Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Comets Are Born At Night

Everything will come in its time, inexorably.

- Victor Serge, The Case Of Comrade Tulayev, 1942

It was a frigid and unforgiving midnight in Petersburg. As he bombed down the Nevsky Prospekt on foot, Kiril licked the blood off his gauntlets and contemplated the evening’s activities. The concert had gone well, for the most part. That one citizen up front had been a relentless douche, but had received what was coming to him. Hence the blood on Kiril’s spikes. As he fortified himself against the winds screaming off the Neva, he made a mental note to have a sit-down with Kostia to remind his guitarist as firmly as possible that “practice” equals “rehearsal” and that Kostia should do all his practicing before rehearsal. The bridge section in “Flash-Frozen Steppes” needs to happen five times, not four. The open space in “Blaster, Berator” should be held for one beat longer. As Kiril saw it, this was strictly a case of behavior modification, but it should be accomplished swiftly and with as little moaning as possible.

But then what? How best to integrate his artistic desires with the vagaries of the cosmic unconsciousness? Kiril knew he needed to go bigger. And blacker, in the most metal of senses. Siberian Destiny’s corpsepaint designs were cutting-edge, obviously, but they were not the next-level shit that Kiril aspired to. Minds had not been blown. How to find the path among so many potential others twining through his psychic forest like snakes fleeing fire? He thought of Tunguska: the felled trees, the peat bogs, the aerial photographs destroyed by Yevgeny Krinov. The whole incident had been a cover-up, no doubt about that, but what had happened? And cui bono?

But he was derailing himself. How to ease the gnawing at his brain pan, the slow fissure in what he felt to be his soul? He knew he had to think in terms of the eternal present, in terms of enlightenment as freedom from attachment. He would have to breach and forsake established norms. He would have to transcend.

Stage armor had been briefly considered and hastily dismissed. Too cumbersome, too cliché, too readily compatible with swords and then too easily associated with battlefield reenactments. Perhaps something involving lasers? Garish and much too expensive, probably, but he felt he had stumbled upon a general direction: The transmutation of energy. In terms of pyro, KISS had done it first and arguably best. Financially, Siberian Destiny just couldn’t compete in any sort of meaningful fashion. An elaborate light show was too predictable and not entirely in step with the band’s carefully honed image of cold steel and icy darkness. But then... perhaps that was it!

A working snow machine could be had fairly cheaply on the black market. While he was at it, Kiril would secure a few other necessities, including mirrored pick-guards and several large fans. Yes, the next performance would surely be an unbridled success. The Petersburg winter would continue indoors to the glorious soundtrack of merciless post-Soviet black metal. Indeed, the Winter Palace would tremble to its very foundations. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood would weep black lazurite tears of terror and distress. The Neva itself would vomit forth creatures of unknown origin and the barnacled corpses of ancient wars. In short, it would be totally fucking awesome.

He remembered the words of Victor Serge: “The human body is ugly, and if man has only his body, if thought is only a product of the body, how can it be anything but doubtful and inadequate?” It was true: Kiril’s dream was as vivid as it was implausible, but it was his own way of holding the world in his hands. And it provided crucial inspiration for the next phase of Siberian Destiny’s career. Kiril felt at one with the universe, secure in the knowledge that inspiration comes from within just as it does from without. Despite the icebound darkness through which he trundled, everything took on the rosy hue of unlimited success. The possibilities stretched to infinity in every direction. Kiril suspected that he was in love.

This bullshit originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Decibel magazine.