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Book Review: Gathering of the Tribe – Author Mark Goodall

It seems that the devil has been rearing his ugly head for quite sometime. Of course he has been the inspiration for countless films over decades past with many of them becoming fan favorites for years to come. The subject of Satan, the occult and ritualistic gatherings have arose in music as well. More so than most think and many times under more diabolical circumstances. The 80’s drew out all the blatant devil bands who used the demons as a form of symbolic coolness but it was alot of the earlier bands from the 60’s and 70s that drew a darker picture, one that suggested there was more to the mix than just cool T-shirt logos and scary lyrics.

In “Gathering of the Tribe”, a monumental literature achievement by author Mark Goodall, Goodall runs thru the bands, albums and music of the times that suggested occultism and demonic involvement. In fact it was the beginnings of backwards masking and hidden symbolism that could be found in the records themselves AND much of the artwork produced. At the forefront of this controversy were bands like “The Beatles”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Rolling Stones” and “The Eagles”, just to name a few. I knew this would be a book I’d have a hard time putting down as I myself have taken interest over the years in some of these acid-fueled controversial times. Though with drugs aside, the book paints a scary picture of truth, associations, deaths, killings and madness that arrive from darker places. Fans of music, should really give this one a whirl especially if you curiosity is peaked like mine is. There is alot of history here, in fact the book is almost 500 pages long with Goodall really covering the gamut of past occultism into music industry.

“Gathering of the Tribe” in title refers to a music event that brought together several well known performers, but the book is something different. One look at the cover and a flip thru of its collective reviews would suggest a volume that gears more towards the hippy generation. While “that” era of music is perhaps the biggest focal point here with artists such as Zappa and Captain Beefheart, the book tends to take an analytical approach to the music, the culture and what was being produced for the time.

As stated, many of the albums featured in this collective were regarded as obscure or low selling. Rather than just feature the well known contributions, “Gathering of the Tribe” takes a look at how the occult and esotericism of the times were blended into the style of music being produced. Some titles were more literal making claims about the devil while others were simply just meant to “take you somewhere” and serve as vehicles for experimentation. It was time when Crowley was still in many people minds and because of that was an influence into the compositional stance of musicians from the times. The book is divided into chapters that move form folk music, to cosmic sounds, to jazz and the music that accompanied films. A film such as “Rosemary’s Baby” is staple for the music and mind set that was in play. Folks were paranoid while others were contemplating the journeys of transcendence and spiritual heightening.

I found as a reviewer that my journey was going to be more selective into the artists that intrigued me. Certainly there are now some “Moondog” records and “Beefheart” releases that I’ll have to investigate, but also even the more obscure offerings from well know acts such as “The Monkees” and the “Rolling Stones”. You have to wonder as each made a claim into brining the occult and music collectively together what means it served and was it just a trend or an essential part of their progressions? Throbbing Gristle, one of the early pioneers of industrial music probably didn’t realize the impact that electronic experimentation would play into the future of music

You’ll learn how the number “9” was to be a symbolic number that connected the occult and the music spawning into decision making paths and lifestyles. You’ll learn how certain buildings and locations were somehow connected and how forms of spiritualism were in integrated and used as a vehicle for deeper expression. Overall “Gathering of the Tribe” is an extremely well written and insightful. The research here is impressive with plenty of ground for readers to investigate further. Even the films mentioned within the book provide great ground work for fans of these eras to accompany much of the music of the times. The book mentions partially way thru that is planning a 2nd edition volume, which will hopefully make way for some of the more well known release that weren’t as through covered in this edition.”Gathering of the Tribe” is another release from the publishers of “Headpress” who are known for releasing several explorations into the weird and quirky aspects of our culture.

PR notes:

A look at the role of the occult in music through key albums.

“There is in sounds a virtue to receive the heavenly gifts” Henry Cornelius Agrippa

Much of the music discussed in Gathering Of The Tribe deals with the special power of sound and tone. Frank Zappa may have said that ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture,’ but this book explains how music can — or for a moment believed it could — move mountains.

It is a matter of record that over the centuries composers and musicians have been consistently inspired by the occult. Few music lovers can fail to have been intrigued by the rumours of magick and mysticism that surround many of their favourite albums.

In chapters that cover the different musical styles, from jazz through folk, rock, pop, noise and experimental forms, Gathering Of The Tribe sketches a fascinating overview of this provocative and enduring relationship with heavy conscious creation, offering en route a guide to the ultimate occult record collection, ranging from the Beatles to the Stones, Led Zeppelin to Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart to the Wu Tang Clan, Debussy to Throbbing Gristle, Charles Manson, Barbara the Gray Witch, Coven and more.

Illustrated with album sleeves.

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