Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Interview with Imtiaz Ahmad of GRIMORIUM VERUM by Dave Wolff

Interview with Imtiaz Ahmad of GRIMORIUM VERUM

On June 24 last year you released unmastered demo tracks of songs that are planned to be included on your next album. The album itself is to be released this June. How much of a buzz has these uploads generated so far?
The demos/unmastered tracks shared online on June 24 were not part of a formal demo. These tracks were later re-recorded in parts and they are currently under mixing/mastering for inclusion on the full-length. Also we’ve re-recorded our two previously released tracks for it.
Our fans are super excited; they have been asking for this album for quite some years. Our Soundcloud and Youtube pages are showing substantial increase in views. It feels great for us to share the links when asked about the progress of the album. Fans from major cities with strong underground scenes in Bangladesh are frequently asking us if we have confirmed labels, when we are going to release the album, in which format we’ll be releasing it e.g. CDs/tapes, will there be merch items and even if we are planning to organize an album launching gig… hahaha. We received two interesting reviews from Afterlife Zine (Australia) and Timpani Allo Spiedo Zine (Italy) recently.

Does the new album have a working title yet? How many songs are being recorded in full? Are you searching for a label or releasing it independently?
The album will be titled “Opus Delusion Intravenous”. It is from the lyrics from one of the tracks “My Fatal Brain’s Deformity”. We decided this around 2014 because it best reflects our lyrical themes. Though our interests include war, religion, myth, lore, crippled society - we assume and represent them as forms of human insanity. So far, we have completed recording all the tracks. The album will include four new tracks (currently available as demos/unmastered tracks on Soundcloud), two pre-released tracks (re-recorded for the album) and one theatrical/orchestral instrumental track. Of these tracks. Empire of the Defeated Blood and Mirages of Imminent Mortality have some of our early melodic influences, while Conjuration is more blackened, War At Nekad, Murtaad and House of White Confession are kind of straightforward death metal, and our own favorite My Fatal Brain’s Deformity is a doomy yet slightly technical track. One thing that needs to be mentioned here is, almost all our songs feature substantial guitar solos unlike the current trend here.
We’re still contacting potential labels and so far we’ve received some interest from a number of labels from the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Sweden, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia. That is beyond what we expected! So now, we are discussing releasing the album through multiple formats and multiple regions. This is not for monetary profit as we are open to all kinds of offers. The only thing that matters for us is that metalheads around the world get to hear our music!

In what cities in Bangladesh are extreme metal fans asking about the release of your full length? Why do you prefer seeking a label for distribution rather than self-release it?
We have been receiving enthusiasm from fans in Khulna, Chittagong, Dhaka, Rangamati, Rajshahi and Sylhet, the cities accommodating the majority of extreme metalheads. In addition, just to add, we have played a number of gigs in these cities (except Sylhet, where we failed to perform last year due to some unavoidable circumstances, but have a modest fan base still).
The reason for not going for an independent release is, though we’re quite confident about our fan base in Bangladesh, we believe teaming with international labels might probably ensure better international distribution, thus ensuring more devastation through our war efforts.

What did Afterlife Zine and Timpani Allo Spiedo Zine have to say about the band in their reviews? How did those two zines hear about Grimorium Verum? Does the band know many contacts in Australia and Italy?
The reviews from both zines have been quite interesting, given that we only shared the demo/unmastered tracks available on Soundcloud and our two previously released tracks on two physical compilation albums and that we still have little contacts in Italy and Australia.
Just to share a few things the zines found in common, first and foremost the existence of extreme metal in Bangladesh, a Muslim and disaster affected country. Both the zines said a lot of nice things about our music, especially our opus, dynamic songwriting blending brutality, technicality and blackened sections especially in the guitars. Surprisingly the zines had a mixed opinion on their favorite tracks. While Afterlife Zine praised Conjuration of the Promised Land and House of White Confession, the opinions of Timpani Allo Spiedo Zine were more inclined towards War at Nekad and Murtaad. But it was My Fatal Brain’s Deformity that both the zines both hailed. And just to finish (and we’re humbled for it!!!) these two zines dropped lines like:
“… they can play and deliver a total opus in terms of songwriting, the layers of sounds spiral out of control and gives a sense of urgency, is technical at times it has those crunchy guitar riffs but also they can add a bit of melodies which sometimes don’t go well with death metal but if you add it in a smart way it could enhance the songs and that’s what it does, sometimes they let it all loose and it goes ballistic but not over the top to put it mildly this will crush anyone with it’s sheer power.” (Afterlife Zine, 2019)
“… need to say that Grimorium Verum are surprisingly good since their songs are well structured, dynamic and even various in terms of atmosphere… Grimorium Verum, after many years in the ranks, have forged a sort of blackened death metal style that offer a mix between Behemoth and Morbid Angel blended with dark atmospheres and melodic desparation” (Timpani Allo Spiedo Zine, 2019)

Name some of the labels interested in signing the band and distributing the new album. Which of them do you think will have a deal most beneficial to the band?
Actually we are discussing terms with a number of labels, and as some labels have reservations regarding other labels distributing from the same region/country/state or releasing the same format (CD/tape), it’s still hard to mention names at this stage. We’re hoping to finalize these decisions by February. In finalizing the deal with the labels we have not considered only financial benefits (e.g. the number of copies or royalties that will be shared to us), but rather the reputation of the label, the number of copies that will be pressed in total in comparison to the size of the metal community in the region, promotional offer and last but foremost personal relations and prior communications.

Can you relate what it’s like to be an extreme metal band in a Muslim country? I’ve heard occasional accounts some time ago. What is it like in 2019?
Most people from outside cannot even believe that we have a metal scene. Metal is still more of an urban thing popular mostly among the angry (hahaha!!!) young people with long hair and black shirts. As such very few people are actually aware about the messages that we intend to deliver. The earliest hard rock/heavy metal bands like Rockstrata, In Dhaka and Warfaze from Bangladesh can be dated back to the 80s. It was not until the early 2000s, I guess, that underground gigs started in Dhaka while it started to spread outside Dhaka in the mid-2000s, notably at Khulna and Chittagong and then to Sylhet, Rajshahi and Rangamati. Recently metal/underground gigs are popping up gradually in smaller cities as Mymensingh, Noakhali and Feni, and the scene is growing, not significantly in Dhaka but outside Dhaka. While the scene in Dhaka has recently been trending mostly to old school stuffs especially thrash along with a few black and death acts, the scene at Khulna, Chittagong and Rajshahi are more inclined towards death metal, but Sylhet has more of a thrash and death blended flavor. The mosh’s also have diverse regional characteristics in Bangladesh. To me the best mosh does not belong to our home at Khulna but at Chittagong, man you should have checked out their wall of death. Also interestingly a big chunk of the gigs in Chittagong are school/college events!!! Still to date, the only zine from Bangladesh has been Venustas Diabolicus from Dhaka, which is mostly focused on black metal stuffs. Outside Dhaka, for example me, Niaz, Shupto, Emon, Rocky and a few other fellows founded a community in Khulna University, Noise Factory in 2009, which till this day organizes one the most prestigious and long-running extreme annual festivals. Few other notable festivals are Banish the Posers Fest by Primitive Invocation and Metal Morgue in Dhaka, Rise of Khaos by Graveyard Metal in Khulna, Invocation of Sinners by Bengal Legions in Chittagong. We often have severe challenges in getting venues including international touring bands. Although bands like Impiety, Desecravity, Manzer, Funerus, Abigail, Infernal Curse has played in Bangladesh, two years ago Krisiun and Eluveitie were rejected immigration to perform. And finally, I believe we have already had quite some amazing metal bands like Mirrorblaze, Burial Dust, Dissector, Exalter, Orobas, Sacrilege, Creature of Judgement, Serpent Spells, Torture Goregrinder, and my personal favorites Severe Dementia, Satanik, Orator (previously Barzak), Nafarmaan, Chromatic Massacre, Warhound, Abominable Carnivore, Eternal Armageddon, Homicide, Jahiliyyah, Nekrohowl, Surtur, Enmachined, Trainwreck, Overlord, Power of Ground, Ionic Bond, Demonic Assault, H2SO4, Moonshiner, Necrolepsy, Psychotron, Revolution and Feral Throne etc. and most notably Weapon (Yes!!! the infamous Bangladeshi-Canadian band that was signed to Relapse Records before splitting up in 2013)

What were the earliest shows like where you played? Were there any run ins with the authorities you heard about?
Me and our guitarist Niaz are both from the capital Dhaka, and were quite active at the underground scene with another lineup (Artemis, 2004-2008) back then. After moving to Khulna and forming Grimorium Verum in 2009 there with our vocals Emon and drummer Nibir (former bandmates from Death Rattle), and Shupto (from Rude Talkers) the band initially started playing at the underground gigs at Khulna extensively. Then gradually after the release of “Metal Domination Vol - 1” compilation album the band started playing gigs at Dhaka again. The first gig that we played outside Dhaka was at Chittagong in 2015 then soon followed by other cities.
Although there has been no significant run-ins to date with the authorities, overall venue arrangement and visas for international bands remain a challenge. It is quite hard to get venues for underground gigs both in most of the cities. Everyday less and less venues are made available for these gigs apart from the increase of venue costs for underground gigs. For example, Noize Fest was banned from organizing gigs twice, while asked to change the name of our community once, and even were remarked by one of the Khulna University faculty members to have connection with IS, can you imagine that hahaha!!! Another instance for example, while we were headlining at our first gig at Chittagong we had to stop after playing only two songs because the police turned off the electricity. Apart from that, Krisiun and Eluveitie were rejected immigration to perform, where Krisiun and Nervochaos had to go through serious troubles at the airport, as I have mentioned before.

How much have the scenes in those cities grown since the 80s? Do the metal festivals get a lot of zine and magazine coverage? How large are the turnouts?
Although the earliest heavy metal bands like Rockstrata, In Dhaka and Warfaze originated in the 80s, it was not until the 2000s that the metal scene started taking a definitive shape. As I have mentioned here before, the scenes outside Dhaka (for example at Khulna, Chittagong) started growing in the mid-2000s, while a lot of the newer scenes growing up very recently (e.g. Rangamati, Noakhali, Rajshahi, Mymensingh…).
To date there is only one Bangladeshi zine “Venustus Diabolicus” which solely focus on black metal, and as such does not comprehensively cover the entire metal scene. On the other hand, I do not recall too many gigs or bands to be featured at the international zines or magazines either.
Most of the fests in Bangladesh take place in indoor venues and usually can host a maximum of 200-400 audiences. Apart from that the only metal festivals arranged open air with larger crowds are held surprisingly only at Khulna regularly (by Noise Factory) and occasionally at Rangamati, Chittagong, and Sylhet.

When bigger underground bands (those who are signed to labels like Metal Blade and Relapse) come to perform in your country, are they still met with resistance from the authorities?
Hahaha it does not even matter unless you are a Bollywood star or global icon like Brian Adams in Bangladesh, hahaha!!! As I said before Eluveitie and Krisiun could not perform due to resistance from authorities as due to the lack of awareness often consider the genre as a cultural aberration.

How much distribution do the zines you mentioned receive? About the bands you mentioned, are any of them included on compilation CDs that people can get hold of?
I am not quite sure about the distribution of the zines, as most of them are probably circulated online, but what I can assume is between a few hundred and a thousand.
Many of the bands that I mentioned here before were also included in the physical compilation albums that were released from Bangladesh. For example, tracks by Satanik, Chromatic Massacre, Jahiliyyah, Trainwreck, Eternal Armageddon were featured on Metal Domination Vol - 1. While the “Luxury of Pain” compilation featured tracks by Orator, Chromatic Massacre, Abominable Carnivore, Eternal Armageddon, Dissector, Psychotron, Necrolepsy from Bangladesh and other bands from outside Bangladesh like Dying out Flame (Nepal), Synopsis (Italy) and so on...

How many independent labels exist in your home country? To your knowledge do those labels have an easier time mailing physical promos or emailing promos streamed on the internet?
Unfortunately, like the number of zines, we do not have many functional record labels in Bangladesh. The only few that we have are either inactive to serve the large volume of releases or focus mainly on mainstream music or per se mainstream metal bands. Just to name a few for example there is G-Series, Deadline Music, Incursion Music who work with bands with mainstream popularity, while other independent labels include Metal Monger Records (which had bands like Master in their roster), Qinetic Music, Dust & Guilt Records, Mortuary Productions, Putrid Production, Retro-Claw Records only have released only a few albums and most likely to be inactive. Most of these labels limit their business solely within Bangladesh; while in many instances cater to reach the local crowd with a release through an international label. Therefore, I am not actually quite sure about the issues these labels face for mailing and streaming.

How is the postal service when it comes to receiving promo releases from unsigned bands and independent labels? How did you and the band hear of the bands who influenced you?
Hahaha that is just a fantastic question. There were actually a lot of jokes on our postal service although things have changed a lot since. It is not very expensive I would say compared to courier services but it still has quite some setbacks in terms of sending music through CDs. In most instances, the post office might consider this as an act of sabotage to leak state secrets, while during receiving you might face like an unjustified amount of taxation without any reason based on what the CNF agents assume that your package might worth.
The way we managed to first listen to metal is quite similar for me and our guitarist Niaz. I had a chance to listen it from one of my uncle’s mix tapes (there were actually record shops who would make you a mixed tapes of your favorite artists and tracks) and Niaz so far what I remember got a similar one from one of his school friends Salehin (also later played with us for our previous lineup briefly). By the time, we were in college and I met Niaz, computers were already becoming widespread and as such we used to exchange mixed CDs (same as mixed tapes) and hard-drives. By 2009, the internet became widely available and we are actually able to access a broader range of music.

Do local record stores still make mixed tapes for fans to listen to? How many do you know of that are still circulating? How many do you still own and what bands are on them?
Not sure, but I guess not since most of the population has been brought under some extent of internet coverage and CD/cassette players have become nearly obsolete. People only go to record stores if they have a specific band or album in mind, and then usually transfer them to laptops and mobiles for portability. In addition, there the role of distribution has been taken up by a number of online distros like Old Serpent, who distribute albums by both Bangladeshi as well as international bands. I still probably have 10-12 of these mix tapes/CDs in one of my messy drawers with tracks by Jimi Hendrix, Rainbow, AC/DC, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Deep Purple, Skid Row, Pantera, Dream Theatre, Europe, Guns N’ Roses and other bands. The rest is either lost, damaged or never returned back after being borrowed.

I’ve heard that vinyl has made a comeback in the US and UK if I remember correctly. Do you think that could happen in Bangladesh at some point or will things continue to develop the way they are now, with fans using laptops and mobiles?
I have also heard so for a few more countries like Germany and Canada, though I am not sure. That might happen in Bangladesh, but the odds are likely too. I am saying this because, for example, if you are living in major urban cities like Dhaka and Chittagong you are likely to spend a substantial amount of time of your day on the road due to horrible traffic and as such, a rather portable option like mobile-phone might still be useful. Or for say, if you are a full-time student or job holder (like me) a laptop or mobile might be a more suitable option during daytime, while the LP player is at home apart from the additional amount of money that you have to spend.

How much has the internet helped spread word about bands from Bangladesh since it became widely available since 2009? Are more bands building websites and hosting streaming pages on Youtube, Soundcloud and Bandcamp?
Internet played a pivotal role, especially Facebook to regularly share updates with our fanbase or even share contents from YouTube and Soundcloud. Having your fans at Facebook means that you can share news about gigs, recording updates, photos, videos and so on. Building websites is yet to be popular among Bangladeshi bands given the already mentioned popularity of Facebook. Apart from Facebook most of the bands are active on YouTube and Soundcloud. Although many bands do have Bandcamp pages I still doubt its contribution to the bands’ exposure in Bangladesh since credit cards and PayPal are not quite popular or accessible to the mass population.

How many releases do you have out to date, and how have you had to distribute them?
If you are asking about physical releases to date, we only have tracks on two compilation albums from Bangladesh that were released by G-Series and Mortuary Productions. G-Series is one of the largest labels in Bangladesh and as such have a few physical stores across the country, which were used to distribute the album. On the other hand, Mortuary Productions distributed the albums through their own contacts and communications along with online distros. Apart from that the rest of our digitally released tracks were published at online platforms as Bandcamp, Itunes, Spotify, Discogs etc.

How did Grimorium Verum hook up with G-Series and Mortuary Productions to release your material? Have those labels treated the band well?
Both the albums were coordinated by other fellow bands from Bangladesh. For example, Dip, the vocal from Abominable Carnivore coordinated Metal Domination from G-Series while Ruzlan from Necrolepsy and Moonshiner coordinated Luxury of Pain by Mortuary Productions. We did not receive or ask for any royalties from these labels, not even complementary copies (and of course, we knew about this beforehand, so it’s all sorted out). We even had to sign a contract with G-Series stating some imaginary studio costs so that they can claim the copyright… hahaha!!! However, we are fine with that from the spirit of brotherhood and as you can imagine there are very few such pure metal compilations that were released from Bangladesh. We have been in good terms with both Dip, Ruzlan, their bandmates and other fellow bands participating the album both before these albums and ever since the release. Especially I would always remain grateful to Dip for accommodating our long track and bearing all the hassle for the album’s release. I would always remember the way he was trying to hide away on the release day as the album copies arrived late… hahaha!!!

Were you given a reason for the delay when the copies of your album arrived late? How long did you have to wait before you received the copies?
It was no big deal; it was just a few hours because of the insane traffic due to Ramadhan.

Where do G-Series and Mortuary Productions do most of their promoting of bands? Will they be handing your future releases as you come out with them?
To be honest there was almost no promotions from these labels other than that at the Facebook event page and a national daily article. Apart from that, the bands promoted the album via Facebook discreetly.

Will you eventually seek distribution outside Bangladesh to spread word to extreme metal fans in other countries? If so, what countries are you setting your sights on at present?
Of course, my friend, we would like to reach the extreme metal fans throughout the world with our album. This was also the primary reason we are currently speaking with so many labels from different countries. We want our album to be within the reach of as many listeners as possible. Although we don’t have specific countries in mind, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Germany, France, Russia, UK, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, USA, Canada, Mexico are some of the countries that we definitely wish to distribute our album to.

What will be the easiest way to promote your releases to new listeners from so many countries? Will you have the means to travel to some of these countries to perform at festivals? If so, how well do you think you’ll be received?
I think there is no easy answer to it. However, we expect the labels to promote the album to a certain extent and this is our strongest chance too. This is because extensive touring might be quite challenging. For example, when a label owner asked me the same question we had to decline the offer as we found out that we do not have South American embassies here in Bangladesh apart from the fact of our full time jobs and families. Therefore, to further complement the album promotion we were planning to seek professional support from Qabar Extreme Metal PR from Bangladesh. However, we will still be looking forward to perform live in these countries someday after all. Moreover, I believe that they will definitely love to mosh with our blackened death aggression.

-Dave Wolff

Monday, February 25, 2019

Single Review: ZWAREMACHINE Smile That Killed A Country (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: ZWAREMACHINE
Place of origin: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Genre: Electro-industrial, darkwave
Single: Mach Fox and I Ya Toyah: Smile That Killed A Country
Label: Independent
Release date: February 18, 2019
Zwaremachine released their new single ‘Smile That Killed A Country’ on February 18, to follow the 2018 single Remain Unseen, the 2018 full length Be A Light and the 2011 EP Raumschiff. This single was released to announce the 'Zwaremachine and I Ya Toyah Code Blue Tour' which the electro/darkwave project plans to embark upon this spring; information about this tour can be read at their official site. 'Smile That Killed A Country' is a collaboration between Zwaremachine's founding member Mach Fox and a Chicago, Illinois, USA based artist known as I Ya Toyah who has released a handful of singles to promote her 2018 full length Code Blue. Before checking out this single I’d suggest listening to her Bandcamp profile. Her approach to gothic and electro music is as absorbing as the persona she built around her act: that of an extraterrestrial/otherworldly creature who arrived on Earth to infect the human race with her art. The mixture of her organic vocals and electronic sounds is haunting, sexual and inveigling, a chimeric complement to Mach Fox’s noir-futuristic songwriting. Her voice alone brings fresh operatic elements to Zwaremachine and electro in general. This track reminds me of a band I heard years ago but still remember to this day, Cockfight Club and their song Vampiric. ‘Smile That Killed A Country’ is to the distant future what that song was to the distant past, as if the vampires CC sang about was reawakened in the age of super computers, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. I am also reminded of Nine Inch Nails and even Sade in some places. I Ya Toyah and Mach Fox not only share lead vocals while D-bot’s bass organically complements the programming, they interact with themes of seduction and enslavement that penetrates your mind and soul. The lyrics imply a vampiress so overwhelmingly beautiful she has the power to entrance massive numbers of humans. From the first line "like a distant scream" reiterated several times to the intimate physical contact reiterated in the chorus, the song in both its versions explores the concept of sex and death on a much deeper level than you would have thought. As horrifying as it is beautiful, it undermines your expectations of electronic music and reconsider its boundaries. -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Mach Fox: Vocals, programming
I Ya Toyah: Vocals
D-bot: Bass guitar

Article: 'Atheism is not an opinion but a Conclusion based on the available Evidence' by Damien Lee Thorr

'Atheism is not an opinion but a Conclusion based on the available Evidence'
Article by Damien L. Thorr

With all the evidence out there that confirms their imaginary god is a product of man's imagination, they still choose to believe in it without a shred of evidence, suspending rational judgment.

There is zero evidence that jesus existed. His story is plagiarized from many others like him, fictional deities, who share many similar and even identical parallels. He is nothing more than just jewish mythology masquerading as reality. That fact that many believe it is true does not make it so.

Remember when studying history in school and we learned that once upon a time the entire world believed the world was flat and those who said it was round were ridiculed? It's the same thing. Just because many believe deities are not imaginary does not make them any more real than Superman, Darth Vader or Yoda.

I have heard many christians argue that the bible is true and real because it mentions real places from the period but that does not, in any way, certify any truth to it. Many other works of fiction mention real places. As an example: The Harry Potter books mention numerous places in England that are, in fact, real but does that mean that there is a secret wizarding world? Of course, not! In King Kong, the book describes the giant ape in New York City, even scaling up the Empire State Building. This is a real city and a real landmark building within the city... but was there ever a King Kong? Of course, not!

The bible is the claim and not the evidence. Ask yourself who wrote the scriptures (bible, q'ran, torah, talmud, etc....) and you will see it was all written by men who reflected a hostile and misogynistic, pre-scientific culture who knew nothing of nature, science, geography and the universe and thus, they contradict what we know about those matters, which is enough to dismiss all claims of authenticity, divine authorship and inspiration. Therefore, using scripture to prove god is very much like using Star Wars to prove Yoda.

Christians often ask: “how did something come from nothing?” ... Which is not what an atheist asserts as they explain the phenomenon of nature through science. “Something coming from nothing” is exactly what christians actually believe. They believe that an imaginary being made everything magically from nothing.... and they cannot prove it.

How do you "know" there is a god? Did someone tell you or did you see it? .. and who told those who told you? What evidence do you have to support the existence?

Christians only believe because they have been lied to. Here is the forensic evidence conducted and concluded by scientists with doctorate degrees:

Archaeological research indicates that there are NO first century contemporary writings outside of scripture (which are all mythological accounts), that document anything about jesus.

There were several writers during the first century who reported the current events of the time (political, social, natural disasters and artistic) and not one mentions anything about him. Additionally, if he was so famous, raising the dead, curing cripples, walking on water, turning water into wine and raising a ministry of hundreds of thousands and angered jews and Romans alike, there would be much reason to report something about him..... but there is silence.

There are not even any Roman court documents that mention him in spite of the fact that scripture suggests he was tried by Pilate himself and that he was a rabbi. Keeping in mind, the Romans were a military operation and very meticulous at keeping records of everything they did to demonstrate to their superiors their hold on the people they conquered. Everything was accounted for and we have tens of thousands of Roman documents from that region. Yet still….. No evidence of any jesus.

One must also keep in mind that there are no birth records, death records, tax records (as the Romans taxed everyone in the region), rabbi records and there is not even any record or mention of a last name. There are simply no documentations or any real life accounts about him during his alleged existence.

He is basically another man-invented deity attached to allegorical stories like the rest of them: Thorr, Horus, Osiris, Zeus, Odin, Metzli, Xenu, etc.....

I constantly hear evangelists and apologists cite Josephus but it is irrelevant. Josephus was not a contemporary and NEVER wrote anything about him.

For a start, Josephus was born in the year 37 CE (Common Era) and the alleged crucifixion took place somewhere between 29 CE and 34 CE. In other words, he was not around to document or witness.

There is a paragraph where he is mentioned in a much later version of the Josephus writings copied by christian scribes under the influence of Eusebius (235-339 CE), who arbitrarily edited the text and added a small paragraph about christ in the middle of two paragraphs where it clearly does not reflect relevance. It is evident by the paragraphs that follow which show zero relevance. There is evidence that supports this. More importantly, if Josephus was so compelled to write about him, recognizing Jesus as the savior, why didn’t Josephus convert to christianity? It has been confirmed that he lived and died and was buried as a jew.

Additionally, if christ was so famous and so important to the jews and early christians of the time period, why only such a short paragraph? And why only ONE, for that matter?

That interpolation has been determined by ALL scholars to be a forgery, especially since the passage does not appear anywhere in the earlier versions of the writings by Josephus, therefore, no writings of jesus exist outside of scripture. Therefore, it is all mythological.

The so called “eye witnesses” that christians claim as evidence were born long after 34 CE (common era), the estimated date of the alleged crucifixion. So how could they have been witnesses to the resurrection if they were not even yet born to witness it? Christians are notorious for misrepresenting the facts.

Here are the facts regarding the “eye-witnesses” that christians lie about: Flavius Josephus 37-100, Clement of Rome 38-102, Ignatius 35-107, Pliny 62-113, Suetonius 75-160, Tacitus 55-117, Polycarp 69-155, Justin Martyr 114-167, Lucian 125-180, Clement of Alexandria 150-211, Tertullian 155-230, Origen 185-254, Cyprian of Carthage 208-258, Eusebius 235-339.

So you see, all these men were born after the alleged existence and therefore, could not have possibly been eye witnesses.

These findings have been confirmed and verified, yet, christians reject it.

The only sources we know of that document anything in detail (and not much detail since none offer a physical description of him either) about a jesus are the gospels, which plagiarize identical characters from different cultures, that predate the culture of that era by thousands of years and they are open to a multitude of interpretations, lack coherence, are overwhelmed with contradictions and read more like fantasy than reality. Turning water into wine, walking on water and a virgin births were very typical miracles of ancient allegory in Egyptian and Mesopotamian allegory and story telling.

Additionally, no one can confirm who wrote the gospels (or any biblical text, old or new testament) and carbon dating tests conclude that the earliest copy we have of the gospels was written in the 7th decade of the first century which makes them inconclusive as a source since that is 4 to 5 decades after the alleged crucifixion. There is also evidence that they have been altered and mistranslated.

Of very important notice is that whoever wrote them used and borrowed from other gospels and some paragraphs are even copied word for word. So in essence, we are talking about only one gospel. None of the Gospels indicate they were being dictated by any eye witnesses except for the gospel of John although it never mentions who that witness is.... but keep in mind they were written at an era where eye witnesses to the events could not be alive.

Not to mention, they do not qualify as evidence.

[Sources: Oxford University Press, Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Richard Carrier, Dr. Robert Price and David Fitzgerald.]

Muslims believe that the Qur'an contains a message from an all-powerful, all-knowing, infallible god. If this is true then it should not contain any errors or information that contradicts known facts about the universe. If even one error exists in the text of their holy book, then the claims of divine authorship and infallibility are not true. An objective evaluation of the Qur’an shows that it contains numerous scientific and historical errors and reflects a pre-scientific, 7th century view of the natural world.

Some apologists will contest those scientific errors in the Qur'an by appealing to metaphor, alternative meanings, or supernatural interpretations of the text. Even if we accept that alternative explanations were possible in every case, the wording and content of the verses often mimic the popular mythology and unscientific misconceptions of the time in which they were written. The author makes no clear or unambiguous statements that differentiate his understanding of the natural world from the common folklore of the people living in that era.

If the Qur’an was delivered by an all-powerful, all-knowing god, then he would have been able to foresee how such misleading statements would be understood by future generations and the doubts and confusions they have caused. This alone should be reason to reject any claims to divine authorship.

As for judeism, jews named themselves "god's chosen people" in a book that they wrote. It is amusing that a book of stories, ancient allegory, has been accepted as reality, masquerading as divine law. When examining the sources, it is very easy to conclude that they are inconsistent, inconclusive and in no way have any foundation in reality.

There is no evidence outside of scripture that Moses existed. No Egyptian records ever mention him nor a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of jews and there is no archaeological evidence to corroborate that they were slaves and wandered through the desert for 40 years (even though the distance of their alleged journey is a six day walking distance). That legend is a lie as well as the story of the great flood and Noah's ark. They are nothing but fiction.

Jews have tried using the defense that the Egyptians never documented their losses or defeats but that is not true since their defeat and conquest by the Romans has been well documented as well as the burning of Alexandria and many other defeats.

The story of Noah's ark is the greatest bull shit story ever told and it is ridiculous that people believe it actually happened. For a start, there is no evidence that the entire planet was covered with water at any time due to flooding. We have evidence that many cultures in different parts of the world during the time they claim the flood happened did not experience any floods. Secondly, anyone that has visited a great big zoo would realize the man power and space required to accommodate and care for two of each species of animals for a prolonged period of time is beyond the means and technological capacity of the largest boat ever built even in these modern times. Thirdly, think about the distribution of the animals throughout the different continents that are indigenous to those areas. The ark was never built, Noah never existed and the flooding never happened. Period.

Israelis now invade Palestinian territories claiming divine right and when Palestinians retaliate, they call them “terrorists” when the jewish government are the actual terrorists.

We urge everyone to speak to your local politicians about how we can stop our hard earned American dollars that the US sends each year to aid Israel. This is an outrage! Our tax dollars should be re-invested in America.

We find it preposterous that many believe and support Israel because of the biblical writing (which they authored) that says the land was promised to them by a god when that is entirely the work of the imagination. It is a ridiculous book written by many authors who had very little or no knowledge of the world and the universe and reflects a primitive social culture from the first century overwhelmed with contradictions and many errors and misrepresentations of the facts.

Again, many claim the bible is true and real but after objective reviews and examinations (which believers never do), using it to prove god or its very own authenticity is very much like using Star Wars to prove Yoda.

However, when demonstrating the evidence to believers, there is a social phenomenon of denial: they don't want to know it, they reject science as just an “opinion” because they are closed to the reality that there is no god. In some cases it even feels like administering medication to a corpse.

It is so pathetic when christians come out with the weakest arguments to demonstrate as “evidence” for their imaginary god and they have no clue how stupid they sound.

One of their strongest claims is usually something like: “My friend was in a car accident and almost died and I prayed to jesus to save them and they lived”....

How is that evidence?

What about the babies who are born weak and premature and die in spite of desperate parents praying to their jesus to save them? What about those who pray and pray and do not get what they pray for?

They are simply forgetting basic math... The reality is that praying for something is the same as wishing for something and the reality with that is that the odds for anything are 50/50.

That is NOT evidence that their imaginary god is not imaginary.

If prayer actually worked, ambulances would drive the sick and injured to church instead of hospitals and "faith healers" would be healing the sick in hospitals. Ever wonder why those "healers" claiming to be god don't operate in hospitals?

Then we encounter the born again fanatics. Born again fanatics claim that their evidence for god is their own experience of “defeating the drug and alcohol demons”..... But that is substituting one brain stimulant for another. Drugs and alcohol are gateway drugs to christianity and the brainwashed completely ignore the evidence that christ never even existed.

Trading one psychological dependency for a different one, all based on a misunderstanding of rather well understood neurological phenomena has always struck me as a person showing off a lifestyle of willful ignorance as if it were a badge of honor.

However, as we talk about reality here, the fact remains, as indicated above, that there is evidence that jesus never even existed and archaeological evidence indicates that it was man, in all cultures, that invented god/s to interpret what he could not understand before we had science for valid, satisfactory answers. When you think about it, we are a long way from the days when illnesses were believed to be a sign of evil or that volcanic eruptions were the wrath of the gods or that epilepsy was believed to be demonic possession.

Believers also claim that their evidence for their "god" is their very own personal feelings and experiences. Personal anecdotes do not qualify as evidence since personal experiences are subject to perception and a multitude of differing interpretations.

A person who is suffering and experiences something they perceive as a miracle does not qualify as evidence because in a mental or physical state of suffering, their judgement is impaired and logical explanations are ignored.

There is always a logical explanation for everything. They simply elected to embrace something that brings comfort, that soothes them, but know they have forsaken logic and rational judgement to get there.

We have had preachers aggressively approach us about becoming a christian and their tact is always terror. All he kept talking about was eternity in hell, sucking satan's dick.

It is quite easy to see how weaker minded people will yield and accept the fear based lies but it is all done using terror tactics. If their imaginary god is so loving, why do they need to resort to terror tactics to recruit followers into believing their lies? Fear does a lot to a person. Their beliefs have no foundation in reality. When you do the research, the whole devil thing was invented to control people with fear. It has never been about truth because they do not have any.

Another thing to note, especially within the Hispanic communities everywhere, people follow religious beliefs more out of tradition rather than for true belief. I think Pablo Bram said it best in his book when he said "Sin creer creyendo", which means: Believing without believing.

Don't forget how believers, through the ages, have always resorted to gargantuan violence to convert those who opposed them. Christian, hebrew and muslim history is clearly recorded and well documented to have gained ground upon many populations based on war and violence. They routinely kill each other over the statement "our god is real" but it doesn't exist. If they had REAL evidence that their god is not imaginary, they wouldn't need to resort to terror tactics or violence and they wouldn't need faith, they would have facts. ... but they don't.

Believers often criticize atheists about why we care to argue that there is no god and it seems they miss the point.

As atheists, it is a fight worth fighting if you value your freedom. It is always the theists, believers, who attempt to sneak their beliefs into our laws, government, schools and our currency. They think they have the right to dictate how everyone must live, even when it comes to the bedroom, which in essence, violates our human rights. Not to mention, if all churches paid taxes, the rest of us would be better off.

So the fight is on!

There must be separation of church and state.

There should not be any mention or endorsements of any mythological deities and/or organizations on any government buildings, public schools, public places, public vehicles, our pledge of allegiance and our currency anywhere.

Their worst offense is how they have been passing and attempting to pass laws influenced by flawed religious beliefs which very clearly discriminate against part of the population and violate the human rights of others.

- Would christians like it if our tax dollars were used to fund schools that teach islamic beliefs?

- Would christians like it if our court houses and police cars were tagged with the words “allah be praised”?

- Would christians like it if their kids were forced to recite islamic prayers before a football game?

- Would christians like it if politicians spoke of government adhering to islamic beliefs?

- That would be quite a trespass upon you and a violation of your rights wouldn't it?

- Atheists and others with different beliefs live with this violation daily with christian influence in government.

Many politicians want prayer back in schools as well as the teaching of creationism as a science. That is quite ridiculous since creationism is not a science, but a religious misrepresentation of nature, based on flawed scriptures, and there are no scientific studies, research nor observations to support it. Their claim is that it should be taught alongside evolution (scientific fact) and to let students decide what to believe. To even suggest that is crazy. That’s like teaching about human reproduction from a medical point of view, which is correct, and also teaching about the stork bringing home a baby and to let the student decide where babies come from.

If they are allowed to sneak their mythology unchallenged, we will all be forced to live in a fascist theocracy and there is no way I will ever accept that. Which is why I urge everyone to vote, to let your voice be heard, to stand up and be counted.

Again, the bible is the claim and not the evidence.

Do you have any evidence that supports your deity is not imaginary? Were the Greek gods legend or real? Were the Egyptian gods real or legend? Were the Roman gods real or legend? Were the Aztec and Mayan and Hawaiian gods real or legend? How about the Norse gods... real or legend?

You see, all cultures invented gods to interpret and answer what man could not before we had science for valid, satisfactory answers. The problem with yours, as the rest of them, is that you all make outrageous claims and it makes your belief as equally ridiculous as the other gods.

How do you "know" there is a god? Did someone tell you or did you see it? .. and who told those who told you? What evidence do you have to support the existence?

Mass belief does not certify a myth to be true.

I really don’t care if they want to believe that an imaginary deity made man from dirt or if they reject evolution. But I do have a problem when they start bringing all that nonsense into our laws and schools as if it were true and they should pay taxes. The fact that they mislead people with false hopes on our dime is ridiculous!

Federal endorsement of a particular mythological belief or deity is a violation of the US constitution.

Theists have the most distorted view about atheism:
1. That we hate god (how does one hate something that does not exist?)
2. That we worship the devil, that we are satanists (we don't believe in the devil either)
3. That we are bad people & have no morals (we don't need a god to know right from wrong. Meanwhile 90% of the prison population is Christian).
4. That something horrible happened to us in order to abandon god. (ridiculous and arrogant presumption since our conclusions are rational).
5. That there is no love in us. (you are totally clueless)
6. That we are evil people. (not believing in your particular god does not make us bad people)
7. That we are angry people. (you mistake our efforts to have a rational world, where theists don’t interfere and violate the freedom of people, for anger)
8. That Atheism is a religion. (VERY stupid thing to say. It’s like saying that not collecting stamps is a hobby)
9. That atheism is just an “opinion” when it is actually a conclusion based on scientific findings.
10. That we live without purpose. We are here to live, laugh and love.

Atheism inspires us to make the best out of life since it is not like the life of a theist, which they treat as a dress rehearsal for an afterlife which is not going to be there when they die.

When we die, time & consciousness ceases for us. It will be as the void before our birth. There will be nothing and we will not even be aware of it, as if we never even lived at all. Too bad we will not be able to point out to anyone in death: "you see, no god, no heaven & no afterlife" when they don't get to the “heaven” they were promised all these years.

Evidence indicates that our personality & consciousness comes from the brain, therefore, when it is dead, it is likely that we cease. If you damage a part of the brain, a person's personality changes, memories can be lost, abilities can be lost. Why would anyone think that when the brain decomposes the person remains intact?

God is fiction, a myth over-idolized with super-powers & overwhelmed with contradictions. Those who currently believe in a god/s do so because they have been lied to and have not had the initiative to question it. The fact remains that no believer can provide us with REAL evidence that their god is not imaginary.

The worst part is that theists are not at all interested in viewing the evidence that debunks their beliefs.

The problem with believers is that they cannot accept our atheism (they often feel threatened and they resort to insults and name-calling) because they feel they have “proof” to back up their claims in spite of evidence that debunks it all. The church controls gullible followers (who never question anything) with horror tactics, such as the threat of eternal burning hell.

When there is zero evidence to prove their imaginary god is real, that, within itself, is evidence he does not exist. What they consider evidence is NOT evidence at all.

Turning water into wine, a woman getting pregnant without a man's sperm, walking on water, a talking snake, raising the dead, the building of an ark to shelter and feed two of each species for more than a year, a woman transforming into a pillar of salt, a man swallowed alive by a whale for several days, the world being only six thousand years old, and resurrection...... These outrageous, untrue and impossible claims are nothing more than story-telling myths that contradict everything we know and have observed in nature, science, geography, physics and the universe, and should be the very first clue that the scriptures (all faiths) are not a newspaper from the past and in no way evidence of a god.

This lacks coherence and doesn't even touch the contradictions it is overwhelmed with!!!

What I find quite alarming is that christians, without an education and without credentials, argue against the scientific evidence that debunks the bible, thus, pretending to "KNOW" more than scientists, anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, forensic scientists, scholars and university professors with doctorate degrees and with peer reviewed published works that confirm their findings as facts.

Some christian apologists have degrees in theology, which unfortunately, impresses christian followers, but they do NOT understand that a degree in theology is worthless since it is NOT a science and always open to numerous interpretations and the socially acceptable constituents of different traditions and cultures, which have been known to evolve through time. The fact remains that no theistic belief has any foundation in reality and has no tangible nor palpable evidence that can be tested or observed. So, in essence, a degree in theology is no different from an education in cryptozoology.

I challenge any christian (or jew or muslim, etc...) to find a valid, university approved science text book that corroborates any of their obtuse claims from the bible.

In closing, our fight is to make sure theists stay out of government and pay taxes. They have gotten away with unfair tax exemptions for far too long. When you do the math, if they paid taxes, there would be enough money to go around for everyone to receive very much needed free health care and services for the less fortunate. I don't care what they believe as long as they keep it out of government, laws, schools, our lives and do it on their dime..... not ours!

Copyright © 2014

Damien Lee Thorr is the composer and lead guitarist for the popular and openly atheist/political activist metal band, PREDATOR (on MVD) and has authored many essays and editorials as well as the horror-erotica novel The Vampire Journals.