Friday, November 11, 2011


In Cauda Semper Stat Venrnum (1969)

I used to write for Metal Hammer magazine. Basically I'd pitch ridiculous story ideas and they'd laugh and assign me sensible ones. I think my biggest problem was that I only wanted to write about metal bands that existed between 1968 and 1974. So anyway,  if you flip through old issues, you'll find me interviewing belligerent lunatics like Slipknot and Lamb of God. Ugh. So it goes. But I had some sweet ideas. One story I pitched that landed with a thud was my theory that Jacula invented Hellhammer. 

Hellhammer was the (very) early 80's proto-extreme metal band that eventually became Celtic Frost. They were known mostly for a disgusting guitar tone that sounded literally diseased, like it was stricken with some horrible tumorous malady and was angrily snapping away at the guy playing it, like a vicious, cancer-stricken attack dog.

But see, that guitar sound already existed. It was actually invented in 1969, by an Italian teenager named Antonius Rex. He had a band called Jacula with two other nerdy Italian boys, one on the church organ (!) and a singer/keyboards guy. They mixed heavy occult rock with classical flourishes and, apparently, had a strong ecology/anti-war message. That part I never got. They just souned like Satanists to me. Anyway, you've gotta hear Antonius's guitar on their In Cauda Semper Stat Venrnum album from 1969 (same year I was hatched, incidentally). It's intense. The whole record is nuts, it's like  Celtic Frost wrestling with Vincent Price in a burning church. In Italian!

Holy smokes (ahem), is it good.

Plus, their name rhymes with Dracula. Not many things do. Also, if this picture is accurate, hot chicks, fur coats, and what looks like Oliver Reed with a bowl haircut, were involved.

Check out  Cauda Semper Stat Venrnum at Oldish Psych and Prog or just listen below. Also below, a little Hellhammer, for comparison.

Black candles optional, but encouraged.

- Ken McIntyre 

1 comment:

  1. This is a clear cut case of Hellhammer being invented by italians.