Heavy Metal Liner Notes Loose With Truth

The rock and roll group Nile's seminal 2000 album "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" was lauded by many for its extensive use of explanatory liner notes that accompanied each song, however after a bit of delving I found them to be rather as fanciful as the lyrics themselves!

Take for example the notes regarding the record's fourth band, "The Black Flame." Better use the bottom half of your bifocals. Footnotes and paragraph breaks mine:

"The Black Flame is from The Papyrus of the Undying, unearthed by Maspero in 1883 and quickly disposed of by private auction.1 A translation of the text was later published in an article in The Cairo Archaeological Critiques May 19022 and in the book Textes et dessins magiques by G. Daressy (Cairo 1903) and reprinted by Lexa in volume 2 of his La Magie dans l'Egypte Antique (Paris 1925). The Papyrus of the Undying was generally dismissed as rambling, illogical, profoundly incoherent, perverse and profane to such an extreme extent that the text became regarded as a curio – a minor text of secondary import that originated from a small, uninfluential serpent cult.

The papyrus is believed to date to the end of the Fifth Dynasty, about 2350 BC, and appears to be the work of priests of the Cult of Seta. It deals with matters of the underworld, afterlife, and magical regenerative formulae, as well as several blasphemous chapters devoted to the destruction of the sun god Ra. The historical value of such questionable material was, at that time, no doubt considered to be of lesser import than other more popular works such as the new translations of The Book of the Dead, for this reason, the radical and unpopular papyrus fell into dismal obscurity.3

The text did not reappear again until 1912, when it was purchased by Rollo Ahmed, a native Egyptian occult expert and author of several books around the turn of the century. Mr. Ahmed did much further research on the papyrus and circulated several new translations of the text. However, because of his reputation among legitimate scientists as a serious occult practitioner, largely from his early years spent studying the dark arts first hand in Africa, South America, and Asia, his views and interpretations of The Papyrus of the Undying were dismissed as unsubstantiated, and never fully accepted among the mainstream of the academic community of his time.

The original manuscript was quietly acquired in 19284 by the Museum of Cairo where it remained on display until 1939 when famed Nazi occultist Otto Van Anza5 took it to Germany. Presumed lost during the fall of Berlin in 1945, it was recently rediscovered in the burnt out remains of a bunker underneath a construction site in East Berlin in 1998. The papyrus has been partially restored and is now on private display in the Berlin Museum of Aegyptologie.6

The lyrics of the Black Flame are taken line by line from chapter 36, 'The Chapter for being Reborn.'7 It mentions Baboui, the dog-faced ape, guardian of the Lake of Flames, who feeds upon the overturned enemies of Osiris—rending, raping and devouring the souls of the damned. Baboui also holds the power to open the gates of the Duat,8 or Under world. The chapter seems to be a magickal formula for escaping fiery chained imprisonment in the underworld. It bears a strong resemblance to spell 316 of the Pyramid Text of Unas9, but seems to have several distinct variations, probably relative to its use by the priests of the Cult of Seta."10

1All I'm saying is that where the heck, other than rock and roll sites, am I to find this "Papyrus Of The Undying?" The details about Maspero and 1883 ought to suffice that we can discover something about this papyrus other than the leader of Nile wrote about it in the "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" album's liner notes!

2"Cairo Archaeological Critiques" doesn't exist, at least not under any ROCK I've looked under! Also, if the papyrus was disposed of in a private auction in the 1880's, how, and by whom, was it published in 1902? Huh?

3"Dismal obscurity," huh? How did you come across it? You wrote these songs in around 2000, when all you could do on the net was look at people destroying marshmallow rabbits, so I doubt you found the papyrus online (you still can't). What mouldering library was it that happened to have it in circulation? Egyptologists would LOVE to know.

4Again, "quietly acquired," huh? All I'm saying is you sure know a lot about a secret papyrus nobody has any evidence of except you.

5"Famed," huh? The name "Otto von Anza" is made up. Off the top of your no doubt balding head. Where the hell is Anza?

6Private display, huh? Which is why nobody gets to see it or, I'll wager, can find anybody at the museum who has ever heard of "The Papyrus of the Undying?"

7Oh yeah I bet you know every chapter of that papyrus.

8The bit of information that Baboui can open the gates of the Duat is actually attested to. It appears in a Nile song called "The Black Flame," lyrics of which go like this: "Open the gates of the Duat," so no issue there.

9 Hard to say for sure if any of these are actually spells, but the only thing near 316 on this internet site is "O You back-turning star, I, King Unas does not have to give You his magic. I sit side by side with my back to the swept area in Heliopolis. I will be taken to the sky !" Which is definitely not in the song.

10The Egyptian Book Of The Dead, Plate 27, has this to say of Seta, though it is pretty irrelevent to these liner notes:

Vignette: The serpent Seta, with human legs.

Text [CHAPTER LXXXVI L]: (1) THE CHAPTER OF CHANGING INTO SETA. Osiris Ani, triumphant, saith: "I am the serpent Seta, whose years are many. I lie down and I am born day by day. I am (3) the serpent Seta, which dwelleth in the limits of the earth. I lie down, I am born, (4) I renew myself, I grow young day by day."

The Genre Should Not Be Trusted