Sunday, June 15, 2014

Arch Enemy -- "Heart of Darkness" (2001)

The illusion is dissolved
You are no longer in control

The Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death.  (Check out Romans 6:23 if you don't believe me.)  

But the wages of sin isn't always death.  The wages of sin is also as follows:

  -- a house in Los Angeles, a house in Beverly Hills, and three condos in Chicago;

2009 Bentley GT
  -- a 2014 Range Rover HSE, a 2013 Mercedes G63 SUV, a 2011 Audi R8 sedan, and a 2009 Bentley GT sedan;

  -- three men's Philippe Patek watches and a woman's Tiffany watch;

  -- a 10-carat Tiffany yellow diamond ring, an eight-carat Tiffany diamond ring, a pair of Tiffany earrings with six carats in diamonds, a Tiffany bracelet, and a Tiffany necklace;

  -- 12 Bank of America accounts and a couple of Merrill Lynch accounts; and 

  -- a partial interest in Skinny Bikini Swimwear LLC.

Skinny Bikini's "Untamed Mistress" bikini
(If you'd like to shop Skinny Bikini's online offerings, click here.  Its two-piece swimsuits include the "Enticing Serpent," the "Russian Roulette," and the "Untamed Mistress.")

Less than a year ago, up-and-coming entrepreneur Lin Miao was a nominee for the Forbes magazine "30 Under 30" listing of innovative and influential young businessmen and businesswomen.

But it appears that's Miao's business success was not built on the rock, but rather on the shifting sands.

Lin Miao
Last week, Miao signed a consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission and surrendered all of the swag listed above in partial satisfaction of a judgment in the amount of $150,153,283 . . . give or take.

According to the FTC, Miao's company -- Tatto Media -- was guilty of mobile "cramming."  Crammers get unwary consumers to subscribe to daily horoscopes, celebrity news alerts, and other text-message services, then submit charges for those subscriptions to wireless providers, who are only too happy to tack those charges on to their customers' monthly bills.  

Since cell-phone providers bill you an arm and leg, it's a pretty good bet that you won't even notice an extra $9.99 or so each month -- which is exactly what the crammers are counting on.

When my kids were younger, they managed to get themselves subscribed to a couple of these services, and it was a major pain in the ass for me to get the charges off my cell phone bills.  You can call the marketers and ask to have the subscriptions cancelled and the unauthorized charges refunded, but you can imagine how far that gets you. 

And if you call your cell-phone provider to complain, it may say that the cramming isn't its problem -- despite the fact that it is the entity that is billing you (and keeping a nice piece of the action for its trouble).

But 2 or 3 lines is not only an insistent son of a bitch when it comes to such tomfoolery, he is also a law-school graduate.  I don't mind going all medieval on luckless customer service reps, and a few minutes of my special brand of verbal abuse usually does the trick.

Wages of Sin, which was released in 2001, was the fourth studio album by the Swedish melodic death metal band, Arch Enemy.  ("Melodic death metal" is also known as "melodeath," which has a nice ring to it.)  It is the first Arch Enemy album to feature German vocalist Angela Gossow.

That's right -- that's a woman singing . . . or growling . . . on "Heart of Darkness." 

Angela Gossow
Gossow was diagnosed with nodules on her vocal chords the year after she joined Arch Enemy, which almost ended her vocal career before it got started.  But she worked with famed vocal coach Melissa Coach, creator of The Zen of Screaming series of instructional DVDs, who is best known for teaching singers "extreme phonation" -- that is, SCREAMING.

Here's "Heart of Darkness":

Click below to buy a live version of the song from Amazon:

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