Why I Decided It Would Just Be Better To Leave Torii and Pursue Other Things

To be honest, I was kicked out of the band around a week ago. The reason? Well, quite simply one could say that Bleak Bill and I have went separate ways. He’s married and probably is on his way to starting a family and I’m a doll owner who prefers the bachelor style  of life and creating content in the manosphere. It really isn’t conducive. Also, you have to  keep in mind that much of what the band formed around, namely conspiracy; now revolves around the alt-right bogeyman that biased news media have drummed up. However, this is simply not the case. Conspiracy was never really a conservative thing. In fact, it was the Reagan administration who coined the term conspiracy theorist so that critical thinkers would be demonized on the left. Which I was at one time, a part of. You see, I grew up on the east coast and was raised very liberal. Prior to the Trump administration and the dissolution of freedoms it entailed, I got all my news from Democracy Now! And left Free Speech TV on all the time. And what did you see? A lot of conspiracy around the Obama administration. But not from right-wing bible beating conservatives, but from liberals! You see, Obama was hammering down on internet security and that was a really big deal. The free and open internet is no longer free and open, and those who criticized on the left wing are now considered right wing. Alex Jones may have had a hand in this, because his conservative ties can’t be denied, but I remember a day in the conspiracy community where political party did not matter and we were all banding together to find the truth. In fact, religion was fought over far more than political stance in the truth seeker community.

One of the songs on our first album, Shadow of The Mountain is called “The Coming Storm” which was taken from a bizarre prophecy about how the economy would collapse and cause general bedlam in the world. I still have no idea who made that post and probably never will. Although some may say it is quite current. Other conspiracy related topics followed, like with “Inexorable” though to be fair it was a mixed bag on that record and it still remains one of my personal favorite albums that I’ve been a part of.

The second album cycle went well also, with Elabrynth this time focusing on a major conspiracy that encompassed the entire album. I coded a lot of lyrics on that album so that those who studied MK-Ultra, Monarch and Beta Kitten would understand what I was talking about. I used to spend a lot of time on Vigilant Citizen and in the Vigilant forums, where much of my research came from. Unlike popular conspiracy nut Alex Jones, Vigilant was all about research and sources. He provided a lot of sources in his material, which is more than can be said for a lot of people in the conspiracy community. I even discussed this with Minsk’s frontman a while back, where he acknowledged that there was a big difference between people who dig to find the truth behind things and “conspiracy culture” which later became woke culture, the exact irony of what it was supposed to be. You see, we used the term “awake” on the forums. Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” was actually seen as a mockery by others in the forum, thinking that maybe her handlers felt it was funny to mock conspiracy theorists. This later became the term “woke” and instead of seeking the truth, woke simply referred to a set of progressive ideas that were now largely the status quo. There were no issues with this record and we both had fun with it.

The third album was Gates Of Paradise and we had just a few hang-ups there. I was influenced by the stress at my job as well as Higurashi, which I had been reading at the time. There was a section of lyrics that were supposed to be a bit more violent, but I was told to tone those down and I did. This was kind of the start of expected changes within the creative process. Aside from “No More Masters, No More Slaves” which is our most popular song to date, this record mainly focused on my past and was a very personal record.

The fourth album, A Judgment Divine marked the start of our issues. This began shortly after the recording of the third album, when the band was winning small talent contests put on by Toilet Ov Hell. The guys at Toilet were very supportive at first, but then they started to write hot take articles, similar to the MetalSucks hot takes that still appear from time to time. One of them dissed independent and smaller bands, which of course I had a problem with. I pointed out the hypocrisy of their statement by pointing out that they seemed to really like our band and we’d won quite a few battles in our home state. My point was that dissing smaller bands doesn’t really help the scene and it still doesn’t. It was a hipster hot take that had me arguing with them and some occult rapper who I’d known from an occult forum and just happened to run into on there as well. He was also an independent, but for some odd reason agreed with what they had to say – even if it was against him. Though to be fair, the guy wasn’t metal and he wasn’t performing very well with his rap career either, which I’m not even sure is still a thing. Needless to say, because of social media drama they never covered our fourth album.

However, there’s more to it than that. We had the backing of a promoter who I once worked with back when I was actively reviewing records for the press and they helped us to get far more notable streams of promotion, as well as radio plays and other things. Toilet largely became a MetalSucks sister site with their political hot takes, so I’m kinda glad that they didn’t continue to cover us. Because I am a very outspoken person in the industry, I have defended their enemies (many of which became my friends, and in fact one of the guys that I defended in the past recommended the man who built this very website anew) and I notably defended Metal Hell Records on a MetalSucks comment page, (this got me a lot of recognition from people all over the world) as several people on the fierce political left demonized me. In fact, one journalist sent me a message one day of another person in the industry calling me all the magic words (racist, homophobe, misogynist) because I disagreed with their political points. These were never an issue for me when I worked with bands. I’m pretty sure the satanic black metal band I interviewed (who all met each other at whole foods) were not right-wing Christian conservatives. I covered every kind of artist with every kind of political belief on the planet. None of it mattered until recently and that’s about the time the band was on the wane.

I’d been fiercely fighting other journalists because there were all these little cliques being formed and if you didn’t agree with them, you would be pretty much blacklisted. No matter how much work you did or how long you paid your dues to the industry, some young snot-nosed punk would tell you that you didn’t work hard enough just because you believed in one thing or another. So there was a lot of that on my ass. The industry was going “woke” like many other things in society and many of the bands I promoted and enjoyed were being blacklisted by the new regime of culture. So what the heck, I thought I would address it. I had written an entire song about the social media mind control thing, threw it up as track one and then despite all the work I put into it, I had to trash it, re-record it and do something else. That’s how you got “Army Of Sand.” I still thought “The Grand Banquet” would have been a better opener, but that’s what we ultimately decided on. I took one of my old songs and basically cobbled it together for “Theory Of Existence” which worked very well. Then of course you had “Gates II: The Cold Masque Of Romance” which originally was about a guy being strangled to death by a sex robot that he felt he could trust. I had put the call out for a female vocalist to sing the parts of the robot, which I probably should have hired on fiver (but I did not know that at the time) and no one ever responded to the request. However, I broke off a very short-lived relationship and immediately felt what I’d consider to be a chemical withdrawal from the after-effects of it. So the song became about that instead and I’m okay with that version.

Now, there are two other things I really want to get into here. The first was “Carving” which was originally meant to be track four. Yes, A Judgment Divine originally had seven tracks, not six. And yes, I have a completed version of “Carving.” The concept of “Carving” was simple. It was a guy who was making a living sex doll out of the parts of the corpses that would come in at a funeral home. Bill thought I was using this song to get something out of me, but it was merely a story I was telling based on an article that may or may not be true. Yes, “Carving” actually had it’s roots in the story of a man who had been arrested for making a sex doll out of body parts from a mortuary. The song ended with the man mainly noting that the thing could not love him and still being depressed. Now this was a year before I had bought my own doll and experienced a completely different kind of chemical reaction in the brain as well as a bonding hormone effect. Oh yes, I’ve talked with several psychologists and there’s nothing really all that wrong here. In fact, I made it a point to talk with psychologists about the issue. Zexxy never got in the way of social interaction and I never had some weird instance where I thought she was something more than just a doll. In fact, the doll I preferred to the drama of a real relationship. They’re fun when you’re young, but a bit of a pain when you get older. Dolls also don’t hog all the blankets at night.

Then there was our last song, the album’s title track. This was a collaborative attempt on the lyrics, something that was new for us. I was dipping back into conspiracy however and I mentioned something about “Eurasian Kings” in my lyrics. Bill automatically assumed these were alt-right lyrics against the Jews, even though one of my biggest influences in life has been Howard Stern. I’ve even got Private Parts and Miss America on my shelf in hardcover. Howard was the man and he gave no fucks. He’s calmed down a bit with age, but I used to watch the show all of the time on E! when I could catch it and I even had a chance to check out the radio show a few times before it moved to Sirius XM. You’re also talking about guys like Dee Snider who stood up for metal in the best way I’ve ever seen, as well as Scott Ian of Anthrax (and yes, I’m actually a big fan of the John Bush era of Anthrax). Not to mention Kiss, who I am a really big fan of as well (and if you don’t tell, neither will I). Gene Simmons was a Jewish immigrant. So no, I wasn’t referring to “the Jews” in my lyrics. What I was referring to however, are a multicultural global elite that would be housed within Europe and Asia, possibly even parts of America. I never got to do “Camp Hollywood” where I planned to address that. Anyway, the song did fairly well and most people probably wouldn’t have cared too much about the lyrics either way. After all, I had a song about turning into a Zoanoid monster (from The Guyver) and then a Kaiju (Godzilla, Super Sentai) monster where I’d eat people and destroy buildings called “The Grand Banquet” and that was far worse.

Then came the fifth album cycle. The record had been done for over a year before I could finally approach it proper and that was just the past couple of months. It is a shame, but I was on track to having the record fully completed by Summer. So you would have gotten it by July. Yes, that quick. I only had to add a few more lyrics to current songs and Bill had a few songs that he was working on as well, but we were both working on lyrics while at the same time I was adding vocals and mixing the tracks. I completed two tracks. The first was to open the album and it was “The Evolutionary Cycle Of Collapse.” Basically, the old modicum of “hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men and weak men create hard times.” I was referring to the situation in the US right now, which is certainly teetering on all that.

However, it was the next song that I feel caused the band to break apart and I’ll explain that. To start, I really don’t know what Bill was doing with that second song. It sounded great, but there was a melody section that reminded me more of a solo and solo sections had been (since I was scolded on earlier albums) time to hush up and let the guitar do it’s thing. So when I heard the solo and noticed it there, it felt very bizarre to even put vocals on that section. Don’t get me wrong, the beginning of the song sounded absolutely vile. I was having a blast with the first section and originally this was under “Island Of The Infinite Paragon” which unfortunately did not fit with the song at all. I was trying to tell a story here, but the music just simply did not fit as hard as I tried. It was just too active for my lyrics.

Then of course, I fought my way through and opted with “Doomslayer” which was a song I’d written last fall and was actually a reference to a few things – growing discontent in the US, like the summer riots and the CHAZ/CHOP situation, as well as a total collapse situation where life becomes extremely brutish. To make that easier to swallow, I threw a fun conspiracy that the world ended in 2012, this was actually hell and that the denizens of the world were like ravenous demons. Bill did not understand that in a first person shooter game, a rifle is a common weapon. I particularly like the shotgun, or as Ash says in Evil Dead, “That’s my boomstick!” There was a lyric that said, “Walking through the forest of illusion with a rifle in my hand.” Immediately I had gotten a text that asked me if I was writing a song about a mass shooting, despite the fact that I had condemned them in many articles and several videos where I demonized the shooters and even referred to them as an expletive word for a woman’s sexual organs. I have no sympathy for a person who would take a life because they don’t get their way. I’ve said that countless times. However, this was a collapse situation where if you didn’t kill them, they were going to kill you. It’s the kind of madness that happens in a country after it’s economy has fallen and it’s currency has become useless. In a world where goods and services are exchanged through debt based currencies, if those currencies are worth nothing, then your entire system falls in on itself, chaos ensues and people start behaving like animals again. So it’s not that dissimilar from a first person shooter, or a survival games that people love to play these days. The character also thought he was the savior of mankind, partially due to trauma and undernourishment. The point of the song was quite simply that the collapse of a nation is very much a very violent “kill or be killed” situation, it would undoubtedly suck and resemble an FPS or survival game of another sort.

Both of these songs were completed and even though I defended them, I was sent an email stating that it was best that my involvement in the band come to a close. I did ask that my work could at least be revealed to the public in some format as I spent a lot of time on it. I was even going to remix “Carving” as well as a few old demos and alternate takes for the fans who wanted to hear them. And people did. There are definitely people who wanted to know what the new album would have sounded like. And since “Carving” took a very long time to record, I definitely wanted people to hear it. I cannot tell you how long I spent tracking that song, but it was definitely the most taxing performance I’ve ever endured on any record that we’ve ever made. The whole thing was ultimately trashed and the riffs were never used again, which sucks because some of them were very good. I really liked the “there she is” part of the song, those melodies were great and lined up perfectly with the vocals. Ultimately though, Bill said that he didn’t want demos floating around and was trying very hard to keep a lid on those songs I worked on for quite a number of days, especially considering the fact that I work full time and make video content for the internet, which also takes up a great deal of time.

However, the one thing that really irked me is when this was referred to as a “collaborative project.” No, it was a band. We were a two-piece band, not a “collaborative project.” He composed all of the music, I composed the majority of the lyrics and I performed all of the vocals and mixed the final tracks. I also did promotion and got us a deal with some sites where we could promote our music. I also kept Bill abreast of other Torii’s which could cause issues with the band’s catalogue. So I worked just as hard as any band member would. This was always seen as a band to me and I definitely considered it my band, because Bill gave a voice to my insanity. But perhaps the world has become just so insane that the insanity of my lyrics is too much.

What’s really funny though, is I spent yesterday listening to the entire Mudvayne discography, with that band obviously being a big influence on my vocals and lyrics in some instances. Mudvayne sang about several things that we did and then some – conspiracy, murder, violence, there’s even a song called “I Can’t Wait” off their self-titled debut that is about gun violence. And it’s a hell of a lot more graphic than “Doomslayer” ever was. Then you have my favorite Mudvayne record, the band’s black album entitled The End Of All Things To Come. The title track on that album contains far worse lyrics than anything I had ever written for the band. The band was advocating genocide of the entire human race, and they were signed to a major label. The lyrics were not enough to upset anyone, in fact they gained even more popularity with Lost and Found later.

Then it became really clear to me just recently, that there’s a song and a message that I stood behind from the very beginning and completely forgot about. I used to listen to this song all the time on the way the work, so it was even more bizarre that I’d forgotten about it and that message it held. That would be the first song from Mudvayne’s The End Of All Things To Come, simply called “Silenced.” In today’s modern climate, there is no song more powerful than “Silenced.” It is very clear what the band were trying to say with this one and I completely forgot my principles in the band. This was our project and I should not have balked when it came to “Carving.” Though it was a creepy song, it was no less creepy than any creepypasta you might find on the internet. It wasn’t even vulgar. I wrote it with a poetic style and I loved it. It’s just a kind of creepy horror tale.

That’s also why I wouldn’t balk when it came to “Doomslayer.” I knew it was controversial. But so did Mudvayne when they put out songs like “The End Of All Things To Come” or even “Scarlet Letters” which is basically a suicide note, but one of the best song songs on what was considered a lackluster release. We can even go to songs like Disturbed’s “Violence Fetish” or “Psycho” which are definitely not politically correct. There are dozens of Dope and even Slipknot songs that are worse than what I’d written and let’s not even get into Lamb Of God, who had written some pretty crazy stuff over the years as well. But I noticed a lot of these bands are now being pressured to tone things down and thankfully that’s not true of everyone. I recently checked out an act called Blind Endurance and they sound like what would happen if Lamb Of God got their balls back, not that the prior album was terrible, it just lacked a lot of the craziness of their early materials. I’ve always liked ballsy, controversial stuff. And many of our lyrics still got by with a lot of craziness when we were still a bunch of young punks. But to be honest, ten years have passed since we started the band in 2012 and maybe it was time to move on. Perhaps I’ve said all I can with this act and it’s time for something more vulgar and ballsy. I want to upset the status quo, which is the metal thing to do.

One thing I did do in the band was refrain from using expletives out of sheer respect to Bill. However, things have gotten so crazy in the world now that I want to do an insanely explicit band now. I really want to come out there and tell people exactly what I think about all the things going on in society right now. If the world is burning, then it ought to have a proper soundtrack. Blind Endurance and Onslaught really influenced me, then Mudvayne came back into my playlist and reminded me of the kind of crazy music I grew up with and why it is so important now. There are a lot of people who want to get rid of the edgy music, comics, movies, games and other things from my childhood and teen years and I’m not going to let them do it. That’s what this site is for, to promote all that good stuff – and I can’t edit or censor myself anymore.

I also need to add that when I was discussing this with a longtime friend who I’m already working on an album with (and we’re re-purposing “Doomslayer” as he thought it was pretty tame) mentioned a little tidbit that I hadn’t expected. “Maybe it’s not your lyrics at all.” He said. “Maybe the guy just wants to do everything himself now.” To be honest, I hadn’t considered this. But it seems that Bill did want to write more of the album, seeing as I was given a lyrical treatment this time around – the first time such a thing has ever happened. It really did start to seem like he was pushing to make this album his own project now and perhaps that’s all for the best.

To make a long story short, because I could not release the tracks I worked on and he considered my role in the project as something of a job; I finally caved on my idea to release demos and ended up scrapping everything for a studio fee. So yes, I deleted everything that had been worked on, including all of the wavs and demos from previous albums that could have been re-purposed in some way. But the two new songs I did work on will remain in my personal playlist as proof of my hard work on them. Most people will probably never hear them and that’s fine. You’ll probably hear those lyrics in another format anyway.

But alright, I’ll tell you what I did have planned for the next album had it not ended this way. The third song was actually a very positive track called “A Man Is Not Defined By His Struggles” and I was set to record it the day that we split-up. This song was about overcoming trauma and not allowing yourself to be defined by the negative experiences that you’ve had in your life. The next one I was working on was a compilation of both mine and Bill’s lyrics. It was called “Cosmic Asphyxiation.” The idea behind the song wasn’t really known, it was kind of a mystical one where the listener would make up their own mind. Then of course we had “Torii” which for me was going to be about independence and freedom, the ability to step through the gateway and find your own path (as Torii are gateways) rather than the one society wants to offer you. Bill was also compiling lyrics for the piece, though I wasn’t sure what his vision was there. On this album, three songs would have had Bill’s lyrical involvement and he said that he was even planning on providing vocals too. In a way, I guess I was being pushed out of the thing. Well, I guess I wish him luck in those regards, but I just hope I can get more projects together that allow me to speak my piece in the way that I do best. It’s not over yet for me and I’ll have a lot more new material for you guys coming up. I may even do some things outside of metal, as I have been batting that around in my head as well. I’m not really sure what’s next, but I definitely can’t wait to start on it. As I close the chapter on Torii, a new chapter begins to open on other things and that’s a normal part of life. I hold no ill will towards Bill or the band as a whole. 

Finally, and this is to the reviewers of the new album, I know you’re going to be upset that I’m no longer on there and I tried to make it work, but I would not compromise my lyrics again this time. I’d even cut whole sections of “Doomslayer” out because they could be referred to the Q nonsense that got way out of hand. After all, much of Q was just a bunch of fairly old conspiracies thrown into a blender and easily digested by people with low IQ’s and short attention spans. We always considered it bullshit in the traditional conspiracy community. However, those lines in particular referenced a few things that I have an eyewitness source who worked with police on and are very much a chilling reality. He’s also far from a conservative, he’s a notable occultist and lives in the UK. The truth is not quite as outlandish as some of the things that the Q-tards were spitting out, but it’s still not entirely great and that’s all I’ll say about that. These were just a few mediocre lines, but perhaps someone would have understood what I was trying to say. Even so it was better to just leave them out. I honestly did not know much about Q, nor did I pay them any attention. Last I heard of them was on Sam Tripoli’s podcast back in 2019 and I haven’t listened to that guy in years. Yet even though I chopped several verses out of it, it was apparently still too much. But I don’t think it is realized how much of a staple I was in this band. My swamp monster vocals will be missed, but hopefully I can bring them back to you in some other format. We’ll see! 

– The Grim Lord

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