Art Credit: Peter H. Gilmore
Magus Anton Szandor LaVey conducting a ritual with a nude altar.

Anton LaVey: Hymn of the Satanic Empire

Reverend Bill M.

Being the founder of a "Church" of Satan, author of a Satanic "Bible", and conductor of a Satanic "Mass" album, it's no surprise that Anton Szandor LaVey also employed his skills as a musician to create a Satanic "Hymn". In 1968, LaVey composed The Hymn of the Satanic Empire, or, The Battle Hymn of the Apocalypse. The piece was played at Satanic ceremonies worldwide in the decades to follow. The lyrics were published publicly in 1990 as an epilogue to the authorized biography by Blanche Barton, The Secret Life of A Satanist (published by Feral House and soon to be released in an expanded edition).

Church of Satan Magister Reuben Radding transcribed the piece for standard notation, and copies were originally available for sale through the publication The Black Flame. In 1992 the same transcription was published in Anton LaVey's essay compilation, The Devil’s Notebook (Feral House).

LaVey himself didn't formally record the piece until sometime in the 1990s. That recording later appeared as a bonus track to the compact disc re-release of The Satanic Mass (©2001, Reptilian Records). Rather than singing the lyrics in the given melody, LaVey used his synthesizers to play the melody along with drum sounds and additional sound effects, over which he boldly spoke the lyrics.

Presented here are two brand new transcriptions by Church of Satan Reverend Bill M. One version is transcribed for treble clef, and the other is transcribed for bass clef instruments. These two versions also include, respectively, tablature notation for guitar and bass guitar.

Like Magister Radding's older transcription, these are not intended to be note-for-note transcriptions of LaVey's actual recording, but rather a transcription of the standard piece itself, showing the main melody, lyrics, chords, and other basic structural elements. However, the treble clef version additionally includes some of the chord notes that can be heard in LaVey's recording. These supplemental notes are not part of the main melody per se, so they're written in the staff music with a smaller note head, and in the guitar tablature as the fret numbers in parentheses. The reader can consider these as optional. The given chord changes can also be used as a guide for further improvisation.

So enjoy these transcriptions and play them with all the gusto that you can muster!

Magister Bill M. has created sheet music for the Hymn of the Satanic Empire. Feel Free to download them here: