“It has been said, 'the truth will make men free.' The truth alone has never made anyone free. It is only doubt which will bring mental emancipation.”
–Anton Szandor LaVey
The Western mindset, mostly influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs, is characterized by a dual view of life consisting, basically, in a struggle of good versus evil forces. Satan, whose name in Hebrew means “the adversary” or “the accuser,” is most of the time associated to the forces of evil, wickedness, and the forbidden. Nonetheless, if we go beyond any religious belief, Satan as an archetype embodies the rebel, the one who accuses and questions social or religious dogmas, the misunderstood, or the pariah. So, it’s no surprise that many bands belonging to Heavy Metal, an openly defiant music genre, have embraced this figure as a symbol of their rebelliousness and constant questioning of established discourses.
In an interview with Cultura Colectiva, King Diamond, a central figure in the Heavy Metal scene, shared how the way LaVeyan Satanism –which follows the ideas of Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible– has influenced his view on life and his creative process while writing music. Although in most of his band’s lyrics there aren’t direct mentions of Satanism, he has stated that as a philosophy of life, this current has enriched the storytelling of his albums.
“Do not give your opinions or advice unless you are asked.”
According to Anton LaVey’s 11 principles in the Satanic Bible, a person must be aware of the fact that no one has the absolute truth about life. Satanism is not a religion per se, but an agnostic approach to understand humankind and learn from one’s own experience. King Diamond, a follower of LaVeyan Satanism, explains the following:
“I was following this lifestyle, even before reading LaVey's Satanic Bible. Some people say ‘You can’t do this,’ ‘You can’t do that, ‘You can’t believe this.’ Why not? As long as you don’t hurt other people, why can’t you do certain things that maybe some people don't consider "normal." For me, the root of all evil comes from religion. I can’t say whether there’s no god, one god, or many gods, because I don’t know. There’s a lot of people saying they believe in the right god, and hate everybody else who disagrees with them and their rules. I don’t understand that. I think people should have much more respect for each other, no matter their beliefs.”
It’s all about living and letting live. It doesn’t matter if your beliefs are not the same as others. What’s important is to respect others and be aware that your own reality can be different to others’ and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.”
The singer and composer said about his view on life:
“My friends believe in different things than me, I don’t even know what they all believe in because I don’t really care. They’re good people that’s what matters to me. They respect me, I respect them. But there's too many people out there who kill others because they don’t believe in the same things. Why do we have to kill each other just because we believe in a different god? It’s a personal thing, so we should keep it a little bit more private.”
As the LaVeyan principle states, it is wise to have in mind that not everyone will agree with your own views, especially in such an ambiguous subject as religion. There is no point in arguing about it. Unless you are sure others want to know your opinion on these topics, you can say them out loud. Otherwise, it could be source of unnecessary conflict.
“Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully…”
Besides being a musician, King Diamond is a storyteller, and each album narrates a horror story related to his life. To write his lyrics, the singer has been inspired by the horrors of humanity itself; however, he has openly recognized that many supernatural experiences he has lived through have influenced the stories behind each of his songs.
“I use the things that I see in my life, including the occult experiences, which I change to fit the albums’ stories. One of the first things that I saw was a glass floating in the air, in my very own apartment, a very haunted apartment. Mercyful Fate [his other band] had just recorded its first demo and we were sitting, Kim Ruzz, my brother, and myself, waiting for the other guys to come and listen to it. While talking suddenly my brother's glass rose two feet up in the air. None of us really believed it; we just looked at each other. It took a while before I said to them 'I know you saw that,' and they just nodded. I used that experience in the lyrics for the song ‘Welcome Princess of Hell.’ And that’s why I say that these powers of darkness are always welcome in my home. It’s as if the powers of the unknown came and said ‘Hey, we will stay with you and help you.’ That’s what I feel.”
“Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.”
This principle has to do with enjoying life and not worrying about those things we cannot change. Satanist ideology encourages people to be responsible for their own lives. So, when there are things we can change, instead of complaining about something being unfair, we must do what we can to change it.
After having a near-death experience in 2010, King Diamond has made the most of his life, and now that he is touring to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his band’s epic album Abigail, the musician feels better than ever.
“I practically died and came back, I got a second chance. Now I don’t smoke, I eat healthy, I live healthy. I can sing Abigail’s songs even better. I asked the guys ‘why don’t we do a couple of shows?’ Why don’t we go to places we’ve never been before? We have a big production now. It’s the best show we’ve ever had. King Diamond, has never sounded this good. We have the best crew now. We have so much fun now. When I go onstage, I go to perform and have fun. Everything is so much better now.”
Unlike popular beliefs state, Satanism is not a cult to a demonic deity, but an ideology that invites us to take our lives on our own hands and make the most of it without hurting others or letting ourselves be hurt. Through his music and his life's philosophy, King Diamond proves it’s all about having passion for life, respecting others, and being open to new experiences, even if we can’t explain them.