BFG Track by Track: “Old Sarge” (Part 4 of 12)

Nearly 100 years ago, a young–yet wise beyond his years–man proclaimed that you could tell everything about a nation by the way it treats its returning military veterans.  Sadly, never has this been more painfully true than it is in 21st century America, where the men and women who risked their very lives fighting wars in distant lands for causes they could scarcely comprehend are now dying while they wait for adequate medical treatment.  On the first page of the liner notes for Death and Defiance, the band notes:

A nation that does not honor its soldiers for the sacrifices [they’ve] given is a black eye upon the face of that nation.  Many of these young guys enlist for the purposes of schooling, work, and patriotic duty.  They end up being brought into wars that have [nothing of] interest for them.  They give their limbs, souls, and lives going to [untamed] lands fighting wars they can’t win for the interests of others.  When they come home damaged, they can’t find work–life is just not the same anymore for so many of them.  This song was influenced by a good friend of ours who went and did his tours of duty for his country.  His health slowly started to change upon his return.  From a big strong man, he ended up in a wheelchair.  Not knowing what he contracted over there, he was given the run-around and told that his sickness was “inside his head” by the appointed, so-called “medical experts.”  Even though we do not support or condone these foreign wars, we do support these veterans that have had to suffer.

Bound for Glory has recorded a number of songs illustrating the tragic plight of brave soldiers all but forgotten by the countries that asked them to put life and limb on the line in the ostensible defense of freedom.  One such track, “Unknown Soldier,” tells the haunting story of a Vietnam veteran who died fighting the communist hordes of southeast Asia and whose remains never made it back to America for proper interment.  A portion of “Unknown Soldier”–which appeared on the band’s 1997 album Glory Awaits–rings frighteningly true today:

Sent off to battle to fight a politician’s war
Still never knowing what you were fighting for
You were just another number, just another screw
Out to protect the interests of a chosen few
You fought pitched battles, were placed in constant heat
Now the enemy is living on your old street
The one-world government opened the door and let them in
While leading men to slaughter knowing they couldn’t win

“Old Sarge,” meanwhile, weaves the narrative of a 21st century soldier who, after answering “the call of Uncle Sam,” returns home to see that absolutely nothing has changed.  Not only has the conflict in which he served so honorably seem all but abandoned by his military leaders, but he, as an individual, is virtually invisible to the citizens he risked all to protect.  Scheduling a visit with a doctor to discuss the growing pain inside him is all but impossible, and the wait time for the appointment does nothing but allow him symptoms to grow even worse.

When he is finally examined by an overburdened, understaffed Veteran’s Affairs clinic, he is given the very worst news possible: the doctor thinks the former battlefield hero’s suffering is all in his head.  A regiment of antidepressant, antipsychotic medications is prescribed, but that’s not what Old Sarge needs.  He simply wants to know why it’s growing harder and harder to walk, why there’s a stabbing pain shooting down his spine when he stands–and, most of all, while no one in the system that supposedly exists to help him seems to give a damn.

Before long, Old Sarge–the very same soldier who manned a mounted .50-cal. machine gun and disarmed improvised explosive devices–has been reduced to a wheelchair.  He asks for pity from no one; rather, he seeks only to tell his story as a cautionary tale to others considering enlisting in America’s Armed Forces.  Be “an Army of One,” one branch of the military says; “The Few. The Proud” beckons another.

Military service has its inherent value, to be sure.  Boys transform into men, leaders are created, and soldiers prove themselves in combat.  But at what cost?  To come home to an American public indifferent to these sacrifices, regardless of how many public-relations campaign the government finances?  And consider the death toll of the past half-dozens wars we’ve fought–wars, by any objective analysis, we didn’t win:

  • Korean War: 33, 686
  • Vietnam War: 58,220
  • Desert Storm: 146
  • Afghanistan: Unknown
  • Iraq War: 4,491

That’s nearly 100,000 good American men and women gone forever.  Their only crime: Serving their country and fighting in wars they were never meant to decisively win.

The chorus of “Old Sarge” states, “Who gives a damn about Old Sarge?”  This inquiry is followed by a ferocious growl by lead vocalist Joel that “WE DO!”



BFG Track by Track: “Once We Were” (Part 3 of 12)

Whether you’re Christian or not, the Easter holiday brings with it a spirit of rebirth, a hope for redemption and a faith that our sacrifices in this life are not in vain.  So, too, does the haunting seventh track of Bound for Glory’s 25th-anniversary album, Death and Defiance: Entitled”Once We Were,” the song painfully reflects on the two catastrophic global conflicts of the 20th century that took more than 80 million lives, reshaped borders across Europe, Africa, and the Far East, and ultimately ushered in the regimes, policies, legislation, and popular media that have all but doomed those of European descent to extinction.

As Joel, Bound for Glory’s lead vocalist, sorrowfully asks in the second quartet of the song’s chorus:

Once we were brothers
Side by side, we were family
Why did we ever fight over borders
When none of us are free?

The somber tone of the song is further enhanced by searing guitar leads performed by Drew and Goose, Bound for Glory’s two rhythm guitarists.

The true causes for each conflict are complex.  Regrettably, World War II has been sold to generations as “The Good War,” with what Tom Brokaw described as “The Greatest Generation” leaving their homes in America to venture halfway across the world to vanquish the twin evils of Germany and Japan.  Nevertheless, Americans have been left with countless questions–the answers to which exist, though often too unpleasantly for most to accept:

The questions, indeed, are endless, the answers available–but the outcome of both wars cannot be undone.  Ultimately, the only question that remains is the one asked by William Gayley Simpson as the title of his 758-page masterwork: Which Way, Western Man?  Will we continue to blindly serve our democratic masters, fighting wars that benefit a chosen few?  Or will we learn from the past, find the truth, and unite to ensure something so destructively tragic as World Wars I and II never happen again?

Which way, western man?

BFG Track by Track: “Kaytn” (Part 2 of 12)

From the liner notes of Bound for Glory’s Death and Defiance:

“This song is in respect to the fallen Polish officers and intellectuals that were systematically rounded up, taken from their homes, and executed.  This atrocity has scarred many families and shall not be swept under the rug and forgotten.  The people knew who the true criminals were, but were unable to speak up about it, for they faced imprisonment or death.  But in the ’90s, the truth finally came out.  This song is for the victims, their families, and the nation’s loss.”

“Katyn,” the final track from Bound for Glory’s 25th-anniversary album, is a haunting, painful account of a Polish officer being forced from his home and led into the forest to be systematically murdered along with more than 20,000 of his people.  The pain and anger in vocalist Joel’s voice  reinforces the savage brutality with which the Soviet secret police (NKVD) carried out their orders:

“The baby is crying as she clutches her mother’s breast
She hasn’t seen her father since the day that he left
Never would she know the father she loved so much
She weeps of his memory, her mother weeps of his touch
In the forest, the forest of sorrow
Roam their souls, wandering amongst the hollows
In these soils, these bloody soils of pain
Your bones lie with your photos, your uniform is stained
They threatened the people, they made them be silent
The knew the truth, yet they kept it inside them
People threatened by a terror regime
No one dares speak of the victims of Katyn”

Wehrmacht soldiers of the German Third Reich discovered evidence of the massacre in 1943–and, predictably, were immediately blamed for the atrocity by the Soviet propaganda machine.  The Soviet Information Bureau claimed that “Polish prisoners-of-war who in 1941 were engaged in construction work west of Smolensk and who…fell into the hands of the German-Fascist hangmen.”

Astonishingly, Western leaders such as Winston Churchill accepted the Soviet government’s explanation of the massacre.  In Churchill’s own memoirs, he reinforces the 1944 Soviet explanation of the Katyn tragedy, noting that “belief seems an act of faith.”  Similarly, American President Franklin Roosevelt was informed of the massacre and that the Soviet Secret Police were responsible for the murder of more than 20,000 Polish citizens, yet ordered the report suppressed and declared that the Nazi military was ultimately behind the massacre.

The blood of these innocent Polish officers, fathers, and sons is not only on the hands of Stalin but also stains the revered hands of Churchill and Roosevelt as well.  The Western powers chose to ally with the regime of a man responsible for more murders than Hitler can ever be accused of–even if you include the ridiculous and implausible claims that his Waffen-SS manufactured lampshades from Jewish flesh and used the fat of innocent Jewish victims to produce soap.  Hitler’s agenda for Europe was divisive, to be sure, but his ultimate aim was destroy the communist plague infecting the massive eastern tract of the continent.

The Western Allies aligned with Stalin and systematically annihilated Germany.  Following President Truman’s orders, General Eisenhower and his men stood back and watched as the Red Army swarmed into Germany, raping, terrorizing, and murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent German civilians.  Vengeful Red Army soldiers joked that the next generation of German children would all be named “Ivan” as a result of the mass rape of German women by the invading Soviet forces.  Ultimately, the Western powers and the Soviet Union carved up Germany and divided one of history’s great civilizations into “zones” to be occupied by the victorious Allies and Bolsheviks.

Of course, the decision to ally with the Soviet Union had consequences far beyond the second World War.  The next 50 years were spent on the brink of total nuclear war, and thousands upon thousands of American troops lost their lives in Korea and Vietnam attempting to contain the communist menace.  Alas, the winners of the wars author the history books, and the texts taught in school portray America’s alliance with Stalin as necessary to defeat the most evil man in history, Adolf Hitler.  The truth of the massacre in the Katyn forest, of course, isn’t even mentioned, nor are the countless atrocities carried out by Stalin’s Red Army.  Of course, today’s textbooks include several chapters detailing Hitler’s horrible deeds, and many schools even screen Schindler’s List to reinforce the sickening evil of the Third Reich.  Films about the Kaytn massacre do exist, but they will never be shown in any American or European classroom.  It simply doesn’t fit the “official” version of what happened in World War II.


BFG Track by Track: “Stockholm Burning” (Part 1 of 12)

[Editor’s note: Bound for Glory lead guitarist Ed provided me with additional documentation pertaining to the crisis in Sweden.  I have incorporated his research into the revised post below.]

“The experiment has failed: A good will to no avail”

The initial two lines of “Stockholm Burning,” the thundering first track from Bound for Glory’s 25th-anniversary album, Death and Defiance, sum up Sweden’s national nightmare succinctly.  The Scandinavian nation’s 30-year campaign to diversify its population has gone horribly wrong, and one of the most naturally beautiful places on Earth now bears the brutal scars of multiculturalism with no signs the bleeding will ever stop.

Sweden’s government has long sought to be among the most progressive in all of  Europe, and the nation’s descent into cosmopolitan chaos began several decades ago when the government began offering financial incentives to potential immigrants of non-European origin in a bid to diversify the Scandinavian country’s traditionally Nordic composition.  Footing the bill? Native Swedes, who were also forced through taxation to provide housing and education opportunities for these immigrants–opportunities that they, as native Swedes, were ineligible to receive despite having legal residency and being responsible for the lion’s share of the tax burden for these suicidally progressive ideas.

Furthermore, the Swedish government in 2014 passed a law making it illegal for citizens to criticize the country’s disastrous immigration policies.  Even more alarming, former Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt publicly declared that Sweden’s borders are arbitrary and that the country belongs to the immigrants, not the native Swedish population.

As Sweden’s demographic makeup changed, so, too, did the country’s reputation as one of the world’s safest places to live.  The BBC reported in 2012 that the rate of rapes committed in Sweden was the second-highest in the world and had tripled between 2003 and 2010.  In Sweden, 63 rapes are committed per 100,000 residents; to put this into perspective, in India, only two rapes are committed per every 100,000 residents.  The United Nations even issued a report declaring that Sweden will be a third-world country by 2030.

Furthermore, despite the government’s attempt to portray such violent crimes as random and isolated, Sweden’s published crime statistics between 1997-2001 indicate that a full 25% of all crimes were committed by individuals born in the Middle East or Eastern Europe, with a full 20% perpetrated by individuals with a foreign background living in Sweden.  The outmatched Swedish police force has identified 55 “no-go” zones that law enforcement personnel will not enter because criminal gangs are in complete control of the areas.

Though Sweden refuses to publish statistics documenting crimes committed by immigrants, independent agencies such as the BBC–who, as mentioned, documented that the rate of rapes in Sweden is the second-worst in the entire world–continue to report the atrocities occuring on the streets of Stockholm on a daily basis. Incredibly, the risk of being raped in one’s lifetime in Sweden is one in four.

In one particularly gruesome incident, a woman was repeatedly gang-raped at gunpoint near Tensta:

The girl is traumatized after brutal assault and currently lives in a sheltered accommodation.

The rapes took place on 19 June near Tensta. The men gang-raped the girl while one of them – an unidentified person – put a gun on her face and threatened to kill her if she did not stop screaming.

When they had finished raping the girl, the man pressed the gun in her vagina, causing damage and heavy bleeding. Then two of the men drove the girl to a basement room in Rinkeby where they gang-raped her again.

In the morning, the girl managed to get out of the basement and was found by er father who was out looking for her.

“When he found her, she sat on a lawn and was shocked, crying and in panic with bloodied clothes. She seemed scared as a hunted prey and just wanted to get away from there,” reads the judgment.

After the incident, the girl was so traumatized and afraid of the perpetrators that she has been forced to move to a shelter.

On Thursday the Solna District Court sentenced immigrant men for the aggravated rape. One of them, a 21-year-old, was sentenced to five years in prison, while a 19-year-old gets two and a half years in prison. A 18-year-old was sentenced to youth custody for a year and four months since he was under 18 when the crime was committed.

Is Sweden doomed to the third-world fate predicted by the United Nations?  Or will the once-proud Swedes–the very people who explored the world, logging conquest after conquest in distant lands, inspring fear and respect in all who crossed their path–rise up and drive the evil amongst them into the sea?  As Bound for Glory notes in the first track from its newest album, Death and Defiance, Stockholm is indeed burning.  Will the true Swedes answer the call?

“Stockholm Burning” by Bound for Glory

Bound for Glory Celebrates 25 Years Producing Iconic Music

Founded in St. Paul in 1989, Bound for Glory continues to define–and redefine–what it means to be a heavy metal outfit.  Indeed, the band’s first release, Warrior’s Glory, was straightforward rock-and-roll, with none of the technical mastery that later became one of the band’s trademarks.  Nevertheless, the album remains immensely enjoyable even 25 years later, as it captures a moment in American history few of today’s so-called “metal-heads” were even alive to experience.

More specifically, the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul during the late ’80s featured economically-stifling policies, which, coupled with a massive influx of non-Minnesotan immigration, made steady work extremely hard to obtain.  Accordingly, Warrior’s Glory features a number of unabashedly pro-American songs such as “Red, White, and Blue” and “Capital Punishment Now.”  The fight for steady employment and family-friendly neighborhoods spilled into the streets of St. Paul, where the four members of Bound for Glory quickly made names for themselves as protectors of the American Dream all too many of us take for granted.

Now, 25 years later, Bound for Glory has released another timely masterpiece, one that focuses not just on the problems plaguing America’s cities but shines light on the global fight for survival people of European descent are waging around the world.  The What You Did Not Learn in School blog will be publishing a review of Bound for Glory’s latest album, complete with track-by-track analysis and explanation of the current events that motivated the creation of each song.  I am currently waiting on feedback from Ed, the lead guitarist and one of the two founding members of the band still actively involved in its musical pursuits.