26 March 2008

Heretic (2003) by Morbid Angel Review


A tip of the hat to the fans, with Trey coming out of virtual retirement to make this album 20 years after the band's inception. As one of the original death metal bands, Morbid Angel maintains its quality and pure vision. The riffs are blessedly sick, like a "hirsute appendage of the upper lip, with graspable extremities", while the instrumentals are blessedly sophisticated.

Maze of Torment, performed live at Wacken Open Air 2006. Almost as much fun as giving a handlebar moustache ride.


  • At first listen, the riffs sound like sludge. Slow, deep sludge like a mudslide after heavy rain. After a few spins, the riffs actually reveal more than mere distorted pick scrapes and palm mutes. More like the incineration of magma devouring livestock.

  • Quick tremolo rhythms emanate from the riffs. These tremolo rhythms are echoed by the flawless kick drum ostinati of Pete Sandoval. Pete and Trey Azagthoth are serious about living up to the Morbid Angel reputation, and Steve Tucker is not about to let them down.

  • Steve Tucker has the kind of death growls I admire. It is the rasp of Leviathan cleaning his throat. It is the bark of Cerberus. It is the tearing of angel wings. It would make rottweilers soil themselves. It would make a rabid ferret envious.

  • But all is not juvenile death metal. The band who once named Mozart as an influence are still blessedly sick, yet still blessedly sophisticated. Some tear-jerking er, atmoshperic instrumental tracks contribute to a greater concept that has something to do with the mystical Magician of the Tarot triangle and the majesty of the great old one, Cthulhu.

  • A curious addition is the drum check. Presumably it is producer Juan Gonzales who asks Pete Sandoval to play the kick drum. Pete goes off at a tangent. And by going off at a tangent, I mean he delivers a ripping drum solo. After some impressive blast beats and fancy cymbal work nearly the length of 'Free Bird', Pete finally gives up. Juan then says: “OK, Pete. OK, Pete. Now can I just hear your kick drum, please?”.

  • This is not a band trying to conquer the world, this is a band doing what comes naturally. As such, it lacks the juvenile energy of their early albums, but it is an enjoyable album for any fan of Morbid Angel because you can hear the band is having a whale of a time. A record made as if it were their last, just like all records should be made.

Track listing

Bonus tracks omitted.

  1. Cleansed in Pestilence (Blade of Elohim)

  2. Enshrined by Grace

  3. Beneath the Hollow

  4. Curse the Flesh

  5. Praise the Strength

  6. Stricken Arise

  7. Place of Many Deaths

  8. Abyssous

  9. God of Our Own Divinity

  10. Within thy Enemy

  11. Memories of the Past

  12. Victorious March of Reign the Conqueror

  13. Drum Check

  14. Born Again



12 March 2008

DNA proves the existence of God

This is a bold claim by Perry Marshall, whose definitions of code and pattern I have used here. Note that Marshall is not a biologist, but an information specialist.

For this post, I will outline the argument Marshall makes for the existence of God. After that I will prove him wrong. At the time of going to press, God could not be reached for her comment.

The difference between a code and a pattern

A pattern is a random sequence that does not need the aid of a designer. Marshall claims snowflakes and tornadoes are examples of patterns.

Codes are defined as patterns that carry information. Codes we know the origin of are designed by an intelligent designer. Patterns do not have embedded information, whereas codes do carry information. Marshall lists music, computer programs and DNA as examples of codes.

aliens created our dna. or not
Is this mama? Did aliens design DNA? If they did, why didn't they keep the good DNA for themselves?

Marshall's proof that DNA was designed by a mind

Marshall claims the following for DNA:

  • DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern, but an information storage mechanism. Since it is a pattern which carries information, DNA is a code

  • codes we know the origin of were created by an intelligence. Codes are created by conscious minds

  • therefore, DNA was created by a conscious mind

Marshall then proposes five possible origins of DNA:

  1. Humans designed DNA.

  2. Aliens designed DNA.

  3. DNA occurred randomly and spontaneously.

  4. An undiscovered physical law creates information, and by extension DNA.

  5. A superintelligence, who Marshall calls God, designed DNA.

some dna courtesy of inmagine
Some DNA. Somewhat puzzling. Especially to Perry Marshall.

Consideration Marshall gives each proposal:

  1. For humans to design DNA, we would require time travel or infinite generations of humans. Since we have no time travel and according to Marshall, finite generations of humans, this proposal is refuted.

  2. Aliens may have designed DNA, but this explanation "only pushes the question back in time".

  3. That DNA occurred randomly and spontaneously is a possibility, but it is not a process that could be repeated.

  4. An undiscovered natural law could have created DNA, but it would only be proved once someone observes a naturally occurring code.

  5. A superintelligence, who Marshall calls God, designed DNA.

Marshall claims scientific reasoning can prove anything, and DNA is proof of its own intelligent designer.

Proof that Marshall is misleading, and by misleading I mean wrong

The syllogism
Marshall's proof that DNA was designed by an intelligent designer rests on a syllogism.

A syllogism is a logical argument that is used to infer a conclusion. The syllogism is comprised of three parts:

  • a major premise: "DNA is a code."

  • a minor premise: "Codes are created by conscious minds."

  • a proposition, in other words a conclusion: "Therefore, DNA was created by a conscious mind."

Fun fact: Aristotle is generally credited with the invention of the syllogism.

There are fundamental flaws in Marshall's syllogism:

  • "DNA is a code." That depends on which level you are looking at DNA. From the level of conscious minds, it would appear as if DNA is a code read by cells to produce a magnificent organism.

    However, at a molecular level, DNA is a nucleic acid. Genes store a particular sequence of DNA, and this sequence determines how the genes interact with each other and its environment. The DNA sequence is never read or interpreted as information at this level. Physical, chemical properties of DNA determine which traits are conserved, expelled or just there.

    An allele is an instance of one of multiple viable possible instances of a gene. To clarify, a gene exists for creating eyes. An allele determines whether your eyes could be blue. The nature of this allele is determined by interaction of the gene with other genes and its environment.

    For the sake of Marshall's argument, let us assert that DNA is a code carrying information as he envisages it. The jury is still out on that one, but let's give Marshall the benefit of the doubt.

  • The minor premise: "Codes are created by conscious minds." Marshall is not so lucky with this premise. Marshall specifically states that "all codes we know the origin of are created by a conscious mind" (bold text mine). We do not know the origin of DNA.
    Since we do not know the origins of DNA, we can not assume that DNA is a code that was created by a conscious mind.

    There are many plausible explanations, mostly pointing to Marshall's third conclusion, namely that DNA occurred randomly and spontaneously. In any event random is not that random upon closer investigation, since as we have seen genes rely on interaction with each other and interaction with their environment to determine exactly how alleles form.

    Furthermore, planetary orbit around the sun is not random at all. It is a pattern, but it is still a code, since from our perspective on the third rock from the sun, this movement transfers information we interpret as the passage of time.

    We do not know the origins of this pattern, but we do know the origins of this code of time. It is indeed a conscious intelligence.

  • The proposition: "Therefore, DNA was created by a conscious mind." The problem with this proposition is that an amoeba has DNA. An amoeba does not have a conscious mind. Amoeba were not created with the intervention of the only conscious minds we know, namely human beings.

    Marshall also proposes the idea that aliens created DNA. It should be noted that we have made contact with aliens, but they were cellular organisms. We have not discovered intelligent consciousness besides ours on earth, but we have discovered aliens that came into being without the intervention of intelligent consciousness as we like to define it. Could it be that the process of randomly occurring DNA is repeated, in space no less?

This syllogism suffers from the classic mistake of an illicit minor. This mistake has the following form:

  • All A are B ("all DNA is a code")

  • All Z are C ("all codes we know the origins of were designed by a conscious mind". If it were "all codes were designed by a conscious mind", the minor would have the correct form All B are C.

    At face value, it seems that Mr Marshall proposes the correct form, however his minor is still illicit, because this claim is false. At first, Mr Marshall incorrectly claims that all codes we know the origins of were designed by conscious minds. Then, when it comes to constructing his key argument, he conveniently forgets that his requirement is that we have to know the origins of the code, which we don't for DNA. Either way the words are minced, the minor is an illicit one.)

  • Therefore, all A are C ("therefore, DNA was designed by a conscious mind")

In closing, the larger argument here is a classic example of the god of the gaps, as described in layman's terms in the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Since we can not disprove that god designed DNA, it has to be true. To mister Marshall: Epic fail. Thank you for playing.

To the rest of us: since we can not disprove that Cthulhu will swallow your soul, it has to be true. Cthulhu Ftaghn!

Related links

10 March 2008

ANCYL seeks to ban liquor advertising in South Africa

Ban alcohol advertising - ANCYL

A newspaper report reveals that the ANCYL sees liquor advertising as a problem [1]. The league proposes the ban of liquor advertising, and they also propose the ban of liquor sales on Sundays, just like we had during apartheid. As reported, the ANCYL sees a correlation between the advertising of alcohol and the moral degeneration of South Africa.

There claims are curious and riddled with loaded assumptions. I was curious to find out exactly how many people have been harmed as a direct result of advertising and liquor advertising in particular. Fortunately, I managed to track down a profile of fatal injuries in South Africa for 2005 [2].

Since an organisation with such a proud tradition as the ANCYL is sure to base its discussions on actual topics garnered from sound evidence, I was shocked not to find a single death attributed to advertising. Not even a case where a roadside billboard fell on someone. However, I did learn other interesting facts from this document.

The most common cause of non-natural fatalities in South Africa is homicide, followed by transport. In 2005, transport related fatalities accounted for 35,5% of non-natural fatalities. By contrast, fatalities attributed to non-transport incidents were on the decline, with the exception of homicide. It is not clear whether culpable homicide is included in the homicide fatality statistic or the transport related fatality statistic.

Since there is a correlation between transport and fatality that far outweighs the statistically non-existent correlation between advertising and fatality, it would perhaps be wiser to ban the use of transport on certain days. The 2005 figures reveal that Saturdays are the days with the most transport related fatalities.

Curiously, Saturdays are also the days with the most homicides. The implication is there is a correlation between homicide and transport. Fuzzy logic dictates that transport makes people homicidal, especially over weekends.

In the absence of any statistic implicating the advertising of liquor in fatality, my questions are thus:

  • Homicides and the dangers of transport besides, how does the ANCYL determine that South Africa is in a state of moral degeneration when non-transport and non-homicidal fatalities are clearly in decline?

  • What credible evidence does the ANCYL have to implicate the advertising of liquor in fatalities when it is clear that cars are more dangerous than liquor (or any other kind of) advertising?

  • The ANCYL poll regarding the sale and use of liquor on Sundays shows an undecided result, with 50% voting yes and 50% voting no [3]. Note that the advertising of liquor and the sale of liquor are two different issues entirely. Nonetheless, with such an indifferent response from within its own ranks, how did the ANCYL determine that the sale or use of liquor on Sundays are pressing issues?

  • Weekends are clearly the most fatal, with homicide and transport being the biggest causes of fatalities during these times. Is the ANCYL considering banning the use of transport on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays?

Clearly transport, unlike the voluntary exposure to advertising, is a significant contributor to non-natural fatalities. Transport, not advertising, is the culprit. As transport is implicated in correlating with homicide, our society should rid itself of transport.

Since advertising is not statistically implicated in anything, let alone as a contributor to fatality, perhaps we should accept advertising as a producer practicing his fundamental right of freedom of expression.


  1. Ban liquor advertising - ANCL at IOL.co.za

  2. A report of fatal injuries in South Africa during 2005

  3. ANCYL poll results

04 March 2008

The Apostasy (2007) by Behemoth Review


Want to know the definition of apostasy? Read on.

The usual blackened death or deathened black sound of Behemoth executed with some interesting production ideas. A band that keeps pushing themselves, this is their strongest release yet. Inferno spent quality time with the drum kit. Classical Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer and Nevermore singer Warrel Dane guest star. Brutal.


Main Entry: apos-ta-sy
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural apos-ta-sies
Etymology: Middle English apostasie, from Late Latin apostasia, from Greek, literally, revolt, from apistasthai to revolt, from apo- + histasthai to stand.
Date: 14th century

  1. renunciation of a religious faith

  2. abandonment of a previous loyalty

From the Merriam-Webster definition of apostasy.

Main Entry: en-nui
Pronunciation: \än-'wē\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from the Old French enui annoyance, from enuier to vex, from Late Latin inodiare to make loathsome.
Date: 1732

  1. a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction

  2. the feeling I get when I see people giving definitions when they are hardly necessary

From the Merriam-Webster definition of ennui. Sort of.

Main Entry: bru-tal
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin brutalis, from Latin brutus.
Date: 15th century

  1. archaic: typical of beasts

  2. befitting a brute: as a: grossly ruthless or unfeeling (a brutal slander) b: cruel, cold-blooded (a brutal attack)

  3. heavy metal

From the Merriam-Webster definition of brutal. Sort of.

Main Entry: vid-eo
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin vidëre to see + -o (as in audio).
Date: 1937

  1. the visual portion of television

  2. videotape: as a: a recording of a motion picture or television program for playing through a television set b: a videotaped performance of a song often featuring an interpretation of the lyrics through visual images

  3. a recording similar to a videotape but stored in digital form (as on an optical disk or a computer's hard drive)

  4. just watch the video and know that the Apostasy is brutal

From the Merriam-Webster definition of video. Sort of.

Some guy made this video for At The Left Hand Ov God, a single of sorts from the album. It has gargoyles and other grotesque statues in it. No, I'm not going to post the definition of a gargoyle too. Look it up you buffoon! For more words to look up, try my Shakespearian insult monger, but if you need definitions like these all the time you might want to find out who Shakespeare was first.

Track listing

  1. Rome 64 C.E.

  2. Slaying the Prophets ov Isa

  3. Prometherion

  4. At the Left Hand ov God

  5. Kriegsphilosophie

  6. Be Without Fear

  7. Arcana Hereticae

  8. Libertheme

  9. Inner Sanctum

  10. Pazuzu

  11. Christgrinding Avenue


Adam “Nergal” Darski: lead vocals; electric and acoustic guitars.
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski: bass guitar; backing vocals. Also try Vesania.
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński: drums; percussion.
Patryk “Seth” Sztyber: guitars; backing vocals.
Leszek Możdżer: piano.
Warrel Dane: guest vocals.
Graal: shitload of photoshop filters for the cover and the booklet.


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