This week's Monday Magick entry, "In Ancient Days" by Black Widow, was inspired by a brief mention of the band alongside occult-rockers Coven in Peter Bebergal's new book on popular music and the esoteric 'Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll'. The tune comes from the British Prog-Rock outfit's 1970 CBS Records LP 'Sacrifice'.
I wasn't familiar with Black Widow until coming across their name in association with Coven as one of the few bands of the era who made blatant references to Satanism and the occult in their music. Unsurprisingly, especially considering their similar names, they garnered comparisons to Black Sabbath although their songwriting was far more devilish than anything Ozzy and company put out. "In Ancient Days" for example celebrates the summoning of infernal powers in a highly theatrical fashion using very straightforward language. Even more surprising than the darkness of the lyrics though is the funkiness of the track which leans heavily on a churning groove and plaintive horn line which conjures images of smokey jazz clubs more-so than smoke from the fires of hell. Who knew Satanists could get so soulful?
The band soldiered on long after 'Sacrifice', releasing several albums, seeing personnel changes, and even rethinking their ideology. They were still active as recently as 2011 when they released an album titled 'Sleeping With Demons'.
You might know the name of Denver, Colorado-bred musician Pictureplane from production credits for the likes of Sole, Noah23, and Antown, among others.
But his new single and video "Hyper Real" should make you remember his name for making gorgeous post-Rap Dance-Pop songs with trippy horror-influenced visual accompaniment informed by Goth and Nerd culture.
"Hyper Real", backed with "Total Confusion" featuring Antwon, is out now via the IHEARTCOMIX 1NFINITY label.
'As Above So Below'
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar
I was instantly intrigued by 'As Above So Below', a 2014 horror film set in the Paris catacombs, when the first trailer started making the rounds last Summer. I've been sorta obsessed with the catacombs since seeing a "pod" about them on Current TV, Al Gore's cable network that began as a showcase for user-created content, a number of years back. So you can bet your ass that an underground fright fest, which is what 'As Above So Below' was marketed as, was right up my alley.
I didn't get to see the flick when it was in theatres, so my assumption was that it was another ghost story, or some other type of psychological horror typical of the style of scary movies of our modern era, just transported into the claustrophobic world of the Paris underground. When I finally got a chance to sit down and watch the film here at Imageyenation HQ I found something far different, and far more in-line with my own interests in the supernatural, magick, alchemy, witchcraft, Rosicrucianism, and transcendental illumination.
Surprisingly, the film features elements of Indiana Jones-style archaeology, some of the mystery of the historical conspiracy fiction genre made famous by 'The Da Vinci Code', and a great deal of horror which to my delight springs from a foundation of alchemical philosophy (thanks to a story that hinges on a mystery involving Nicolas Flamel) that touches on notoions of "the dark night of the soul" and other ideas popularized by Robert Anton Wilson and his ilk. By the movies mid-point I had it figured out, but didn't believe I could possibly be right because it would mean a mainstream horror flick was based on some of my most beloved magickal concepts.
I fear I may have given too much away as it is, so I'm not going to discuss any more of the plot here. But for what I initially thought was just going to be another found-footage ghost flick or 'Flatliners'-style psychological horror rehash, 'As Above So Below' proved to be far more engaging, exciting, and satisyfing than I'd expected.
of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes believes in witches. And so do I.
The band's new video for "Bassem Sabry", the first single from their newly released 13th album 'Aureate Gloom', reminds me of Jodorowsky's 'Holy Mountain' for several reasons, though it doesn't directly reference the movie at all.
I make my own coincidences, synchronicities, luck, and Destiny.
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