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Welcome back to Mailbag Monday! On the first Monday of every month, I take the time from my busy blogging schedule to answer all of my reader’s most pressing questions! Sure, I might have begged, bribed and cajoled my readers into sending me these questions in the first place, but, that still totally counts as reader mail!
This month, in honor of my 666th blog post, I will answer SIX (!) EXtra EEEVIL questions in celebration of what is easily (along with 69 and 5,318,008) one of my top 3 favorite numbers!
So, without further ado, it is time to dig into the old Mailbag to see what kind of evil-ass shit (as opposed to evil ass-shit) has been on my readers’ minds in the last month!
“Since the earliest translation of Revelations shows that the mark of the beast is 616, why do metalheads insist on using 666?”
Mike is probably referring to (among other early texts) this manuscript:
Taken from a version of the book of Revelation that dates to approximately 250 AD (making it one of the earliest surviving versions of The Book of Revelation), this fragment clearly depicts the number of the beast as 616 (that XIC thing), NOT 666. In fact, this 616 number appears in many other manuscripts before it was converted to 666 as the texts that came to make up the Book of Revelation as it is known today were solidified. The reason for the changing of the number of the beast isn’t entirely clear, though it may simply be due to 666 being a more mathematically interesting number (more on that later)–or maybe just because it is easier to remember.
So why don’t TR00 metalheads prefer their number of the beast the same way they prefer their death metal (that is to say: old school)? Well, mostly because the bible didn’t get super cool until the medieval times when priests, cults and madmen really went overboard in their fascination with Satan and His Infernal Legions. Back when Christians were just a minor cult (NOT kvlt) that believed in helping out poor people and cutting their foreskins off, they might have used the number 616 to identify their future anti-messiah. But by the time they had grown into a worldwide cult that believed in exorcisms and the summoning of demons, they were using the much cooler number 666. Hell, the most badass book of demon worship of all time, The Lesser Key of Solomon, wasn’t even written until the 1500s at the earliest.
So, I guess, bottom line, Christianity didn’t even really get all that cool, in metal terms, until fairly recently. Also, when you write 666 in Greek it looks kind of like an upside down “sex”:
So it’s got that going for it…which is nice.
“Is there a mathematical history to the number 666 like there is with the pentagram?”
Actually, there are quite a lot of cool things about the number 666, mathematically speaking. In addition to its palindromic elegance, 666 is the sum of the numbers 1 through 36, inclusive, which means one can make a perfect equilateral triangle of 36 units per side with the first 666 natural numbers.
Also, if you take the numbers 1-36, and arrange them JUST SO, you will get a magic square in which each of the six columns and six rows (and even the two diagonals) add up to 111, which can then sum to 666:
Even more bizarrely, if we ignore the FUNdamental theorem of arithmetic (since, ignoring fundamental theorems of anything has to be a good idea), and take the 36th prime number starting from 1, (instead of 2 like any civilized person would start from) we get the prime number 149. Then, if we take that prime number’s reciprocal, and find its decimal approximation, we get the 148 digit repeating decimal:
Now, if we add all those digits in that decimal up, we get…666!
Then, if we make a 148 unit square, with that sequence at the top, the decimal approximation for 2/149 in the next column, all the way down to 148/149 on the 148th row down from the top, we will have a “magic” square where every row and column will add up to 666! I don’t know what it all means, but undoubtedly it is pretty solid evidence of Satan’s hand at work in the natural world around us, amirite?
If you want to see a whole bunch more of these examples of 666’s awesomeness, you can find them HERE!
“I know you are into a lot of weird music–do you ever see yourself drinking blood down the road? And if so, what blood type?”
Ok, first, despite what the leader of the Libertarian party in Florida might think, drinking blood, while kind of badass, is really just kind of gross. I mean, hell, I don’t even like rare steaks! So, no matter how weird my music gets (and I’ve been blasting some pretty weird stuff the entire time I’ve been writing this), I don’t forsee myself ever drinking blood. If nothing else, I still have a vile story told to me by this guy with whom I used to do jiu-jitsu seared into that part of my brain that reminds me not to do stupid shit like “drink blood.” Our conversation went like this:
Him (imagine the voice of Hank Worden for his lines): I killed my first deer last month!
Me: I am duly impressed by your hunting prowess.
Him: Yeah, and then I drank the blood out of its still-warm heart!
Me: Oh goddamnit, what the fuck!?
Him: That’s what you are supposed to do for your first kill!
Me: Isn’t that, at the very least, not safe?
Him: Oh yeah, not at all…I got worms!
Me: What!!? Like, bad?
Him: Oh yeah, filled the toilet bowl up!
Him: Doctor said it was the worst he’d ever seen!
Bottom line–drinking blood is bad. Don’t do it kids, no matter how weird your music is.
“What are some cool Satanic things that AREN’T metal related?”
Basically, if it’s something that is both cool and Satanic…a metal band somewhere has used it. Which, considering the fact that pretty much everything Satanic is pretty goddamn cool, means that there is no such thing as a cool Satanic thing that is NOT metal-related. There are, on the other hand, a lot of lame Satanic things that are explicitly metal-related:
Oh, who am I kidding, that Goatlord cover is kind of the greatest.
“What is your favorite occult symbol, and why?”
Not to take anything away from upside down crosses and pentagrams, but they are a little overdone these days. Honestly, I think my favorite ones are the ones I don’t really completely understand. Like, basically all that 9 stuff on Necros Christos albums? I’ve got no idea what it all means, and even suspet they might be stealth Christians, but all of their symbology always looks pretty sweet:
And all those squiggly line Demonic Seals in the Goetia? Who the fuck knows what all the little circles and letters mean, but holy shit they look awesome:
Even something as simple as that 7 pointed star that seems to crop up over and over again, from that Celtic Frost cover to my Sabbat tote bag…totally badass:
So, I think the takeaway here is that the unknowable and mysterious is always going to be a lot more interesting than your garden variety armchair Satanism with its straightforward pentagrams, upside down crosses, and sodomized goats.
And, I’m pretty sure that that right there is why everyone from Jimmy Page to the makers of Raiders of the Lost Ark is so fascinated with the Occult–because the Occult is, simply put, cool as shit.
“Is this band photo hawt…or nawt?”
Man, that Profanatica picture, what a classic album cover! So much good stuff going on here. First, obv, just the idea of a band deciding that they needed to douse themselves in fake blood and then hang dong on their album cover. Also, the one dude that was too shy to do it–that awkward moment when you are the only dude at the party WITHOUT your dick out.
But, is this picture really all that HAWT? I don’t know, I guess it depends on what floats your boat…if blood and dongs does it for you, then yeah, you could probably fap to this. As for me, as far as black metal cock shots go (and there are a surprising amount of them out there), I really prefer this ridiculously unnecessary one from KVLT German black metal band Grausamkeit’s largely not shitty debut album ChristenschmaHUNG:
Basically it’s about the lamest dick-pic anyone has ever sent since the dawn of cellphone cameras. Also, there is some suspicious looking smudging right around the penile area which suggests either a suspect camera error, or suspect set of photoshop skills.
Finally, as a side note, it is interesting to think about the fact that there were 77 generations from Adam to Jesus, and that also happens to be the number of Mailbag Mondays that I have written since starting this blog 666 posts ago. Just, you know, some food for thought as to Jesus’s possible true nature…
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