Can music be demonic?

I left the title of this thread a bit general to draw more attention. :o

I have a question about a particular musician of whom I was a big fan before my conversion. This particular fellow is an amazing composer (he even received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation recently) named John Zorn, who composes an amazingly diverse array of styles, from full orchestral pieces to hardcore punk. One of his most famous endeavors (his discography contains several hundred albums) is his Masada project, which presents traditional Jewish-styled melodies in modern settings: jazz quartets, rock bands, etc.

However, despite identifying as Jewish, Zorn has long been a student of the occult, having studied with several serious practicioners over the years. Many of his pieces are dedicated to Aleister Crowley (the famous occultist), and some of his classical pieces are even based on some Crowleyan numerological formulas. In addition, some of his music is very violent (musically; his music doesn’t contain lyrics, but some of it makes heavy metal sound like elevator music!) More troubling is some of the artwork contained in his albums, which ranges from gruesome (crime scene pictures, pictures from death camps) to pornographic (he’s even done soundtracks for artsy “bondage films”.)

On the other hand, alot of his music is very bright, happy and relaxing. For example, this very quiet and beautiful little ditty:

John Zorn - Mow Mow

Now, try wrapping your head around the fact that this same man composed this next piece (brace yourself; it hits hard and quick, and very loud!)

John Zorn - Six Litanies for Heliogabalus

My problem is in knowing how involved with the occult he is and how much he seems to apply it to his music. I also noticed that in the years I got heavily into his music, I felt almost demonically oppressed. I usually laugh it off when people accuse rock music of being Satanic, but knowing that he’s actually seriously into ritual magick, etc. do you think it’s possible for such a person to channel such things through their music?

I ask because, while I’m not so much into his more extreme projects anymore, I have many albums of beautiful music like the first song I linked that I enjoy immensely, but I feel a bit uncomfortable and hesitant in listening to them anymore due to my conversion and the very objectionable nature of some of the “artwork” (some of which is so sick I can’t even bring myself to describe it) that he has chosen to adorn a few of his albums with, and the worry that it could possibly exert a negative spiritual influence on me. In fact, all of those albums are, for the time being, boxed up in my garage. Sorry if this seems silly, but I’ve been flip flopping for months as to whether I should get rid of all of his albums. Any thoughts or opinions?

It could be the wine I’ve had tonight, but I too felt oppressed listening to the second clip. My first question, if you fear that there may be some demonic oppression involved with such music, why post a link for us to be subjected to as well?

I do believe it is possible for an artist to put occultic channeling through the music by the artist, and that (through my former experience that I’ve repented from with the occult) it is possible for a listener to pick up on the channeling and have a demonic oppression.

My opinion, but yes, I do believe it is possible.

I’ve heard that if you play Nickelback’s music backwards it sounds demonic.:eek:

Unfortunately, if you play it forward it sounds like Nickleback:o

I think you’ve answered your own question!!:shrug:

lol :thumbsup: I don’t know which is worse. lol :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t think it’s anything to do with the wine. It’s definitely some of the most dissonant music ever recorded.

As for why I linked to it, that’s a very good question. lol. I wanted to show the contrast between the stuff I enjoy and some of the other stuff he does. I wasn’t thinking about exposing other people to any possible demonic influence because I believe that, if it is possible, it’s something that requires prolonged, repeated listening, as was the case with me.

On an interesting side note, he has oddly performed concerts in both Catholic and Episcopalian churches, and by invitation to the latter.

Talk about a lose-lose situation. :rotfl:


The second song has a good beat and is easy to dance to. :smiley:

Many people have warned about the diabolic effects of certain music. If the warnings are true, that is the most demonic stuff I have ever heard. :confused:

:eek: not all of nicklebacks music is bad, too bad and never again by them have meaning for me <3




The second one sounded like someone having some sort of attack. Oddly enough, the only other place I’ve heard that style is when a pagan friend of mine let me listen to her Mp3.

Is there a connection?:confused:

That’s not what I’d call music… :eek:

Well, if you make it to the middle, a very pretty classical style female choral section comes in. :smiley:

Right? I can’t believe it’s not on the top of the dance charts. :wink:

Many people have warned about the diabolic effects of certain music. If the warnings are true, that is the most demonic stuff I have ever heard. :confused:

I know. He’s a very confusing individual. In person, he seems very peaceful and friendly; he even put on a benefit concert for tsunami victims and opened, out of pocket, a non-profit venue for New York musicians to perform in. Outside of his music, he seems like a very sensitive, caring person. Some quotes, to wit:

“Ultimately, it’s all about love–if we love each other and we love what we’re doing, some of that love is going to go into the audience.”

“I look out at the world and I see chaos. And that’s kind of the formula for being an outsider. You don’t want to be an outsider, you want to belong and you’re burdened with these human frailties. You need companionship; you need food and drink; you need a nice place to sleep; you want to be understood even though you’re doing something that’s a little difficult; you want your work to be appreciated; you want to be loved.”

Well, if you listen all the way to the middle, the noise stops and there’s an extremely pretty choral section! :wink:

As noisy and unpleasant as it sounds, as a musician I can say that it does require a lot of talent to execute. The timing is insanely complex. And the guy screaming his lungs out is actually a very talented singer. He’s even done some Italian opera. He’s most well known as the lead singer of the 90’s metal band Faith No More, though.

Possibly? Like I said, he’s very fascinated with the occult. Among his works are titles like “Necronomicon,” “Gnostic Preludes”, “Goddess: Music for the Ancient of Days”, “Satyr’s Play/Cerberus”, “What Thou Wilt”, “IAO: Music in Sacred Light”, “Magick”, “Moonchild”, “Rituals”, “From Silence to Sorcery”… with a catalogue that literally numbers in the hundreds, I could go on. lol

Honestly, I doubt even so-called ‘demonically inspired’ music has that sort of effect if you just don’t let it. It helps to not even care about the artist. Just the song and sound itself.

It’s like what I do when I read. I don’t rely on an author biography to tell me how to interpret a story. I just read it and digest it on my own terms.

Anyways, with regards to the pieces you’ve cited, it kind of proves my point. Upon listening to the first, I didn’t care about who composed it. I just listened and saw myself driving towards the sunset down a seaside road. Granted that my head’s been heavy lately, I suppose I could use something like that at times.

The second one though I couldn’t even finish. Was it demonic though? Not really. Sounded like typical heavy metal if you ask me (though at this point, I will not claim to be a metal expert :o). I’m just not in the mood to appreciate that kind of tune.

Ouch! Hey! Fan here!? D8>

C’mon guys, it’s bad enough I gotta put up with all them Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga junk on my office’s net radio of choice. -.-

I’m leaning towards this myself. I think there were probably other more pertinent factors that may have led to any demonic activity I may have been subjected to at that time in my life, i.e. past occult involvement, blasphemy, etc. Perhaps it was stronger in the period when I was listening to things like the second piece because of the chaotic moods it produced? And perhaps now it just reminds me of that time…

Honestly, over the course of the evening as I’ve been going back over old interviews and things–researching, if you will–it seems to me that his interest in all these dark things is a bit of a morbid fascination with the dark side of humanity. Alot of the grotesque subject matter he chooses to focus on he seems to do so as a kind of “social commentary”.
Still, I find a lot of it disturbing. In fact, I have thrown out the artwork from some of the albums that I own.

As for his interest in Aleister Crowley and Jewish Demonology, well… I guess that’s a whole 'nother matter. But anyway, thanks for your input!

Ouch! Hey! Fan here!? D8>

C’mon guys, it’s bad enough I gotta put up with all them Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga junk on my office’s net radio of choice. -.-

I’m sorry! I thought about it after I posted… “Ya know, there’s probably Nickelback fans around here and they’ll probably be offended.” I’m not a fan, but hey: as you can see, my history of musical taste is questionable, so… :wink:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit