“With a Thorn in Our Hearts”

As stated in my bio, I am a passionate fan of black metal and similar genres of dark music. Therefore, from time to time, I like to share songs that I think especially capture the spirit of Tenebrous Satanism. “With a Thorn in Our Hearts,” by Alghazanth, is one such song. Musically as well as lyrically, it reflects a number of my heartfelt convictions about the Abyssal Void of Darkness.

About Alghazanth

Although I have a few albums by this band, I don’t count myself as a dedicated “fan.” Thus, about all I know about them is from Encyclopaedia Metallum. Highlights there include:

  • They’re from Finland – as is also true of a great many other black, folk and power metal bands I like.
  • They were active from 1995 to 2018.
  • “According to an interview with Frostkamp, the name of the band originated from a dream of Gorath Moonthorn’s, in which it was revealed to him by ‘a deathbringer spirit in the shape of a white wolf.’” i.e. looks like we’ve got an awesome origin story…

That last bit gives me the impression that Alghazanth’s music involves some genuine occult interest and knowledge. The particular song I’ll be discussing suggests possible affinity with Anti-Cosmic Satanism, as per the previous band I posted about on here. My impression thus is that they subscribe to some variant of left-hand-path spirituality. I’m unsure of details beyond that, though.

Song and lyrics

As retrieved from darklyrics.com:

From the shapeless seed of Death grew the most dreadful wonder
Towering unseen over all existence
Its roots are wrapped tight around Creation’s throat
And God’s all faces drown in the shadow of its Crown

In waking, in dreaming,
In dreamless sleep we’re drawn
By signs and fate towards that vast sinister source

And the song of ravens will guide us forth!

Attempt to approach in hope of consolation
And lost you’ll be in the freezing wasteland
But come thirsting for unearthly strength
And you may find the bliss that never ends

Seasons rise, seasons fall,
Yet the Tree of Night is florescent forevermore

A venomous thorn from its blackest bough
Is buried deep in the chests of the chosen
Piercing the side of the heart every time it beats
Never to let us forget what we truly seek

In prayer and rites we’re torn
Reborn and slain again by that transforming force

And the song of ravens keeps raging on!

Come and harvest the fruit of rebellion
Partake in the orgy of apotheosis
To stand upright and to choose your own way
Eat of this offering and nothing will be the same

Kingdoms rise, kingdoms fall,
Yet the Tree of Night is florescent forevermore

A venomous thorn from its blackest bough
Is buried deep in the chests of the chosen
Piercing the side of the heart every time it beats
To wake us up from this cursed cosmic dream


On the nature of the Abyssal Void of Darkness

Many initial details of this song I find evocative of the nature of the Abyssal Void of Darkness. These include:

“Shapeless seed of death” / “vast sinister source”
The divine source described here is dreadful, but also wondrous. The source-of-all is not some plenitude of Light, but the Abyss itself.

“Its roots are wrapped tight around creation’s throat”
This suggests a relationship between spirit and flesh that is simultaneously intimate and adversarial. That which is the source of life is also the driver behind all of life’s suffering.

“God’s all faces drown in the Shadow of its Crown”
However most human religions may attempt to depict the Ultimate, such depictions fall short of the full reality. They fall short, moreover, insofar as they fail to grasp the Darkness that both precedes and surpasses them. Spirit originates in the Abyssal Void; such is the force that animates living things and spirits alike; in this respect, “God” is no different from human beings. Putting “God” on a pedestal – or for that matter, ourselves – is too-often merely an attempt to suppress distressing knowledge of a Darkness that utterly transcends our “normal” imagining of the divine.

On the experience of the Tenebrous Satanist

Lyrics later in the song match up well with my take on what it means to be a Tenebrous Satanist. These include:

“Consolation” vs. “unearthly strength”
Although Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness takes pains to clarify that I respect spiritual paths other than my own, Satanism nonetheless entails an opinion as to “better” vs. “worse” ways of coping with life. It is understandable for some to see life as unbearable, and to plead to the divine for relief. Tenebrous Satanism posits, however, that such individuals ultimately wind up mired in the “freezing wasteland” of delusion and disappointment. It is better – albeit far more difficult – to accept that existence is as it is, and yet do one’s utmost to affirm life anyway. Such an accomplishment requires “unearthly strength,” and culminates in as close an approximation to “bliss” as the world’s imperfections allow.

“Venomous thorn”
This metaphor strikes me as a Dark version of 2 Corinthians: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” From a Satanic perspective, the “messenger of Satan” is one’s own Faustian drive: to strive ever-onward, never satisfied; to make war against delusion, rejecting the false peace of complacency; to stand apart from the herd, instead of embracing its fears, fads and fictions. Thus, even when mired amid the mundane for a time, we “never forget what we truly seek.”

“Eat of this offering”
This whole verse is suggestive of a Satanic take on the Eden narrative. Humans become “as gods” by seizing all that religious authorities have called “forbidden”: curiosity, self-assertion, independence, ecstasy, etc…

On Tenebrous conceptions of life and the afterlife

Finally, regarding life and what comes after, lines of interest include:

“Yet the Tree of Night is florescent forever more”
Note that the word here is not fluorescent, but florescent – i.e. blooming, flowering. Such imagery motivates Tenebrous Satanism’s talk of flourishing – i.e. not merely short-term, individual indulgence, but exuberant well-being that is long-term and interdependent. Although Abyssal Death is one face of Darkness, another of its faces is spirit, ever-reveling in the Adventure that is embodied life. Thus is Satanism’s steadfast focus on this world justified.  The world is not a prison to be escaped from – contra “cursed cosmic dream,” the one Anti-Cosmic-sounding line of this song that I don’t jive with. Rather, this world is where where Darkness enjoys novelty, complexity and the overcoming of adversity through us. Thus, though we may suffer with passing of “seasons” and “kingdoms,” we are truest to our inmost nature when we persist, nonetheless, in affirming life.

“the song of ravens”
An evocation of the experience of death via the eating of carrion. Tenebrous Satanism demands open-eyed acceptance of the reality of this-worldly existence. An important component of this is every living creature’s eventual consignment to oblivion amid Abyssal Void of Darkness’ mad love affair with the flesh. Yes, the seed of the Void in every living being is itself immortal. But so much of any creature’s identity is destroyed every time the flesh is sloughed off that for all intensive purposes, we are “reborn and slain again” endlessly. Given the terror this involves, I have great sympathy for those who prefer moksha, nirvana, etc. I, however, reject such anesthetic solutions to the problem of existence. Thus does “the song of ravens” guide me forth…

Closing thoughts

Part of what can make a hymn powerful is its ability to offer new metaphors through which to understand the divine. “With a Thorn in Our Hearts” by Alghazanth is, to me, a hymn of Darkness in this sense.

Being Qabalah-influenced, I am familiar with the concept of an inverted Tree of Life, as per Kenneth Grant’s work. But since I have wound up not bringing any Qabalistic elements into Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness (the book is long enough already!), Darkness as a “Tree” isn’t a metaphor I’ve used there. This doesn’t mean, however, that I reject such a metaphor. The vegetative metaphor’s working on multiple levels – roots, thorns, flowers, fruit – is something I think this song illustrates very well.

This kind of “evil, yet having at least some constructive elements” aesthetic is a rare gem in the black metal genre. Many of the bands I strongly gravitate toward hit this note of dark exultation at least some of the time. I am always eager to find more, though, so any suggestions offered via comments or social media are much appreciated!

Revision history

This post received minor edits to images, capitalization, wording, and classification tags on Aug 22/23.

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