Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making Deals With the Devil

Metal has often been associated with Satan, specifically Death and Black Metal, as well as their specific subgenres. A lot of this has to do with the on of the bands of The Big Four, Slayer (The Big Four will be explained at a later point). Slayer has often been associated with the devil, ever since their controversial album cover from the album Reign in Blood. As a pioneer and influence in metal, Slayer has caused most metal bands to be associated with the devil, even though many metal bands either consist of Atheist of Agnostic band members. Now, here's the big thing: Satan is a religious character. In order for those to believe and worship Satan, they also have to believe in God, and vice versa. Now that we've cleared that up, let's clear up where the origin of the devil in music came from.

The traditional idea of the devil and "selling one's soul to the devil" in music can be dated back to the 1920s and 30s, with the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson. I wrote a paper on the history of Rock a few years back and blues was a major influence on rock music. Robert Johnson is a legendary figure. The legend of Robert Johnson was him starting as a struggling musician, then given a note to meet at the crossroads near his home at midnight. He met this tall and creepy-looking African-American male, often described to look like John Coffey from Stephen King's The Green Mile. This male is said to be the devil and gave Johnson an option. He would give Johnson mastery of the guitar if Johnson sold his soul to him. Johnson accepted and the devil took Johnson's guitar, tuned it and played a few songs. After, the guitar was returned to Johnson, he started his recording career. He recorded 29 songs in his career, with alternate takes of 12 of the songs. Johnson died at an early age of 27, after allegedly drinking a poisoned bottle of alcohol.

Now, here's the scary part. I recently went to my school's bookstore where I found a book about strange encounters or meetings with musicians. I was reading how the author was listening to the Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson, a 2 disc set containing all 41 recordings that are split into 20 songs on the first disc and 21 songs on the second. After the author finished listening, he forgot to turn off the CD player for nearly 20 minutes. That is, when a song listed as Track 30 started to play. Now, it didn't sound anything like any of the other songs, so it couldn't be an alternate take. After the author finished it, he put it into his computer to try to grab that song, and no matter what he did, it couldn't be found. When he tried to play the CD, track 30 was not found again. He eventually went to a friend's house who had a copy and they tried recording the song. The recording registered as having recorded something, but there was no sound. The author became obsessed, later finding that Eric Clapton was paying egregious amounts of money for each Complete Recordings. When he tried calling someone who knew Johnson, they hung up when the author asked about the 30th song. Kinda creepy if you ask me.

So the point of this entry was to talk about that nobody should classify any Metal band as a devil worshiper. Blues is where it started, and there's enough proof with the entire Robert Johnson fiasco that classic Blues is a genre that deals about Satan. Just something to think about. I believe that there are things science cannot explain, because this mysterious 30th song is just too weird to be real.


  1. People who associate metal with devil worship are pretty close minded and uninformed.

  2. Good stuff man, keep rocking lol.

  3. I think it is more the "appearance" of metal, clothing and that stuff that is what put the idea in peoples head. Still ignorant tho.