Spinoza Ray Prozak

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Spinoza Ray Prozak Interview

this interview was conducted with suicidogenic zine back in 2002 or so. thanks to josé for an informative series of questions.

Anus.com has been around for quite some time,with its original approach to reviews and giving bands with little or no information available,internet or otherwise, even today, some much needed coverage.Probably any serious black metaller knows of the page,wether they love or hate it.How did this all come about?
originally, before the internet was something non-computer-geeks would use, there were bulletin boards. you'd plug in the modem and dial up someone else's system, maybe borrowing a few LD codes along the way to get onto it; possibly, if you were 1337, you knew of one of the few international boards where people talked operating systems, networking, and of course, music. one of the places i used to routinely call was a bbs in new jersey called THE METAL AE. there, you could find guitar tab for the cutting edge heavy shit of the day (metallica! slayer! dri!) and meet metalheads from all over the fucking world. this was probably in 1987... somehow, after using these systems for awhile, i started writing about metal instead of posting intricate reviews time after time for other people on distant systems. this way, cut'n'paste was in effect thanks to the advanced functionality of ProTERM, meaning that the information could fly farther faster than previously before. at first these were distributed informally as simply reviews, with no identifying information; later they were tagged with information on the bbs originating them (The Apocalyptic Funhouse -or- The Dead Animal Pickup). as more emails and contact requests came in, it became evident this was a popular activity among the die-hard hessians in the computer community. some time after that, i got ahold of a legitimate account on a large computer system and started dishing out reviews via FTP from my account. this was in 1991-1992, and was before there was any similar resource of which i was aware. the following year, i was able to put them online with the then-new WWW, back when most people were using mosaic if they were lucky, linemode browser if they were not. as this site developed, it soon was getting more hits than my computer could handle via ethernet, so was transferred to a specialized server.

in 1996 this server formally began hosting anus.com, and thus began the saga as we know it. for whatever reason, the reviews written in 1992-1995 were of high passion although sometimes low text quality, and over the next few years these were updated to reflect what i saw as the tendency in metal toward an intellectual and artistic elitism that prevented the hordes of pantera-worshipping drunken illiterate bastards from overwhelming the intelligent aspects of the genre with their demands for simplified rock music played under crunch in basic power chords...

since then it has become a mission to which i devote a fair amount of time not required for survival in other areas. sometime in 1998, i started collaborating with evilmusic distro, still at www.evilmusic.com, but in 2002 this became nullified because of administrative problems in that entity. it was a waste of time borne of the desire to have a permanent place for reviews that could (which increasingly has been given to other writings and endeavors of a more ideological type). at this point, the anus.com site is about to move to a new stage of development in which its commentary becomes more focused, timely, and literate toward the problems of the "new" metal community which has emerged after the mainstreamification of black metal.

It should be interesting to see those opinions concerning more current,up to date issues.
yes, there are some interesting updates: although i'll spare any drama and say that very few bands not documented have captured my imagination of late.
How has the feedback been for the website? One hand it has helped people(myself included) get into bands when there really wasnt any other way to get info on such bands if you didnt know or trade with the right people.On the other hand there are those who dismiss it and refer to the reviews as "Pseudo Intellectual" What is your take on these reactions?
The feedback overall is enormous; people love it, we get tons of visitors and, while mainstream pubs refuse to list it, the underground has embraced its approach to reviewing, in terms of those who at least to me seem to contribute to the scene.

on the other hand, there are many who criticize it. they have a few traits in common:

  1. they all run "competing" review sites
  2. they all can't write anything similar
  3. they all believe that music should be dumbed down for the masses,and carries no ideological or artistic weight
  4. all of them are massive failures in one way or another, whether in failing to get the mainstream publication they desire, or in the failure of their "underground/1337" bands to achieve any significant works of art
  5. most would be happier with MTV and rollingstone/SOD style "this metal disc was so brutal it ate my asscheeks!" journalism
People pass through this scene all the time, usually in five-year increments. they think it's great; it fills a social void for them. then they start getting disenchanted and flaking out because there's no larger connection than a few bands they like and some songs that were hip to them once. the word "hip" comes into play; it seems like a common thread that most of these people once found death metal "unique" and "unconventional" enough that, like yuppies at an antique shop, they took it home and tried to civilize it. tried to make it into another rock genre, or a pacifistic movement (anus.com: "we put the FIST back into pacifist"), or maybe even just another flavor of alternative rock. half of them have tried to liberalize it for their own guilty, oversocialized consciences.

so these people do not get much credence from me in life or in opinion.

what is significant to me is the reaction from the bands, other zine/website editors, and people whose opinions are relevant. the first time a band whose music had inspired me for years wrote in with, "yeah - this is cool - why don't other people do this?" i realized that most of the resonance to this site occurs from ideological professionals in the scene such as musicians, writers, editors and activists - the people who do things and understand the passion and motivation behind working to further the metal cause. "fans" and "fanboys" will always hate it, because they are by nature spectators and the anus.com language and ideology calls to a larger, more prevalent vision than that.

metal is at an interesting nexus. we're more distinctive than any rock genre, but because so much of the genre is still stranded in a spectatorship, mainstreamist, bourgeois (heh) view that is indistinguishable from that of rock music, we don't get the respect that ambient and jazz bands get, despite often being as capable and very commonly being more artistically talented. if anything, metal is its own worst enemy on two levels: first, that we are composed of people who are alienated by society, and thus often self-destructive (e.g.: metal musicians and their approach to technicality and the longevity of their art), and second, that we do not unify around a core of beliefs which distinguish us from the hedonism and negativity/complaining that is a fundamental part of rock music. so in short: anus.com polarizes people, and often once the schism has been resolved in their own head brings them back to the genre.

many of the people who have ragingly, hatefully criticized the site have returned months or years later to praise it or acknowledge its influence. also, we're thankful for some of the bands who have gotten more label or fanbase attention thanks to our biased, intolerant, hateful discrimination in favor of them over ignorant pig-headed bands like pantera, cannibal corpse, and cradle of filth.

You' re from Texas right? Besides spawning such big names in the UG black metal scene like Absu, Necrovore, Averse Sefira, Thornspawn, etc., and the annual Sacrifice of the Nazarean Child Festival, what else does the Lone Star state have to offer defilers of Judeo-Christian values?
here's a new one coming from texas that will be large and intelligent, soon:

http://www.anus.com/metal/acerbus

texas has a spirit that defies most normal categorization. where other people live in states, we live in a fallen nation. also, since there is a heavy and flamingly obvious judeo-christian presence here, it is easy for us to identify it and see its effects on society. whether it is people with "better than thou" attitudes regarding their "holiness" (bwahahahahaha), or the prevalence in gov't and education of christian piggery, or the work of judeo-christian andrew fastow in enron, we're used to it and used to combatting against it daily.

i don't think, all in all, that texas has much more christianity than the rest of america; after all, BOTH candidates in the last election credited "god" with their inspiration and morality. however, texans have had to survive on their own for a long time, so they're pig- headed about issues. sometimes people even discuss things in a way that doesn't compare to other states; there's almost a more living passion here, under the surface like blood under skin in the summer heat. us mosquitoes plumb the depths for knowledge... also, as you mentioned, some great bands. a brief rundown:

  • Necrovore - as vital as possessed and sepultura to the growth of death metal
  • s.a. slayer - many swear by them, although clearly less influential
  • dead horse - ecclectic thrash
  • averse sefira - spirited dynamic of spiritual exchange between nothingness and potential infinity
  • absu - the apex of all old-school black metal thus far; a melodic vision of king diamond, venom and slayer in the same marching band
  • show me on the doll - former members of "death of millions," a long- running texas death metal band
  • acerbus - christ-fisting technnicality and fast licks, structural experimentation, some passion for art and learning not expressed in most jazz or rock
  • thornspawn - haven't heard them, but their guitarist has a wicked sense of dry humor
there are probably more i'm forgetting...
Give us your Opinions on the following: Nihilism:
an absolutely required entry point to any serious system of philosophical thought
Satanism:
a useful metaphor - hail milton, the unconscious satanist - but of this time, dated: newer learning needs to overcome the poverty of this metaphor in the current context
NSBM:
some great, some isn't. NS is interesting where it adheres to ancient greco-roman values; BM is interesting where it keeps a passion for the imagination alive in the music, even if the struggle is close by or unavoidable. NSBM as a genre is useful in that it is preserving the will to fight in black metal, which has otherwise become a social club for bored adolescents.
September 11 terrorist attacks:
hit a man when he's down and then make it clear to him that no matter what he does, you'll never consider his viewpoint legitimate, and sept 11 is what you get. america deserved it: it's a judeo-christian nation that has been arrogantly shitting on other people for a long time in the name of our "morality" "democracy" and "freedom," all of which are illusion if not outright manipulative bullshit.

hail death

I understand you wrote a letter to Chuck Shuldiners parents? care to go into detail about this?
SRP:the letter is still online at

http://www.anus.com/metal/about/metal/chuck_schuldiner.html

although i respected much of what chuck had done, i felt for a long time that he'd received too much credit for "inventing death metal" when "popularized" is a better term for what he achieved. further, his later lyrics disgusted me; they were secular or pure christianity in a form designed to make them appealing to people who wanted to feel that they were "open-minded." further, there were people in the death metal community staging cry-ins and saying completely sappish, stupid shit about "chuck" (like they knew him firsthand) and how he was "totally metal." not to mention how this was commercialized by various sold-out marketing gimmick forces in the metal industry - the list goes on.

there needed to be a shattering of idols, of christian idols, which chuck, his mother and certain industry types made of chuck schuldiner.

i don't necessarily blame anyone for what they did, or feel a need to judge them, but my judgment is that the chuck-nostalgia was a fucking scam and needed deflating if metal was to continue in a non-judeo-christian manner.

Tt would seem that most of the bands covered were to show some of the absolute best the genre had to offer, not to just slag any and every shite band that comes along.
yes, i have a radical preference for talking about what is good instead of what isn't. writing a review tearing some shit band a new asshole is great fun and all, but i think it must get boring after awhile. it seems to me most editors do it in order to fill their sites with the latest titles and thus win popularity contests, but to me, it's pointless. sometimes there is a conflict, such as when a band puts out 1/2 amazing albums and 1/2 less than great albums (for me: incantation), in which case it makes sense to document the difference, or in bands that have sold out, in which case it's fair warning to state that that band has gone to load/reload territory and therefore will not be making anything like their earlier works. the concept behind the reviews archive has always been that in any situation, most of what exists (80%) will be worthless, with the remainder containing what is interesting to speak of and listen to.it is that 20% that concerns me, as every fan out there, but as your next question indicates, it's also vital to communicate an opinion on a new album.
Unfortunatley some of the bands covered in the site have released albums latley that can be called "uninspired" when compared to older efforts,is there the desire to cover these newer albums even though you may only have negative things to say?
in the future, there will probably be what i'm going to call notational reviews; that is, reviews which give a brief indication of an album's status relative to previous works. these will not have any of the depth of reviews covering albums that are worth hearing because there's no point exploring the way things suck; there's enough suck that we can all learn from it independently.
Well I await the new Anus.com stuff (hopefully you will cover the early works of Sigh eheh) and I hail totally the past worxxxx.Thanks for the cooperation,,leave us some words....
thanks for the interview - this was fun. we do plan to cover early sigh among the other neglected bands in the future, including a couple others from japan that are worth mentioning.

to me it seems that if humans lived their lives according to what they found rewarding their selves as components of intuition and instinct, there would be less cooperation toward goals of a capitalist, judeo-christian nature as these things are anathema to the recognition of the individual. but a society such as ours believes it must pacify even the less competent so that we all can have good feelings. in the spirit of metal, then death metal, and then black metal, i commend to us all the passions of the individual caught in the romanticist caverns of limitless space contrasting ultimately finite death.

hails to josé for this interview, death and sodomy to jesus christ!