Another four months, and you know what time it is (pun entirely intentional).
“A man with no soul has a strange relationship to hell.”
2 years after WWI, on Samhain eve, Dorian travels to Edinburgh to catch up with an old…friend named James Anderson (Daniel Brocklebank).
Decadence by Dedalus, Dedalus Book of Decadence, dedalus book of english decadence, Dedalus Book of Medieval Literature, Dedalus Book of Roman Decadence, Emperors of Debauchery, Grin of the Gargoyle, Journal of Decadence, third eye cinema podcast, Vile Emperors and Reptiles
Today we’re going to take a brief journey through Decadence in history (or at least falling outside the usual French/German/Italian fin de siecle axis). Rather than touch on anything previously discussed in any great depth, this will be limited to the boundaries of the three missives under examination:
The Dedalus Book of Roman Decadence: Emperors of Debauchery
The Dedalus Book of Medieval Literature: Grin of the Gargoyle
The Dedalus Book of English Decadence: Vile Emperors and Reptiles
Our first topic of discussion will be The Dedalus Book of Roman Decadence, an outstanding little introduction to the real history your professors tended to gloss over if not omit in its entirety. In the hands of skilled authors like Seutonius and (to a lesser extent) Tacitus, those long dead debauches of Ancient Rome come to vivid immediacy, hoary visages carved in stone adorning museum pedestals become real people, with all the failings, foibles, and humanity (for better or worse) of ourselves and our neighbors. Continue reading
The Decadent Cookbook (1997)
The Decadent Gardener (1998)
The Decadent Traveler (2000)
As readers of the Journal are well aware, Decadence as a style, movement and literary genre hails from (and all but ends with the passing of) the fin de siecle of the 19th century.
Primarily concentrated in the late 1880s and throughout the 1890s, its authors and notable works began to peter off into inconsequentiality and human wreckage, with several passing on at a fairly young age (Lorrain, de Nerval, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, even Aubrey Beardsley), and others settling into the mediocrity of a more tempered bourgeoise existence (Rachilde), inanity and absurdism (Mirbeau) and the (apparent) opposition and bane of Decadence, religion (Huysmans, Wilde).
Despite its surprising relevance to the modern era and the striking applicability of its analyses and assessments of life, love, and the course of history to the modern day, this would seem to mark it as much of a time and place as its related cousins of a bygone era, Dandyism, Symbolism and Romanticism.
But not so! Somewhere in the realms of hallucinatory imagination, only semi-real in the sense of the love interests of a typical Gautier protagonist, there exist two men, perhaps not quite in the flower of their putative youth, but elegant and refined aficionados of the aesthetic, well versed in literature and the darker corners of history.
Two dandies, as effete as they are cultured, with a razor sharp wit marked by its dry British overtones, yet well acquainted with the true Decadence of the French school.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my two favorite literary personae of the modern age: Medlar Lucan (whispered to be a mask for author Alex Martin) and Durian Gray (rumored alias of author Jerome Fletcher).
“I never came across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid, and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity. Moral people, as they are termed, are simple beasts.
I would sooner have fifty unnatural vices than one unnatural virtue. It is unnatural virtue that makes the world, for those who suffer, such a premature Hell.” – Oscar Wilde
“You’re a child,” repeated Clara. “You speak as you would in Europe, dear. And you have stupid scruples, just as they would have in Europe…life is free, happy and boundless, free from conventions and without prejudices and laws. At least for us…Liberty has no other limits than yourself…nor love anything but the triumphant variety of your desires. Europe and its hypocritical barbaric civilisation is a lie. What else do you find there but lies? You lie to yourself and others – you lie about everything that, in the depths of your soul, you recognise as the truth.
You are forced to pretend outward respect for people and institutions which you find ridiculous…you remain cowardly, attached to moral or social conventions you despise, condemn and which you know lack all foundation…it’s the permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires on one hand and all the dead forms and vain phantoms of your civilisation on the other that makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced.
In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality because every moment the free play of your strength is restrained, impeded, and checked. That’s the poisonous and mortal wound of the civilised world. With us, there’s nothing like that…everything is conducive to a free life and to love. What are you afraid of? What are you leaving behind?”
– Clara, femme fatale of Octave Mirbeau’s Le Jardin du Supplices (Torture Garden).
No less a personage than Oscar Wilde apparently described this book as “revolting…a sort of grey adder”, and once we get to the heart of the matter, it’s hard to disagree. The fact that both Wilde, a noted bon vivant and deliberate satirist and transgressor of traditional mores, and myself agree on this point should give fair warning to the skittish among us: this is strong stuff, particularly for the period, and should be approached with trepidation by the bourgeoise in mentality, the moralist, the uptight.
Still with me? Good, let’s begin.
Charles Baudelaire, Decadence by Dedalus, Dedalus Book of Decadence, Dedalus books, fin de siecle, J.K. Huysmans, Joris Karl Huysmans, Journal of Decadence, Moral Ruins, Octave Mirbeau, Oscar Wilde, Rachilde, The Black Feast, third eye cinema podcast
OK, I’ve just finished reading two entries in Dedalus’ “Book of Decadence” series, Moral Ruins and The Black Feast. There are apparently others in the series, exploring the latter days of Rome, and the lesser scenes in Germany, Russia and even (gasp) England, the latter subject of which we’ll speak to further in due course.
These two are apparently meant to be the cornerstones of the Dedalus line, at least in relation to the subject and style of the Decadent movement of the fin de siecle that primarily arose in, and whose leading authors and personages were from, France. While there were more or less contemporaneous movements that sprung up from its example in Italy, Germany, England and so forth, for the most part, they arose a bit too late and delivered too little; the intellectual, aesthetic and sexual sensibilities the style celebrated, promulgated and centered itself around translated themselves to such radically different cultures with varying degrees of success and directness.
(The True) Veiled - In Blinding Presence, 20th Century Music, 22 - You Are Creating, ABSTRACT RAPTURE - Hollow Motion, Abstract Void - Back To Reality, Adaestuo - Krew Za Krew, Aempyrean - Fireborn, AFM records, album reviews, Alexandra Zerner - Opus 1880, Amaranthe - HELIX, ANGEL OF DAMNATION - Heathen Witchcraft, AOP Records, Architects Of Melody, Ashes Of Ares - Well Of Souls, ASHES REBORN - Contamination, Avantgarde Music, Bane Esoteric Formulae, Bedlem - Back to Bedlem, Beneath the Hollow - Nihilist, BillyBio - Feed The Fire, Black Lion Records, Black Market Metal Label, Blood Harvest, Brothers Of Metal - Prophecy Of Ragnarok, BVR Records, By The Time It Gets Dark, Candlelight / Spinefarm, Carnal Forge - Gun to Mouth Salvation, Century Media, Circuitry - Untouched By Human Hands, City Of Tyrants - Revelations, Cloudburst, Cold Night For Alligators - Fervor, Comatose Vigil A.K. - Evangelium Nihil, Cyclopean Eye Productions, De-Arrow, Deadlight Entertainment, DECEASED - Ghostly White, Demetrio “Dimitry” Scopelliti - The Silent Watcher, Dethgod - Disease Called Humans, Devathorn / Inferno - Zos Vel Thagirion, Dusk - Epoka, Dust Prophet - "The Big Lie", Echozone, Echozone / Les disques Rubicon, Ecthirion - Psalms of the Risen Dead, Eihwaz Recordings, Ektro, El Puerto Records Gbr, Ellende - Ruckzug in die Innerlichkeit, FACELESS BURIAL - Multiversal Abattoir, Failure Records and Tapes, Fastball Music / Escudero Records, Fatum Aeternum - Mass Suicide of Human Race, FIEND - SEERESS, Firecum Records, Flight - A Leap Through Matter, FlowerLeaf - Stronger, Flowing Downward, Forbidden Rites - Pantheon Arcanum, Forest of Shadows - Among the Dormant Watchers, Frontiers Music s.r.l., Ginger Red - Donuts And Coffee, Goat Explosion - Rumors of Man, Golden Robot Records, Gravkväde - Grav|aska, GrimmDistribution, hell's headbangers, Helter Skelter, Heretic Legion - The Purge, High Roller Records, HOLTER - Vlad the Impaler, Ichor - Hadal Ascending, Infernal Cult - All The Lights Faded, INHUME - Exhume: 25 Years of Decomposition, Inoculated Life - Exist to Decay, Into Endless Chaos, Inverse Records, Jonestown - Dyatlov, Katie Knipp - Take It With You, Long Branch Records, Lucifer's Fall - Tales From The Crypt, Lupus Lounge / Prophecy Productions, Lutharo - Unleash the Beast, Madog - Raven, Marsh Dweller - Wanderer, metal reviews, MORBOSIDAD / KILL - Santuario del Diablo, Music review, Musta Risti, Mystery School Records, Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle, Nachtmystium - Resilient, Neonderthal Death - Neonderthal (Nightmare Begins), Noizr Productions, Non Serviam Records, NORDIC UNION - Second Coming, Nuclear War Now! Productions, OMEGAVORTEX - Promo 2018, One Last Legacy - II, ONSET - Unstructured Dissemination, Open Surgery - After Birth Abortion, ORION DUST - Legacy, Osmose Productions, Part I (10th Anniversary Edition), Piledriver - Rockwall, Pogo Records, PORN - The Ogre Inside (Remixed), Pterodactyl Problems - Esoteric Hobbies, Pure Steel Records, RED DRAGON CARTEL - Patina, Redefining Darkness Records, RIFFLORD 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation, Rock Of Angels Records, ROCKWALL Records, Royal Arch Production, Runescarred - "Being God", Samstrong Records, Season Of Tears - Dark Card, Sectorial - VYR, Seeing Red Records / Metal Swarm, Selvans - Faunalia, Shadow Kingdom, SHELTON/CHASTAIN - The Edge Of Sanity 88 Demo Session, Shining - Animal, Shock Records / Vanity Music Group, SHVPES - Greater Than, Sigh - Heir to Despair, Silver Dust - House 21, Siniestro - Arctic Blood, SKELETHAL / CADAVERIC FUMES - Heirs of Hideous Secrecies, Skulk the Hulking - Afterbirth Of A Nation, Slovenians - Al dente, Soundmass, Space Coke - L'appel Du Vide, Spielbergs - "4AM", Spinefarm Records, Splendidula – Post Mortem, STB Records, Steamhammer / SPV, STEPHEN PEARCY - View to a Thrill, Steve Kilbey - Sydney Rococo, Stew - HOT, SUIDAKRA - Cimbric Yarns, Sun & Moon, svart records, Svoid - Spiral Dance, TEN - Illuminati, The Browning - Geist, The Cascades - Phoenix, The Mound Builders, The Psycho Season - Grunge River, The Wizards - Rise Of The Serpent, third eye cinema podcast, Tombtoker - Coffin Texts, Twilight - Monument to Time End (Re-issue), Twilight - S/T (Re-issue), Twilight Fauna - Where Birds Sing My Name, Unearth - Extinction(s), Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork / WOOAAARGH, Valkyrja - Throne Ablaze, Velvet Dream - Darkened Mysteria, Vicisolum Productions, VIRGIN STEELE - Seven Devils Moonshine, VIZA - The Unorthodox Revival: Volume I & II, W.T.C. Productions, WE ARE THE CATALYST - "The Code", Weird Truth Productions, WICKED GARDEN - "Already Gone", WITCHING HOUR - ...And Silent Grief Shadows the Passing Moon, Witherfall - A Prelude to Sorrow, WULKANAZ, XENOKORP, Ysengrin / Stargazer - D.A.V.V.N.
So, yeah, it’s been another month, and my foray into the (for yours truly) previously neglected corners of European power metal continues, with the new heavyweights of airplay shifting from long beloved acts like Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, Alestorm and early Hammerfall to settle in on the unholy triumvirate of Edguy, Elvenking…and Powerwolf.*
* well, since this intro was written, the powerfully vocalled Brainstorm, who also did all their good work after moving to AFM, by the way (hell, I’d venture that not only is Midnight Ghost worthy of being noted as album of the year, but as a career pinnacle) has moved up to make this very much of a foursome…but even so.
(D)juret - Sok din sekt, Abigor - Hollenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition), AFM records, Akslen Black Art Records, album reviews, AMMUNITION, Ancient Temple Recordings, ANIALATOR - Rise to Supremacy, Antichrist - Pax Moriendi, ANTIGAMA - Depressant, ANVIL - Pounding The Pavement, AOR, Apollyon Entertainment, Asenblut - Legenden, ATMF, Avantgarde Music, Bhleg - Solarmegin, Black Lodge Records, Black Market Metal, black metal, Blaspherion - Restus Corpus, Bleeding Music Records, BLIGHT - The Teachings/Death Reborn, Blood Harvest, Buck Tow Truck - Death Wields A Six String, Byyrth - Echoes from the Seven Caves of Blood, Chaos Echoes - Mouvement, Chaos Invocation - Reaping Season Bloodshed Beyond, CONVICTION - "Outworn", Corbian - Supremacy of Fire, Cramada, Crimson Devils - A Taste For Blood, Crossbones - WWIII, Cryptivore - Unseen Divinity, Cursed Records, D7i Records, Dakota Westbrook - Worthless, Days of Confusion - Yin & Out, death metal, DEFENESTRATION - Gutter Perdition, Demonomancy - Poisoned Atonement, Disembowel - Plagues and Ancient Rites, DOMINANT - The Summoning, doom metal, Drakkar Entertainment GmbH, El Puerto Records Gbr, Eleine - Until The End, emo, ET MORIEMUR - Epigrammata, Extreme Metal Music, Fallen Utopia - Disequilibrium, Fameless - Dreams Without A Past, FORGOTTEN WOODS - The Curse of Mankind, Frontiers Music s.r.l., Funeral Winds - Sinister Creed, FUNERARY BELL - Undead Revelations, Goatkraft - Angel Slaughter, GONE BY SUNDOWN - “Will you Remember”, gothic metal, GREBER - Cemetery Preston, grindcore, HAMMR - Unholy Destruction, HAR - Visitation, heavy metal, hell's headbangers, Hellfire Records, Heyoka's Mirror - Loss of Contact With Reality, Hibernation Release, High Roller Records, Horn - Retrograd, Inverse Records, Invictus Productions, iron bonehead, Khiral - Chained, LABYRINTH - Return to Live, Lacerated Enemy Records, Lechery - We Are All Born Evil, LIONE - CONTI, Lurker of Chalice, MAGNUM - Lost On The Road To Eternity, Malady - Toinen toista, Man Daitorgul - Gulkenha, Marked Man Records, metal reviews, metalcore, MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS - Pawn and Prophecy, Minneriket - Anima Sola, MINOTAURO RECORDS, Moribund records, Mortiferum - Altar of Decay, music reviews, My Silent Wake - There Was Death, Nadir Music, Nevicate - "Shattered", NIGHTSHADE - 1426, No Why Records, Nordvis Produktion, Nuclear War Now! Productions, Obscene - Sermon to the Snake, ORION DUST -Duality, Ossuarium - Calcified Trophies of Violence, Panphage - Jord, Pink Lemonade Records, power metal, progressive metal, punk, Rasgo - ECOS DA SELVA URBANA, Rastilho Records, Red Raven Down - Phantoms, RoadkillSoda - Mephobia, ROOM ME - Anaon, Sainted Sinners - Back With A Vengeance, Saturnal Records, SEEP AWAY – "Shimmy Shimmy Ya", SEEP AWAY – The Blackened Carnival Of Societal Ineptitude, Selfmadegod Records, SEX DUMPSTER – LORD ALCOHOL, Shambles - Primitive Death Trance, Shields - Use Protection, SHOW ANIKI - "Deep Blue"/ "COWBOYS FROM BREIZH", Snogg - Abeloth, Steamhammer / SPV, svart records, symphonic metal, Templeton Pek - Watching The World Come Undone, Test Your Metal Records, The Cursed Order, The Last Arbiter, THE PARASITE PARADISE - His Only Begotten Son (A.D. MMXVII), third eye cinema podcast, TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS - Dust of Aeons, Transcending Obscurity India, Transcending Obscurity Records, Trigger - Cryogenesis, Universal Music Romania, Vantablack Warship - Abrasive Pulmonic Speak, Vardan - Nostalgia - Archive Of Failures - Part 4, Vardan - Nostalgia - Archive Of Failures - Part 5, Vardan - Nostalgia - Archive Of Failures - Part 6, Verikalpa - Taistelutahto, Vinide - Reveal, VoidCeremony - Foul Origins of Humanity, VOJD - The Outer Ocean, Voodoo Circle - Raised On Rock, W.T.C. Productions, war metal, Watchers of Xan, WHIPSTRIKER - Merciless Artillery, Xael - Singles - Apathy of The Immortal, XENOKORP, Xtreem Music, Ziggurat - Ritual Miasma, \Dooweet Agency
Well, you wait and er…try to move things along in realms unseen one way or another, and sh*t happens, alright.