Panparadox – Vexior 218

panparadox vexior 218Panparadox – Vexior 218
Ixaxaar – 2009

This is a book of gnostic Satanic black chaos magic about the Greek god Pan and his counterparts, Loki, Grimalkin and Lucifer. It was a pretty enjoyable read.

I often mix up the details of the ancient Greek myths (the Greeks did too in fairness), and I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the mythological information on Pan in this book. That being said, most of it did sound like the kind of stories about Greek gods that I’ve read before. I wasn’t bothered comparing the stories in this book to the ones told by Ovid and his mates. Vexior, the author of this book, may well have twisted a few strands of information here to suit his own ideas, but realistically, that’s how myths work. Doing so does nothing but pump new life into Pan and his mythology.

panparadox baphometThis book contains some very cool art.

I breezed through this book in one day. It doesn’t get bogged down with Qabalistic nonsense, and there’s only a bit of magical instruction at the end. Most of it is mythology/philosophy. The philosophy stuff gets fairly obtuse though. Pan is a god of contradictions. He is everything while also being nothing. Therefore everything is nothing, and nothing is everything. Yeah, yeah. I’ve come across this idea in lots of other books. I get it, but whenever I read this kind of thing, I find it hard to take anything else in that book seriously.

Panparadox has awesome pictures, and it would look real cool on a bookshelf. Also, maybe I’m wrong, but I think there’s a couple of jokes in this text. This makes sense really – Pan’s Nordic counterpart Loki is a trickster god, but I wasn’t expecting jokes (however small) from an Ixaxaar book.

Pan is one of the coolest gods from the Greek pantheon. (Isn’t he the one who taught humans how to masturbate?) Reading this made me want to reread Machen’s The Great God Pan. I’d love to own a copy of Panparadox, but like most Ixaxaar books, it’s rare and rather expensive.

baphometic effigy

Black Medicine: The Dark Art of Death – N. Mashiro, Ph.D.

black medicine the dark art of death n.jpgBlack Medicine: The Dark Art of Death – N. Mashiro, Ph.D.
Paladin Press – First published 1978 

When I was a teenager, I went to the Gaeltacht, an Irish language summer camp. One of the other boys staying in the same house as me was a very interesting individual. He had a penchant for exposing himself, and he had brought two rather curious items with him for the 3 weeks of camp. One of these items was a leather gimp mask, a real one. It was not part of a Halloween costume. The other item was a book about how to kill people. We spent a few afternoons looking through it, laughing at the pictures.

reading black medicine2004

I recently came across another copy of this book, and I decided to read it for nostalgia’s sake. It doesn’t quite fit in with books I normally review, but whatever. It’s the darkest thing I’ve read in a while.

breaking his backThis is a book about how to quickly and efficiently murder a human being. It discusses the most sensitive parts of the human body and the most efficient ways of destroying them. This isn’t simple ‘kick him in the balls’ stuff. It’s more ‘stick the knife in here and twist it upwards to paralyse your attacker and leave him vulnerable to decapitation’. I guess I’m a bit of a wuss because I actually felt quite sick as I was reading through this. The description in here is extremely gory. It’s easy to forget just how fragile the human body really is.

how to kill a personOnly the actual need for a book like this is more upsetting than the gore it contains. This is a self defense manual. It’s supposed to be read by people who need to know how to promptly incapacitate an attacker. How many people need to know this? Lots, unfortunately. I only hope that it’s the people who need to know this stuff that end up reading this book. Black Medicine was followed with a series of sequels, but I don’t personally feel any desire or need to read them, thank goodness.

biting earlobeThis image has stayed with me.

As for the boy who first showed me this nasty book, we have remained good friends ever since. I have a strong urge to recount some of the further adventures we had with each other, but doing so online would doubtlessly be a poor decision. I’ll just post this picture of us from 2006, and maybe you’ll get the idea.

boys will be boysHe always carried a weapon, sometimes it was a hatchet or a crowbar. Once he had a hammer on a chain.

A Manual of Sex Magick – Louis T. Culling

manual of sex magic louis t.jpgA Manual of Sex Magic – Louis T. Culling
Llewellyn – 1971

I usually know how much attention I’m going to give to reading a book by the 5 page mark. I enjoy occult books, but most of them are written horribly. The authors, lacking in anything worthwhile to say, disguise their own uncertainty, confusion and ignorance with long, winding sentences, esoteric references and an air of arrogance. Occultism, in this way, is very, very similar to academia.

Anyways, when I come across a book that I feel is going to be like this, I don’t bother committing to a thorough reading – I’ll read the whole thing, but I’ll do so on the bus to work, listening to music and not worrying if some of it goes over my head.

This was my planned approach after a few pages of Louis T. Culling’s A Manual of Sex Magick. It’s a poorly written guide to the different degrees of Sex Magic. Unfortunately, it’s quite vague about the details of a particularly curious magical working, and this vagueness, together with the lackluster manner of my reading up to that point, has left me suspecting that friends of the author of this book rubbed cum into their dog’s fur.

Allow me to explain.

There are three degrees of Sex Magick. The first is Alphaism. This basically means that if you decide to do some sex magic with your partner, you’re not allowed wank or ride anyone else.

The second degree is Dianism. This is holding in your gip. You’re allowed shag indefinitely as long as you don’t cum. If you’re interested in trying this, I have a tip for you that isn’t mentioned in the book. A friend gave me this advice when we were 15. He told me that you can last longer in bed if you just give a sharp little tug to your sack whenever you feel like cumming. This will hold off the orgasm without killing your boner. I haven’t tried it, but the confident wink my friend gave as he explained this assured me that he knew exactly what he was talking about.

When you’re riding away for hours without gipping, you think of the magical outcome you want to achieve. Do this for a few hours a day, a few days a week, and all your wishes will surely come true.

The final degree of Sex Magick is Quodosch. (Is this where J.K. Rowling got the name for quidditch?) This level is for when you need a little extra power for your spell. After a marathon sex session, you finally allow yourself to blow your load and then use your ejaculate an a magic elixir. If you’re sending a letter to ask somebody for something, seal the envelope with your sperm, and this will doubtlessly result in your request being granted.

This gets confusing when the author mentions using this kind of magic on a dog. This book contains a story about a pair of Magicians who turn their dog into a psychic, but the details of the procedure are quite unclear. The author never outright says that the magicians came on the dog, but I can’t see how else it would work. Maybe the wizard gipped his load into a bowl of dogfood and then let his pooch chow down on his fine chicken alfredo. Either way it’s a bit gross. Leave that poor hound alone!

After reading the bit about the dog, I tried looking back over the parts that I had skimmed in the hopes that I’d understand things better, but it didn’t help.

A Manual of Sex Magic is a fairly rubbish book. The author spends most of it either talking nonsense or boasting about this sexual prowess. It gets a bit embarrassing. Also, Culling reveres Aleister Crowley, and even claims to have been penpals with the Great Beast. This makes his “straights only” policy on Sex Magick a bit weird. We all know that some of Aleister’s best work was very gay.

After a slow start to the year, I’m getting back to my reading and writing routine. I have a few more posts lined up for the near future, so check back soon.

The Bighead – Edward Lee

the bighead edward leeThe Bighead – Edward Lee
Overlook Connection Press – 1999
Edward Lee’s The Bighead has a reputation for being one of the grossest books ever written. After reading it, I can confirm that it is truly disgusting. I had to put it down after certain chapters and wait a while before I read more. The ordeals faced by the characters in this book are so repulsive that the reader suffers along with them. This book literally made me squirm. It’s the kind of thing that you’ll be reading and then start to think “What kind of sick perverts read this stuff?”, only to realise that you yourself belong to that group of sick perverts. Honestly, if I saw someone reading this book on the bus, I’d probably get off at a different stop from them.

This is the story of two pretty girls from the big city coming to visit one of their aunts in the countryside. Unfortunately, their trip is interrupted by a rampaging backwoods mutant named the Bighead. There’s an video of Lee online in which he notes that many horror stories have a similar premise. I reviewed a book called Blood Rite a few months ago that was also about a girl trapped in the woods with violent redneck monsters. That book was awful because it was boring. The Bighead avoids this by taking an almost identical premise but pumping it absolutely chock-full of obscene, disgusting, perverse acts of depravity. There’s one part where a redneck empties a pensioner’s colostomy bag over her recently exposed brains, just for the fun of it. The tagline on the back cover reads “Rape. Murder. Brain-Eating…” That’s a pretty concise way of summing it up. Maybe ‘poo-eating’ could have been added to that list too. There’s LOTS of poo-eating.

I knew this book was going to be gross, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as entertaining as it is. The characters are nicely developed, and apart from the gory, disgusting bits, there’s actually some genuinely creepy stuff going on in here involving an abandoned hospice for dying priests and the ghosts of two of the sadistic nuns that used to work there.

the bighead erik wilsonEach chapter has a computer generated illustration. Maybe they looked good in 1999, but they haven’t aged very well.

Two versions of The Bighead have been published. The original publishers requested that Lee change some details of the book’s ending. The second edition restored the original ending. The latter version is referred to as ‘the author’s preferred text’, and it’s the one I read. I read somewhere that Lee actually changed his mind again and that he now prefers the first edition’s ending. (So the ‘author’s preferred text’ is actually not the author’s preferred text.) I was very mildly disappointed with the ending of the version I read, but I think I’d probably be saying the same thing if I had read the other one. As far as I know, the endings differ only in their explanation of the Bighead’s origins. Personally, I didn’t feel the need for explanations.

Overall, I was very impressed. The Bighead is sick, but it’s actually really enjoyable. There were a few parts of this book that had me laughing very loudly. I have two more novels by Lee on my shelf, and I am looking forward to reading both.
edward lee slither flesh gothic.jpg

2018, The Year in Review

In 2018, I reviewed books about Satanic Communists, intergalactic Nazis, Trump voting necrophiles, sodomaniacal vampires, Sado-shamans, and an another Alien Jesus – and that’s not mentioning the fiction. I published more posts, wrote more words, reviewed more books and saw more traffic this year than any year previous. I did best-of posts for 2016 and 2017, but for 2018 I’m going to go all out and indulge myself with a full post on this blog and its upkeep. I’ll post a new review early next week, so come back then if you’re only interested in the books.

paperback wall horror occult.jpg
Most of this year’s acquisitions have been trade paperbacks.

I read and reviewed far more fiction this year than ever before.  There’s two reasons for this. I became sick and tired of reading long, boring occult books. They’re expensive, they take ages to read, and they’re usually absolutely awful. The second factor was Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell. I’ve been reviewing horror fiction since 2015, but Hendrix’s book opened my eyes to the realms of trashy horror. I’ve long known that books like these existed, I just wasn’t sure which were worth reading. It turns out that it’s most of them.

Some of the Paperbacks from Hell I read this year.

I already had a few of the books featured in PFH on my to-read list, but PFH’s popularity made some of these books scarce, and I ended up shelling out quite a bit of cash to grab copies before they were impossible to find.

satan series brian mcnaughton starI had been meaning to buy copies of these for ages. Their inclusion in Paperbacks from Hell has made them rather difficult to track down for a reasonable price.

After enjoying the transition from classic Gothic horror to modern trashy paperback horror, I allowed myself to go even further and visited the strange world of Bizarro Fiction. I wasn’t sure if those books belonged on a blog like this, but whatever. I’ll post whatever I want. I’ve enjoyed wallowing in the trash swamp recently, but I’m planning on reading some more high-brow horror in the near future to even things out. (I’ve actually been rereading all of Lovecraft’s work since shortly after publishing this review. I didn’t think it was anything special, but it’s been one of my most popular posts this year. Expect more Lovecraft posts in 2019.)

Magical Books from the internet.

The past few months have seen me returning to occult literature. Instead of paying ridiculous money for awful books, I’m downloading pdf copies online, and instead of slogging through dense, arcane tomes of esotericism, I’m breezing through idiotic pamphlet length grimoires. It’s the same crap; it’s just easier to stomach when I’m confronted with 50 pages of nonsense instead of 500. This has allowed me to publish 2 posts per week for the last few months, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to continue at this pace. I have a few ideas for multi-book posts for the near future that will probably slow things down considerably. They’ll be worth the wait.

I usually do a top 10 posts of the year list around this time. It’s harder to choose this year because there’s more posts than ever before. I’ll just say that my reviews of Raped by the Devil, Marx and Satan, Ghoul, Space Gate, The Veil Removed, Masks of the Illuminati, Psychopathia Sexualis, Nox Infernus, Satanicon, and Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy are pretty good. Also, my short “splatterpunk” story, Kevin is worth a look.

Best of 2018

All that being said, the most important post of the year was doubtlessly on Spawn of the Devil by Aristotle Levi, an exceedingly rare work of occult erotica. If you haven’t read this post, please take a look.

spawn of the devil - aristotle leviDefinitely not a book that you’d want to judge by its cover.

Running this blog can be quite frustrating. I put in a lot of effort and often don’t see much of a response. You won’t find reviews of some of these books on any other sites, and lots of them aren’t even listed on Goodreads. Search engines don’t bring much traffic to these posts because nobody ever googles the names of these books. I could probably do a better job promoting this stuff on social media, but I’d far prefer to spend my time reading and writing about weird books. If you could share this blog with somebody you know who’d be interested, it would be super appreciated!

Happy new year!

 

We Sold Our Souls – Grady Hendrix

we sold our souls grady hendrixWe Sold Our Souls – Grady Hendrix
Quirk – 2018

The story of a metal band that sold their souls to the devil and their climactic final concert… hang on, didn’t I just review this book?

Fuck it, all heavy metal rips off Black Sabbath, and it’s a metal tradition to wear ones influences on ones sleeves (literally), so we don’t need to worry if the plot of Grady Hendrix’s We Sold Our Souls sounds a little like that of The Scream. Anyways, We Sold Our Souls is the better novel. The characters are more likable, the scary parts are scarier, and while The Scream name-drops U2 and Madonna, We Sold Our Souls has a chapter named after the best Napalm Death album.

Yes. Unlike most of the authors writing about rock music that I’ve encountered, Grady Hendrix doesn’t come across as a total poser. This book references Bathory and Mercyful Fate! Can you remember the time I expressed my desire to read a book about “Glenn Danzig fighting off werewolves in an attempt to track down a copy of a cursed, unreleased Morbid Angel demo”? This book is probably the closest I’ll ever get. It is a truly metal horror novel. The writing is good too; I actually enjoyed the process of reading this book.

Hard rock and horror sounds like the perfect combination, but writing an entirely satisfying rock-shocker seems to be an impossible task. While the bands Dürt Würk, Ghoul, Vargr, FiascoWhip Hand, Celestial PraylinThe Scream and Lost Souls? all sound like they sound amazing, the reader is always left a little underwhelmed by the absence of actual riffage. No matter how good a writer is, they won’t be able to accurately describe a piece of music in writing, especially if their reader has never heard that music. I get a bit antsy when a book spends multiple pages describing a song that I can’t hear, but maybe this is for the best. If I can’t hear the riff, I can’t reasonably say I don’t like it. Still, I’m hoping that We Sold Our Souls is turned into a movie and somebody cool is hired to write the soundtrack.

I’ll keep this review short because this is a new book and there’s a tonne of other reviews online now. I don’t have much to say other than I really enjoyed We Sold Our Souls. It was one of those “I can’t wait to get off work and read on the bus” books. This is the first time I’ve ever reviewed a book during its year of publication. It’s also the last rock’n’roll book I’ll be reading this year. It’s fitting that the book is by Grady Hendrix as several of the rock novels I reviewed this year were featured in his awesome Paperbacks from Hell.

Keep on rockin.

 

The Scream – John Skipp and Craig Spector

the scream skipp spector.jpgThe Scream – John Skipp and Craig Spector
Bantam Books – 1988

A demon possessed, sadistic, post-metal cyber-thrash band attempts to raise Hell on Earth by sacrificing thousands of its fans in horrendous acts of brutal violence. The only people capable of stopping these monsters are a group of heavily armed Vietnam Veterans turned rockstars. How could a book with this plot be anything but amazing?

Hang on. I’ll tell you now.

The Scream is far too long, it has too many characters that don’t matter, and its characterization ratio is a mess. I felt like I knew far more about Pastor Furniss, an insignificant minor character who we get to watch masturbate in the shower, than I did about Jake Hamer, the books hero. Sure, I know that Jake went through Hell in the ‘Nam, but I never really cared. In fact, the entire Vietnam subplot of the book is an unnecessary distraction from the main story. When a book ends with (spoiler alert) an enormous monster stuffing human corpses into its hungry vagina with its own proboscular cock, the readers don’t need a good explanation of where this thing came from. Saying it originated in the jungles of Vietnam is a bit underwhelming. As it stands, The Scream reads like three distinct stories (Rambo, Spinal Tap and Peter Jackson’s Braindead/Dead Alive) that were hastily sewn together – there’s just a bit too much going on.

Like Ghoul (another late 80s book about an evil rock band), The Scream also presents rock music in a confusing light. The authors rail against evangelical attacks on heavy metal, but the real bad guys in this book are the musicians, not the clergy. I suppose that’s just the nature of the beast though. Nice boys don’t play rock’n’roll.

All that said, The Scream is undeniably entertaining. The gore in here is very enjoyable, and it gets more and more intense as the book goes on. The novel culminates in a true splatterfest. Also, this is the only book I’ve ever read, probably the only ever written, to contain the word “vomitcumshitslime”.

I wish that the eponymous band at the heart of the novel were real. I really wish I could hear their music. This book was published in 1988, before the world got news of those Norwegian metallers killing each other, and while the gore in this book is absurd, the notion of murder music presented in here seems prophetic in retrospect.

Despite the abundant gore and the inclusion of perhaps the coolest imaginary band of all time, The Scream is not a great book. It’s a bit like dinner at McDonalds – it’s mucho enjoyable while it’s going in, but it leaves you feeling slightly unfulfilled after you’re done with it. This book is trash, a perfect example of a Paperback from Hell, and I knew that it would be when I started reading it. While I can’t say The Scream was amazing, I also cant say it was disappointing.

Would I read another book by this pair of authors?

dead lines skipp spector.jpgDefinitely.