Hail Krampus | A tribute to the pagan legend

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Embrace the old ways with this wintry blast from the past.

Crowned by long arching horns, clad in hulking fur, baring bloodied teeth and carrying both a whip of branches and a length of chains or bells, the Krampus is an ancient, terrifying figure of pagan folklore dating back to pre-Christian times (the most metal of all times). This unassailably badass “Christmas devil” is tasked with punishing naughty children not with a pathetic little lump of coal in the stocking, but instead with severe birch branch whippings before stuffing them into a sack and carrying them off to the woods to, presumably, be eaten. Or mauled, then eaten. But definitely eaten at some point. Probably alive. He is the antithesis of the modern hypersaccharine holiday season, the rotting elk carcass thrown atop the pile of shiny presents, the “fuck you” album of an artist’s discography (see also: Lulu, Illud Divinum Insanus, Metal Machine Music).

krampus_sneer

Eater of exactly 47,894 children

It’s easy to see how early Christianity, once it reached areas of Europe that practiced this tradition, easily retconned the Krampus’ fearsome, horned appearance into the traditional chimera-esque look & feel of the devil. It effortlessly taps into humanity’s natural fear of superior predators and malicious forces dwelling in shadowy corners of the wild; things wielding horn, tooth and claw with overpowering ferocity, as if their only role was to rend human flesh the way 365 Days of Horror rips apart shitty videos. Still, that won’t stop Rob Darken from attacking them every now and then.

krampus_angle

*rapes your dreams, steals your ale*

Typically framed against the snowy woods of early December, the Krampus is the living embodiment of the wintry, nature-heavy forest atmosphere that every lo-fi black metal or pagan/folk album strives so hard to achieve. But the Krampus is not some random marauder; he and his kind are the enforcer minions of St Nicholas (the Christian addition to the legend). It is said that St Nicholas, with his religious robes and regal, bishop-like appearance, is the one who commands the actions of the Krampus horde on the eve of St Nicholas Day (known as Krampusnacht) as they roam the snowy streets rattling their chains, whipping sinful townsfolk and stealing children for the whole eating them alive thing. Like the Emperor to the Sith, the Don to the mob or the competitive eater to the buffet table, it is he who should be the most feared.

krampus_nicholas

A Wardruna video waiting to happen

Experiencing a Krampuslauf, a street run of Krampus characters, is like discovering a thousand-year-old ancestor to the mosh pit. The clanging din of Krampus bells and chains can be heard from blocks away. When they come closer, they’re deafening. Hundreds of the creatures materialize en masse and take over the entire street. They scream and grunt from behind their carved masks, each one distinctive from the others. Most carry whips of horsetails or reeds and frequently dole out solid thrashes to the legs of attendees. Leave too much room between yourself and the crowds and they’ll give chase.

krampus_smash

*smash* BYAAAAH!

krampus_charge

You’re next, fucker!

Unlike many street fests or haunted houses where contact between performers and attendees is discouraged, the Krampus unabashedly run, bump, push and shove their way through throngs of onlookers, all the while whipping, grunting and bell-clanging. They’re not shy. They’re the opposite of shy. In fact, many of them are drunk (if local cabbies are to be believed). Each Krampuslauf is unique. Some are slightly tame and geared toward older/younger tourists. Some are loud, fast-paced and meant to be accompanied by copious amounts of beer. Others incorporate fire, smoke and pentagrams. Regardless, many will attend. Many will be whipped. Do not try to hide from the horde. You are filth and deserve punishment. The whip will always find you, lifelover.

krampus_fire1

krampus_fire3

krampus_fire4

Pictured: your new Christmas alternative

For better or worse (definitely worse), the Krampus legend has been growing in popularity every year, partially through parodies on shows such as American Dad and The Venture Bros. Professional fat guy Kevin Smith is also said to be working on a Krampus-themed horror movie (*preemptive flush*). Since the US is notorious for adopting and sanitizing some of the most interesting facets of international culture, lopping off the sharp edges and offensive elements and neutering it of religious connotations which may harm our fragile sensitivities, it won’t be long until we see cute, smiling Krampus plush toys stocked on store shelves alongside Santa and his reindeer, castrated of his pagan menace and reduced to a harmless character ripe for a Disney adaptation. Nevertheless, Rob Darken will continue his attack, undeterred by his lack of dignity or loose grip on reality.

I realize might be part of the problem of driving attention to these inferior, flushable appropriations, but the goal here is to introduce and/or remind our readers ov the bowl of the fascinating and inherently metal-before-there-was-metal origins of the Krampus legend, before it becomes the centerpiece of every BDubs bro-filled sports bar in the country as they host yearly Krampus parties, or before “crazy guy in the Krampus costume” becomes the new “crazy guy in the gorilla costume.”

krampus_saint

I killed, raped and ate the gorilla. BYAAAAH!

So as we trudge into December’s forced lobotomy of industrial-strength holiday cheer, and as the bleak abyss of January seems more and more welcoming, be sure to check out Wikipedia for some more reading material about this and other pre-Christian traditions, remember to combat Christmas music whenever possible, and as always: STAY MERRY CHEERY JOLLY KRAMPUS WHIPPED WINTRY PAGAN BLOODY EATEN HORNED VOID.

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  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    Is there any more “metal” holiday creature? No freaking way!

    • CyberneticOrganism

      KRVMPVS >>>>>>>>>

      • Stockhausen

        I’ve been waiting for someone to work this is. Thank you, Ann Kvlter, thank you.

        • In case you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with The Office.

          • My wife and I finished the entire series for the second time a month or two ago. It is (was) great!

            Your Frand,

            GL

          • Nice! I have to watch it when my girlfriend isn’t around, as she doesn’t really like it. But whatever, she has shitty taste in shows anyway.

          • At least that makes it more convenient to watch. We would have to watch them together (more difficult) so we were not out of sync…

            GL

      • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

        belschnickles no joke!!

  • Jesus christ man, let me know when you’re gonna post pictures of my ex!

  • Death

    Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a good movie for christmas.

  • Tyree

    BYAAAAH!

  • VVorld Peace

    I have a gorilla costume. It brings the lolz.

  • IronLawnmower

    I made a videogame about a german nursery rhyme featuring a gnome that cuts off peoples thumbs. This reminded me of that.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    FYI: Krampusnacht is TONIGHT, flushketeers, so go out and whip a lifelover today.

    • wonderful article, my bromosexual! i’d love to take part in something like this

      • CyberneticOrganism

        They seem to be popping up all over the country; these were from Salzburg, Austria

        • Further Down the Metal Hole

          Austria goes nuts over this every year, but if you really want to experience it, you should stay away from large cities (where the most you get is a mean stare). Out in the country they do the really wicked stuff, or so I’m told at least.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            We wanted to get further out into the country, like Graz, but time didn’t allow. Salzburg was pretty badass though, we had no regrets.

    • I was doing that last night in the Death pit!

    • ChuggaChuggaDeedleyDoo

      If ever the unfortunate situation would arise that I have kids someday, I’m telling them about Krampus instead of Santa.

  • KJM

    Krampus is the reason for the season!!

    • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

      What do you want Krampus to bring you for Krampusmas?

  • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

    Krampus looks like Ed in Donnie Darko

  • Gvacamole Jim
  • Last Ounce of Courage is a good movie for christmas.

  • Guys! I think I’ve finally made my list for this year (sorry it’s kinda unrelated to this article)

    Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall
    The Acacia Strain – Coma Witch
    Acrania – Totalitarian Dystopia
    Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
    Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails
    Black Crown Inititate – The Wreckage of Stars
    Bloodshot Dawn – Demons
    Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No.
    Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry
    Revocation – Deathless

    Honorable Mentions: Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite, Trap Them – Blissfucker, Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun

    • VVorld Peace

      That’s a pretty diverse list, duder.

    • Death

      Hey, I liked one of those albums!

      • Gvacamole Jim

        I’ve heard you say you’ve liked two things now this week. What the hell, man. You lifeloving or something?

      • Blunt Ass Nord?

        • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

          *Nerd

        • Tyree

          I’m all for the Blunt and the Congregation.

        • Death

          Yes. It’s nice to see that you liked at least one good album.

    • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

      I love you, Ann, but your lack of The Old Believer makes my wiener soft.

      • There are so many GD releases from 2014 I didn’t get to, unfortunately. I’m gonna spend most of my Christmas money trying to catch up on them.

        • according to our you choose article, over 500 ov them!

          • wow I didnt even type ov on purpose, it just kind of happened lol.

          • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

            That comment box > All the EOTY lists.

          • i’m going to make a top 10 list of my favorite lists.

    • Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah! Fallujah!

      Your Frand,

      GL

    • Tom Waits For Better Days

      Are you kidding me?

      • No.

        • Tom Waits For Better Days

          Mind = Blown

          • Leave my frand alone!

            GL

          • Tom Waits For Better Days

            A frand won’t leave another alone, so, impossibru

      • Are You Kidding Me No? FTFY

        • Tom Waits For Better Days

          Ftfy?????

    • Roses are red, violets are blue
      This list is false, a poser are you

    • OldMetalHead

      I picked up that Black Crown Initiate. It’s fucking great. Have you heard the new septicflesh?

      • I’m not a big Septicflesh fan, so I haven’t checked it out yet.

        • OldMetalHead

          See what you think of this

        • OldMetalHead
        • OldMetalHead

          See what you think of this. If they ever reboot Highlander, this should definitely be on the soundtrack
          http://youtu.be/DZoDWYQxdWw

      • RustyShackleford

        New Septicflesh is heavy as fuck. Feel like it’s being overlooked on year end lists!

  • dem0n0cracy

    This post would literally kill Tyler.

    • Don’t make jokes about that dude come on.

      • dem0n0cracy

        Jus’ sayin’. This post definitely triggered smiles for me though. I kind of want to get one of these masks and go to a concert with it. The horns are mad dangerous though.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          I wanted one of those masks so badly when I was in the middle of the krampuslauf, some of the horns are fucking monstrous

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I read his lengthy post today, pretty ballsy to lay it all out like that for us to read. Hope the dude can cope okay.

      • Death

        I think I may want to know what has happened.

        • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

          Me too.

        • Maybe you should actually join the group then…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

        • the other Finn joined us.

          • Death

            He’s the lesser Finn. The banished one.

      • dem0n0cracy

        Yeah man, religious irrationality is just hard for me to understand. It’s why I prefer to say that all superstitions and supernatural occurences are more likely hallucinations or the brain making up false reasons for things. It’s too bad humanity is still so entrenched by it.

      • i don’t log on enough. worth it?

    • Gvacamole Jim

      What? don’t get/10

      • dem0n0cracy

        Dem masks are scary as fuck. And look like pretty badass devils.

    • VVorld Peace

      Hey guys, maybe not a good idea to doxx him on here…

  • OldMetalHead

    Amazing how many of these legends seem to be about scaring or coercing unruly children into behaving. Even the Brother’s Grimm stuff is. Now we have shit like elf on a shelf. I guess kids have been a pain in their parents asses since the beginning of time.

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    All of you Toileteers are naughty, naughty lifelovers who need a good whippin’.

    Into the sack with you!!

    http://i.imgur.com/mszbWpB.gif

  • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK
  • Renan Ribeiro

    This seems like a fun lifeloving experience. I’m definitely including this in my travel wishlist.

  • Stockhausen
    • CyberneticOrganism

      whoah

      • Sauron gets it, why doesn’t KSOFM ???!!!

        GL

    • OldMetalHead

      Seeing the eye of Sauron close up like that reminds me of a vag made of fire.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    krampus as metaphor for “enforcers” (cops)—used by fox media/weinstein

    as means to “socialize” the public to violent police tactics against citizen taxpayers

    also the indian chick selling her ass=psyop of “human body devalue”–as part of new perception of human worth –in “obamacare”—which is actually gateway for totalitarian u.n. citizen “micromanagement”—thru medical blackmail—-and eventual world holocaust
    against all who are non compliant with “agenda 21”—
    —–

    • CyberneticOrganism
    • BLVKKBEVRD DVRKWORK

      FUCK AGENDA 21

      • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        all over the web—good people are learning—-

        agenda 21 is illegal—-the american constitution —says no other document or treaty can have more authority—

        treason——fuck the msm—-agenda 21 did 911—

        time for america—all good peoples of the earth—to get together on the web—and free everybody–from govt totalitarianism—and end war for all time

    • OldMetalHead

      Sounds like something Dave Mustaine would sing about.

  • Akercocke ov Steele

    Merry Krampus everybody!

  • <3

  • Vriezen

    In the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement, us actors have been talking about celebrating Krampus for several years. Let’s keep XXXmas metal and start bringing it back.

  • JWG

    “Krampuslauf” sounds like it should translate to ‘constipation’ somehow.

    …or maybe that’s Farfrompoopen #90sTVReference

  • Krampus, Lord Of PMS.