GUEST BLOGGER CHRIS KROVATIN: “A DAY IN METAL HEAVEN”
Chris Krovatin is the author of the young-adult novels Heavy Metal & You and Venomous, as well as Revolvermag.com’s “Final Six” blog. The latter book was the inspiration for Deadlocke, a one-shot published by Dark Horse Comics. Here he shares his vision of Metal Heaven.
Obviously, it looks a lot like Hell.
Great black mountains jut from the Earth, surrounded by dark, eerie woods and murky green swamps. Some of the crags jet fire every few hours, but mostly they rise out of the landscape in ominous shapes formed with near-impossible geometry handed down from pre-Christian gods. At the top of every mountain is an altar, and on that altar is a sacrificial dagger and a crusty red stain buzzing with flies. Elves and werewolves live in the woods, mostly, while trolls, goblins, and orcs take to the mountains. Sometimes, fires can be seen between the trees, burning high and bright, and weird folky music twangs off in the distance. The trees in the forest grow money and weed.
The cities are unfathomable: steel, wire and screen built one on top of the other for miles and ages onwards. Angels, demons, vampires, and space bikers weave in between glittering towers cluttered with gargoyles. Pipes shoot out into shadowy alleyways, sending dramatic billows of steam and smoke through chain-link fences and wrought-iron gates. City squares surround fountains of blood, lined with boutiques that specialize only in the finest minotaur leather and the most high-tech musical gear the world has ever known, with tattoo parlors and steakhouses spattered throughout. Blinking lights and flashing monitors hang weightlessly above the crowded streets and flicker between images of clanking machinery, dangerous animals attacking prey, and sex.
Every night, there are three shows: an outdoor arena festival, a ballroom venue concert, and a shitty bar night with a stage barely two feet off the ground. The bands that play nightly aren’t just divided by genre and size, but by era and line-up; every so often, if you time it right, you can catch three different Iron Maidens with three different singers in one night. The drinks are always free, and the venues have amazing exhaust systems so the smokers can puff away while the abstainers can still breathe. The headliners always play for at least two hours, but you never know exactly how many encores there’ll be that night. On the weekends there are occasional basement shows, even more insane and celebratory in their thrown-together rarity; while you have to work a little to find them, they never disappoint.
Then, the bars. Dives, wine cellars, Irish pubs, German beer halls, dingy rock clubs, outdoor beer gardens, strip clubs, plush dens with roaring fireplaces, hookah bars, broken-down shitholes simply dubbed a ‘bar’ by overzealous owners. The bigger places have 666 beers on tap, while the filthier ones have bottomless coolers of tall boys somewhere behind the counter. Nothing ever runs out; the faucets spew Jäger and Old Grandad. There are vending machines in the bathrooms that sell peanuts, condoms, and cocaine. Every bar has its own specialty drinks named after your favorite classic metal song, from the Disciple of the Watch to the Art of Balance. A fiery little demon meets you outside to take you home if you’re too drunk to safely drive your tank, and even if you don’t remember seeing him, he always makes sure to take your combat boots off before tossing you into bed.
Once a week, there’s a battle. Sides are designated and weapons are doled out accordingly; sometimes it’s swords and barbarians, others it’s pulse rifles and atomic mutants. Everyone rushes into the fray and viciously spills the blood and entrails of their foes; it’s all in good fun, because everyone who gets murdered comes back as a bloodthirsty zombie warrior (a good night’s sleep and they’re human again). Once a group has won the battle and everyone has had their fill of carnage, both sides make their way back to base for a few hours to recuperate, get stoned, and get ready for dinner. Then, the feast, a massive spread of delicious food from all over the world, served in the Hall by hunchbacked minions. Goblets are filled, mouths are stuffed, war stories are shared, and appetites are sated. Everyone leaves the Hall fulfilled, ready to head back home, put on a record, and chill before the night’s partying.
You live in a burnt-out cathedral with the crucifix hung upside-down and desecrated; on Sunday mornings, Christ screams and throws up waffles. The walls of the church are decorated with limited-edition concert posters and magazine cutouts of all your favorite bands. You’re given a stereo, a laptop, and a turntable, and none of them ever break, even if you spill beer on them (in fact, the laptop runs on spilled beer, so it’s kind of a requirement). The fridge is stocked with cold cuts, fresh fruit, and ice-cold Guinness, as well as two sides of bacon and some OJ for the hangover mornings. The bookshelves are filled with ancient dusty tomes and first-edition vinyl. A phone sits next to your bed, along with a book listing all of your buddies who happened to make it here too. The hot tub in the basement is always at a nice eighty degrees and is filled with Heineken. A screen in your kitchen constantly displays the bands playing that night and the parties going on afterwards. You’re always invited, but if you want to just spend a night in and listen to some music, that’s cool too.