An iconic picture of the band Immortal, gesturing emphatically, but holding tubs of Desitin in their hands.

Desitin – It’s like corpse paint for your baby’s butt

At first, black metal aesthetics and baby-related stuff don’t seem to have much in common. But as I’ve proven time and again, the two aren’t always mutually exclusive. Desitin, a popular rash cream for babies, happens to match up rather remarkably to everyone’s favorite evil (and occasionally unintentionally goofy) metal genre.

Let’s explore how Desitin and black metal mix!

Not-because-I-want-to-but-because-I-have-to obligatory disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. I have NOT been provided with review copies tubs of Desitin for this blog. My opinions are my own and are for entertainment and personal semi-endorsement purposes only.

It’s applied liberally.

Corpse paint adds an air of mystique, an element of the frightening unknown for those who choose to don its alabaster appearance. The rest of us plebs can’t possibly grasp its trve kvlt significance, but if there’s one thing our fragile minds can understand about corpse paint, it’s that you don’t modestly powder it on — you fuckin’ slather it. Anything less leaves you looking like a beach-bound tourist. I can’t vouch for how much a single trip to ULTA costs the members of Behemoth, but I’m sure they need a bag attendant to carry it all out. “Slaves shall serve,” indeed.

Desitin is applied in similar amounts, although the surface area you’re working with is much, much smaller. You only need a good finger dab or two (might I suggest the pointer and pinky fingers?) to completely de-Satan a baby butt rash with Desitin — a little bit goes a long way. I’m no brand loyalist, but it’s been nearly two years since I bought this two-pack off Amazon, and I’m just now dipping past the halfway mark on the first container. Value and effectiveness? That’s my fucking kryptonite.

It’s grim.

You’d think that corpse paint lends itself an irreplicable aura of grimness — a serious dedication to the dark arts whose might cannot, under any circumstance, be matched. But really, Desitin is no different, for what could be grimmer than the somber affair of reducing a rash from a child’s butt? It’s not easy work — you’ll set yourself upon the dreary task, knowing you’ll have to withstand an arching back, kicking legs, and vile, hate-spewing screams. It’s like a scene from The Exorcist, but with way more vomit potential (after she’s been eating nothing but corn and raisins all morning, you’re the one who’s going to end up losing their lunch).

It’s divisive.

If those wackos in Mayhem are to be believed, corpse paint is named for the appearance that fully alive individuals take on when they want to look like a bloodless deader (although I’d imagine making a Norwegian person’s already-sun-deprived pallor even more pallid wouldn’t be too difficult). If that sounds morbid to you, then ignore the part where Mayhem’s first vocalist, Dead, often said to be the purported progenitor of the practice, used to huff dead birds while performing live on stage. Or the part where Mayhem’s then-bassist Varg Vikernes stabbed guitarist Euronymous over twenty times and took pictures of his corpse. Or the part where drummer Hellhammer has said, in summary, that black metal is “only for white people.”

And that’s just one band.

There’s such a strong public association between corpse paint and black metal that any makeup-wearing modern band is assumed to have some kind of satanic or misanthropic tendencies. (Judging by how long KISS has been hellishly stringing us along with farewell after farewell tour, I’d wager that’s not too far off.) But black metal seems to attract individuals who subscribe to all sorts of shitty behavior and ideals.

But despite black metal’s controversial proclivities, this is one instance where the baby example may be more extreme than the metal one. Where Mayhem, Emperor, and others among the esteemed black metal elite have shunned corpse paint for the simple, petty notions of “it’s too mainstream” or “it’s lost its meaning,” Desitin detractors have much more dire reasons for not being fans.

A quick glance at the World Wide Web yields queries of whether Desitin is safe or not. People from about the mid-to-late-2000s point the finger at a several ingredients. Although Desitin mostly contains zinc oxide, it also contains butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), a food additive that is listed as a carcinogen in the state of California. The ingestion of large quantities of BHA have had certain effects on certain mammals, but reading about it makes my fucking head spin. Luckily, the FDA has provided a tl;dr for those of us whose brains have only enough room to remember the personnel lineups of every Megadeth album:

“While no evidence in the available information on butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) demonstrates a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced, uncertaintied [sic] exist requiring that additional studies be conducted.”

Basically, “questions remain.” If that doesn’t sit well with you, then definitely do your research (and keep in mind that “Desitin cancer” is a search term you’re likely to come across). Don’t be afraid to dive deep and read up on opinions from all sides, no matter how extreme.

So why am I using Desitin if there’s even the slimmest chance it could have ill effects on my dear, darling Gorgonna? Well, that’s a good fucking question. Desitin is to me what Dimmu Borgir is to black metal — it’s the mainstream choice. I can hardly conceive of what other diaper rash creams are available on the market. Like, maybe there’s a Gnaw Their Tongues-equivalent out there, or an orthodox anti-cosmic atmospheric rash cream that would turn ouchie skin from the hue of a boiled lobster to a fuzzy pink peach. Clearly, I’ve got my own research to do, but until then, I’m going to be livin’ for givin’ the Desitin its due because it’s worked for us so far. Ignorant? Lazy? Could be, but I — unlike some ass-backwards individuals out there — can change my ways.

Conclusion

As far as I know, most black metal bands keep corpse paint to their faces; everything else is sealed away behind layers of black leather and silver spikes. Sounds to me like a prime environment for chafing, where a little zinc oxide might be appreciated. Desitin’s ability to soothe rashes of seemingly any potency can’t be discounted when you’ve got incantations to spew and beats to blast, so maybe we’ll start seeing some endorsements soon. At the very least, if black metal bands began hurling tubs of BHA-addled Desitin into audiences instead of pig’s blood, I can’t think of anything more brutal.

Verdict: It is your Desitin-y

Diaper rashes are inevitable and uncomfortable. Have a means to treat them for the sake of your kid, but do decide if Desitin provides the best means to achieve that. Find a solution for diaper rashes that sits right with you and your child.

Sweet Release: Corpus Christii, Havukruunu, Pyramaze,Wolfbrigade (4/23 – 4/29)

A week’s worth of exciting releases — that’s what I’m gonna try to encapsulate with Sweet Release. Although I liked the format of digging into a single upcoming offering, the fact is — THERE’S TOO MUCH COMING OUT. I just can’t highlight all the releases I want to cover, so I’m cramming them all together for one great big excitement dump that I can clear with a single wipe. God, what a gross analogy. Being a dad hasn’t changed my sense of humor one bit.

Corpus Christii – Delusion (4/28/17)

One thing that first attracted me to black metal was its stark alien sound in comparison to other general types of metal — its eerieness punctuated by inhuman screams and cries. But what I’m finding more interesting these days is when the vocals sound distinctly human, but an incredibly impassioned one. And in that respect, Corpus Christii is firing on all cylinders.

“The Curse Within Time” isn’t just tinged with that zeal — it sounds drenched in it. The vocalist sounds like he’s belching fire from a combusting ribcage, snarling his words louder and louder as the flames rise around him. The rest of the music is just as captivating, shifting between a tasteful, head-nodding main riff and full-bore blasting.

Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi (4/29/17)

Mature, melodic, and utterly triumphant — that is what “KVainovalkeat” is by Finnish pagan black metal band Havukruunu. The track opens up with a frenzied melody like wind whipping through a ravine, a clarion call that leads to a full-blown avalanche of blast-beat aggression.

Five-and-a-half minutes seems to be on the short side for songs by bands I like these days, but Havukruunu tightly packs a storm into a snowball, an ice-cold projectile that grows and grows over time. By the time I reached the end with a Borknagar-esque bridge, I was already frozen on the spot in awe of what Havukruunu was able to accomplish.

You know the aftermath of the Liu Kang/Sub Zero fight in Mortal Kombat? That’s how I feel after listening to “Vainovalkeat,” and I can only imagine what the rest of Kelle Surut Soi will to do me.

Pyramaze – Contingent (4/28/17)

I feel like Pyramaze is one of the very last power metal bands I can give a complete shit about. And not just because what they’re doing is so vastly different from the tropes of that genre, but also because my history with them is so strong. They are my band. Their major lineup change from 2015’s Disciples of the Sun — one of my AOTYs — put them even further from the traditional power metal path with former-producer-now-guitarist/songwriter Jacob Hanson manning the helm, and Contingent seems to have stayed that particular course.

The few singles I’ve heard sound solid, with more of what I’ve always loved about Jonah Weingarten’s heart-wrenching piano melodies and Morten Gade Sorenson’s bombastic, arresting drumming. Only now those are under the guidance of the new blood, and they couldn’t be moving into smoother waters. Hopefully the album’s name isn’t a Final Fantasy-type thing, and that Contingent isn’t critical to their future success, as I feel the next era in Pyramaze’s career is only just getting going.

Wolfbrigade – Run with the Hunted (4/28/17)

Give me all your metal and punk and no one gets hurt. Hand it all over — no, put Wolfbrigade on top. I haven’t been jamming on “Warsaw Speedwolf” for over a month to have you holding out on me now. That’s it — not nice-and-easy-like, I want it fast and rude. This is crust, not crumpets.

Now that the release of Run with the Hunted, these d-beating Swedes’ 9,000th album (give or take a few thousand), is within my hungering sights, I’m positively ravening for more.

Is Metal Bad for Kids?

You could say I listen to a lot of metal, and you’d be right. You could also say metal is indisputably the most awful sound on the planet Earth, and how dare I subject my precious daughter to that auditory filth, to which I say: have you heard the noises a baby can make at 1 AM? They’re downright Luciferian.

The controversy over what parents should let kids see and hear is as old as time itself, like bickering over whether Metallica or Megadeth is the better band. (It’s Megadeth, duh.) Although I’ve taken care these past nineteen months to limit Gorgonna’s exposure to my abhorrent taste in music, I’ve often wondered… is metal actually bad for kids?

Is metal bad for kids? A long-haired, metal dad ponders this idea, which appears over his head in the form of upside-down crosses and pentagrams, skulls, and melee weapons.
Ah, metal’s five essential lyrical themes.

As mostly metal parents, we’re in a unique spot from most of our peers. We don’t happen to flip on a metal song on the radio — metal is the type of music we actively seek out. When the time comes to “shake our sillies out” and “do the hokey pokey,” we’d rather “hammer smashed face.” But the more extreme the metal — the more our goats get got — the more we should to ask ourselves if all that riffing and growling is really in our kids’ best interests.

I’ve begun seeing parenting as a compromise between the person you want to be and the person you want to be for your kids.

I know, I know — metal is life, and anyone who says otherwise is an untr00 poseur. But I’ve begun seeing parenting as a compromise between the person you want to be and the person you want to be for your kids. And the person I want to be for Gorgonna knows his favorite music probably sounds like trashcan murder monsters.

So I did what any diligent parent would do: I used the Google. And wouldn’t you know it — I dredged up quite a few articles exploring this very subject. Pediatric psychological studies, baby community forums — I scrutinized these like a music critic on a sophomore album. And like album reviews, I wanted to read up on many different opinions before I decided whether I bought their belief or not.

I’d like to share with you my findings. But here’s your disclaimer, your parental advisory sticker: I’m not a child psychology authority. (Obviously). I did a minuscule amount of research that would any true scholar cringe, and I mostly did just enough to satisfy my own curiosity. But I am a parent who loves his daughter dearly and wants to raise her right. Assuming you are/do too, you should be able to figure out how much metal you’re willing to impose upon your kid.

Is metal bad for kids? Some sources say yes.

Metal Music is Bad!

Surprise, surprise — lots of Official Smart People™ think metal is no good for kids. Clearly, I want metal to be a good influence, but I tried my best to absorb the information here with the appropriate amount of concern.

A 2009 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics linked heavy metal listening in adolescents to all sorts of stuff like suicide, depression, and risky behavior. Young headbangers were also found to have lower grades and more problems with school authority. Granted, this data was gathered from many other studies for kids ranging from 8 to 16 — the report didn’t have anything to say about toddlers. And I should mention these show correlations, not cause and effect scenarios. Still, those are serious claims that no parent, mostly metal or otherwise, should easily ignore.

If anything, the last thing I want as a result of Gorgonna jamming on some of my more brutal tunes is to repeat their lyrics verbatim before a crowded family dinner. Food for thought.

Dogpiling on top of that, an article from PBS says “music with inappropriate lyrical content should be avoided.”

Okay, so no yucky lyrics in your metal. Got it. Now, you’re probably tempted into thinking bands with unintelligible cookie monster grunts get a free pass. Sorry to disappoint, but these guys did their homework.

Another article, this one from popular all-things-baby website BabyCenter, a developmental psychologist straight-up said, yes, listening to negative lyrics or “angry” music was harmful for kids aged 5 to 8. However, he believes that had less to do with the lyrics and more to do with the music itself. He referenced a study where a group of kids who listened to heavy metal with Christian lyrics were just as angry as the group who listened to heavy metal with violent lyrics.

The psychologist also states children as old as 8 months could “discern ‘angry’ musical tones,” which I’m inclined to believe. And although I doubt the author would know blackened sludge from brutal death, I’ll concede that most metal doesn’t sound… nice.

PBS suggested avoiding music with “strident tone quality” — harsh or dissonant, from what I gathered. They use thrash metal as an example of a type of music that doesn’t change tones often enough to be interesting for kids. (Um, does PBS know “Good Mourning/Black Friday” exists? Wait, it gets pretty thrashy by the end, doesn’t it? Damn, maybe they’re onto something.)

My take on the developmental psychologist. I dug up his study, which was unsourced in his article on BabyCenter, and found the data was from 1991. The study wasn’t talking about children but college undergraduates. I still mostly accept his findings, but that’s just a bit of fact-checking for you. Do what thou wilt with that.

But the dissonance thing makes sense to me. Metal and dissonance go together like spikes on black leather (seriously, just listen to the latest from Ulcerate and tell me you don’t find that kind of hot noise compelling). But dissonance makes metal sound so delightfully spooky because the sounds themselves may remind our lizard brains of some primal fear. So a song that lays on the dissonance thick might be triggering a basic fight-or-flight response in us. Since I don’t want Gorgonna to do either of those things when we listen to my latest slamz, maybe I’d best not play that kind of music for her. (Sorry, Ulcerate.)

Is metal bad for kids? Some say not so much!

Metal Music is Okay!

Metal fans love their metal. Is it any wonder that metal fans who are also parents do too? You know where I stand on the matter, but I found plenty of other like-minded mommas and poppas defending metal’s merits.

A forum thread on BabyCenter had hesher parents sharing war stories of how they played metal for their younglings, revealing that hey, the kids turned out all right. There was even a recurring argument of whether Avenged Sevenfold is considered “heavy metal” or not. You can’t fake that kind of authenticity.

The most encouraging came from Wired’s Mr. Know It All, who states there is “exactly zero evidence that one kind of music helps cognitive development more than any other.” Now, I’m not sure what kind of background he has (he is, after all, an animated cartoon man), so I don’t quite know what to do with the information. I’ll admit I’m more surprised at his recommendation of hiding album art over the music itself, but whatever — I’ll mark it as a victory. Bring on the Avenged Sevenfold! (Hey, Hail to the King was not that bad.)

Then again, none of the articles I found outright said metal was good for kids. The closest we get is with PBS, where a childhood music specialist stated, “there is no bad type of music.” Sounds like a green light, doesn’t it? Well, the specialist goes on to say, “it’s harder to find appropriate music in some styles than others.” Yeah… I get the sense PBS would judge you for playing anything harder than Kenny G, but at least they’re willing to let you dream, eh?

Hey, this is supposed to be the good section! What gives? If you’re feeling a little bummed out, I feel you. But! PBS also says, “kids’ CDs that are geared toward children are not necessarily very healthy music for children to be listening to… they are often poorly produced, sung by children singing as if they are adults, and in major keys only.” They recommend a mix of music genres to give kiddies variety, a playlist made up of their songs and your songs.

See? Kids could use a little minor key mayhem after all. Suck it, Kidz Bop.

Verdict: ?!?!!!?!?!

If you must have one takeaway from all this, I suggest this: do what feel right to you.

Gorgonna is older now, and she’s becoming more and more her own person. Listening to music can, and probably should, be a collaborative effort, as the PBS article suggested. Besides, as much as the Literature major in me desperately wants to find empirical evidence on all matters related to parenting, I gotta respect the input from my fellow parents. They’re the ones duking it out in the trenches just like me. People say parenting is hard, but we’re living it, man. If their kids go to sleep more often to “Enter Sandman” than “Rock-a-Bye Baby,” who am I to judge?

I have no shortage of father-daughter activities I can while away the hours with, but pulverizing my child’s eardrums with the latest from Phantom Winter may not be the healthiest. Because that’s really what this blog is all about — raising a healthy, happy kid. If that means yet another compromise, so be it.

Look, all I know is I was listening to “Blackened” by Metallica in the car last week, and every time I’d restart the song over from the beginning, Gorgonna would peep “more” from her car seat. If that isn’t an endorsement at some level that metal might have a chance in our family playlist, I don’t know what is.

Now if only I could replicate the same reaction for “Holy Wars”…