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The Electric Hellfire Club

Mon., Oct. 30 at 9 p.m.

The Lava Lounge

How Much:
$10 at the door

Ooooh, scary
Lookin' for something musical to celebrate this All Hallow's Eve weekend? Here's a couple of musical suggestions:

While the Shaken Babies usually don some unusual costumes for their gigs, the show with Mustard at Patrick Sullivan's should be extra colorful and extra loud.
Halloweenies Pegasi 51 will take the stage at NooKaBooCa Two Night at the Cinema Grill. Chopper Johnson rounds out the bill. Come in costume; Get in free.
Fairbank's Roasting Room's swing band the Streamliners (billed as the Scream-liners (hey, don't blame me for the bad play on words) in honor of the time of year) resurrect big band for your dancing needs.

10 Years and Numb will host a costume party at the Campus Pub. Be creative. Go as a finger annexation.

Evil Twin finally found a place to continue their annual tradition of freak-filled, extra-damned rock 'n' roll—a move prompted by the Longbranch's termination of live music. Rus Harper and co. will be at Lava Lounge tonight as part of the Gothic Halloween Party.

Devil's Night
Did you not just read a story about the Electric Hellfire Club?

Trance-sylvania at Fairbanks will have music, costumes, and avant-garde art.
Boogie's will host a "Hell-oween Throwdown" with Product, Shape Cell, 10 Years, and Skeyebone.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show—an experience without which the day would be incomplete—takes over the allegedly-haunted Bijou Theatre with a stage-show, toast-tossing, and spine-tingles.

Adrienne Martini

Fire and Brimstone

For this Club, Satanism has its upside

by John Sewell

The gothic/industrial subculture has existed on the fringes for almost 20 years. But it took a tragic event like the Columbine massacre to bring public attention to what had been a diverse and quietly growing community. Once it was revealed that "trenchcoat mafia" members were enamored of industrial music, scapegoating was just a step away. After Columbine, any kid who chose to wear black was considered a potential menace.

Within days after Columbine, the red-hot spotlight of public scrutiny had focused on the Goth/industrial subculture. Cultural arbiters in the mainstream press and even the religious right were trying to figure out exactly what kind of debauchery and decay the Goths were promoting.

"Right after Columbine happened, I spent two and a half hours on the phone with the producer of the CBS evening news," says Thomas Thorn, lead vocalist of the Electric Hellfire Club, one of the more outspoken and openly Satanic bands of the industrial style. "Nobody else would talk to the media at that time. And within a couple of days, there was a witch hunt going on."

Surely the term "witch hunt" has not lost its irony on Thorn, a priest of the Church of Satan. For around a decade, Thorn and a revolving cast of backing musicians in the EHC has been forecasting the fall of Christianity in no uncertain terms. And the aftershocks of Columbine haven't diluted his ardor one bit.

"We get death threats all the time but I'm not concerned," says Thorn. "I have no fear of death. My life could end right now and I've done everything I have wanted to do for my entire life. So I would die fulfilled. I'm not gonna let the threat of violence have any effect on how I live my life or the things that I say."

Thorn follows the teachings of the Satanic Bible, a book written by Anton LaVey that explains the basic tenets of the Satanic philosophy. Oddly, Satanists don't actually believe in a deity of any kind, good or evil.

"I'm a priest in the Church of Satan and I was ordained by LaVey," says Thorn. "We do not worship an anthropomorphic deity—as in a little man in a red suit with horns and forked tail. I'm not an atheist because I do believe that there are powers in the universe. I don't necessarily choose to give them a name.

"One of the things that I think is dangerous about the whole Judeo-Christian concept is that it suggests that you live for an afterlife—that you abstain from life's earthly pleasures for a reward that comes later. That seems like a hell of a gamble. Because of the fact that I don't know for sure, I accept the possibility that, yeah, there might be a hell," Thorn continues. "I really doubt it, though. And that's a risk that I'm willing to take. I'm content with my spirituality. It's a better option for me to experience earthly pleasure. Because even if I don't get the everlasting paradise, at least I've had this one.

"You know, they say the one unforgivable sin is to blaspheme against God, which is what I do for a living. So if anybody is gonna burn in hell for eternity it's gonna be me," he concludes.

Though the Electric Hellfire Club was actually one of the first bands to forge the industrial sound that has since been successfully marketed by Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and countless others, the band has changed gears musically. The Y2K version of EHC is much more heavy metal oriented, featuring power chords galore and even some guitar solos. There are still enough samples and programmed drums to keep diehard industrial fans happy, but the new sound will appeal to headbangers and thrashers too.

EHC's new album, Witness The Millennium,might veer slightly toward the conventions of heavy rock, but the lyrics are still based in Satanic ideology. With lyrics like, "If the writing of the wall is the trenchcoat mafia/Destroy the world that has nothing left to offer you," Thorn proves that once again he is not afraid of controversy.

Thorn says he's not losing any sleep over the idea that fans might take his lyrics too seriously. Being a Satanist means never having to say you're sorry.

"Your less intelligent fans can take anything the wrong way," says Thorn. "They can turn anything into whatever they want. If they're stupid enough to take this stuff too far, we'd probably be doing the world a favor by weeding them out of the gene pool. It doesn't matter what you say, they'll turn it around."

Ever the iconoclast, Thorn isn't sure the world is quite ready for the Electric Hellfire Club. "I don't think that any real commercial success will come for us right now because we're too dangerous. We don't temper our lyrics with any level of humor or denial. There's just something insidious about our music. It crosses over into several markets, but it's deeply, philosophically Satanic. And that tends to scare people off. We're two levels underground, so there's not too much danger of the local frat boys wearing our shirts."

October 26, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 43
© 2000 Metro Pulse