Some time ago I received an awesome postal package containing Acid Bath's "Paegan Terrorism Tactics" CD. For those of you, who are not familiar with their work, Acid Bath was, what I consider to be a quintessential proto-sludge metal band. Their influence on both NOLA and worldwide metal music scene is quite impressive yet surprisingly unknown in the metal community. So, if you haven't heard this album yet and you value good music, spare an hour of your life on listening to this release instead of mindlessly browsing the internet.
The guitar arrangements are extraordinary on this album, and they are done by no other that the great Sammy Duet, who has played guitar in Crowbar, Goatwhore, Ritual Killer and numerous other bands. Even though the record is 20 years old, the riffs and sluggish "chainsawy" tones stand above the musical mediocrity I've heard both in present and in past. Vocals are done by the talented Mr. Dax Riggs, who skillfully uses his voice as an instrument and applies harsh screaming only sparingly to add accentuation. A greater part of modern extreme metal vocalists could learn a thing or two from this man. I'm sorry to say this, but constant monotonous screaming just sounds like wanking. Riggs, on the other hand, makes love to your eardrums instead of just mindlessly raping them. Lyrics are poetic and just scream "doom" all over the place. That said, all of this goodness is accompanied by an artistically restricted rhythm section, that isn't out of control and isn't too held back either.
The album's artwork is a painting called "For he is raised" by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, whom the American mainstream media labeled "Dr. Death", which, I must say, is a pretty bad-ass nickname as far as the nicknames go.
Kevorkian helped terminally ill patients to end their miserable existence by using a specially constructed machine. A patient would euthanize (read "commit an assisted suicide") himself/herself simply by pressing a single button, falling asleep and letting the machine do it's work. Pretty neat! If I would be terminally ill and tired of being alive, I would definitely consider euthanizing myself in this manner as an option, simply because I'm too big of a coward to commit a suicide the more traditional way. Well maybe a shotgun to the face (read "Kurt Cobain's microphone") would do the job just fine, but then again, think about the mess it would create... and I would need to do it in secret, without the loving ones by my side, otherwise they would probably be charged with murder. It is quite an absurd situation when you think about it. Why would anyone deny you painless death with dignity and loved ones by your side? Hell, I think that all of the people living in the more or less civilized western world past the legal age or with their parents' consent should be able to end their lives, if they wish to do so. It doesn't matter, if they are terminally ill, mentally ill or just completely healthy human beings. If a person wants to end his or her life, society must respect the needs of its fellow man and committing an assisted suicide should therefore be legal. Maybe this way people would rather go to the doctor instead of jumping to death from a high building or a bridge, ruining other people's day and possibly hurting someone in the process, not to mention the chaos they would create when they would body flop on the concrete - it is quite astonishing, how much damage can high velocity and sudden stop cause to a human body. Committing an assisted suicide in a safe and controlled environment on the other hand would benefit everyone in the society, but, I guess, people haven't taken this up as a common practice yet, because the subject of suicide was centuries long taboo in the western society inflicted by many forms of Abrahamic religions, which indoctrinate that dying by you own hand is a serious sin. The main reason, in my opinion, being that an alive peasant is able to pay more yearly income taxes (tithes) to the church than a dead one. I, on the other hand, believe, that no one except you should be concerned about the decisions you make in your life, as long as you don't hurt anyone else in the process or as a result of your actions. And by "hurt", I mean really "hurt" - physically or emotionally, not that religious zealot bullshit - you hurt me, because it offends my beliefs and my god! Really? Fuck you and fuck your god. Who the fuck you think you are, that you can tell me, what I can an cannot do? If you think, that committing a suicide is a sin and you will not ever commit one, so be it, I'm fine with that, but don't tell other people, that they shouldn't do it because your imaginary friend upstairs tells you it is bad. It is like telling people, they can' t have an ice cream, because you're on a diet. Sounds retarded, doesn't it? Well maybe because it is... All I'm saying is that a decision to end your life is not that different from deciding to hop off the bus a few stops prior your destination. What is your freedom worth, if you are trapped in your own life?
Anyway besides losing his doctor's licence and being made a criminal for helping people, Dr. Death was also a painter, an author and a jazz musician - a very intelligent and a very well-rounded person.