The Grim and the Grit: An Interview with Genre Veteran Chad Ferrin, Part II


Read Part I here.

A figure in a giant bunny mask murders the wicked with whatever implement is at hand, sending them to the Lord at the wrong end of a broomstick or the working end of a power drill. When the masked avenger’s not slaughtering the damned, it’s defending a damaged young man with a learning disability who still believes in the Easter bunny.

A cadre of cagey med students are introduced to a potent synthetic drug that leads them from the heights of sexual ecstasy straight into the arms of an unfathomable death.

A group of friends find themselves lost in LA’s notorious Skid Row district and must grapple with a vengeful gaggle of territorial homeless people hellbent on isolationism.

These are the unique and brazen horrorscapes that filmmaker Chad Ferrin gives us. They are picture books of a crappy world, restless meditations on the ethnocentricity, excess, insanity and addiction that blight our own society. This is fitting since Ferrin’s production company is called Crappy World Films.


But there is nothing crappy about the craftsmanship that this low-budget auteur brings to bear on his signature works. As you will see in the following bit of our conversation, Chad has come close to losing everything to bring his vision to the screen and, in some cases, he has been scammed for his efforts.

Like all or, at least, most artists toiling in the film industry, Mr. Ferrin has had projects fall apart before they could even begin. But it’s interesting to note that the projects in question were largely those written by other scribes. This seems like a certain strange but deliberate machination of destiny as it is all too obvious to someone who knows Chad that he’d be better off directing his own original material.

Whenever Ferrin puts poison pen to paper, the results are positively bugfuck. From his early shoestring gross-out pic Unspeakable to his reworking of Roham Ghodsi’s script for the contemporary cult classic Someone’s Knocking at the Door, Ferrin always leaves his grimy fingerprints on the words, resulting in image after image that cannot be shaken from one’s consciousness.

If you don’t know the kind of images I’m talking about then we have nothing to talk about. The films of Chad Ferrin hit you in much the same way a Saigon Kick song hits you the first time you hear it. Eventually they come to an end, but the the vestiges they leave linger behind your eyes forever.

One such flick is Ferrin’s 2016 picture Parasites which found its inspiration in an unlikely place. See, Ferrin isn’t a filmmaker like Tarantino who splashes common genre homages all over every frame of his canon. Instead, he is a meticulous artist who calls back unlikely or even forgotten films of old.

“It’s my take on one of my favorite films, The Naked Prey,” he tells me, referring to the 1965 Cornell Wilde picture that was shot in Rhodesia and was based on “the amazing true story of John Colter’s Run.”

As Chad puts it, “I just replaced the Blackfoot Indian pursuers with homeless bums.”

“I know you had a really rough time shooting this one all guerilla-style on Skid Row,” I say. “You wanna rap about that a little?”

Chad doesn’t pull any punches in his response. “We saw the homeless fucking in the middle of the street, pissing and shitting on the sidewalk, junkies shooting up, close to a 100 illegal street racers doing doughnuts in the parking lot of our base camp, gang members tagging buildings and, finally, a mob of bums chased after us for filming their tent homes. Every night was was an episode of Cops but without the cops.”

“What compelled you to risk life and limb to shoot in the wilds of Los Angeles like that?”

“It’s my love letter to Downtown LA,” Chad as he stares off somewhat wistfully. “With gentrification quickly changing the landscape down there, I had to catch the grit and grim before it was gone.”

It’s this grim and grit that will one day draw devoted crowds to revivals of Ferrin’s movies. But for now, fans will have to wait for such screenings to take place. In the meantime, they can look forward to the 10th anniversary edition of Someone’s Knocking at the Door which Chad says he is working on with Breaking Glass Pictures.

When Chad breaks this news to me it’s music to my ears because that’s exactly how we first met and I first discovered his catalog of films. “Back in the day, you said that you had a fairly positive experience working with Breaking Glass compared to other distributors. Is there any reason you haven’t worked with them again?”

“I can’t say enough nice things about BGP and Rich Wolff,” Chad says. “They’re top notch! We have been trying to get a film off the ground for years now, one a these days something will come together.”

I float the idea of Chad revisiting his body of work. “I still see Someone’s Knocking at the Door as your masterwork and the creative team behind it as the perfect marriage. Have you thought at all about doing some sort of follow-up with those people, whether it’s working on another movie with the screenwriter or getting the proverbial band back together for a pseudo-sequel?”

Chad is quick to respond, his eyes lighting up like a dumpster fire in an alleyway. “I have a prequel bouncing around in my head that would be about John and Wilma Hopper as they rape/murder in the 1970’s.”

“I know we could probably trade war stories all day,” I tell him. “For me, I’d probably cite the time some chick with Munchhausen Syndrome impersonated a producer so that I’d get on a train and meet her in midtown Manhattan and talk with her over coffee for four hours. Or there’s the former made-for-TV movie producer who verbally agreed to finance a web series I’d written only to pull a 180 and reveal that he didn’t actually have any money to contribute (“I’ll take your cast out for bagels, get you some wardrobe if you need it”). That sort of thing. I imagine it’s less absurd and a bit bleaker for you. What would you say is your most ridiculous industry experience?”

“Ugh! A while back I was in talks to direct an action film shooting in Mexico. The script sucked but I was assured it could be tweaked, so I met with the writer/investor/producer, lets call him Tito. After a three hour meeting, he agreed to my terms and went fourth to come up with the 200k budget.

“Next day I saw that he added my name as director to the IMDB page for the project. A month later, he says come meet me and my team, sign the contract and lets move forward. So, on the hottest day of the summer, I arrive at the restaurant fifteen minutes late and sweating like a pig. I find the group in the back sitting in a booth. Tito shakes my hand as he introduces me to his wife and 100 year old grandmother.

“I sit down and order a Margarita, I whisper to the waiter, ‘Why is it so hot in here?’ He responds, ‘No A/C today. Brown out. Conserve energy.’ I roll my eyes and think to myself, boy, I hate this town sometimes.

“Tito then grabs my arm, pulls me close. ‘Chad, here’s your contract and the new script.’ I take hold of the two-page contract and the slimmed down script that he’s shoving in my face. He then starts rambling in my ear as I scan the contract. I quickly notice that he has changed my pay from 20k to 10k with 5 points on the back end.

“I drop the contract into a bowl of salsa, look him in the eye and ask, ‘What happened to the deal we agreed on?’ He smiles, ‘That’s too much money, Chad.’ I lean back, ‘You think 20k is too much to direct and edit a $200k budget film in Mexico?’

“With a shit eating grin, he mumbles, ‘How about 11k?’ My eyes bulge out as I hiss through grit teeth, ‘NO!’ He looks over to his wife and mother. They begin to speak in Spanish. Smiling, he touches my arm. ‘How about 15k?’ I stand up to leave. He grabs me, ‘Okay, I’ll give you the 20k to direct and edit. You drive a hard bargain, my friend.’

“Sitting back down, I smile, look over to the wife and grandmother. They’re both staring at me like I had just raped their son with a Coke bottle. The waiter arrives with my drink, I gulp it down. I ask Tito about other investors and when he expects to have the budget in place. ‘I don’t want other investors’, he exclaims. ‘I want to own the whole film myself because it’s going to make millions and win an Oscar for best picture.’

“Taken aback, I nod my head in disbelief, ‘Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom.’ I walk into the bathroom, wash the sweat off my face, take a deep breath of the humid air and scream to myself, ‘Jesus H. Christ, he doesn’t even have the FUCKING MONEY!!!’

“Delirious from the heat, I stumble back to the table just as a gaggle of waiters arrive with a small cake, singing happy birthday in Spanish to the grandmother. Holy shit, I can take this, I grab the script, say my farewells and exclaim, ‘Happy Birthday, grandma!’ Tito shakes my hand, says, ‘I’ll email you the new contract tonight.’ I nod, wave goodbye to all.

“That night, I flip open the new script. Lo and behold, it’s 80 pages of unpuncuated nonsense. Alas, I never got a chance to discuss improving his opus because little Tito never sent the new contract or called me again. I checked IMDB only to find my name removed from the project. First time I have ever been fired via IMDB. Probably not the last.”

This story is a severe skullfuck, but it’s one that all too many of us have had to suffer at the hands of cheapskates, con artists or wingnuts.

“Why as artists do we do this to ourselves,” I ask him. “Must we suffer fools and

scumbags in order to make cinema? Is it a necessary evil or are we all a bunch of masochists?”

“Masochists!” Chad bellows.

The subject smarts too fucking much, so I decide to change the subject. On a more positive tip, I them him that I’ve always known him to have a feew irons in the fire at any given time. “Is it safe to say that you’re developing a film right now? What have you got cooking?”

“I have two revenge scripts, El Camino and God’s Lonely Woman that are getting a little traction,” he says. “Don’t want to jinx it by saying too much. Fingers crossed they get made this year.”

As I’ll learn in a few minutes, this is Chad’s way of being modest. The truth is that he’s just completed a project that’s gonna leave a lot of horror fans shopping for fresh underwear.

“Gimme three words that describe the fundamentals of indie filmmaking,” I tell him.

“Passion. Crazy. Driven.”

One could easily see these three words appearing in blurb form on the front of a DVD jacket for one of Chad’s movies. It encapsulates everything that’s vital and noteworthy about the man and his creations.

“Feel free to plug anything you’ve got going on, brother.”

Chad’s furrowed brow relaxes for the first time all day and he smiles. “We just finished post-production on a really fun feature called Exorcism at 60,000 Feet with a great cast including Robert Miano, Bai Ling, Lance Henriksen, Bill Mosely, Matthew Moy, Kevin J. O’Connor and Adrienne Barbeau. And to top it off, we had the master himself, Richard Band, doing the score. And man, he really knocked it out of the park.”

I am pleasantly surprised by this development as our conversation was supposed to revolve around development Hell. At the end of it all, we actually got a happy ending from the last guy one would associate with such. “The whole experience was a wonderful creative collaboration between everyone,” Chad added. “Especially writer/producer Robert Rhine and myself, probably the best of my career so far. It should find distribution shortly, so keep an eye out for it!”

You heard the man, make like Un Chien Andalou and keep them peepers peeled! If you want to live in the Crappy World, click here.

Like and share this post or you may just get fucked to death.

Sam Hill “Book ov Sam: Infernal Depths” – Album Review

by Ben Arzate

Sam Hill is the alter-ego of New York hip hop artist Cage Kennylz, real name Chris Palko. Cage started off as a rapper known for saying controversial and off-the-wall things. His first single was “Agent Orange,” a song which sampled the theme from A Clockwork Orange and included promises to “fuck your head up like cornrows put in by blind giants” and “start bugging like an insect and lay larvae in your ear.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that self-described death rapper Necro was the producer.

He continued on this angry, PCP-fueled tip on his debut album Movies for the Blind. This album included songs like “Suicidal Failure,” in which Cage graphically describes failed suicide attempts, and “CK Won,” a song that has the line “Chris Palko is giving these bitches mouthfuls / Then it’s ‘thank you’ notes on they face with scalpels.” Because of this, he was often put in the “horrorcore” genre with rappers like Necro and Esham.

Starting on his second album, Hell’s Winter, Cage took a more introspective turn. This one included more politically-oriented tracks and stories about his personal life. Cage stayed on this path with his next two albums, Depart from Me and Kill the Architect. I personally found those albums lacking and many of his older fans did as well, prompting some to want the older Cage back.

Cage must have recognized this as in 2012 he debuted his alter-ego Sam Hill with the singles “Misanthrope” and “Super Baked.” These brought back the violent, drug-oriented lyrics from the Movies for the Blind era, as well as bringing in some darker, trap-ish production compared to his newer albums. “Super Baked” even included a reference to Alex the Worm King, a character that often appeared in Cage’s earlier songs.

Despite this, a full-length Sam Hill project wouldn’t see a release until 2018 with Book ov Sam: Infernal Depths. From the title, to the art, to the subject matter of the songs, Cage fully embraced the “horrorcore” genre with this record. Almost every song is about murder, Satanism, the occult, and blasphemy.

The album starts off strong with “Prey to Jesus.” It’s a low-key song with dark minimalist trap production and a catchy hook, “I was pray praying to the beast.” It quickly lets us know what we’re in for with lines like “Flipping through demonic texts, starving like Ghandi /False acolytes only in it to be godly.” At only two minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome either.

“Sam’s Klvb” continues on the blasphemous, Satan-worshiping theme. This one probably has my favorite production. Its synths and samples are genuinely nightmarish and unnerving, and the drums hit hard. The hook is kind of weak, being a mumbled set of lyrics with some rather cheesy vocal effects, but otherwise it’s a solid song.

Surprisingly, both “Misanthrope” and “Super Baked” are on this album despite being six-years-old. They’re slightly altered here from the original releases. They also don’t really fit the Satanic theme present in all the other songs, but they’re probably the best ones on the album.

“Misanthrope” is an aggressive drug song with production that reminds me of early Three 6 Mafia and a hook where Sam declares “I don’t want to be a criminal or thug out/I just want to pick up a gun and blow your blood out.” “Super Baked” is another excellent song. The production and lyrics sound like an excellent mix of Movies for the Blind and Hell’s Winter era Cage. It’s probably my favorite song on the album.

Some moments here cross the line into campy. “Ouija Bored” is the worst offender. It starts off with a horribly acted skit about people playing an Ouija Board, has the weakest production on the album, and a bridge which sounds like something off a corny Halloween sing-along. “Tree ov Death,” while a much better track overall, also has a corny bridge with Sam Hill chanting about the Book of Life and Book of Death in a way that’s just kind of annoying.

Overall, despite its flaws, Book ov Sam: Infernal Depths is a promising start to the Sam Hill project. Fans of Cage expecting a return to the age of Movies for the Blind will be mostly disappointed as this goes in a different direction. This likely won’t win over any new fans either. However, it is a new and refreshing direction for Cage Kennylz and I think it’s his best since Hell’s Winter. If you’re also fascinated by the idea of a hip hop album about Satan and the occult, this is also well worth a listen.

One thing to note is that Book ov Sam: Infernal Depths is only available for streaming or download at the moment. However, vinyl copies are planned in the near future.

The Grim & the Grit: An Interview with Genre Veteran Chad Ferrin, Part I

By Bob Freville

A stoner med student receives a knock on his dorm room door. When he opens it a lanky woman, butt naked, stands before him, her pert nipples staring at him. This temptress wants to fuck and who’s this pipsqueak to say no?

The med student invites her in and they get right down to it, but you can imagine his disappointment when she takes the shape of a hunched little man with fiendish eyes, gnarly teeth and barnacles growing on his flesh. This terrible little man also has the distinction of possessing a monstrously large cock which he uses to defile and demolish his young prey.

Drugs, sex and murder. This was my introduction to the work of Chad Ferrin. The movie was Someone’s Knocking at the Door and I first became acquainted with this trippy, batshit horror flick and its mysterious director after Breaking Glass Pictures sent me a press kit.

At the time, I wasn’t thrilled about writing small caption reviews of indie movies for horror sites because I was itching to make my very own. Up until that point I had only directed one hour-long video, the avant-garde anti-love story Of Bitches & Hounds which would go on to become a cult hit on Berkeley TV. But I wanted to do something slightly bigger, I just couldn’t figure out how.

What Chad Ferrin, the director of ‘Someone’s Knocking‘ taught me was that you could make a micro-budget film look like it cost way more money than it did if you could learn to think on the spot. ‘Someone’s Knocking‘ may not have the look of a Hollywood picture, but it’s densely packed with one-of-a-kind imagery from the prosthetic genitalia of its two thrill killers to the bizarre black face funeral sequence that comes later in the pic.

After the film came out, I got in touch with Ferrin and we talked shop. He gave me copies of his other movies, Easter Bunny Kill! Kill! and The Chair, and I loved them, warts and all. Over the years, we lost touch as each of us suffered at the hands of an unmerciful film industry, but I recently had the opportunity to remedy that.

Looking like nothing so much as the oldest guy at a Frat party in Encino, Chad Ferrin struts into a room with all the swagger of Robert Mitchum in his prime. At 5′ 11” and with his sandy hair trailing behind him as he walks, he is somehow more imposing than any 6′ 3” ex-con you’ve ever met.

Perhaps this owes to his battle scars, ones that are not necessarily visible to the naked eye but reside within him. They can be glimpsed in his face which wears the furrowed mask of a gunfighter who’s been in a series of brush ups.

The former Minnesota native and longtime Angeleno has lived in the pits of smoggy California long enough to have not only seen beneath the facade of palm trees and palm pilots but to have been burned by its ersatz rays of light.

At 45 years young, Ferrin has gotten enough raw deals to inspire a Dostoyevsky novel. A lesser auteur would have left the city long ago and turned to writing novels or film criticism, but Ferrin isn’t a man who sees himself to the door when he’s asked to leave. He’s the guy with his boots up on your desk, refusing to step off until he’s gotten what he came for.

A true embodiment of the By All Means Necessary spirit of filmmaking spearheaded by Spike Lee and his NYU brethren (Jarmusch, Soderbergh, Alexandre Rockwell, etc.), Chad has been churning out underground movies for the better part of 20 years, starting with the no-budget feature The Ghouls and running right up to 2016’s Attack on L.A., formerly Parasites.

I ask him about when we first talked. “At the time, you had come off a series of bad experiences with film producers and distributors and I was gearing up to let Troma ass rape me without the courtesy of a reach-around. Do you remember what your first experience as a director was in terms of navigating the world of film distribution and acquisitions reps?”

Ferrin casts his mind back to the eve of the new millennium. “I had just finished the rough edit of Unspeakable (available from Troma) and with unbridled enthusiasm, I copied it onto countless VHS tapes and mailed one to every distributor from Artisan Entertainment to Warner Bros.

“To this day, almost twenty years later, I still remember the excitement of seeing the Paramount letter head before reading the rejection below it. You know, sometimes the best thing in this business is the anticipation of your dreams coming true just around the corner.”

The name Troma, once synonymous with the satirical revenge flick Mother’s Day and the punk rock hilarity of Tromeo & Juliet, now makes me cringe. That’s what bogus quarterly reports and a worthless net profit deal will give you.

“I know we were both screwed over by Troma,” I say. “But you were the first with Unspeakable. And to be fair, you warned me about working with Troma prior to them acquiring my film Hemo. I’m curious how our situations differed though and if you could shed some light on why young filmmakers should stay away from this famous cult movie house.”

To my surprise, Chad no longer shares my distaste. “Over the years, I’ve come to realize that the bulk of the blame falls on myself for not negotiating a better contract with them. If I had been more shrewd in working out the details of the contract, like fighting for a split of gross profits or capping expenses at $5k instead of $25k, then things would have turned out better on my end.

“I’m not saying they’re saints, I can’t imagine there are any in this business that are but; they worked the contract in their favor and you can’t fault ’em for that. When our term ended recently, I called up Michael Herz, we re-negotiated a new contract, and now every three months I get a check. Not a big check mind you, but hey, a little something is better than nothing, right? So, for the love of God, everyone reading this go to and a order a copy of Unspeakable right NOW!

“That said, let me take this moment, swallow my pride, and apologize to Troma for the years of ill will that I harbored against them. Now, if you want a warning of a horrible distributor, every filmmaker out there should stay far, far away from 108 Media!”

We’ll get to that in a moment, but first it is worth acknowledging how humble Ferrin is. As someone who’s been raw dogged by this industry more times than I care to recount, I can’t say that I possess even a modicum of Chad’s understanding. The fact that he could not only forgive but also apologize to the bastards that ripped him off speaks volumes about his character.

It’s a character which Ferrin brings to bear on his actors when developing a scene which goes far towards explaining why his particular brand of exploitation cinema works—there is a beating heart under the layer of grime.

“I reached out to you about two weeks ago to ask if you had a screener of your last movie Parasites and you shared some pretty unfortunate news with me. As I understand it, the film’s original distributor, 108 Media, breached contract by not paying the MG and then breached your subsequent termination agreement by selling rights away to the Netherlands. Can you talk more about that and why the film’s name has been changed to Attack In LA?”

Ferrin thinks. Ferrin is always thinking. “After Parasites screened at the Fantasia film festival in 2016, it had a buzz swirling around which caused a bidding war that 108 Media came out on top of, and we signed a deal. Then, they failed to pay the minimum guarantee, thus breaching the contract. We terminated the agreement, and I searched for a new distributor. Then to my shock, I find out 108 had released the DVD in the U.S. on Amazon!

“I called them up screaming, ‘What the fuck?! It’s on Amazon, what the hell are you doing?’ They said, ‘Oh, sorry, Amazon made a mistake by putting it.’ Ughhhh! ‘No shit!’ I exclaimed, then proceeded to threaten to sue them for breaching our termination agreement and doing damage to the value of the film.

“After an hour of yelling back and fourth, we made a new termination deal, they pulled the DVD off Amazon, but the fact that it had been released pretty much destroyed the title Parasites. The new distributor ITN decided to change the name to Attack In LA and see if that shakes the stink of the previous release. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really caught on under that title. It has been heartbreaking, soul crushing ordeal which doesn’t end yet…

“…a few months later, I find it being sold on the UK Amazon by Red Square Film in the Netherlands. A sale which 108 Media denied up and down, in fact, they denied making any foreign sales at all. After about a week of research, I dig up a company called Take 1 in Sweden who admits to buying it from 108. Take 1 then sold it to Red Square Film. I call up 108, and with this evidence, they finally admit to selling it, but say, ‘Chad, we didn’t make much money on it.’”

Ferrin growls. “I said enough is enough and I sued the bastards. And on November 16, a judge in Toronto ruled in my favor, ordering them to pay me $25,155.00. Score one for the little guy!”

Stay tuned for Part II in which Chad talks about how to make a movie among junkies, street racers and gang members.

Five Famous Pieces of Classical Music for Metal Heads

Now that we’ve recently revisited nu metal, it seems like a list about so-called “classical” music is in order. I mean, it just makes sense, right? Okay, maybe not, but I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while. Let me explain.

It’s pretty much a commonplace to say “the Internet changed everything.” Having been born in the late eighties, I’m part of what is probably the last generation to experience life on both sides of the great divide: before and after the Internet. Every future generation, barring some near extinction-level disaster, will never know what it’s like to live offline.

“What does this have to do with classical music?” If you’d quit interrupting, you’d find out. Musicophiles have long prided themselves for listening to “everything.” In the 21st century, however, listening to “everything” is becoming more of a more mainstream listening habit than ever before, and why not, when even the most obscure, underground recordings are just a click away? Once upon a time, music listening entailed digging through bin after bin at physical CD stores. You found what you liked and generally stuck to it if you didn’t have the time or resources for extensive music research. Then came Napster and Amazon, and the rest is history.

Still, “classical” music remains a relatively unappreciated corner of the musical world, which seriously sucks, since “classical” music pretty much represents the entire history of music in general. That’s like loving books but never picking up “the classics.” I mean, if that’s your thing, I’m certainly not one to tell you you’re wrong. I’m more the type to congratulate you for your decision then wonder “but why?” silently to myself.

My personal theory is that the term “classical music” carries bad vibes. It brings to mind the popular sections of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony, Viking-helmeted fat ladies singing opera to crowds of suited aristocrats wearing monocles, or memed versions of Beethoven you keep hearing in movies. This really isn’t fair, since music lumped under the “classical” misnomer includes a vastly diverse and versatile body of work spanning the length of civilization from the medieval period onwards. If it were up to me, we’d be calling this stuff “formal” music or something, which admittedly sounds worse, but at least it would shake up those nasty stereotypes a bit.

So that’s my soapbox lecture. This list presents some “gateway” pieces of classical music that might appeal to metalheads, since classical music, believe it or not, tends to be a closer relative to metal than pop. If you, like me, identify as a metalhead but are curious about the world of music outside, this is a great place to begin your deep dive into… ugh.. “classical” music.

The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

It may be surprising that a baroque composer heads this list. Born in the 17th century, Antonio Vivaldi composed during the era that would be forever associated with his more famous colleague, Johann Sebastian Bach. The baroque era is the quintessential center of “classical” music in the popular understanding of the term, even though the true classical era was technically contemporaneous to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (see? I told you the word “classical” sucks). Consequently, many listeners associate this era with pretentious, stuffy complexity. If “baroque” brings to mind something like Bach’s The Art of Fugue, perhaps you’re doubting that I have any clue what metal sounds like.

If, in the early days, metal aspired to new horizons of aural darkness, it also sought a revival of a baroque sensibility. After all, “baroque” is a French word originally used to describe rough or flawed jewelry. When the term gained cultural currency, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined baroque music in the famous Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts of 1768 as “that in which the harmony is confused, and loaded with modulations and dissonances. The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, and the movement limited. It appears that term comes from the word ‘baroco’ used by logicians.” Although baroque music doesn’t strike us this way now, Rousseau’s definition certainly indicates a remarkable similarity between cutting-edge music of the seventeenth century and extreme metal in the 21st. I challenge you to imagine a more precise definition of metal than that.

While The Four Seasons, particularly the “Summer” section, doesn’t strike us today as “dissonant,” it’s definitely heavy. The rapid strings are meant to recapture the rumble of thunder, and the following arpeggios of rain sound like the signature “pick sweep” guitar solos that would pepper future melodeath albums by bands like The Black Dahlia Murder.

Thanks to metal covers of Vivaldi, such as Children of Bodom’s (I know… vomit, but they admittedly cranked out some decent albums in the late 90’s) 2012 dual guitar rendition of “Summer III. Presto,” linked above, The Four Seasons is the first piece everyone mentions in comparisons between classical and metal music. While there’s definitely heavier classical music out there (as you’ll discover as this list progresses), it’s a wonderful piece, and every open minded, classical-curious metalhead is bound to find much to appreciate in Vivaldi’s masterpiece, as well as in baroque music in general.

The Rite of Spring
Igor Stravinsky

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is another favorite for lists like this, although it’s a completely different beast than The Four Seasons. The Rite is a ballet–yes, one of those dance performances absolutely at odds with your general extreme metal aesthetic and stereotypically associated with tutus and tights–that shocked, excited, and forever changed the world of music in 1913.

The 1910’s was an interesting era for music. What happened with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring would go on to inspire composer Arnold Schoenberg to write the “Emancipation of Dissonance” in 1926, which called for a new movement of harsh and violently atonal music that would characterize what we misleadingly call “classical” music in the 20th century. Dissonance had been in the air for a while before Stravinsky; Nietzsche was inspired by Richard Wagner’s music to write about it in The Birth of Tragedy, and Richard Strauss’ opera, Salome, which debuted in 1905, featured it prominently in the then-scandalous “Dance of the Seven Veils.” Nothing, however, had prepared the world for Stravinsky’s Rite.

The Rite of Spring’s first performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris is one of the finest examples in history of the stir music can make. The performance erupted into what was later called a “riot,” although that description seems rather dubious. The theater was packed with a volatile mix of upper class audience members who expected a traditional piece of “classical” music, and advocates of the avant-garde, who reveled in the shock The Rite’s orgiastic music and bizarre dancing provoked.

The Rite of Spring is still heavy today, featuring a rhythm heavy attack at the opening that metalheads will be tempted to headbang along to (but it’s “classical” music! Fine, keep your dignity and nod). And unlike The Four Seasons, The Rite is weird as hell. Woodwinds slither eerily up and down throughout the mix, rhythms change, and things stay consistently dark. The Rite recalls Nietzsche’s descriptions of Bacchanalian frenzies in The Birth of Tragedy; what’s more metal than that?

The Manfred Symphony
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Let’s backtrack to the romantic period for a spell. Although Tchaikovsky hated The Manfred Symphony after he composed it in 1885, we shouldn’t take his opinion into account. Tchaikovsky hated all his compositions, which turned out to be a good thing since it gave him a consistent drive to better his consistently ambitious and groundbreaking work. He ended up composing some of the best music in history, and Manfred, for me, stands out among his greatest.

“Wait… Tchaikovsky? The dude who wrote The Nutcracker Ballet?” Yes, the same. If you’re unconvinced that The Nutcracker Ballet is amazing, I blame the fact that it’s generally the only ballet most people see in their entire lives, and even then only for the sake of scoring their children culture points.

The Manfred Symphony doesn’t deal in children’s stories, however. Based on the poem of the same name by Lord Byron, Manfred is a darker version of Goethe’s Faust (which, in turn, gleaned inspiration from a play of the same title by Shakespeare’s so-called “rival,” Christopher Marlowe, but that’s another story). Instead of making a deal with the devil in exchange for a series of whimsical, surrealistic, and often pointless displays of the hilariously less-than-impressive power of Mephistopheles, Byron’s protagonist, Manfred, summons demons and then intimidates them with his fearless, self-annihilating display of human will. If Byron’s Manfred is dark, oppressive, and delightfully melodramatic, Tchaikovsky almost exceeds him in the raw power of his composition.

Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write Manfred, and he tried to hand the job off to his famous colleague, Hector Berlioz. I’m glad he didn’t, since who else but Tchaikovsky could’ve combined pure heaviness with such an expressive, controlled sense of beauty. This thing is crushing (just check out the supermassive crescendo in “I. Lento lugubre”), furious, and heartachingly melancholic. While quieter, more tranquil moments punctuate Manfred, there is certainly much here to reward the adventurous metalhead.

Symphony No. 7
Allan Pettersson

If you’re looking for something downright nasty, I suggest beginning with Symphony No. 7.

In my head, I call this “The Blood-Soaked Symphony.” That should give you some idea of what you’re getting into here. Pettersson was the Swedish son of a violent alcoholic blacksmith; his childhood sufferings seem to have transposed into a dark and turbulent worldview that informs his bleak and horrifying compositions. While Symphony No. 7 was introduced, in 1968, to a world of music grown tolerant and even welcoming of experimentation, it’s no less shocking than The Rite of Spring in terms of sheer violence. Just listen to that crescendo about 7 minutes and 40 seconds in! No, better yet, get a good pair of headphones, turn out the lights, light a candle, crank up the volume and just start at the beginning. There will be goosebumps.

It’s unfortunate that you can easily go your whole musical existence without discovering Pettersson. I haven’t seen him featured on any lists like this, and he doesn’t figure prominently in either a formal or casual musical education. Only my penchant for seriously dark music led me to him, and I strongly urge you to check him out.

Metalheads shouldn’t expect to get their love of technical chops satiated in Symphony No. 7. This ain’t no Vivaldi–not even close. Instead, fans of black metal drone, sludge, or doom, represented by bands like Sunn o))) or Khanate, should make this their crossover “classical” album. Fortunately, Symphony No. 7 relies on more traditional structures to accomplish its bleak and oppressive atmosphere rather than twelve tone composition approaches utilized by composers like Schoenberg. While the latter tend to be dark, they’re difficult listens that may ward newcomers away. Symphony No. 7 has the unique distinction of achieving twelve-tone-levels of darkness while remaining in the realm of listenability. If nothing in this list has convinced you that metalheads can appreciate “classical” music yet, give this one a spin.

By the way, I strongly recommend the Leif Segerstam & Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra recording (1993) if you want to get the most out of this listening experience (linked above). This deserves special mention in regards to Symphony No. 7, because the first recording I heard of this work many years ago was horrid, ultimately delaying my appreciation of this masterpiece. Worse, now I can’t remember what recording it was. Just be advised.

Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima
Krzysztof Penderecki

If you find yourself curious about the twelve tone compositions I mentioned above, I’m glad to hear it. While the Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima isn’t exactly what is known as a twelve tone composition, the end result is close enough, and you should feel encouraged to move onto the likes of Schoenberg if you find yourself enjoying this. Penderecki composed this using the sonoristic technique for Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, which focuses on exploring unconventional sounds using traditional instrumentation. When Penderecki heard this piece performed, he was struck by the emotional power he had generated. Yes, it really is that incredible.

A threnody is literally a “wailing ode” to the dead. Given that 90,000 to 146,000 people died in the first wartime use of an atomic bomb, you would expect their threnody to consist of a multitude of voices, calling out in despair from a void in the middle of the scar Hiroshima would come to represent in the history of civilization. Penderecki delivers just that in this composition for 52 instruments (it sounds like a lot more than that). While the harshness of the Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima generates an acute discomfort in relation to its subject matter, there’s no denying the aptness of such a horrifying piece of music to represent such a dark event.

The Threnody is short–only 8:37 in its written form–but it packs one hell of a punch. Metal fans accustomed to Deathspell Omega’s swirling vortexes of unremitting sonic chaos will find themselves right at home here. Strings wail and chitter over a cacophonous roar of percussion, climaxing in moments of pure fury that equal even their harshest counterparts of the metal genre. The band Portal comes to mind here as well, although things are a bit more moody and atmospheric throughout the Threnody.

I recommend listening to this one on Penderecki’s album with Jonny Greenwood (yes, that Jonny Greenwood, the guitarist of Radiohead and a brilliant composer in his own right). Greenwood’s work, presented here side by side with Penderecki’s to demonstrate Penderecki’s influence on contemporary composers, magnificently compliments Penderecki’s, and the whole album thrives on the dark, otherworldly aesthetic introduced by Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima.

-Justin A. Burnett

How to Satisfy Readers

by Trebor Elliverf

In recent weeks, the Motorist has received an alarming number of letters from our readers, each of them outlining a different grievance they had with our content. In one such missive, a 63-year old single mother named Beverly S. laments the use of vulgarity in our articles.

Beverly writes, “I visited your webpage because my son had it open on his MaxiPad and I was frankly appalled by what I saw. The staggering number of typos and run-on sentences was bad enough, but your use of words like the C word and the F word threw me for a loop.

“I simply cannot understand why you young people insist on cussing when you could be making a point about the state of the world.”

As firm believers that the Cunt is, indeed, always right, we are always quick as Fuck to respond to such a letter. Understanding Beverly’s gripe made it clear that we needed to nudge her in the right direction. So we sent her son an email which pointed her to a piece that we hope makes the kind of point about the state of the world that she was hoping we would.

We have yet to hear back from Bev, but others have sounded a similar clarion call about our recent content with one reader writing in to chastise us for “making light of a school shooting” by running our prom post about Nikolas Cruz.

When we politely explained to said reader that the piece in question was making fun of school shooters and not school shootings we received a death threat in response. It was then that we fully grasped how serious this person was about murder, which is why we tried to keep him satisfied by sending him a coupon code good towards a brand-spanking new bump stock.

Sadly, this reader was still not satisfied…at least his additional threats of bodily harm suggested as much. This kind of outpouring of disappointment troubles us as we pride ourselves on giving the readers what they want.

With that in mind, we have implemented a new protocol that should keep everyone happy, regardless of their personal tastes, sense of humor (or lack thereof) or political beliefs. We call this protocol the Placate Readers, Idiots, Cunts and Killers system or PRICK, for short.

This is how we plan to satisfy our reads. This is how the PRICK works:


Treat everyone like a child. For those of us who didn’t come from broken homes, childhood was a time of warmth, compassion, understanding and support. Our mothers kept us nestled in their bosom, cradling us gently as we nursed their lactating nipples. Our fathers brought home the bacon, chewed it up into a fine paste and spat it into our mouths so that we would never have to bear the burden of learning how to chew.

Our readers demand the same and they damn sure should get it! That’s why we will be installing a filtration app on our homepage with facial recognition technology. In this way, all readers can enjoy the site without scarring their eyes and sensibilities by perusing something that was too harsh for them. No longer will their soft heads be racked with spasms of anger at something they do not agree with. Instead, the Motorist will be a safe space for hive minds of all stripes.


Most human beings are stubbornly resistant to change, we like things to remain the same. Change suggests disorder or disruption which puts many of us on edge. It is safe to say that Change would be a trigger word, were it not for the simple fact that it was used in Barack Obama’s campaign slogan in 2008.

As anyone with access to a television or computer can tell you, change seems to be a constant. The 24-hour news cycle illustrates this more than anything else. No doubt, some of our readers have been gobsmacked when we alluded to things like AI technology or Transpeople. These individuals don’t want to live in a time where the robots and the he-shes are gonna take over and plot world domination.

To remedy this problem we have alighted on the idea of fundamental renewal. In order to sustain Silent Motorist Media for one and all, we will routinely plagiarize ourselves around every corner. This is something we have already begun to do by introducing follow-up installments to previous articles.

For now on, if you see something new on this site then you will know that we have been hacked by gender fluid humanoid hovercraft machines with lizard eyes. If that appears to be the case, we urge you to STOP READING and AVOID THIS WEBSITE AT ALL COSTS!! The future of the bloodline is in your hands.


You may be thinking that our masthead is a mere coincidence, that our staff is just a sausage fest because nobody else wanted the job. How foolish of you to think that this wasn’t a calculated maneuver on our part. Here at the Motorist, we value isolationism and gender separatism because we understand it to be the only way to insulate ourselves and our readers from the cruel brutes at the gates.

You know who I’m talking about, the Other people. They. The ones that would have us all turn the frogs gay and make ourselves retarded by brushing our teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. These are the same mongrel scourges who would have you read something that you didn’t entirely align yourself with already.

Make no mistake, the Motorist has no place for women or children or queers or blacks or Chinese or half-breeds or little people or Menonites. If they don’t believe what you believe, then they don’t believe what we believe…because we believe whatever you believe. Believe me!

In an effort to ensure that we remain insulated from fringe perspectives and dangerous outlaw dogma, we have decided to build a complex firewall around this website designed to keep the savages at bay. If the Enemy attempts to gain purchase to this website and poison your precious mind with impure thoughts, they will be immediately redirected to Info Wars and/or Netflix’s Fuller House.


There is no better way to keep your mind from being muddied than to constantly clean things up. To this end, we are planning to spend $4.5 trillion in government grants on a dedicated team of fixers who will regularly scrub this site free of any troubling material.

As former-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously said, “I am extraordinarily patient, provided you peasants clean my cunt at once! And if I cannot see my reflection in its lips it is off with your heads!”

Yes, cleanliness is next to godliness, which is why God is a woman and Ariana Grande looks like she was dipped in wax at a doll factory. The cleaner you are, the better person you are.


Don’t look at me that way! You must realize by now that killing is the only thing we all have in common. Killing animals, killing the environment, killing ourselves at back-breaking jobs, killing time until our inevitable demise. Killing is what it’s all about.

I don’t care if you’re a vegan or Ted fucking Nugent, we’ve all got blood on our hands and some of us like it. The texture, the taste, the sense of it clinging to our skin and our olfactory nerves. If we can do one thing to keep all of our readers happy, it’s killing for your enjoyment.

This is our commitment to write at least one hatchet piece about someone you thoroughly revile every single week for the rest of all time. If we don’t keep up our end of the bargain, we will happily kill ourselves.

Should this protocol fail, we know other ways to satisfy you as well. They don’t call me the Raspberry Goatee for nothing. ; )

Like and share this post or we’ll kill your dog and poke your dad.