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Book Review:

Lucifer Rising : A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock 'n' Roll

by, Gavin Baddeley


Review by,
James P. Bergman

This book will be a delight for those even somehat devilish and a fright for those opposed to anything even remotely Satanic. In fact I am sure that radio evangelist, Bob Larson, and those of similar ilk will decry this book all the way to their banks and back. It is a book that is sure to not be ignored by those on both sides of the proverbial fence. Furthermore, those like myself, who do not subscribe to either side of the idealogical fence of God versus Satan, might also find this book to be incredibly enlightening when it comes to the development of Satanic thought and practices. I know that I did. I've read many a book about the subject and this one is by far the most impressive I've ever had the pleasure of reading. With pages literally jam-packed with information about the rise of Satanic ideologies, practices, organizations and movements, this book far surpasses anything remotely similar. Besides the ample amount of words, there is also an impressive array of photographs and an engaging and energetic sense of design and visual layout that makes this book a pleasure to experience.

It starts of a little slowly though, with the same old typical first chapter information on how the Devil came to be. First, covering the pre-Christian, Hebraic development of the Devil, then covering the early Christian years of the entity who needs no introductions, Lucifer. It then goes on to cover the various sects who've been accused of worshipping Old Scratch, from the Bogomils, to the Cathars, to theTemplars with their alleged Baphomet heads and cross trampling, on up to the decadent hellfire clubs and black masses of post industrial Europe. Then covering historical luminaries like Rabelais, Lord Byron, Lautremont, Blake, Baudelaire, Poe, and even Samuel Clemens. My only wish here is that the author took less of a whirlwind tour of pre-1900 Satanic thought and actually took some more time to develop his wonderful ideas in this section. It is a history lesson that deserves to be told better.

Chapter Two is one that will surely cause a lot of ruffled feathers in the thoughts of many a Thelemite, mainly because it includes a ton of information on the infamous, Aleister Crowley. Many Thelemites will tell you that Crowley was not a Satanist, and they may be right, but Crowley's beautifully penned, "Hymn to Lucifer", sure seems Luciferian in nature to me. Whether or not the Great Beast was a Satanist or not is a moot point because his philosophies have certainly inspired many a Satanist and their ideologies.

Chapter Three takes off right where the previous one left off. Mainly covering the rise and fall of the historical nightmare that was World War Two. An in-depth coverage of the magical war to end all magical wars is provided with careful consideration given to the Black Order of Nazi Germany. Again, many may dispute the actual use of Satan worship by the Nazis, but their practices and ideologies have certainly spread within the modern Satanic community, and like Crowley, they are also an influence on certain elements of current and past Satanic thought.

The next two sections of "Lucifer Rising" is where, I feel, the book really begins to take off into the vast Satanic stratosphere. At this point it begins coverage of the influence of certain infernal agents within the bohemian hippie culture of the late 1960's. Beginning with the influence of the Beatles, who showed a picture of Aleister Crowley on one of their album covers, to the more outright demonic Rolling Stones, detailing their flirtations with evil and things that go bump in the soul. A more than adequate description of the Stones and their on-again-off-again relationship with the under-rated Satanic film maker, Kenneth Anger, is given. As well, their involvement in helping to put an end to the Sixties is detailed. Which, by some accounts, is given to be the free concert they gave at Altamont, in 1969, that ended in riot and death by the hands of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club. Another thing that some say gave a death blow to the hippie movement was the Manson slayings, and the book also goes into detail about these happenings, as well as the possible, but more than likely, improbable, influence that the cult, The Process Church Of Final Judgement, had on Manson and his followers. A short, but, good history is given on the formation and dissolution of this influential and legendary cult.

Of course no book worth it's weight in Asofoetida can be written about Satanism that does not mention The Church of Satan and it's flamboyant founder, the late, Anton LaVey. It gives more than just a mere mention. It gives a lucid and concise accounting of the history of the Church, including several short interviews with the Black Pope himself. It does give mention of some of the other offshoots and competitors of The Church Of Satan, but in my opinion, it is very much a book centered around The Church Of Satan and it's influence. It makes a brief mention of the formation of the schismatic offshoot, The Temple Of Set, and one interview with a member, but nary a word after that. This may be one of the few shortcomings of this wonderfully detailed book and this may be explained by the fact that the writer is a card-carrying member of The Church Of Satan.

We're also given a fairly thorough bit of information (a whole chapter's worth) about the presence of Satan in the cinema. From the earliest appearances like 1897's, "The Laboratory Of Mephistopheles, to more recent offerings like "Rosemary's Baby", "Angel Heart", and "The Devil's Advocate". A bonus offering is details about the filming and the recording of the soundtrack of the movie, "The Exorcist". At this point the book diverges and covers so many Satanically themed things that it'll make your head spin Linda Blair style.

The aspect of this book that I found to be most educating and entertaining is the many chapters in which the author cites all the varying instances where the Devil sometimes plays the strings within rock-n-roll. This is the part of the book that is most voluminous and yet, it still manages to do the vast subject a great service by being so well written, passionate, and accurate. There is hardly a group that has even been remotely influenced by the diabolical that is not mentioned within these pages. The obvious starters such as AC/DC, KISS, Blue Oyster Cult, Led Zeppelin and of course, Black Sabbath are covered. As well, the rise of the first wave of the Black Metal scene is given excellent coverage with info about Venom, Slayer, Mercyful Fate, Bathory, and a whole legion of other groups too numerous to mention. The second wave of Black Metal is also covered with information about the rise and fall of Count Grishnack and his murder of fellow Satanic scenster, Euronymous, as well as info on the many church burnings that occurred due to the influence of Norweigian Black Metal bands. Besides Black Metal we hear about the more underground aspects of Satanic musick by such sonic stalwarts such as Diamanda Galas, The Fields Of The Nephilim, 45 Grave, Psychic TV, Coil, Current 93, The Electric Hellfire Club, Radio Werewolf, Boyd Rice's noisy but brilliant, Non, and many, many more. The only groups I can think of that were left out inexplicably are Christian Death and proto-Black-Metalheads, Dr. Know, but this is forgivable in light of all that is covered.

Besides the authors perspective, the reader also gets treated to over 30 interviews with the major players within the Satanic sphere of influence. There's several with Anton LaVey that cover so many different questions, that, even a reader that is schooled in this man's life will come away feeling like he got to know him better. We also get to hear from Kenneth Anger, sister N'aama of Kerk Van Satan, Christos Beest of the Order Of Nine Angles, Paul Douglas Valentine of the Worldwide Church Of Satanic Liberation, and more than a clawful of musicians like Glenn Danzig, Abbaddon of Venom fame, King Diamond from Mercyful Fate, a few engaging chats with Boyd Rice, Thomas Thorn from My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and The Electric Hellfire Club, Glen Benton of Deicide, Michael Moynihan from Blood Axis and Sleep Chamber infamy, and the last interview ever given by Euronymous from Mayhem before he was killed by Count Grishnackh of Burzum fame (who is also interviewed). We also get interviews with comic artist, Coop, photographer Nigel Wingrove and a whole slew of other influential diabolists. These interviews alone would have been worth the price of admission for me, but as it is they were just a bonus compared to all the infernal information contained from cover to cover. If you are interested in the topic, then after you get this, you will see exactly what I mean.

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