary about how Amebix isn't "metal". Amebix is one of the few bands that masterfully transcends all narrow genres and limitations and if you can't accept that, fuck off and die! Now that we've cleared that up, I hope this image is no mystery to you, dear reader. It is not only one of the most instantly recognizable and bootlegged underground images of the past several decades but it is also the only image in our collection here that truly boasts occult genealogy. Amebix singer/bassist/blacksmith Rob Miller drew the early draft featured above back in the 80's and it soon became the unofficial mascot of the band. However, the original design was the creation of black magician and "automatic" art visionary Austin Osman Spare. My first encounter with this absolutely haunting painting was on the cover of Man, Myth & Magic- the illustrated encyclopedia of the supernatural- first released as slim pulp magazines and eventually assembled into a 24 volume hardbound set. A few years ago I had the opportunity to ask Rob Miller where he first discovered this image himself and what it meant to the band. He had this to say:

"We originally saw that in a fanzine in the late 70's and then came across it in the Witchcraft Museum at Bocastle. It is a powerful image that speaks to the unconscious. Austin Osman Spare had an interest in the Atavistic, which is very much where Amebix were coming from too."

The Power Remains.


You didn't seriously think I was gonna let myself off the hook, did you? I drew this mess back in 1997 at the ripe age of 25 for my pals in Engorged. It turned out to be the lyric sheet art for their debut CD Death Metal Attack. I'm not ashamed of my roots, my references or my occasional blatant thievery. We've all gotta start somewhere...

These images are blurry because they were photographed through the glass frame but I still get a laugh out of this drawing. In case you were wondering- YES!- this clusterfuck of pop culture references is an intentional homage to Sean Taggart's interior art for the debut Carnivore LP. I spin Carnivore almost every time I DJ and will go to my grave singing their barbaric praises. Pay close attention to the drum set. Apparently nothing is sacred:

Mocking black metal dudes in 1997 was the equivalent of beating up hippies back in 1985 (see Sean Taggart's drawing above). Hence this character who finds himself cursing God whilst caught in a mosh with his medieval weaponry. More importantly, pay attention to that fetishistically rendered Doc Marten boot. Total Taggart worship!