The Devil You Know: The Real Meanings Behind Demonic Band Names

I'm here to do two things, talk about band names and further the cause of Satan. And I'm all out of... Oh, wait, no. I've got plenty of both. Awesome! Let's get started.

Lots of bands, mostly metallic but not always, decide that they're going to up the edge factor on their existence by adopting the moniker of a real-life demon. This was a fairly impressive feat in the pre-Internet days when, in order to know exactly which demons were what, you actually had to go to the library and check out one of those books that gets your name put on a list.

With Halloween approaching, I thought it might be fun to better-know the dark powers lending their labels to your favorite musical groups.

Moloch: Fantastic, little-known metal masters Moloch out of Nottingham bear the title of one of the most famous demons in existence. Moloch's origins are noble. He began not as a demon, but as a god to the Phoenicians and Canaanites. His most notorious feature is demanding burning child sacrifices.

Though the claim comes to us from the Greeks and the Bible, and thus may have been an exaggeration or propaganda against the tribes, a temple discovered in 1966 reveals that such sacrifices may have indeed been true. Etymologists also theorized that Moloch may have been the name of the practice, not the god.

Asmodeus: Houston's own darkwave group Asmodeus X is responsible for some of the finest spooky electronica in the state of Texas, if not America itself. Their demon Asmodeus is Jewish in origin, holding the title of King of Demons in the Book of Tobit. In one legend, he is the son of King David via a succubus. Another says he is the son of Adam through consort with Namaah, the angel of prostitution. He is usually linked with carnal sins, specifically coveting Earthly women. The angel Raphael is his nemesis.

Choronzon: The third album from the English black-metal group Akercocke (themselves named after a character from the demonic story of Faust) comes from a later demon rather than one from antiquity. Edward Kelly and John Dee included him in their studies on Enochian magic in the 16th century, and he is one of the most important figures in Aleister Crowley's Thelematic principles.

Choronzon is the demon of dispersion, the Dweller in the Abyss, and the last obstacle towards enlightenment. A magician must battle him to reach the final levels of Thelema. His opposition is the goddess Babalon.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner