Archive for May, 2014

Indian Metal Band Sceptre Takes a Stand On Violence Against Women (Interview)

“We don’t expect the world to change their ways after listening to our album…we just expect the metalheads that come to a Sceptre gig or for that matter any gig they attend, to understand this message and start treating women with a certain amount of respect. For ages, women have been portrayed as mere objects of lust especially in ‘metal’. That needs to change.”

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Today it is my great honor to interview one of India’s longest lasting metal bands – Sceptre! They are a heavy hitting thrash metal band from Mumbai that has been going strong for 15 years and they have been pioneers of extreme metal in the country.

One key thing that peaked my interest in the band was their recent album, “Age of Calamity.” In this album they take a stand on the issue of violence against women that is happening both in India and around the globe. According to the latest statistics, as many as 35% – 70% of women in the world have experienced some form of sexual violence (UN Women). In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for 40% – 70% of all female murder victims (UN Women).

In India, there have recently been many protests against the lack of police and government action in dealing with the crimes of gang rape and sexual violence. Unfortunately the problems of gang rape, sexual violence, spousal abuse, child marriage and sexual trafficking are ubiquitous around the globe.

Therefore, it is great to see an extreme metal band creating an album about female empowerment – particularly in a genre of music that can be quite the sausage fest. So without further adieu – I will begin my interview with Sceptre.

MG: First of all, I would like to ask, which member of the band am I currently speaking with? 

You’re speaking to Aniket S Waghmode ( drummer and founder member)

MG: What is your band’s secret to lasting as long as you guys have? It’s not every day that I get to talk to a metal band that is 15 years old and still going strong. 

It’s the sheer love of playing metal and nothing else! We cannot imagine playing any other form of music.

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MG: One thing I’m really excited in talking to you guys about today is your newest album, “Age of Calamity” and its theme of the empowerment of women. What motivated you to cover this theme? 

We’ve always tried to showcase the problems we, as a nation are facing, through our albums…be it lyrically or visually. Our earlier album ‘Now or Never’ had a song called ‘Charred’ which talks about the evils of smoking. And none of the guys in the band smoke or dope by the way. With ‘Age of Calamity’, we were unanimous in deciding to bring the issue of women empowerment to the fore. Since a while now, India has seen the most heinous and ghastly atrocities committed against women in various forms like rapes, acid attacks, groping and molestation in public places. And the rate of such crimes is increasing at an alarming rate. The indolence of the Government is stupifying to these cases. We don’t expect the world to change their ways after listening to our album…we just expect the metalheads that come to a Sceptre gig or for that matter any gig they attend, to understand this message and start treating women with a certain amount of respect. For ages, women have been portrayed as mere objects of lust especially in ‘metal’. That needs to change.

MG: Do you believe that violence against women is worse in India than other parts of the world? If so, why is this? 

We are not sure about the situation outside India, but we’ve come to know after our album release from various people all over the world, that it is a global problem. The problem with India is the law. It’s ancient and inefficient to deal with the current state of affairs. To add to this, its the people who think one can rape and get away scott-free by bribing the police. Its a vicious circle.

MG: What do you think are some things that India – as well as other countries – could do to reduce the atrocities committed against women? What are some things that various countries around the world could do to empower women? 

I think the law needs to be made more stricter and most importantly, implemented wherever necessary. The punishment for these crimes should act as deterrent to others. These small steps will help empowering women all over the world.

MG: What is your favorite set of lyrics, in the album (Age of Calamity), that discusses the theme of violence against women?

It’ got to be the opening lines from the title track ‘Age of Calamity’… ” more and more lives at stake, bureaucratic apathy to blame, damned if you will..damned if you don’t, you gotta give in to their game..”

MG: Aside from the theme of female empowerment in your most recent album, what are some other important themes and messages in your music?

Our  first album had a song called ‘Charred’  which talked about the evils of smoking, then we had a song from the same album called ‘Nuclear’ which was against Nuclear warfare. The recent album; ‘Age…’ has a song called ‘Prophesy Deceit’ which is against these godmen who swindle people in the name of religion, one more song from the same album called ‘ Parasites(of the state) ‘ is about people in authority, from a policeman to a politician, who fail to do their duty….yea…stuff like that!

MG: What band’s influenced Sceptre the most? 

Oh..we are mostly influenced by the old school thrash era. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden…to the new ones like White Chapel, Suicide Silence, Divine Heresy etc

MG: What are Sceptre’s plans for the rest of 2014? 

Get a video done and play as many gigs as possible, in India as well as abroad!

MG: Does Sceptre plan on doing a tour in the United States in the near future? 

Oh yeah…just waiting for that call!! Haha..

MG: What are some other powerful Indian metal bands I should check out? 

Bands like Zygnema, The Down Troddence, Bhayanak Maut, Plague Throat, Gutslit  etc are some bands who can kick some serious ass. Do check them out!

MG: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!  For the rest of you Metal Heads, check out their song “Age of Calamity” below. 


Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

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All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

~ Lord of the Rings


MÅNEGARM – Sons of War

“We stand united. We are the sons of war!”

Band’s Country of Origin: Sweden

Genre: Viking/Black/Folk Metal

A pumping folk metal video of warrior dudes doing warrior things. The word Månegarm itself refers to a wolf that lives on the blood of dying humans and at Ragnarök hunts down and swallows the moon – I can think of no name more metal for a Norse Folk Metal Band. One of Månegarm’s signature qualities is that they have had traditional instruments from the start. Their songs have a professional quality violin sound in the background along with the occasional flute as well. I find this particular song a little bit repetitive (a lot of folk metal is honestly), but the power driven melody and chords make up for this repetition. The vocalist also has skill in flawlessly exchanging growls for the occasional clean vocal. It is certainly a song I would put on my playlist – if I needed a playlist for riding a steed into battle followed by some quality drunken shenanigans.

RELEVANT LINKS

Encyclopedia Metallum Entry

Review on Sputnik Music

Official Facebook


Modern Women Warriors – Learning How to Use Guns For Personal Protection

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I’ve written plenty of articles about Warrior Women in ancient cultures – whether it be about Norse Shield Maidens, Celtic Warrior Queens , or the Onna-Bugeisha in Japan. Yet one thing that I have not really written about in depth is the prospect of modern women unleashing their potential as shield maidens. In many ancient cultures, whether it be the Spartans, Mongolians, Celts or Viking Raiders – the womenfolk were normally taught how to use weapons and to defend themselves. This training wasn’t just reserved for the occasional shield maiden or warrior princess who was the daughter of a king, even Stay at Home Moms learned how to use knives, shields and a bow and arrow to the best of their ability. Norse graves reveal that many skeletons with weapons (who were previously assumed to be male) were female.

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The problems of violence against women are very real, and very serious. In a time where funding for police officers and 911 dispatchers is getting cut, you can’t always rely on other people to provide for your safety. The world is a very dangerous place, and when the average man is almost twice the size of the average woman – a gun is sometimes a great equalizer, don’t you think! (Guns can be a gal’s best friend! Diamonds can suck it!)

I understand this is a hot button topic for many people – (a hot trigger for some). People have very strong views about guns one way or another. But I ask you to approach this topic with an open mind. If you are interested in purchasing and learning how to use a gun for personal safety, I would recommend you read this article. If you disapprove of guns, reading this article may still be useful in terms of understanding guns better.

LEARN THE BASICS OF GUN SAFETY

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SAFETY FIRST: 

First of all, it goes without saying that a gun is a weapon meant to kill – not a toy. Before purchasing a gun, you should always review your state/country laws about guns and research which weapon would be best for your purposes – this is to protect your butt legally!

Here are a few simple rules that might seem obvious, but they need to be said anyways:

  • Never point the gun at anyone, unless you intend to shoot – even if there are no bullets in the gun. It’s just not a good habit.
  • Keep your gun locked up when you are not home – especially if you have a roommate or if you have children around.
  • Be aware of your state’s laws on “brandishing.”  Waving a gun around in public when you are not threatened is actually a crime in many places. So try not to pull your gun out in public unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Write down your gun’s serial number. If the gun gets stolen, report the theft to the police immediately along with the gun’s serial number so you do not get blamed for any future crimes the person with your stolen gun commits.
  • Don’t let anyone borrow your gun – this is for the reason I just mentioned above.
  • If you plan on carrying your gun around with you, get a concealed weapon’s permit and research your state’s laws on this matter.
  • NEVER put your finger on the trigger unless your eye is on the target and you are ready to shoot. Let’s say you are in the house and you hear something go bump in the night and you grab your gun for safety. Some people think putting their finger on the trigger will give them more time to shoot if there is a threat, but this is not true. Always assess the nature of the threat and shoot only as a last resort!!! You never know if that bump in the night is your spouse getting a midnight snack.
  • Hold the gun with both hands and look down the barrel at your target, it’s very difficult to shoot one handed – most pros cannot even do this.

ALSO READ THE 10 RULES OF GUN SAFETY READING THIS LIST IS A MUST FOR GUN SAFETY

 

DISPELLING MYTHS: 

Guns can be an invaluable tool for protecting yourself in the case of a home robbery or assault – especially for women! However, there are many people who are too scared to get this valuable tool for self-defense because of some well ingrained myths in society. It is understandable if guns make you feel uncomfortable and you decide that they are not for you. Yet there is the reality that people fear what they do not understand. So allow me to correct some common misconceptions.

  • “A gun is dangerous, because it might go off if I drop it!” Any gun built after 1901 was designed not to go off after being dropped. You can run over a gun with your car and you can drop it off a building (WOULD NOT SUGGEST), but it will only go off if you pull the trigger. 
  • “Gun violence is getting worse!” This is a very sensitive topic, I do not mean to make light of, or demean anyone who has been the victim of gun violence. However, there are certain levels of hysteria that are distorting logic here. The reality is that gun violence overall is actually lower (at least in America) than it has been in the past. The number of non-fatal firearm violence is at a 10 year low, and the number of gun related homicides has also fallen since 1993. Statistics on the National Institute of Justice.
  • Concerns over assault rifles are overblown: According to the FBI website, only around 300 people in the U.S. died from assault rifles in 2011. This means that more people were killed by knives than assault rifles. FBI Murder Data

 

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH:Certain guns are better for women due to a lighter trigger and small size that allows you to place the gun perfectly inside of a handbag. NOTE: Small guns have a more powerful recoil. A gun with a smaller barrel is not easier to shoot – it is actually harder! So keep that in mind! 

So how do you figure out what gun is best for your purposes? Do you want something you can just store at home? Or do you want something you can conceal and carry around with you on a daily basis? These are all good questions to keep in mind when doing research on Google or talking to your local gun shop.

 

HANDGUNS – THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REVOLVERS AND SEMI-AUTOMATICS: 

There are many technicalities that I could go into here, but let me just review the basics of what you need to know to make your personal choice about what to purchase.

A semi-automatic will be easier to shoot and have less recoil. Yet semi-automatics are a bit more complicated in terms of maintenance and loading the bullets. A revolver is a pretty simple weapon to use. I personally favor revolvers in terms of personal safety and home defense.

 

GUN SUGGESTIONS: 

REVOLVERS:

Some people may want to stick to a low caliber gun, thinking that it is good to have something that is easy to shoot. However, a low caliber weapon may not be enough to deter a serious criminal from attacking you. Therefore, when it comes to revolvers, I would suggest getting a .357 Magnum. It’s small enough to keep in a handbag, and deadly enough to do what you need.

SEMI-AUTOMATICS:

While I don’t own a Semi-Automatic myself, I’ve heard that a Glock or Berreta 9 mm is the best fit for a woman’s hand.

 

BULLETS: 

Hollow point bullets will do the maximum damage needed to take down a target.

 

GO TO A SHOOTING RANGE! 

Before and after you buy your weapon of choice, go to a shooting range! You want to go before hand to test out what kind of gun is comfortable for you. You want to go afterwards to hone your aim and practice your skill. A gun will not do you any good sitting on your night stand if you don’t know how to use it.

 

TAKE A GUN SAFETY COURSE:

I would highly suggest this action before any purchase of a weapon. In many states, taking some kind of safety course is mandatory for getting the concealed weapons permit anyways.

 

RELATED LINKS

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I hope this short gun guide told you the basics of what you need to know to buy a gun and defend yourself. If you are interested in additional research, check out the links below:

THE 10 RULES OF GUN SAFETY (THIS SITE IS A MUST)

NRA GUN SAFETY RULES

WHAT KIND OF GUN FOR A WOMAN

GUN LAWS


Children’s Heathen – Asatru Books

 

Looking for a way to educate your children about the Norse Gods?

Or do you just want simple reading material?

Who doesn’t like books with pictures?

Check out this list of books on Heathen topics for kids!


New Judas Priest Song Preview “March of the Damned”

Sad that this preview isn’t longer, but it’s a tasty appetizer of greater things to come: 

This is a preview of one of the tracks from Judas Priest’s ‘Redeemer of Souls’, which is coming out on July 15th. To learn more about the album, read the review on Loud Wire. Apparently its very “epic” and has a lot of great guitar solos (couldn’t that describe almost every Judas Priest album, lol?) Lead Vocalist Halford says he was very inspired by the popular post apocalyptic zombie show, ‘The Walking Dead’ in the making of this album. I’ve heard umpteen million Death Metal songs about zombies, but it’ll be interesting to hear a zombie inspired song by the Gods of Heavy Metal themselves.

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“Redeemer Of Souls” CD track listing:

01. Dragonaut (Could this be a Sleep cover?)
02. Redeemer Of Souls
03. Halls Of Valhalla
04. Sword Of Damocles
05. March Of The Damned
06. Down In Flames
07. Hell & Back
08. Cold Blooded
09. Metalizer
10. Crossfire
11. Secrets Of The Dead
12. Battle Cry
13. Beginning Of The End

Bonus tracks:

14. Snakebite
15. Tears Of Blood
16. Creatures
17. Bring It On
18. Never Forget

“Redeemer Of Souls” release dates:

Friday, July 11: (Europe gets all the good stuff first)

Australia
Austria
Benelux
Finland
Germany
Ireland
New Zealand
Norway
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey

Monday, July 14:

Asia (excluding Japan)
Czech Republic
Denmark
France
Greece
Hungary
Poland
Portugal
South Africa
UK

Tuesday, July 15:

Canada
Italy
Latin America
Russia
Spain
USA

Wednesday, July 16:

Japan


Pagan Humor

Haven’t posted much lately because life is crazy, but I’ll try to get better! Here is some humor to tide you over. 

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(Some late Mother’s Day humor for my Asatru and Heathen friends)

Sometimes we Pagans need to laugh at each other.

I recently found a brilliant Facebook Community that serves this need quite well.

Check out “Pagan Humor Because We Get It”


NOW ENJOY SOME PAGAN LIGHT BULB JOKES

From TryUsingScience On Reddit (Original Post)

How many Gardnerians does it take to change a lightbulb?

One. The high priestess holds the bulb, and the world revolves around her.

Alternately:

How many Gardnerians does it take to change a light bulb?

Why do you want to know…initiate?

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How many Alexandrians does it take to change a lighbulb?

I dunno, what are the Gardnerians saying?

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How many Feri does it take to change a lightbulb?

Feri are perfectly at home in darkness.

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How many Discordians does it take to change a lightbulb?

Two. One to hold a ladder and one to fill the bathtub with brightly colored east german machine tools.

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How many Dianic Wiccans does it take to change a lightbulb?

That’s not funny.

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Alternate version that might only be funny if you’re aware of the whole transgender issue in Dianic Wicca:

How many Dianic Wiccans does it take to change a lighbulb?

The Goddess made the lightbulb that way and no amount of human intervention can change that.

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How many Pan-Dianic Wiccans does it take to change a lightbulb?

We would never ask the lightbulb to change; we will accept it however it chooses to identify.

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How many Druids does it take to change a lightbulb?

. 501. One to change the bulb and 500 to align the new stone.

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How many Frost “School of Wicca” Witches does it take to change a light bulb?

“Just you! That’s right, YOU! And for only $195 we’ll send you our complete “Witches Magic Power of Light Bulb Changing Course” with real knowledge that you can apply this to ANY light bulb ANYwhere! Listen to the testimony of a young couple from Wisconsin who…”

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And finally, a whole lot of heathen ones.

How many Reconstructionist Heathens does it take to change a lightbulb? – None; if our ancestors managed without lightbulbs, so can we!

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How many Fundamentalist Heathens does it take to change a lightbulb? – None; the light from the burning monastery is enough, thank you.

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How many Scandinavian Heathens? – About a dozen. One holds the lightbulb and the others drink enough to make the room spin.

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How many Lokeans? – Think twice. Do you really want a Lokean to handle your electricity?

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Well, how many Lokeans? – answer is lost in the wailing of the firetruck siren

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How many Theodish? – The whole tribe, but the performance will be lead according to custom by the Heogh Beolb Changere.

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How many Folkish? – Just one, but it takes a while to find one with pure enough ancestry to be worthy to touch the lightbulb.

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How many Universalists? – Lots. Each has got a differently sized bulb, and tries to make it fit.

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How many Organized Heathens? – Seven. One to hold the Hammer Ritual and hallow the four walls, one to sing a galdr with Kenaz, one to perform Seidh on behalf of the deceased bulb´s spirit, one to write the newsletter report, and three to go off and found their own way of light-bulb changing.

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How many Vanatru does it take to screw in a light-bulb? – “Screw is such a base word for Sacred Sexuality…” (Alternately, “As many as can fit.”)

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How many Lore-Cracks? – Well, since Snorri didn´t mention lightbulbs, none were excavated and there´s no Old Norse word for it, I´m afraid we cannot say for certain whether lightbulb changing was an integral part of our ancestors´ faith.

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How many Modernist Heathens? – I don´t know. Let´s call the electrician.

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How many Homesteading Heathens? – “Now lightbulbs, you gotta plant them in spring…”

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How many Odinists? – None. The death of the lightbulb is part of Odin´s plan for humankind. It will return from Hel after Ragnarok.

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How many Soulmatrix Workers? – Just one. As the old lightbulb´s litr and önd seem to have gone out in a flash of odhr, he invokes the bulb´s disir and invites its fylga to settle into the new bulb according to wyrd, hopefully with better hamingja next time.

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How many Seidhworkers? – A chorus of nine is chanting, while the Seidhworker accompanies the late bulb´s spirit to the Gate of Hel (hoping it will be reborn to its tribe later), then conveniently screws the new bulb in from her High Seat under the socket.

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How many RuneVitkis? – One, but it´s really hard to scratch runes on the glass.