What Makes Los Angeles Metal?
Los Angeles black metal demons Lightning Swords of Death have some evil sounds on their new album, Baphometic Chaosium. It almost sounds like the work of an early '90s Scandinavian band. For insight into how L.A. inspires him, then, we reached out to the group's front man Autarch. Ahead of their show Saturday at The Black Castle, he sent us this amazing essay below on what, exactly, makes Los Angeles metal.
What's metal about Los Angeles? I believe that question holds an entirely different meaning to Lightning Swords of Death than one might assume. What is not metal is the Sunset Strip, tits, cocaine, or the fact that you can track down Lemmy at the Rainbow for metal wisdom, or some such bullshit. It's the fact that this city is a living, breathing '80s occult thrash metal album cover. Ah, mother Babylon, I love you so. Forever my inspiration, she is.
Did you know that on February 24th in 1942 a UFO hovered over this great city, after flying in from over the coast? It was suspected of being some new kind of Japanese gunship, and was pelted by 12.8 pound anti-aircraft shells repeatedly, to zero effect. There is an incredible picture of this event; spotlights on the object, canons ablaze and everything is just bouncing off this thing, all the while glowing white hot.
Then it just vanished. This was right over Griffith Park, where I love to go trail running. Last year they found a guy's head in that area, and more than once l have come upon practitioners of brujeria at the top of that trail, sometimes several people, all in a trance-induced group gnosis.
The last time I witnessed this was just a few months ago. The group was chanting an unintelligible mantra together and looked as though they had been there since dawn, all of them dripping with perspiration and staring at the sky, directly beneath where that UFO was hovering in that photograph from 1942. Some tourists were taking pictures of them. A group of spectators had gathered, but it did not distract their gaze.
I mean, brujos are not out of the ordinary here. This place is very witchy. Maledictions are cast and occasionally lifted all the time here in Los Angeles. You will find a line out the door in front of any of the hundreds of botánicas all over LA, and that's just the Latino side of esotericism. There is a lot of everything in this city.
I once required a sensory deprivation tank for some research I was doing. A couple clicks on Google and I was floating in a private tank two hours later.