BLOOD AXIS is everything but a typical music group. Conceived by twenty-year-old Michael Moynihan in 1989, over its 15-year lifespan it has always elicited strong reactions. Blood Axis makes use of stark and unexpected juxtapositions–musically, intellectually and viscerally–to forge a powerful yet ambiguous weapon against the status quo.
Musically Blood Axis conjures inherent contrasts. Stylistically impossible to categorize, the group’s recordings have ranged from foreboding electronic fanfares to rousing acoustic folksongs, both original and traditional. Over the years Blood Axis has employed various techniques of musical collage, set poems of historical (and sometimes nearly pre-historical) importance to music, radically reinterpreted classical themes and forced them into unexpected forms, and used innovative methods in the studio to create very modern music that nevertheless proclaims allegiance to older sounds and archaic ways of thinking.
The roots of Blood Axis can be traced back to the industrial underground. In 1984 Michael Moynihan began recording harsh electronic music under the name Coup de Grâce (CDG). In 1986 CDG performed in Antwerp, Belgium, Holland and Germany. During this period Moynihan collaborated with Annemarie Van Kerckhoven (AMVK) and Danny Devos (DDV) of Club Moral, contributed to their art journal Force Mental, and appeared as part of a major performance art exhibit in Amsterdam along with Cosey Fanni Tutti. He was also an assistant to the first Survival Research Laboratories event to take place in Europe, also in Amsterdam. In the late 1980s Moynihan began working with Boyd Rice, and collaborated on the 1989 Non concerts in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.
Blood Axis brought forth its debut album, The Gospel of Inhumanity, in 1995. Since its appearance the album has remained in print-having been reissued on three different labels in the subsequent years-and still attracts consistent interest from new generations of listeners. In 1997 Blood Axis was invited to appear at the 10th Anniversary party for the seminal Swedish industrial label Cold Meat Industry. This performance also resulted in a digitally remixed and reprocessed live album Blót: Sacrifice in Sweden (1999), which is the only CMI release ever by a non-Scandinavian music group. In 1999 Blood Axis toured across Europe, playing in 11 countries with bands such as Allerseelen, Death In June, Fire + Ice, Ordo Equilibrio, Ain Soph, Voxus Imp. and Sangre Cavallum.
In 2001 Blood Axis played as part of a special concert series in Sintra, Portugal, together with Fire & Ice and In Gowan Ring. This acoustic collaboration was entitled “The Ring of Fire and Blood” and also featured a joint performance with the French project Les Joyaux de la Princesse (LJDLP). Studio collaborations with LJDLP resulted in the acclaimed pair of Absinthe CD releases: La Folie Verte (Athanor, also released in a deluxe vinyl boxset edition) and Absinthia Taetra (Athanor). The connection between Blood Axis and the once-banned elixir of Absinthe goes back to the earliest days of the group, and The Gospel of Inhumanity also featured a song dedicated to “La Fée Verte.”
Due to the volatile imagery it uses in the service of its art, Blood Axis has always met with strange reactions. The intentions of the group are frequently misunderstood and misrepresented. Contrary to the claims of those who oppose the band, Blood Axis celebrates free thought and rejects 20th-century totalitarian ideologies of any sort. Blood Axis remains a band of perennial outsiders whose primary interest is creative art and who have no interest whatsoever in politics. Blood Axis nourishes iconoclasm against complacent assumptions, against mindless conformity, against doctrines of socio-political, moral or religious dogma. Blood Axis represents the grey area of ambiguity, beyond simplistic categories or utopian fantasies.
Michael Moynihan (vocals, percussion, melodeon) has been an active artist for the better part of his life. In recent years he has written and edited a number of books and journals. He is the co-editor of the cultural journal TYR: Myth-Culture-Tradition, as well as the North American editor of the London magazine Rûna. His best-selling study of the Black Metal underground, Lords of Chaos (co-written with journalist Didrik Søderlind), has been translated into German, French and Russian. The Dominion publishing company which he runs with Annabel Lee has most recently issued a book by surrealist erotic artist Hans Bellmer, as well as a volume of essays by English philosopher and mischief-maker John Michell.
A violinist since age 7, Annabel Lee (electric and acoustic violin, vocals) is also an accomplished translator of scholarly ethnobotanical books from German into English. In recent years she has contributed to a new edition of the classic work Plants of the Gods by Albert Hofmann, Richard Schultes and Christian Rätsch, as well as the massive reference volume The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants by Rätsch. In addition she translated Witchcraft Medicine and Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas, both written by Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling, et al. She has also directed music videos and is a contributor to various periodicals.
Robert Ferbrache (guitar, keyboard, effects) is a long-time collaborator with Blood Axis and director of the Absinthe recording studio in Westminster, Colorado. Many of the recordings that he has engineered and mixed in the studio have been widely acclaimed, including albums by 16 Horsepower, Lilium, Jay Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Death In June and Boyd Rice, In Gowan Ring, and Human Head Transplant. He has also been a live music photographer and is currently an innovator in digital surround-sound recording techniques.
In addition to his musical pursuits, J. Arthur Loose (bass, vocals) is a professional metalsmith, creating jewelry and knives. His specialty is the creation of traditionally inspired Damascus steel knives, swords, and other implements from ancient Europe and Scandinavia. His work can be viewed at: http://www.jloose.com
“Special guests” on Blood Axis recordings have included: Friedrich Nietzsche, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Prokofiev, Charles Manson, Ezra Pound, Klaus Kinski, Verdi, Bach, Stephen Flowers (Edred Thorsson), Friedrich Hielscher, Boyd Rice, and others who prefer their names be kept secret.
Members of Blood Axis have also been involved with: Alraune, Les Joyaux de la Princesse, Waldteufel, Fire & Ice, 16 Horsepower, Non, Boyd Rice and Friends, Human Head Transplant, The Electric Hellfire Club, Amber Asylum, Crash Worship, Slave State, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Sleep Chamber, The Soul Merchants, Changes, Cotton Ferox, Backworld, Allerseelen, In Gowan Ring, Ernte, and Coup de Grâce.
BLOOD AXIS DISCOGRAPHY: The Gospel of Inhumanity (Storm/Tesco, 1995), Blót: Sacrifice in Sweden (Cold Meat Industry, 1999), Absinthe: La Folie Verte (Athanor, CD 2002; boxset vinyl edition 2003), Absinthia Taetra (Athanor, 2004), Witch-Hunt: The Rites of Samhain (Storm/Tesco, 2005), Anthology 1989-2004 (Storm/Tesco, 2005; CD + DVD audio), as well as numerous compilation appearances.