“The Beast” (Twisted Sister)

Metal has birthed so many beasts. Hundreds of metal trax invoke the “Beast,” and each one, consciously or not, finds its roots in the Great Beast, the Victorian mage Aleister Crowley (rhymes with holy). Crowley’s mother, Emily, called him “Beast,” and set him on a path to magickally overcome the Christian era and its morality and enter a new aeon in which “every man and every woman is a star” (Liber AL). In the wake of Crowley, this “beast” was hybridized with paganism, nihilism, anti-modernism, and therapeutic individualism and bestowed onto metal as a fundamental legacy. In metal’s looking-backwards eutopianism, one affirms the “beast” set free from the church and the state (any remainder tacitly becomes prey). In this way, metal attempts to recover an original beast, self-named, rather than ascripted by steeple and rotunda. Beasts without sovereignty. And yet, and yet. . . . Twisted Sister’s claim regarding the “nature of the beast” remains tethered to clerical inventors (to understand the beast, we must “listen to the [Judas?] priest”) and the sovereign’s original ban (against “this Cain”). And sovereignty, as Derrida suggests in The Beast and the Sovereign, has always already shown its beastly side, whether one reads Hobbes or Rousseau. In all this beast talk, one searches for something more, or something less, than a mirror for magistrates.


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