Authors: Jim Goforth
UNDEAD FLESHCRAVE-THE ZOMBIE TRIGGER
Edited by: J. Ellington Ashton Press Staff
Cover Art by: Stephen Cooney
Text and layout by: Michael Fish Fisher
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book, including the cover and photos, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher. All rights reserved.
Any resemblance to persons, places living, dead, or undead is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction
This one goes out to all the metalheads worldwide, extreme or otherwise, the zombie fanatics, splatterpunk aficionados, horror freaks in general, music fans and all those who truly appreciate that horror and metal do indeed often go hand in hand.
I also dedicate this to my family, headbangers one and all. My wife Elle aka Elicitangel, who has done a lot for metal over the years. As founder and head of Black Belle Music she was instrumental in giving many a band their first gig, promoting and supporting metal acts universally, predominantly unknowns, unsigned and underground acts, interviews, running a variety of radio shows, organising and putting on annual local metal festivals and more.
My daughter Abigail and my son Felix, both who know and appreciate the magic of music and books alike, and learned that from a very young age.
And for everybody else who knows the power existing in books and music.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (In no particular order)
My parents, Laura and Jim, for raising me in a household surrounded by books and music, and allowing me to learn a fond appreciation for both, of many different genres.
Stephen Cooney (for the excellent artwork adorning the cover of this beast. It captures a perfect snapshot of a pivotal moment), Michael Fish Fisher (cover text and full wrap layout), Toneye Eyenot (my brother in horror and metal), Amanda Lyons and Roma Gray (brilliant editors), John Ledger (my WetWorks co-conspirator), Catt Dahman,, Susan Simone, Scott Essel Pratt, T.S. Woolard, Kevin Candela, all the constant supporters such as Gregg Zimmerman, Tamara Turner, Travis Armstrong, Lisa Lowe, Adrian Shotbolt, Ed Cardillo, the whole Wolf Pack and so many others if I mentioned everybody this section would end up as long as the book itself.
The following people have also been helpful and supportive over the years in various capacities (metal and writing alike), or in some way provided abundant inspiration and influence for this very book here.
Geoff Buyens (Disgust, Great Dane Records), Benoit Laurence (Disgust, PowerFuel), Daniel Vrangsinn (Carpathian Forest, Vrangsinn, Misantrof ANTIRecords and more), Anders Kobro (Carpathian Forest, Green Carnation, Chain Collector and more), Robert Ashley III, Rob Macabre Smits, Killjoy DeSade (Necrophagia. Cannibal BBQ’s still on next time you manage to make it Downunder), Ville Pystynen (Sargeist, Horna, Behexen), Riku Hopeakoski (Catamenia), Satyr Wongraven (Satyricon), Nocturno Culto and Fenriz (Darkthrone) and countless others. In trying to conserve words-since there are enough of them in the story-I’ve undoubtedly forgotten somebody so feel free to bring that to my attention.
Naturally the many inspirational bands included as soundtracks whilst writing this book make for an extensive list, so in the interests of keeping this to a minimum I won’t go into that here. You’ll get the general idea reading the story in any case.
And last, but certainly not least, cheers to the man who is my chief influence and inspiration; the late, great Richard Laymon. There were many others before who first instigated my passion for writing horror, but none who had as great an impact on me as he did.
Buried Beneath Bones. Bleeding an Eviscerated Corpse. Fractured Femur Facefuck. Gnawing the Flesh of the Living.
No, these weren't excruciating ways of dying nor were they the names of obscure horror films. Instead, they were a selection of song titles from the debut self-titled album of death metal supergroup Undead Fleshcrave, a gruesome five-piece comprised of members from the universal death metal alumni, musically influenced by the brutalitarians of the genre.
With this gory slab of blood-stained aural brutality and vicious lyrical content, driven by skin-ripping, subterranean vocal growls, relentless battery and sheer guitar savagery about to drop into record stores worldwide, the band responsible for its impending arrival were hitting a host of selected venues all along the East Coast for a tour to coincide with the release date.
Several of the tracks from the album had already been intentionally leaked onto the internet by members of the band themselves, stirring up interest and teasing their core audience into wanting more.
A sanguinary video clip for first single release 'Buried Beneath Bones' was taking hundreds of views daily on YouTube and racking up pages of comments from users keen for the platter of brutality to drop and the fearsome five-some to hit the road touring.
Universal metal forums were abuzz with excitement as the band dropped more teasers and suggestions, and finally, the announcement that upon the strength of the reactions garnered from the few tracks already freely available, they would be playing gigs prior to the album release, and ultimately to run in conjunction with it.
Many of the towns along the coast possessed strongholds of extreme metal communities, and, with the fan bases located here, Undead Fleshcrave were certain to fill up venues.
Such a town was Armada.
A sprawling coastal town riddled with loads of folk who called themselves death metal fanatics, Armada found itself on the definite list to visit by the Undead Fleshcrave army because it hosted a plethora of extreme metal concerts in the past. All of these had been wildly received and attended, and reports had filtered through the death metal scene that this was a destination for all like-minded bands to pencil into their touring diaries.
Armada was also the home of Seth Tanner, Mark Frost, Dax Hinton, Buck Quinn and their friends, a small pocket of individuals who, whilst still involved in extreme metal worship, were aficionados of a different branch of the music’s family tree. Black metal.
All of this group’s personal preferences for music were pioneered by Norwegian outfits like Mayhem, Darkthrone and Emperor rather than the cavernous rumbles and brutal subject matter of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel, but that wasn't about to stop any of them from attending the much hyped arrival of Undead Fleshcrave in their hometown.
Indeed, they were as curious as any of the metalheads in Armada to see what the fuss was all about, and, though their own black metal community was a minority in a place where the chosen aural extremity was death metal, they were still going.
Everyone was going; the gore-obsessed superband would be playing to a full house.
It was approximately a quarter to seven on the Friday evening death metal supremo’s Undead Fleshcrave were playing Armada's Quo Vadis Bar when Seth Tanner and Mark Frost wandered out of the Master Tavern on Therion Street with their respective girlfriends Julietta Medina and Miranda Starr in tow. The quartet had been there for an hour or so, imbibing in a few cold beverages prior to heading out to meet up with others en route to the concert.
A good solid feed at the Tavern in conjunction with the carefree drinking had them all in good spirits, happy to have put a few under their belts before they hit the Quo Vadis Bar and the exorbitant drink prices that were inevitably going to face them there.
Seth Tanner was a tall, reasonably slender man with long black hair and dark brown eyes. His best friend, Mark Frost, was a more solidly built individual, with long dark brown hair and piercing green eyes. Both of them were clad in black jeans and T-shirts featuring their own respective choices of bands from the genre they were most passionate about, completely disregarding the theme of tonight’s festivities.
Both the young men had waged a friendly lifetime war with one another as to which country was home to the best in the business, with Seth a purist in the belief that the original Norwegian masters were king and Mark of the firm belief that Sweden churned out the finest the genre had to offer.
Neither would relent, clinging to their ideals, and tonight, with Seth dressed in a Mayhem-De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas shirt and Mark one advertising Dissection-Storm of the Light's Bane, was no exception. Brunette beauty Julietta, in a Carpathian Forest long-sleeved hooded top and short black skirt with a bullet belt and a horde of BM patches, shared her man’s Norwegian allegiance, while slim blonde Miranda was less discerning and involved in the debate, electing for all black everything from her leather pants to her blouse.
As the foursome exited the Tavern, spilling out onto the sidewalk outside, they saw that the hordes of metal freaks were already starting to emerge from the woodwork, milling around the streets, frequenting other drinking holes along the way, and walking in packs or in twos and threes along the pavements, all aiming for the one destination.
Though the concert was scheduled to kick off at eight p.m., it made sense to start heading to the venue ASAP. With the hordes converging, line-ups were going to be painful and extensively long.
Technically, the major drawcard of the evening, the headline act, wouldn't even hit the stage until nine thirty at the earliest, possibly later still. Beginning proceedings at eight, perhaps with security starting to let patrons in from seven or thereabouts, would see the support band on first, playing a set between forty five minutes to an hour before a lengthy period where the main band's crew would set up the stage for them.
There probably was no great tearing rush to even leave the Tavern yet, and even missing the opening band or some of its performance was no great skin off Seth's nose, but he wasn't eager to get stuck in the lines with a myriad of death metal fans, some of whom he personally knew and who were antagonistic and affronting.
Though so many people professed that as metal fans they were all 'family' and should all get along with each other, the entire scene was made up of splinter factions and there was always friction between some or the other despite all coming under the blanket of being heavy metal supporters.
Seth spotted one of his least favourite people in the DM scene as his party of four crossed Blackwater Street at the intersection of Fission Avenue.
Stumbling out of The Glass Casket bar with his usual gang of associates and hangers on was Eric Baron, all six foot three inches and two hundred kilogram muscles of him, clad in a Monstrosity T-shirt and tight black jeans.
This guy was a walking, talking Nathan Explosion, almost as if he modelled himself on the Dethklok character, who in turn was based on Cannibal Corpse frontman George Corpsegrinder Fisher.
He was one of those who drew a line in the sand between death and black metal fans and insisted never the twain should meet. Consequently, he and those who generally thronged around him were no friends, affiliates or even associates of Seth and his people.
Seth had known there would be no way to avoid Baron, death metal shows in the town drew his clique like flies each and every time, and such a highly touted one meant, of course, he wasn't about to miss it.
Best to just stay away from the knucklehead altogether; if he got a few drinks into him―and that was inevitable, alcohol was a way of life for Baron's goons—he would be only too happy to start fights, and the black metal fans in attendance would be the first he looked to target.
By the time the foursome arrived at the Quo Vadis Bar, the surrounding grounds and streets were awash with potential concert goers, the vast majority dressed in death metal shirts, the likes of Six Feet Under, Deicide, Autopsy, Obituary and, of course, perennial favourites Cannibal Corpse in mass proliferation, the standard uniform for such an event. It didn't exactly seem like they were individuals, indeed it seemed more like they were a massing army of souls gathering in preparation for battle, their black outfits marking them as members of this persistently growing force.
Seth acknowledged that his group’s choice of clothing meant they too belonged to this giant squadron of folks, merely separated by their genre favourites. He found it slightly amusing that many in this collective would profess to be individual and trying to be unique and non-conformist, but, in reality, when assembled like this they were no more unique than the person standing next to them.
As they neared the entrance, falling into what was already a steadily lengthening line, more of their own friends appeared.
Buck Quinn and Dax Hinton, along with Buck's sister, Adrianna, her best friend, Callie West, and perpetual tagalong Lincoln Pike.
There would be more of the black metal clan floating around the vicinity, no doubt, but for now, Seth and his buddies were pleased to have some more numbers on their side, especially if Eric Baron decided to get a skinful of liquor and start picking fights with anyone who he thought looked at him wrong.
A couple of disparaging remarks came their way as they waited in line, mostly from those kinds of fans who shared the same kinds of views as Eric Baron regarding black metal and death metal supporters being on different sides of the fence, but they were infrequent occasions; most folk here were just excited to get inside the venue and be immersed in musical brutality. Soon enough, they all were.
The Quo Vadis Bar saw a host of metal bands drift through it and play to the masses over its ten year existence in Armada, the majority starting to come in later years as word spread about the acceptance in the town for the varying styles of music, but rarely had it been so packed.
Wall to wall with black-garbed men and women, the pit down on the floor was already packed before the support band had even begun, the semi-circle bar to the right had five, six, seven deep of patrons seeking to fuel up further on liquid refreshment.
Beefy neckless security guard monsters stalked at the front of the stage, ensuring no reckless fool took a gamble on jumping the barrier and trying any stage-diving antics. Outside the actual room with the stage was a large area housing wooden seats and tables, the place to go for a cigarette or to catch some air. The latter was actually an unlikely scenario if one was seeking completely fresh air, for this was where knots of people assembled, all smoking and drinking, and the air was perpetually thick with drifts of tobacco smoke, even a few wafts of illegal smoke courtesy of more brazen concert goers.
The outdoors section was also a handy vantage point from which to view the stage and, with the doors constantly open, it meant the venue could slyly slip in a few more patrons than they were probably authorised to hold at maximum capacity and hence pull in a handful of extra bucks. However, any self-respecting brutal death head wanted to be right inside, preferably at the foot of the stage, deep in the pit.
Others with a little more sense of self-preservation would be wise to utilise these vantage points or higher level viewing spots to see the concert without abruptly having it become an unexpected interactive event.
To their credit, the various crews and such manning the stage got things underway in a pretty prompt fashion. With an assembled collective as large as this, they didn't want any full scale riots to erupt needlessly by delaying, not with people already hyped up to ridiculous levels and increasing their alcohol intake alarmingly.
The eight o'clock scheduled start time wasn't too far off the mark; by quarter past eight the support band was onstage and filling the arena with the sounds of old school Florida style DM.
This ensemble of chunky overweight men in long shorts and a variety of shirts akin to those sported by the fans below weren't much more than a glorified covers band, but, in effect, it was a stroke of genius having them on the bill.
Bearing the moniker Decapitated Corpse Obituary, the quartet mostly drew tracks from the trio of bands they’d gleaned sections of their name from, along with other notable death metal anthems to fill out their set list. It brought rapturous approval from the death head assembly as songs well known to them greeted their ears in a thunder of tumultuous riffs and pounding rhythms, growled out with suitable aplomb by a fat, bald-headed frontman who looked like his day job might have been garbage truck driver.
They veered from Decapitated's 'Winds of Creation' to Cannibal Corpse’s 'Meat Hook Sodomy', through Obituary's 'Slowly We Rot' to Monstrosity's 'Slaves and Masters', managing to get a huge reaction for a Morbid Angel track and then returning to well-trodden Cannibal Corpse paths.