The first beat rolls towards you, and you breathe in the quiet before it slaps gently at your soul, a tremor before the storm. Your mouth feels dry in anticipation and shock as you blink into the ethereal glare of the stage lamps.
Another beat sends you reeling – it seems an aeon since the first, but the eras build up like a tsunami, beginning to pound and slam at the fragile skin you’ve constructed to protect yourself from the gaze of the baying, drooling hounds behind those spotlights. A bass line joins in, its rhythm matching your heartbeat, sending a resonant frequency across your soul that makes the backs of your eyes burn white-hot. The lights stretch into stars as the single bud of a silver tear glistens at the corner of your vision, but you become angry at yourself for being so weak and the fear and apprehension is replaced by the tightening tension of rage and fury – at yourself, at the noise in front of you, at the years of effort spent fucking around – and that anger gets channelled and centred, sending up its own tremors across your shoulders and into your lungs. Your fingers ache as the warm steel is pressed further into your sweaty hands – the knuckles drain of blood as you squeeze harder. The riff builds up, its venom harnessed into a tight ball of bitterness that races up and down your spine.
A moment of quiet as the line stops. The lights glare brighter, and then all the pain and fear and wasted years pour out from dry, cracked lips in one almighty punch against all the bigots and accusers you’ve ever encountered. As the noise speeds across the Styx between you and your demons it builds in power, fuelled by the grind of guitar and shock of drum. It leaps on its audience, who are shattered and overwhelmed by the omnipotence of that noise, destroying them, pitching them into a whirling oblivion of poison and animal fury. They roar, and you roar with them, and as the blood boils in your heart you are cleansed – the heat burns away the toxins of a previous disease, and you laugh. You laugh so hard that the tears again flow, cauterisng those wounds with their salty caress. You inhale again, and the air is cleaner, purer, and you again vent the last wisps of damage that you’ve suffered. The process repeats again until your final breathe, when you breathe in the purity of those lights which have penetrated deep into your essence, filling you with an eternal brightness that stays with you as a gaudiarn against the pain. It fills your muscles and send them to sleep and you collapse, tired but fulfilled, no more a shell for hate but an engine of renewal that has run its course. The beat stops, and, for one pure second, so do you.