By Eric Holmberg
Published January 6, 2008
Continuing with our examination of the by-products of rock ‘n’ roll, consider one of its greatest themes rebellion.
For Blackie Lawless of Wasp it goes even deeper. As he told the Washington Post, “Rock ‘n’ roll is an aggressive art form, pure hostility and aggression. I believe in that like a religion.” (Washington Post, February 8, 1987, F2)
The spiritual significance here is brought out in this Old Testament passage, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” (1 Samuel 15: 23) Biblically, witchcraft is synonymous with satanism and rebellion is its root.
“For I stand forth to challenge the wisdom of the world; to interrogate the ‘laws’ of man and of ‘God.’ He who saith ‘thou shalt’ to me is my mortal foe.” (The Book of Satan, 1:3,5)
The rebellion spoken of here is not the honest and vital revolt of good against evil and truth against lies, but rebellion steeped in evil anarchistic, hypocritical and ultimately destructive. It’s not an exaggeration to say that rebellion is more than just an occasional theme in rock it is its very heart and soul. As Rolling Stone magazine proudly noted in its 20th anniversary television special
Rock and rebellion have become so intertwined, in fact, that even the rock industry’s voluntary attempts of toeing the line of human decency are fundamentally flawed. Take, for example, the many component parts that together made up Live Aid, rock’s shot at world hunger.
Are we to believe that celebrating the joys of sex and sadomasochism is really going to help the world? Can we build with our left hand what our right hand seeks to destroy?
Practically speaking, several journals, including rock’s own Spin Magazine, have reported that most of the aid ended up in the hands of Ethiopia’s communist dictator, and that few starving people were ultimately saved. But stop and consider the bigger picture.
Which is really the better solution to the world’s problems: rock ‘n’ roll or Jesus, the Rock of Ages? — A one time donation to see Mick Jagger strip the skirt off of Tina Turner or a generation who has stripped away the devil’s lies and pretensions and are willing to dedicate their lives to the service of God and a hurting world? — A crumb brushed from the lap of a multi-billion dollar industry or an army of young people who are forever giving to others the money and energy they once spent on the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?
Just as a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, so an industry rooted in rebellion against God and His word can never bring forth that which is truly good. As Jesus himself said “That which natural man does is of no real use, it is only the spirit who can give life. My words to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)
Like an invisible cancer that inevitably leads to death, so the satanic seed in rock ‘n’ roll has culminated in a blatant obsession with the occult. Cryptic allusions to the devil in the music of blues artist Robert Johnson a generation ago have given place to an open worship of Satan and hell that comes complete with the symbols, liturgies, rituals and messianic personalities that attend any religious order. No longer the stuff of small underground cults, millions of young people have been caught in its evil sway. Continuing with Dio’s invocation.
Beginning the with symbols associated with satanic religion, there is none more foundational than the “pentagram”, the five-sided star that is central to occult ritual. Next to the desecrated cross, there is also no other symbol more common to the rock music industry. Motley Crue, Slayer, Bebop Deluxe, Metal Fatigue, Venom, Ebony Records, Sam Kenison, Suicidal Tendencies, The Plasmatics, Blackie Lawless’ original group Sister, and AC/DC are just a few examples where the satanic symbol is used.
Another symbol that is integral to satanic religion is the “Il Cornuto” a hand gesture that represents the devil himself. Like the pentagram, it too is virtually everywhere in rock music. Ozzy Osbourne, Meatloaf, Rick James, Cheap Trick, Motley Crue, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Coven, The Beatles, Kiss, Todd Rundgren, and Dio are just a few examples where this sign for Satan is used.
On the back of his “Spanish Train” album, Chris deBerg has this amazing artwork. Not only is the devil shown giving his own sign, there is a sense of co-equality and reconciliation between him and the Lord Jesus, an incredibly blasphemous concept.
It is with the fans, however, where the Il Cornuto finds its greatest expression. No doubt the vast majority have little or no idea what they are communicating when they flash this sign. But this is true with most supernatural things. Being both invisible and transcendent, spiritual forces can exert great influence over a person without their being aware of it; especially when the have a “whatever feels good do it” attitude towards life. And that’s why looking at our actions, or our fruit, is so important. They give us insight into the spiritual roots within us. Anyone who is given to using the devil’s sign has good reason to, in the words of Jesus, “wonder what spirit is at work in them.” (Luke 9:55)
Our next satanic symbol, 666, is taken from the Bible. Revelation chapter 13 assigns that number to the “beast”, the anti-Christ forces who war against God. (Rev. 13: 18) The “number of the beast” also serves as the title for this album by Iron Maiden. “Aphrodite’s Child”, featuring the popular composer Vangelis, is even more to the point with this album’s name.
Along with the song with just heard by Anvil, RF-7 and Coven also have songs with “666” in the title. The “number of the beast” appears on album covers by Black Sabbath and the Plasmatics, the stage set of Motley Crue, and is etched into the vinyl of the best-selling album “Licensed to Ill” by the Beastie Boys.
Most rock fans will recognize this hieroglyphic, commonly pronounced “Sozo”, as the unofficial name for Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album and the personal symbol for Zeppelin’s founder, Jimmy Page. What most people don’t know is that by Page’s own admission “Sozo” is a stylized 666. Not since Nero’s Rome has the mark of the beast found such wide-spread expression.
In addition to symbols, occult ritual and philosophy also abound in contemporary rock music. Beginning with the most well-known, many groups within the heavy metal genre have popularized blatant, no-holds-barred satanism and witchcraft in their music, album covers, and stage shows. Take for example the song “Beyond the Gates” by the group Possessed.
There are thousands of songs just like this being performed by hundreds of heavy metal bands around the world. Most are seldom heard outside of small cult followings a few have made it into the big time. Whether directly or indirectly, however, this type of music and the spiritual forces that attend it have made their mark on contemporary culture. What was once unthinkable, it now not only sung about and considered, it is at times even embraced and acted upon.
Heavy metal does not have a monopoly on blasphemy, however. The 80’s have seen the emergence of a macabre brand of rock that combines elements of punk, New Wave, and even classical music. Including artists like The Cure, Bauhaus, Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy, Diamanda Galas, Nick Cave, The Lords of the New Church, and The Smiths, the occult elements within this new genre are even more disturbing than those in heavy metal because they are combined with an intelligence and poetic passion rarely found in the latter. For example, when Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, in an admitted take-off of the Satanic Mass, chants both forwards and backwards the Latin for “Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” there is a certain feel, a sinister urgency you can cut with a knife.
As Propaganda magazine described the recording of this song, “Peter summoned his last reserves for the final push. As if suddenly possessed by demons, the whole foul-smelling mess spouted from his mouth like so much vomit… (Later) the lingering evil spirits literally chased them right out of the dark studio, causing them to glance over their shoulders and laugh nervously as they spilled out into the street.” (Propaganda, No. 11, Winter, 1989)
Diamanda Galas, whose voice was used to suggest the sounds of demonic possession in the movie “The Serpent and the Rainbow”, closes out her “Litanies of Satan” album with these words, “To thee, O Satan, glory be, and praise. Grant that my soul, one day, beneath the Tree of Knowledge, may rest near Thee.”
The press kit for her “Divine Punishment” album noted that a woman committed suicide after listening to it. (Forced Exposure Magazine, #15, Summer, 1989, p. 24) The entire performance is an eerie recitation of Old Testament scripture with one exception, Galas’ “Sono L’Antichristo” (“I am the Anti-Christ”).
Or consider England’s “Thrill Kill Kult.”
Amidst a 666, a crucified demon, and desecrated cross, Thrill Kill Kult invokes the sights and sounds of hell with a tangible urgency and a chilling effect. Like other artists within this genre and unlike the jack-booted flagrancy of heavy metal, the message is married to the most dangerous catalyst for satanic insurrection a sense of religious and poetic transcendence. In this the devil my lose an occasional human sacrifice, but he gains something that from his perspective is of much greater value a multitude who is willing to sacrifice hope in life’s meaning and faith in God’s love.
What is even more remarkable about this music is that while most of the groups readily acknowledge and even embrace its open spirituality, most do so with the insistence that it is ultimately Christian in its orientation. This is very significant because scripture makes it clear that the purest manifestation of the anti-Christ spirit always comes, not from without, but from within the context of Christianity.
Without going into too much detail, Satan’s efforts in this regard have historically focused on propagating derivatives of an ancient and recurring heresy known as “Gnosticism”. And it is this heresy that has found new expression in the work of these and many other rock artists. In this regard, the words in Jude’s epistle are as relevant today as they were centuries ago “These in their dreamings defile their own bodies, reject authority, and revile the angelic hosts… things they do not even understand.” (Jude 8,10a)
It’s really no surprise that the anti-Christ spirit has become so manifest in rock. There is abundant evidence that rock ‘n’ roll’s life blood has in some part been drawn from a musical form whose sole purpose it to summon forth evil spirits voodoo. An ancient and highly developed form of ritual, magic, and animism, voodoo originated in Africa and was brought to the Americas centuries ago via the slave trade. There it gradually evolved into jazz, rhythm and blues, and finally rock. That by itself does not make these musical forms demonic, but rock ‘n’ roll has dabbled in and at times even embraced the essence of voodoo in a manner unique among other contemporary musical styles.
Fleetwood Mac, for example, incorporated not only the rhythms into their live performance of their hit song “World Turning”, they included voodoo ceremonial dress as well. Haitian voodoo was also used on the Stones’ album Goat’s Head Soup, The icons, art and ritual body and face painting associated with the voodoo religion show up in the videos of Pretty Poison and Peter Gabriel. Voodoo is the theme of this song by Collin James and makes up the name of this popular New Wave group.
Jimi Hendrix’s interest in spiritism produced not only the song “Voodoo Chile” but the following observation from one Kwasi Dzidzornu, a conga player who often played with Hendrix. Kwasi was from a village in Ghana, West Africa, where his father was a voodoo priest. “One of the first things (Kwasi) asked Jimi was where he got that voodoo rhythm from…. that many of the signature rhythms Jimi played on guitar were very often the same rhythms that (Kwasi’s) father played in voodoo ceremonies. The way Jimi danced to the rhythms of his playing reminded him of the ceremonial dances to the rhythms his father played to Oxun, the god of thunder and lightening. The ceremony is called “Voodooshi.” (‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky, David Henderson, p. 251)
Whether intentional or not, Hendrix’s “voodooshi” must have worked its demonic magic. Two of his closest associates, Alan Douglas, road manager and producer, and Fayne Pridgon, long-time girlfriend, reveal a side of rock ‘n’ roll its fans seldom hear about. (Interviews taken from the soundtrack album from the film “Jimi Hendrix,” Warner Brothers, 1973)
Like Hendrix, David Byrne of the Talking Heads is also fascinated with voodoo-related rhythms and has incorporated them into his music most notably his collaboration with Brian Eno, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, an album that includes a song about demonic possession, “The Jezebel Spirit”. Byrne’s admiration of African-based rhythms and religions prompted his “Alive from Off Center” documentary on the Candomble religion, a demonic hybrid of the Yoruba voodoo cult and Roman Catholicism.
In an interview concerning the documentary, Byrne noted, “If you go back into the history of American popular music, you’re constantly finding hidden elements of Yoruba influence. The rhythms are there, the sensibility in the lyrics are there, too.” (Rolling Stone, July 13th, 1989, p. 78)
A close relation of voodoo is the ancient cult of Pan. Half human and half goat, Pan remains one of the most enduring and compelling symbols for the anti-Christ. Instead of God incarnate in man, as with Jesus, we see man joined to animal one that is both a universal symbol for Satan as well as historically representative of the basest of animal and sexual passions. In the Rites of Pan, like voodoo, music and frequently drugs are used to entice spirits to possess the ritual’s participants. And it’s worth noting that possession by Pan, from which we get the word “panic”, often results in an obsession with sex and a need for immediate gratification.
Not only do we see the sociological manifestations of this anti-Christ spirit everywhere in rock today, significantly we find some very direct allusions to Pan himself. Rush’s 2112 album features the song “The Temples of Syrinx” a Greek word that relates to Pan. In 1987, Elton John commissioned an artist to design a family crest. Pan was the centerpiece of the design. The Stones’ album Tattoo You features this feminized representation of a demon’s leg. And arguably the most famous rock ‘n’ roll song of all time, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, makes a clear reference to not only the music of Pan and his pipes, but his ability to spiritually influence and guide those who fall under his spell. Lyricist and singer, Robert Plant, begins with the thought that “The piper will lead us to reason” and then sings
An interesting side-note. In the remote mountains of Morocco there’s a group that still practices, in a literal sense, the Rites of Pan. “The Master Musicians of Joujouka,” as they are called, inhabit a mystical world where music is the key that unlocks the supernatural. As rock artist and writer, Robert Palmer, described in his article on them for Rolling Stone Magazine, “When the music and energy were at their height, the tribesmen milled in ecstatic trances, their eyes rolled back in their heads, screaming like a great rending of the heavens…. Pan himself was there. Several times I witnessed the instant when the current began to surge in earnest and coursed through the quivering frame of a local shepherd… When the power came down, the shepherd suddenly wasn’t there and Someone Else was looking out of eyes that abruptly began to glow like ruby lasers. One night he came and jerked me out of the crowd, and I ran with him. He leaped through a bonfire, and then I was in the bonfire, surrounded by flames but unharmed. Then I was spinning like a top, spinning into darkness. ‘We have seen you through the music,’ they (the Pan-worshipers) told me, ‘Now you are one of us.’” (Rolling Stone Magazine, March 23, 1989, p. 106)
Palmer is not the only one to become “one of them”. Rock has uniquely bridged the gulf, both geographical and cultural, that separates the Joujoukan cult from the rest of the world. Among its other disciples are David Bowie, Robert Plant and Patti Smith. The Rolling Stones’ founder Brian Jones spent considerable time in Joujouka recording and then later releasing an album of their music. The Stones’ 1989 release “Steel Wheels” features samples of this Moroccan form of voodoo.
Finally, it is perhaps no coincidence that on Patti Smith’s most Joujoukan influenced album, Radio Ethiopia, she writes in her liner notes what could double as the bottom line for either Pan or Satan in their musical war for the hearts and minds of men “rock n roll is royal warfare … the universe is our battleground … the fender — all guitars — our weapons … the technicians — great soldiers … the people — tender barbarians … the goal — the freedom to possess the key of the fifth battalion and release the fierce and stampeding angels of Abaddon (hell).”
To a great measure Smith’s prophecy has come true. All around us evidence abounds that the fierce and stampeding angels of Abaddon have been released. True to the satanic form, Jesus is ignored or made fun of. The Christian standard of morality has been gutted, until even the majority of young people who profess faith in Christ believe in and practice pre-marital sex. And the new idols of this age, our entertainers, embrace the satanic while multitudes scream in adulation.
The early Stones, for example, bank-rolled an occult sect call “The Process” and provided a base of operations for their satanic evangelism. (Contact America radio broadcast, September 15, 1986) Later, Anita Pallenberg, an aspiring actress and accomplished witch, became the companion of first Jagger and then Keith Richards. In July of 1979, at Richards’ Connecticut estate, an 18-year-old boy shot himself while lying in Pallenberg’s bed. Investigating officers uncovered reports of weird rituals and sacrificed animals that led up to the suicide. (Rock and Roll Babylon, Courage Books, 1982, Gary Herman, p. 125; The Rolling Stones The First Twenty Years, Knopf, 1981, David Dalton, p. 148)
The Stones were further involved with a cult film maker and satanist Kenneth Anger. Jagger scored Anger’s film “Invocation of My Demon Brother” and Pallenberg sponsored “Lucifer Rising”, a movie that showed “the actual ceremonies to make Lucifer rise.” Not coincidentally, the film starred rock singer Marianne Faithful, another ex-girlfriend of Mick Jagger.
The occult has also played a major part in the life and music of heavy metal super group Led Zeppelin. In 1974 they founded their own record company, Swan Song. Its first British release was the Pretty Thing’s “Silk Torpedo.” According to Zeppelin chronicler Steven Davis “The album was launched at a blasphemous Halloween party at the Chiselhurst caves. Naked women lined the recesses of the caves and reclined before altars in the style of a black mass. Strippers dressed as nuns doffed their black habits.” (Hammer of the Gods, William Morrow and Company, 1985, Stephen Davis, p.246)
Though shocking, this type of behavior should come as no surprise when we consider that the group’s founder is one of the leading occultists of the rock generation. Jimmy Page’s fascination with black magic is so intense, he owns and operates The Equinox, one of the largest occult bookstores in England. (Creem Magazine, November, 1979) And his devotion to this man is nothing short of religious.
Aleister Crowley was one of the most infamous satanists of our modern age. During the first half of this century, he developed a system of magic that combined the elements of a rock idol’s dream sex, drugs, ritual, and special knowledge that granted the practitioner a measure of power. Billed as the “Wickedest Man in the World”, Crowley claimed the title “The Great Beast – 666”. (The Aleister Crowley Scrapbook, Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1988, Sandy Robertson)
When Kenneth Anger, himself a Crowley enthusiast, approached Page about writing the music for Lucifer Rising, he found, in Steven Davis’ words, “a priceless collection of Crowley artifacts books, first editions, manuscripts, hats, canes, paintings, even the robes in which Crowley had conducted rituals.” (Hammer of the Gods, p. 168)
Most incredible of all, Page purchased Boleskine, Crowley’s old home on the shores of the famous Loch Ness in Scotland. (Hammer of the Gods, p.123; Led Zep Special, Modern Day Periodicals, Inc., 1980, p. 46)
Later Page had the demonic power associated with the house accentuated by having it redecorated by Charles Pierce, a renown satanist. Within the next few years one of Boleskine’s caretakers committed suicide, another went insane. (Hammer of the Gods, p. 291)
Crowley’s enchantment extends well beyond Led Zeppelin. Graham Bond, a rock pioneer whose bands provided the first break for some of rock’s biggest artists, actually thought he was Crowley’s illegitimate son. One of his later bands was entitled “Aleister Crowley’s Holy Magic” producing music that would in his words “help the listener contact the higher forces.” For Bond it must have worked, he became mentally ill and later died amidst mysterious circumstances. (The Aleister Crowley Scrapbook, p. 117)
David Bowie’s 1971 album “Hunky Dory” featured “Quicksand”, a song about Crowley’s cult that included the line “immersed in Crowley’s uniform of imagery.” By 1975 biographer Henry Edwards described Bowie as having done just that as he became obsessed with Crowleyan rituals and mantras, stored his urine in the refrigerator ala “The Beast’s” advice, and finally looked to witches and exorcism rites to deliver him from the evil spirits he felt controlled his life. (Stardust The David Bowie Story, (McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1986), Henry Edwards and Tony Zanetta, pp. 334, 335, 339)
The Stiff Kittens feature Crowley on an album cover, as did the Beatles on what was to become, many critics believe, the most significant album in rock music history, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” A glance at John Lennon’s bookshelves reveal that Crowley’s inclusion was not a token gesture from numerology to magic, Lennon was fascinated with the occult.
(Lennon’s interest in the occult and “New Age” style spiritism is well documented throughout both The Lives of John Lennon and The Beatles, Second Revised Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1985, Hunter Davies.)
On the back of this album, Jim Morrison and the Doors are huddled around a miniature bust of Crowley. This fascination with the occult began early for Morrison. He attributed much of the direction of his life to an incident that occurred when he was very young. Traveling with his family, he came upon an accident that had left several American Indians dead, scattered along the highway. Morrison describes what happened next:
“The souls and the ghosts of those dead Indians, maybe one or two of them, were just running around freaking out and just leaped into my soul. And they’re still there.” (An American Prayer, Jim Morrison and the Doors, “Ghost Song”)
Possession by these ghosts or spirits led to a life and art obsessed with death, occult imagery, and the rejection of God.
“Cancel my subscription to the resurrection. Send my credentials to the house of detention.” (Strange Days, The Doors, “When the Music’s Over”)
In 1970 Morrison married a witch in a ritual that involved satanic invocations and the drinking of blood. (No One Here Gets Out Alive, Warner Books, 1980, Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, p. 327)
A year later the self-professed “shaman” or witch doctor of rock ‘n’ roll was dead.
Ozzy Osbourne sings a song entitled “Mr. Crowley”. Celtic Frost dedicates their album to “Mega Therion”, the Great Magician, a name Crowley took to himself. And Daryl Hall also admits to a fascination for the infamous satanist. As he told Penthouse magazine in 1987, “Around 1974, I graduated into the occult, and spent a sold six or seven years immersed in the Kabala and the Chaldean, Celtic, and Druidic traditions … I also became fascinated with Aleister Crowley, the nineteenth-century magician who shared these beliefs.” (Penthouse Magazine, March, 1987, pp. 60,62)
Three British rock groups also bear mentioning here Psychic TV is the musical voice for “Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth”, an occult sect with ties to Crowley and practically every other satanist of note. For example, the following dedication was made at the beginning of one live album, the eleventh in a series of twenty-three.
We’d like to dedicate this concert to Alex Sanders who died today the Full Moon of Beltane who was known as “The King of the Witches” and who was the man who made witchcraft and magic legal in Britain after a long struggle. So we’d like you to remember that. But the war goes on! (Live at the Circus, Psychic TV, “Beltane”)
Coil also puts forth occult philosophy rooted in Crowleyana. This album embraces two themes near to the “Great Beast’s” heart homosexuality and the worship of Pan. Probably the most devout Crowley cult of all is Current 93. The album and song “Crowleymass” ridicules Christ and His birthday and suggests an alternative, October 12 (“The Beast’s Birthday!”)
Their Here Comes Anti-Christ album contains bizarre and ritualistic music that defies any explanation other than that they are quite serious about their satanism. Etched into the vinyl is both the Latin and the English for “He comes! Soon you shall see!”
Crowley’s heritage also lives on in the practice of necromancy – communication with the spirits of the dead. Iron Maiden’s mascot “Eddie” is purportedly a lost soul who was brought back to life by the band’s music. And at least two groups were actually given their names by demon spirits. Playing with the occult tool commonly known as a Ouija board, a device, that incredibly, many view as a harmless game, four young men in an Iowa hotel room watched as the board spelled out “C-H-E-A-P T-R-I-C-K.” (Washington Times, Interview by Robyn Floria)
The rest, as they say, is history. And Vincent Furnier became “Alice Cooper” in exactly the same way. (Circus Magazine, December 17, 1978, p. 23) Songs like “I Love the Dead” and “Cold Ethel,” which include references to necrophilia, or sex with corpses, suggests that the spirit’s influence extend well beyond just providing the name for Alice’s group.
Finally, and perhaps most curious of all, Crowley like many sorcerers, expressed an interest in backwards phenomena. For example, in his most famous work, Magic in Theory and Practice, he encourages his disciple to “train himself to think backwards by external means, as set forth here following. (a) Let him learn to write backwards. (b) Let him learn to walk backwards. © Let him constantly watch, if convenient, films and listen to records reversed.” (Magic in Theory and Practice, (Dover Publications, 1976), Aleister Crowley, p. 417)
Confirmation that backwards phenomena is characteristic of satanic religion comes from respected British criminologist, Henry Rhodes. In a book detailing the spiritual roots of modern crime, he describes the ritual surrounding a satanic mass. “The priests so times his mass that it shall end on the stroke of midnight, his server is a woman with whom he should have been intimate. Prayers are said backwards.” (The Satanic Mass, Henry T.F. Rhodes, 1954, p.60)
In fact, backwards phenomena is quite common throughout the occult world and in the lives of those who have been affected by its power. Had they known this, the police officers who discovered the backwards writing in Tommy Sullivan’s personal notebook would not have been surprised.
Earlier in this presentation, we noted within rock ‘n’ roll two examples of backwards recording commonly known as “Backmasking”. Each has been of the same variety, where the artist or the engineer has simply reversed a vocal track and then mixed it in with the rest of the music. Now it’s easy to pick out this type of backmasking when listening to a record forwards which is still, presumably, the preferred method of enjoying music. The backmasked section makes virtually no sense forwards and also has a distinctive atonal sound.
Now, as another example of this type of backmasking, listen to the beginning of “In League With Satan” from Venom’s album, Welcome to Hell. First, we’ll listen to it forwards.
Biblically, theologically this backmasked message is really quite accurate that is precisely what Satan has planned for each one of us. It’s only through Jesus, who defeated the devil by His death and resurrection, that we can escape this fate. But back to the point at hand, it’s evident that Venom had this backmasking done intentionally and, therefore, it could be argued that there is no significance here beyond the fact that three guys like to get weird, probably just as a gimmick to sell records.
But now consider the second type of backmasking. With this variety the vocal track makes sense both ways. When you listen to the music forwards you hear one message. When you listen to it reversed, however, you hear something entirely different.
Now it’s been suggested by some that when we listen to music in its normal forwards mode, our subconscious mind is able decipher the backwards message and mind-control results it becomes what is termed a “subliminal cue”. Really, there isn’t a shred of reputable evidence anywhere supporting that hypothesis, and anyway, so what if there is some subliminal suggestion going on here? As we’ve already seen, you don’t need backmasking to pollute someone’s mind and heart the regular frontwards music is more than enough to take care of that. The real question we need to ask here is not “Can a listener subconsciously hear a backmasked message?” but instead “How did it get there?” There are three possible explanations.
1. That it’s intentional that like the first type of backmasking, the artists or engineers are intentionally hiding messages in the music. We must remember here, however, that the vocal track makes sense forwards as well as backwards. For it to be intentional, the vocalist would have to sing just the right lyrics and in just the right way and nobody’s that smart, as a number of musicians and producers have testified.
2. That it’s just an accident a quirk of musical fate. Well not only are the mathematical probabilities of this absurd, but the fact that virtually every example of this type of backmasking conveys a message that is intrinsically demonic even further disproves this hypothesis. Really, the only workable explanation is our third choice
3. That it is spiritual that outside intelligent forces with supernatural power are occasionally able to play an artist, much like we would play a musical instrument.
Biblically, this makes perfect sense as we see the principle found in 2 Timothy echoed again and again that virtually all unsaved people have been deceived and ensnared by Satan and are captives to his will. (2 Timothy 2:26) The degree of captivity is determined by the extent to which an individual gives himself to sin and embraces the principles of Satan’s kingdom rebellion, slavery to lust, occultism, all the things we see so clearly manifested in rock ‘n’ roll. In addition, let’s remember that many of these artists, an incredible number in fact, have quite candidly admitted that they and their music are influenced by some outside spiritual force.
Like the subtle, practically invisible fingerprints left behind at the scene of a crime, the following aural phenomena point clearly to the one who came to steal, kill and destroy.
Our first example is from Electric Light Orchestra’s “El Dorado” album. Here’s a segment from the title song played forward:
Note that even forwards there’s an element of anti-Christian thought here. Eternal life is definitely meant to be. We’re all going to live forever the only question is where. Now, here’s that same segment played backwards:
Again. One more time.
Our next example is by Queen from their song “Another One Bites the Dust” one of the most popular and enduring songs in rock history. Taking this same section and playing it backwards we hear:
Understanding what we learned in Part III, that drugs and sorcery are closely tied together, it’s easy to see the satanic motivation behind the command, “Start to smoke marijuana.”
Next we have a song taken from Cheap Trick’s popular album Dream Police. The significance of the the song’s title, “Gonna Raise Hell,” becomes even more apparent when we reverse this segment:
Again. One more time.
Theologically, this is quite interesting because keys are symbolic of authority, particularly over the power of sin and its penalty, death and hell. Revelation 1:18 states that Jesus, who actually died in our place and went to hell, is now “the Living One, who was dead and is now alive forever and ever and holds the keys of death and of hell.” Satan’s claim to hold the keys in this song, as well as on this album cover by the group “Helloween,” is very significant, not only because it’s a lie and typical of his empty bravado, but because it points out how desperately he wants to retain ownership of people’s lives.
There’s also theological significance in our next example, the live version of the song “Anthem” by the group Rush. When we play this section reversed we hear:
Again. One more time.
One of the translations for “Lucifer”, a Latin title commonly associated with Satan, is “The Shining One.” And earlier in Part I, we looked at a scripture that tells us that disguising himself as “an angel of light” is what the devil is all about. (2 Cor. 11: 14)
Our last example is taken from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.
Once again there is enough poison in the song forwards to prove fatal. Yes, it’s true that there are two paths you can go by. Jesus Himself said that there are two paths. One is a road traveled by the multitudes where the herd instinct prevails and where the desires of our flesh and the idols of the age lead the way. This path, Jesus said, leads to destruction. Then there’s a road less traveled, a narrow path that takes us to a hill outside of Jerusalem and to a cross. And this is the way, God says, that leads to eternal life. (Matthew 7:13,14)
The fatal lie in this lyric is that there is always time to change the road you’re on. No doubt the man who played the drums in that song thought that until he found himself choking in his own vomit. And by then it was too late. Each of us have no guarantee that our next breath won’t be our last. And after death, the scriptures tell us, comes judgment. (Hebrews 9: 27)
But there’s not always time to change in another, even more fundamental sense. In John’s gospel Jesus said, “No one can come to Me”, in other words, be saved from sin and Hell, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6: 44). What this means is that the idea to get right with God, to turn from your sin and embrace Jesus, isn’t something you can work up on your own. For it to work, for it to be truly sincere, God has to draw you to reveal both your sin and the hope that is in Christ. Only then can you respond in a way that will change your life. If you reject that opportunity, you are, in fact, rejecting God and the chance to change the road your on a chance that you may never have again. That’s why Joshua said, “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15) and Paul declared, “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) What day were they speaking of? Well, whichever day God chooses to deal with you.
Now let’s get very real with ourselves and with God. If right now you’re sitting there, aware of the sin that has enslaved you and with a stirring in your heart that somehow you need to do something about it, then this is almost certainly your day. Maybe you’re frightened, nervous, or uptight. That’s all right God can take care of that. But you have to give Him a chance. Don’t blow off what is the most precious gift that you’ll ever be offered the gift of God’s forgiveness, His love, and His life.
Back to “Stairway to Heaven”, here’s that same section reversed:
Again. One more time.
As we have seen throughout this presentation Satan is not sweet. He’s a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44) and will use anything, including one of the most powerful tools of all music, to blind you to the reality of God’s love and your desperate need for His saving power; to pervert your mind and heart and bring you into greater captivity to sin. His path clearly is sad, but his power can be broken. “For behold, He who was dead is now alive and holds the keys of death and Hell.” (Revelation 1:18)
Stay sensitive to God and don’t go away. In the next and final section we’ll share with you how your life can be changed and you can find the freedom and love that is in Jesus Christ.
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