Intro to Overdrive


Welcome to the new column written by Catholic Metal’s old-school Death Metal musician. I am Charles von Habsburg the Prussian. Yes, it’s a “stage name” if you will, but I chose it to honor both of my parents.

The family story goes that I’m descended from the House of Habsburg through my maternal grandmother. The name was Karl Habsburg (yes, there are a bunch of those), who was my great great grandfather. However, as he married a commoner – an actress – he had to give up his claims to royalty faster than you could say “bar sinister.”

The “Prussian” part of my name comes from my fathers’ side, who hailed as Catholics from Northern Germany, particularly from “the parts that changed hands with Poland” a few times. It is difficult to be a Catholic in a historically protestant area, so I honor that part of my heritage too. The Prussian Coat of Arms graces the pickguard of my American Fender Stratocaster.

In any case, I have a wide variety of influences. From a Catholic standpoint, my great aunt was a member of the Congregation of St. Agnes. I prefer reading encyclicals from Pope Leo XIII because they are easiest for me to read. Pope St. John Paul II goes WAY over my head in a hurry. Obviously, my favorite pontiff is Pope Benedict XVI (I’m about 25 percent of Bavarian extraction as well, so this choice is obvious. And he was solid theologically). I also have a devotion to Blessed Charles of Austria (again, another obvious choice), and I draw inspiration from St. John Bosco and St. Maximilian Kolbe, as well as the Blessed Mother.

Musically, I’m primarily a rhythm guitarist and my influences include Death, Kreator, Obituary, Voivod, Celtic Frost, “The Big Four” and a whole bunch of others, and you’ll see who as this column progresses. Can’t play Death Metal on a Strat? Trevor Peres from Obituary can, and does so masterfully. I’d say Scott Ian from Anthrax is also a big influence as well.

I can do some soloing, but they tend to be reminiscent of Thomas Gabriel Warrior in his pre-Celtic Frost outfit, Hellhammer. Or Greg Ginn in early Black Flag.

So why did I choose “Overdrive” as the name of this column?

To me, an overdriven tube amp is the most pure tone in all of Metal. I do use some reverb, but I don’t live by it. I like the chorus effect, but only when playing clean. And yes, you can flange this, and phase that, and throw a whole bunch of other things in to sound like Eddie, but at the end of the day, you really only need some form of distortion and a loud amp. I like the sound of solid state, but still prefer the growl and warmth of a tube amp. It’s pure, simple and powerful.

Likewise, the Catholic Church is also the purest form of Christendom, and like the tone of a tube amp, it’s pure, simple and powerful.

Yes, many of the people in the Catholic Church (or for that matter, any of the protestant denominations) suck as Christians. I know I do. I am very orthodox in my beliefs. In my practice, I leave a lot to be desired. I fall short, and I know it. I’m man enough to admit it. I’m not going to hide that I have shortcomings, and I carry my Cross everyday. And I know others have their Crosses too, and their Crosses to them are just as heavy as mine is. I’m not here to say “You, over there, repent now or go to Hell!” I’m here to say “What can I do to help you carry your Cross?”

And that is the point behind this article. There are many Metalheads out there who were raised Catholic and may be thinking about coming back to Mass, but think they will fall short. We all do. Remember: Those judging you have their own issues for which they will answer to God, likely something pertaining to drawing attention to themselves in the guise of worship. This is called Pharisaicalism, and Pharisees will get their due.

And if you think that you, as a Metalhead, do not have a place in Holy Mother Church, you have a home here at Catholic Metal. For me, my music is like praying the Psalms, and if you’ve read some of those Psalms, you would think Scott Burns produced the musical versions of them in Morrisound Studios in the late 1980s.

Metal and the Catholic Church do have a common undercurrent; they’re both counterculture. We respond to what we see in society that angers us, and we make our voices heard. We are ridiculed, and people seem to refuse to take us seriously, but we stand together, loyally and unwaivering. It seems to me as if Metalheads and the Catholic Church have a lot to offer one another.

Our musicians here span many different subgenres of Metal, from Power Metal to Industrial Metal, Metalcore to Black Metal, for all ages and tastes of Metal. You will find it here.

By the way…are there any Catholic Djent bands? I’d like to hear to some. I’m not that Djenty musically, but I enjoy listening to it once in awhile.

As my Undeath(?!?) Metal project, Scourging at the Pillar, and my Unblack Metal project with former Malign Expulsion vocalist Steven Powless, The Cross of St. Peter, commences recording, I’ll post on the progress of each. Scourging will be basically me doing everything; vocals, guitar, bass and drum programming. I will mostly be playing guitar with TCSP, and likely synth when I get it fixed.

Either way, both projects will be brutally honest and uncompromising, both musically and theologically.

‘Til next time…


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