Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Img_0526 Well, it's Wednesday. That means the garbage gets picked up, new comics come out and I have to find something to say in this post. The first two happen automatically. It's number three I've got nothing for today.

I've been so driven to mix Dark Ritual that I haven't spent much time being philosophical. Maybe that's a bad thing. My wife would probably say it's okay. (She's not into philosophy much.) My son would probably just say, "Uuurrp!" and then make a mess.

Oooh! Maybe I should do a review of ! It's this great website I've been using for awhile, mainly for it's handy search engine, but I haven't mentioned it here yet.

Well what do you know? This makes my fourth paragraph. Guess I've written enough to constitute a "post" for now, and that website review will have to wait for another day.

Back to mixing!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dark Ritual Trailer Is Here!!

Dr_cover_proj_pg_2 At long last, the exciting trailer for "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual" has arrived!

You can listen to it using the player in the left sidebar of this page, or download it by visiting:

You can also download and check out Ryan's awesome artwork for the CD cover at:

You'll find it in the "Bonus Material" section of that page.

Help us spread the word! The darkness is coming, and "no one is safe..."

In Search Of Truth

Biblemag Galatians, Chapter 4: 1-20

Paul begins the chief metaphor of chapter 4 in the last verse of chapter 3. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Paul illustrates how humanity is meant to inherit incredible, immeasurable blessings from God. But until we change from being simply "children" and become "heirs", that inheritance is not ours. As only children, in this metaphor, we are not only unqualified to receive all of God's blessings, we are also like "slaves". By this Paul means that we are burdened with the requirement of obeying God's laws perfectly. Without putting our trust in Jesus, the only alternative is to perfectly obey God in order to earn our place in heaven.

On some level, we seem to recognize this need, and religions all over the world incorporate some list of requirements we need to fulfill before going to heaven, becoming enlightened, or whatever the case may be. We seem to know intuitively that without positive action on our part, we fall short. However, what we don't realize is that no amount of positive action that we are capable of will ever be enough. As we saw last week, God's standard is perfection, and only Jesus has lived a life that matches that standard.

One of the initial blessings of being an heir comes from God's Spirit, living inside of us. That concept alone is mind-blowing if we spend time thinking about it. The entire, infinite God, uncontainable by all the universe, is somehow fully present in the hearts of those who trust in Jesus. We are also entitled to share the intimacy that the Holy Spirit shares with God. The word "Abba", used in verse 6, is a term of close familial affection, similar to a baby's, "dada". With sin still staining our record, we could never have this kind of close relationship with an all-perfect, righteous judge. But because of Jesus, that judge becomes our loving, protective and tender Father.

Paul saw that the Galatians were returing to some life patterns they had developed before becoming Christians. Patterns that prioritized pointless, powerless activities attempting to "earn" them good standing with God.

Paul implies that the Galatians have forgotten the great relationship they had developed with him and are now treating him like an enemy because he is communicating truth to them. Although we want to make sensitivity a foundation for our communication, we should always be prepared for truth to be offensive and often rejected (at least initially) by those we share it with. Especially when the truth expressed calls for change. This is true for both Christians and non-Christians.

Paul makes a great point regarding zealousness (or we might say "sincerity") in verses 17-18. Being sincere and passionate for what we believe in is good. But sincerity is only valuable if what we believe in is true and good.

Next week we'll look at the rest of this chapter and the Old Testament story that it refers to.

Coffee House Question

When do you think being zealous can be harmful? When can being zealous be a really great thing?

Next Week: Who's yo' mamma?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Review)

Ben Stein (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Win Ben Stein's Money, Visine Commercials) acted as front man for this documentary about the theory of Intelligent Design and the American scientific community. At 90 minutes, this film briefly makes its point clear, although wanders off center for a few minutes.

Stein spotlights scientists with strong credibility who have been in some way shut out (fired, denied tenure, blacklisted) from the scientific community because of their desire to openly discuss the concept of Intelligent Design. Throughout the film we see scientists of all philosophical backgrounds (Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, Humanist) discussing the barrier they have experienced regarding a public dialogue over Intelligent Design. Demonstrating this trend is the film's strong point, since this entire, complex issue CANNOT be resolved in a 90 minute documentary.

Although "Expelled" spends some time validating the theory of Intelligent Design and clearly differentiating it from "Creationism", it does this only enough to demonstrate that the theory is sound enough to deserve continuing, open and reason-based discussion.

Inter-cut with vintage film clips, the film has its share of humor and Stein brings his dry, sometimes awkward charm to the table. However, some of these clips may be seen as oversimplified humorous jabs at the Neo-Darwinist establishment. (Entertaining in film, but not a good way to promote calm and reasoned discussion.) Likewise, the film wanders off-center in discussing the sociological ramifications of applied Darwinism, using the Holocaust as a weighty example. While the point made is a good one, it seemed devised to provoke an emotional reaction, which an Evolutionist will likely find illogical and even offensive.

The main point of the movie remains: The American scientific community is largely unwilling to openly and rationally discuss the concept of Intelligent Design. In most cases, the scientists and employers responsible for firing or otherwise blacklisting those interested in Intelligent Design, did not come forward to tell their side of the story. Normally, this could be seen as a weak point in the film's argument regarding the closed minds of the scientific community. However, since the movie's chief point is that scientists are refusing to speak openly about the issue, it works in direct support of the argument. True, we have to admit that there may be another side to some of these stories. But until the leaders and former employers of these blacklisted scientists come out and speak openly, as requested by the film itself, the point made by the film remains unchallenged.

Theists will no doubt want to see this film. I'd also recommend Agnostics, Evolutionists, and anyone else to see this film, if for no other reason than to understand what "Intelligent Design" does and does not claim. If your impression of the concept connects it automatically to the Bible or Christian Theology, this film will probably be eye opening.

Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking

Quality: 7.5/10

Relevance: 9.0/10

Two Songs, Twenty-three Pages

Img_05185 That's all that's left! It may seem like a lot (sometimes it does to us, too!) but with April passing, Paeter will soon be giving every hour of labor to the completion of "Dark Ritual". We haven't done the math and don't like to give premature release dates (been there, done that), but here are the numbers in case you'd like to make your own guesses:

"Dark Ritual" has 64 pages and seven songs. Paeter started mixing in September 2007. He had already finished primary mixing for one song. From September through April, Paeter has spent roughly 10-12 days per month on mixing. Completing scenes in chronological order, Paeter has finished primary mixing on pages 1-41. Paeter has two songs left to mix.

Beginning the first of May, Paeter will spend 18-20 days per month mixing for "Dark Ritual". After Primary Mixing is complete, Paeter will take about two weeks to master the project, after which it will be available for download purchase, and soon after for CD purchase.

We're still projecting a summer release, but we'll keep you posted on our progress.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Img_0528 I'm enjoying recovery on two different levels right now.

First, I got slammed with another nasty cold bug this week. That makes two in three months for me, which is unheard of! But I'm doped up with good stuff and making a quick comeback.

Second, I've been busy with other work for a few weeks that has kept me from "Dark Ritual". Not completely, but enough to make it hard to build momentum. However, once April has passed I anticipate a completely free calendar until "Dark Ritual" is finished and in your hands, ears and minds!

I also got an e-mail from Ryan today saying that the CD cover is nearing completion and he'll have something to me soon!

That's all for now!

- Paeter Frandsen

Monday, April 21, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Biblecandle Galatians, Chapter 3

Paul begins chapter 3 by trying to re-direct the Galatians to the origins of their faith. "Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?" If we aren't constantly revisiting the Bible and refreshing our memory of the truth, it can be easy for influences around us to warp our understanding of the truth over time.

As the first convert to Judaism, Abraham is a revered figure in ancient Jewish culture. With that in mind, it makes sense that Paul would use Abraham's faith (which came BEFORE any sacrificial or ceremonial laws were formally introduced) as an example for us today. Paul demonstrated that faith came before the law, and it was sufficient on some level to be counted as righteousness(meeting God's standard). Even Jewish scholars opposed to Christian teaching would have to admit the validity of "faith" apart from any good works, in this case.

Paul also demonstrates that God planned all along for people to ultimately be justified(declared or made righteous) by faith. He does this by pointing to God's promise to bless "all nations" through Abraham's offspring. Specifically, Jesus.

Paul then makes his case against depending on our own goodness to save us. He paraphrases Deuteronomy 27:26, which clearly puts a curse on anyone who fails to obey God's commands. Doing the right thing doesn't simply earn us "bonus points" in God's eyes. Perfect obedience is the minimum requirement! Sounds pretty hopeless, doesn't it? And it would be, if Jesus hadn't "redeemed" us. (v. 13)



as used here, this word means "to buy". Jesus purchased us. The price was his own life


Paul further disconnects obedience from our salvation by reminding his readers that God's promise to Abraham (to bless all nations through him) was unconditional. There are certainly times in the Old Testament when a blessing from God was conditionally based on obedience, but this was not one of them.

"So what was the purpose of the law?" (v. 19) Not an easy question to answer completely, but one that we can easily answer partially.

The laws set down by God were put in place to show us the difference between humanity and God. To demonstrate clearly that we are broken and need to be repaired. Without the law, we would not know when we're doing something that fails to reflect God's perfect character. So the law was given to guide us toward God, like a supervisor or tutor, until Jesus came. (v. 24-25) For more reading on this, see Romans 4:15 and Romans 7:7.

As this chapter closes, we can see the value scripture gives to human equality. Although everyone has unique skills and roles, all have equal value to God. Even more, all who choose to believe and trust in Christ are the "Huios" of God. This Greek word translated as "Sons" in verse 26, implies not just a biological or creative connection. A "Huios" shares the characteristics of its Father. This word was specifically used of Jesus and those who put their trust in him. In God's eyes, no matter what we have done, when we choose to put our trust in Jesus, He looks at us and sees perfection. Wow! Try to wrap your brain around THAT one!

Coffee House Question


What do you think life would be like if everyone lived forever, but still with tendency towards sin and selfishness?

Next Week: Slaves or Heirs?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Torture Revisited

Img_05195 This week, after finishing work on the "Dark Ritual" trailer, Paeter finally made time to re-record some lines. The recording was for an intense scene involving Merikk and the chief antagonist of our upcoming sequel to "Spirit Blade".

Also this week, we added another actor to the project. Preston Hancock, the Executive Pastor of Red Mountain Community Church, came and recorded some supporting character lines for "Dark Ritual" that will help diversify the ethnicity of our character line-up. Thanks, Preston!

As always, we hope you join us on the weekends for "The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast"!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In The Name Of The King (DVD Review)

It should come as no surprise that Uwe Boll's latest "video game to movie" effort has fallen short. I'm not looking to pound on him. (If you feel like doing that, more power to you. There's an interesting petition floating around the net you might want to search for and check out.)

No, I want to try and figure out the mystery behind him a little. Why do producers keep giving him movies to direct? With consistently poor reviews, you would think that producers would choose a different director if they want to make some money. Then again, does anyone know if his movies are making money? I went over to IMDB to try and solve the mystery.

The website gives production budgets and box office sales for nearly every movie listed, but without knowing the exchange rate for various countries around the world, I wasn't able to figure out how well Boll's movies did in the end. I suppose it's possible that he's able to make enough money from reluctant but obligated video game fans and the few people that like his flicks to make producers some money. But what about the others involved?

Take the cast of "Dungeon Siege" for example. Not an A-list name among them, but a LOT of very recognizable B-listers. Jason Stathum has shown he can carry his own action flicks and certainly doesn't need to seek out Boll for work. Ron Perlman either does artsy independent stuff or "Hellboy", so this was an odd choice for him. John Rhys-Davies, although a fine actor, has chosen pretty sub-par stuff since LOTR. Ray Liota's an okay actor, but he should have recognized that his hint of New York accent wouldn't gel with the part of "evil sorcerer".

What is it that enchanted these actors to be a part of this movie? Outside of a paycheck, I can't imagine. In the "Behind The Scenes" feature of the DVD, we basically see a montage of video clips from various shooting days on the movie. There's very little talking that is loud enough to be understood and certainly no interviews with actors talking about their "experience making the movie". Kristanna Loken obviously enjoys working with him. This will be at least her third Uwe Boll movie, with Bloodrayne 3 in production now.

So I guess I should talk about the movie, huh?

There's nothing horribly offensive for lack of quality in this movie, it's just a let down from beginning to end. It reminds me of the quality of sword and sorcery flicks in the mid 80's, but with CGI. So maybe that will work for you, in which case, enjoy with my blessings. The CGI was actually pretty cool looking in a few shots. Mostly the "magic effects" were enjoyable. Much of the green screen work fell short. Boll certainly made use of some LOTR fantasy movie devices like sweeping helicopter shots and rainy night-time battles. The monster costumes could have been better, or lit to avoid showcasing their flaws. (They looked best at night in the rain.)

The costumes and set design were conceptually cool, but executed cheaply. The script was weak, with exposition that set up nothing. The plot was also contrived and the acting performances were forced all around. There were far too many moments that were supposed to be dramatic and emotionally impacting, but that weren't earned through polished, invested performances.

As for meaningful discussion, there may be something in there, but the quality of the movie won't lead anybody to think about this flick after the credits start rolling.

Here's my theory: I don't think Uwe Boll should quit making movies. But he needs some help. First off, a scene coach to direct the actors. You can almost see them asking "is this what I should be doing?" with several of their lines. Boll, like George Lucas, obvious has no ability to coach and direct actors.

Second, give him movies with more focus on the visual and less on the emotional. Even with a scene coach, Uwe Boll doesn't do well with talking people in the frame. Give him action and special effects.

So maybe he should produce, direct second unit, or supervise visual effects. Call me a rebellious non-comformist for saying this, but I think there may be a place for Uwe Boll in Hollywood. Probably not in the director's chair, but the man obviously knows how to work a producer for cash. That's a job somewhere...

Quality: 5.0/10

Relevance: 4.0/10

Trailer Done... but wait...

Img_0529_3 Hey Guys,

I just finished the trailer for Dark Ritual yesterday. Only three people in the world other than myself have heard it.

I know you're gonna hate me for this, but I'm gonna hang onto it until the end of the month, when Ryan should have the CD graphic finished. Then we can launch this marketing campaign shooting from both barrels!

The monumental burden of launching the trailer rests on the shoulders of my graphic designer. So in the meantime, everybody join the chant... "Go Ryan, go! Go Ryan, go!"

Yep. I'll bet Ryan hates me now.

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, April 14, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Bibleburned_2 Galatians, Chapter 2

In this chapter, Paul tells the Galatians about an episode in Jerusalem where a group of Jews (claiming to be Christians, though we can't be sure either way) put pressure on Paul to make non-Jews practice the ceremonial laws and rituals of the Old Testament. Although the moral law remained for Christians to obey, the sacrificial and ceremonial law had become obsolete because of Jesus, who gave himself as the perfect and final sacrifice to pay for all sins and render "clean" all who will trust in him.

Today, many who say they are Christians have added rules and expectations to the Christians around them, that either overstep what the Bible says, or directly add to what the Bible says. What probably began as healthy caution eventually became warped into moral law and mandated cultural tradition not found in the Bible, but created by humans.

Simplifying life into a list of do's and don'ts can make us mentally lazy. By contrast, caution and discernment are great skills for every Christian to grow in (see Philippians 1:9-10). Also, by adding rules to the Bible that aren't there, we are calling something "bad" that God calls "good". We are not living with the kind of freedom that God wants us to have. Even worse, we're distorting and misrepresenting God's communication to humanity!

Paul recognized the severe consequences of adding to God's word, and so opposed this kind of teaching to maintain the purity of truth.(verse 5)

In verses 7-9, we're reminded of the unity that all Christians share. Like Paul and Peter, some Christians may be called to impact different social groups, or to emphasize ideas a little differently, but it is the same God empowering everyone who genuinely trusts and believes in Jesus Christ. We can so often focus on our differences that we lose sight of how God is using each of us, despite our areas of conflict, to reach the world we live in.

Starting in verse 11, we unfortunately see one of the first examples of hypocrisy in church leadership. The Apostle Peter himself had been carried away by the influence of legalism (an improper fixation on law or customary conduct). Probably because of the obvious influence Peter had, Paul chose to confront him publically on the issue.

Part of what Paul has to say represents a key concept of the Bible. Look at verse 16. Okay, now here comes this week's "Vocab Round-up":


- if someone is righteous, they are meeting the standards required by God. (So being called "righteous" is a pretty big deal!)


- to be justified means to be declared righteous (if already righteous) or to be made righteous (if not already righteous).


- This word is used in vague, murky language in American pop-spirituality. In the Bible it has a couple different meanings. Sometimes it refers to a system of belief. "The Christian faith." But most of the time it means having agreement with and trust in Jesus Christ. It is not by definition "blind" or illogical, but is nearly identical to the idea of "confidence" or "trust".

In contrast to the natural thinking of humanity, we cannot meet the standards required by God through "being a good person". Verse 16 makes that pretty clear. God is so far above and beyond our most pristine concepts for "good" that we will never meet his standards and earn the right to be in his presence forever. Faith in Jesus, and in the sacrifice he made, is the only way our record can be made to meet God's requirements.

In verse 18, Paul says that if we once again try to be made right with God through good deeds, after already being saved by God's grace(undeserved favor), we will only show how sinful we are.

Verse 19 might seem a little cryptic at first, but we can make sense of what Paul is saying. Jesus came to fulfill the law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17). We are still ultimately saved through obedience to the Law. But it is Christ's obedience to the law, not ours, that saves us. So in that sense, Paul, through the law fulfilled by Jesus, was able to leave behind(die to) the burden of trying to meet God's requirements by his own effort. Free of that burden, Paul can now really live the way he was meant to live for God.

In verse 20, Paul expands on this idea by saying that he (his old self) has died and now it is Christ that lives in and empowers him. He hammers home the point of this chapter in verse 21. If anybody can spend eternity in heaven with God simply by being "a good person", then Christ died for nothing. If Christ died for nothing, then God is either weak, and unable to save himself from death, or foolish, since dying served no purpose.

So either trust and belief in Jesus is absolutely needed and the only thing needed, or the God of the Bible is not really worth listening to. Not much room for an easy going, all-inclusive middle ground.

Plenty of food for thought, so after you've processed a little, tell us what YOU think!

Coffee House Question


When you do something good, or make a choice in line with the Bible, what motivates you to do that?

Next Week: If faith is all you need, then why obey the law?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trailer and Turning 30!

Img_0528 Hey folks!

I've finished selecting the dialogue and FX cues that will go in the Dark Ritual Trailer. I've also determined what "snippets" of songs you'll get to hear (for the first time!!) near the beginning of the trailer.

Now I'll need to edit the cuts together, add some cool production music, and give you all a taste of what's coming! I can't wait!

Also, just FYI, I'll be shutting things down over the next few days to celebrate my 30th birthday! (I turn 30 on the 11th. Can anyone count how many times I snuck my birth date into "Spirit Blade" in one form or another? It's in there, go listen!) It's gonna be an awesome marathon weekend of gaming and geekiness. Visit "Paeter's Brain" next week for the details!

Regular posting will resume again on Monday with "In Search Of Truth" and the next chapter of Galatians.

Have a great weekend!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, April 7, 2008

What Is Truth?

Img_0553 What Is Truth?

How do we determine what is true and what is not? Is it a feeling we get? A tradition passed down? A belief we simply have or don't have? Do the rules of logic even enter the discussion? Why do some people use an entirely different set of rules for determining spiritual truth than they do for determining scientific truth? After all, if someone doesn't believe that milk comes from cows, do we say, "Well, that may be true for you" or do we try to find a way to explain the truth to them?

Granted, the great spiritual questions about the nature of God and the origin of the universe are a lot more complex than the inner workings of the dairy industry. Does that mean we should throw out the logical methods of FINDING real answers? Should we just give up on the quest for truth and say "whatever works for you"? "It's all much too complicated, so there must not BE any answers." If we asked our scientists to share that way of thinking, they would laugh in our faces.

Some may argue that the very nature of spiritual issues requires a more flexible kind of thinking. But to that I might respond, "Really? Is there any 'flexibility' regarding the view that we should be more flexible? Or are you absolutely rigid in your feelings about that?" If we choose to use a different way of thinking to discover spiritual truth, we have to ask, why are we doing this? Throwing away logic has not helped to advance our knowledge in any other field of study. Why should we so randomly decide to throw away logic as we pursue the most complex questions in the universe?

I believe the answer we don't want to face is that we CHOOSE to throw away logic. Why? Because we like our freedom. We are not interested in changing anything about the way we live. We want to do what we want to do. What's comfortable. If we approach the questions of God with a desire for real answers, we may have to make some real changes in our lives based on what we discover. Changes that will be difficult and that may even cause pain. So to avoid it we convince ourselves that speaking vaguely about spiritual matters, using poetic sounding metaphors instead of defined ideas, makes us more spiritual somehow. And no one likes conflict, so we don't challenge the spiritual ideas of others unless their ideas by nature challenge our own. Live and let live.

And "well done", we have less ugly conflict. We have less healthy conflict, too. What else has been sacrificed in the exchange?

-Paeter Frandsen

Friday, April 4, 2008


Img_0541 This week has been a music week for Paeter. He's wrapped up work on Raan's song entitled "Death Come Quickly" (hmm, I wonder why Raan would be singing those words...) and is now finishing a song between Vincent and Merikk called "Used".

In general, the songs of "Dark Ritual" have an added "Epic" flavor that wasn't present in "Spirit Blade". It's a blend of electronic, orchestral and rock stylings that we think is representative of the story and its primary backdrop.

Next week Paeter will begin systematically looking through the script and determining which lines and moments are vital for our trailer.

See you on Monday!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dark Ritual Trailer Coming!!

Sonar Since I've hit a scene that I want to re-record some lines for, but don't feel super energized about doing that yet, I'm alternating back to work on some songs for Dark Ritual. I've got a duet with Randy (Vincent) that I'm adding his vocals to it now. The process is an exciting one. I'm using some effects to bring a darkness and hardness to his sound that will add to the tone of the song, contrasting epic orchestral/choral material with electronic production values.

And yes, you read that post title right, there is a trailer for Dark Ritual coming. Expect to see it around the end of April. I'll start deciding what clips and lines I want to use in it next week and then begin the mixing process the week after. Part of me is bummed that I'll have to stop work on Dark Ritual to get the trailer done, but it will be a fun little project to work on and a valuable marketing tool as we approach the release of Dark Ritual. Naturally you'll be the first to know when the trailer is completed and available for download!

That's all for now!

-Paeter Frandsen