If the ground were permitted by strict Earth to shake, beyond the meagre affordance offered it by pulsing sound and stamping feet, it would. If the sky could stoop below the ceiling to lend a muffled fist of supernovas to the moment, oh it would. If sound could offer more than sound, it would. It could and does.
Beat is not the word for it, hardly. Beat is not the word when it furls curls congeals and thickens forming a scab. Thicker (and by thicker; faster) Not the word for time compressed into one homophonic slab that greets all we aching pilgrims like a door slammed open. More slams, and the slabs are strung together by snakes. Not altogether angry, but suspicious, they inject a little venom just in case. Venom in turn thicker than water. And a string of venom stretches so thin that its own weight must be borne up by some new internal logic. A thousand panting ears can take no more. And so–
(And a thousand thin blades of light let out for the night by a wizard with a lantern are waiting too, but they are fortunate; they do this every night)
–And so with the perfect inevitability of wrenching your lungs out with a fork just to see how it feels, consummation; beat manifest. Frenzy. Berserkers awaken to join battle with snakes that are suddenly very, very hungry. That was just your life.
Speaking (thinking) of manifest, effect has a cause. Fourfold the layers of sound that blitzkrieg the harbour walls of the inner canal. Four Horsemen: Time. Crash on crash of wood on skin, wood on metal. Skin, skin. Famine is a rumble which underpins every thought of hunger, and reminds every feast of its mortality. Pestilence would know every part of you. Death is the voice of the whole, the harvester of sorrow who reaps in magnificent bounty the souls that the four have born in you long since (in the garage, perhaps, in ninety-four, the radio had to be turned up even though that made the nagging hiss of static louder, because with the sound of spanner on engine and occasional swearing, that was the only way that the notes would make it through, but perhaps now that you have paid one hundred and fifty exultant dollars and you have queued up with, yes, perhaps with your son who you do not understand, when he stays in at night even if his friends call so that he can sit with his headset shouting commands to Americans you earnestly hope he will never meet, perhaps now you are a little scared, of a fade to black, this unity of four, this Thing that should not be, and you have been checking where the exits are and wondering whether your boy, who is so thin and never plays rugby, will be alright if those mosh-pits start, and whether he will even understand that you used to do this, this used to make sense, back when there used to be typewriters, and it’s only now that that radio hisses into life somewhere behind the fringe you used to have and you slowly know; even if I am unforgiven, even if I disappear, there is an exultant wind underneath me now. And if that old man here is me, then the boy will have to understand*.)
It is difficult to isolate moments when the venom has you so high that all you can think is: magnificent. Hard to separate the self from the other when the other is the pure consummation of noise as ever was, of the guttural expression of me again, me. The self accepts the challenge of the other, fights fire with fire. If the ground were permitted…it is and does. If the sky — it does. Orion reaches down his fist. And the moment and the momentous, and the Thing and the Unforgiven, the effect and the cause. catalyst and process are the only way they ever could be. One.
Ulrich. Small and ridiculous, he stands and grimaces, the goblin that they let into fairyland to meet the diversity quotas. Check your liner notes; his name by every track since Anaesthesia. Think on that and silence. Trujillo. Closest in the flesh to being the sound which is such as as he is such as. Hammett. Scarcely believable to simply lay eyes (ears) upon (again; magnificent, says the brain, and shuts up to listen). The sting that administers the venom. Hetfield? Too easy : the master of puppets. Come to take your life? All four have it already, each has every part in every moment, you are nothing but what you are as you are rendered unto this. They have you held firm in their apocalypse. Less magnificent, you would object. For now, and for this is and is (Metallica qua Metallica? It’s the only type there is). Nothing else matters but now, or could, or should. (And perhaps he turns from his son to hide his expression, and perhaps the boy notices but does not let on, and perhaps on the drive home he will ask, so how did you, so what made you, and perhaps the father will be happy to answer.)
However compliant the ground and the sky, time is a tougher foe, and it is the berserker’s lament than when he has slain every snake, there are no more. Malevolant temporality has shown you your life, but only for an instant. But. You want to wail: but. This body still stands! This voice still lingers, how could the expression end, the catalyst subside while the threadbare process is intact? Sad but true, all spells break. One last time they’ll seek, destroy and be destroyed in turn and in thrall to the compact which is signed upon the ticket. One last, long moment, that lasts so magnificently that it lasts nothing at all, the thread stretched thin, the sting leaves you with nothing but a body that once was poisoned. Impossible, entirely, to grasp. Incredible, in attempt, to comprehend. Magnificent.
*Although, it might take one or two more songs.