Written In Blood

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The Prophets of Profanity
by Dan Weatherer
Illustrated by Rich Leggatt

"When talking about the impact Kleevar had on the metal music scene, one must remember they literally came out of nowhere. Nobody could have predicted their success. It was totally unprecedented at the time, but I'd be hard pressed to say it wasn't deserved."
Theo Gardner, Editor - Metal Mayhem (November 2013)

Tony Gabborni, CEO of Jagged Edge records, leaned back into the plush leather recliner, a professionally polished smile firmly plastered across his face.

“What have you got for me today then boys?”

Ash (22 – Unemployed, still living with parents) shuffled forwards, the assortment of chains and trinkets that adorned his shredded jeans clinked noisily. He offered Tony a copy of Kleevar’s latest demo CD “Exploding Embryos” , holding it at arm’s length above the expansive desk, waving it limply. Tony watched him; smile firmly affixed as Ash placed it down and took a step back.

“Listen Tone, um… you are gonna love this. We got a fresh new sound that’s gonna blow up… I mean its metal, but it’s real metal… you know?” Ash turned to the rest of the band, hoping against hope that they would chip in with something to help sell their new sound.

Glen (24, Drummer – warehouse worker) winked and nodded his support. Darryl, (Lead/Guitar – 20) twisted a strand of his long, black hair between his fingers whilst he flicked through the latest copy of Metal Mayhem. Nigel, (Bass – 24, Occupation uncertain) nervously watched the water cooler that stood in the corner of the office.

Tony’s eyes fell upon each of the band members in turn, his interest waning quickly. Sighing heavily he reached into a small hand carved box that sat to the left of his computer and removed an expensive looking cigar. He clicked his lighter away with a flamboyant practiced motion and let a few thick plumes of smoke twist in the air before he reached for the band’s demo.

Frantic drums, soaring leads, and brutal riffs rumbled from the office’s discreetly hidden speakers.

“Yeah” nodded Tony. “Yeah, HELL Yeah…” he continued before abruptly hitting the eject button.

In one fluid movement he had removed the CD from the disk drive and began force-feeding it into the industrial paper shredder to the right of his desk. Gears strained noisily in protest as they battled to digest the brittle plastic. Tony kept his eyes locked on Ash, that same devilish smile fixed on his face, a cigar clamped firmly between his lips. The shredder angrily spat out shards of “Exploding Embryos” which skittered across the desk and littered the carpet.

Ash brushed a strand of hair from his eye. “Did you erm…did you like it?” he ventured.

Did I like it? Hell I shred all the demos from bands I like, it’s kinda my thing… didn’t my receptionist tell you that?” Tony replied, sporting a Cheshire-cat grin.

He reached for his intercom, “Micha, did you not inform these fine young gentlemen of my eccentric tendencies regarding displays of approval?”

There was a long pause before a bored response crackled through the tiny speaker.

“No, Mr. Gabborni.”

He leaned back into his recliner further, satisfied with his morning’s work.

“What… erm, well, what was wrong with it?” asked Ash, scratching his head and shifting uncomfortably.

“Well,” sighed Tony, leaning forwards to further empathise his forthcoming, scathing observations. “Your vocalist, you, I assume,” he nodded at Ash, “sounded like a prepubescent schoolboy complaining that his parents had sent him to bed without any supper. Has your voice even broken yet Ashley? Then there’s the guitar solo, which consisted of two notes played repeatedly. That does not qualify as a solo. Period. As for the Drummer, well, his time keeping was worse than my wife’s”.

Glen sat open-mouthed. He raised his hand to object when the piece of gum he had been chewing dropped to the carpet. Darryl threw the magazine he was holding into the corner of the sofa, muttering.

“And,” continued Tony, “the Bass, well, the Bass was okay. Yeah the Bass was passable.”

A sudden bubble began to force its way towards the top of the water cooler, momentarily startling Nigel who seemed completely oblivious to the verbal massacre the band’s EP was suffering at the hands of Jagged Edge Records’ CEO.

“And to top it all off Ash, my lad, YOU have the stage presence of a wet fart, and you are about as welcome as one in this office.”

Glen sniggered loudly.

Tony settled himself to deliver the killer line, “Hell, I wouldn’t book you fellas a Taxi.”

Placing his smartly polished Italian shoes onto the desk, he inhaled deeply on the hand rolled Cuban, (a gift from DeathFist, one of his more successful projects) and blew a torrent of blue smoke that twisted around Ash’s face. He reached for the intercom again.

“Micha, would you send Security to my office please, Kleevar are about to leave the building”.

* * * *

"Fuck-Haus WAS my life in audio"
Anonymous fan -The Domination Tour (Birmingham, UK 2012)

It was two a.m., and four future Metal Icons chattered in the dimly lit garage that Ash had commandeered from his parents and declared the band’s practice space.

“So, you think this will work?” asked Glen, before taking a gulp from his eighth energy drink of the night.

“Listen dude, you don’t get to front a metal band without knowing a thing or two about demons.” Ash assured. “Just let me do the talking when he gets here, okay?”

Glen nodded, his eyes wild from caffeine. In his six years of knowing Glen, Ash had never known him to sleep, not even once. Nigel regarded his lead singer and childhood friend with a puzzled look.

“I know what I’m doing Nidge, just be ready with the chicken.”

Darryl finished polishing his guitar before carefully placing it into its stand. His guitar was his baby, and he had spent many hours working on setting the action just so. He informed anyone who would listen that she played like a dream.

“I’m fuckin in, balls deep Ash. Let’s do this!”

They turned their attention to the Pentagram that Ash had sketched on the concrete floor.

“Okay,” clapped Ash, “here we go!”

Nigel began to shake out the contents of the chicken above the pentagram and a bag of giblets slopped noisily onto the floor.

“For fuck’s sake, Nidge, you could have at least taken them out of the bag!” Darryl shouted.

Taking a penknife from his pocket, Glen knelt and cut the plastic packet open, spreading the contents liberally across the Pentagram before giving Ash an assured ‘thumbs up’.

“Balzeel, giver of dreams, Lord of desire, I call thee,” began Ash. “We worship thee oh Balzeel, our souls we wish to bargain.”

For a while all was still. The group stood watching the juices from the giblets begin to pool and congeal in small puddles. The crayon that formed the design began to smear. An expectant hush was close to breaking when the centre of the Pentagram suddenly turned in on its self. There was the whoosh of air being sucked into a vacuum, and then, after an intense blast of heat, there stood before them the demon Balzeel.

“Holy shit.” Gulped Ash.

“Not quite,” came the gravelly reply.

Balzeel stood hunched at about five feet tall, his flesh a deep red and his arms much longer than they ought to be. His knuckles rested on the concrete and long clawed fingers trailed behind them.

“To what end do you summon me human?” Balzeel asked.

Ash stepped forward, swallowing hard.

“Oh foulest of all the dark angels, Metal is our life…”

Balzeel waved the attempt at flattery aside.

“…What we want is simple. We want to be the biggest, best, and baddest Metal band the planet has ever known!” He threw an enthusiastic ‘bullhorn’ to add a further flourish to his request. None of his awestruck band mates joined him.

The desire demon pondered for a moment, a wry smile creeping across its thin black lips revealing two rows of jagged, yellowed teeth.

“This I can grant, though the price will be high. Are you willing to bargain?”

Ash nodded, motioning for the others to do the same.

“I will require not just these four souls before me, but a substantial amount more. I will take them at a time I desire so.” He leaned towards Ash. “Spill it human”.

At his command Ash, Darryl, and Glenn sliced their palms open with the razors they had procured for the blood ritual. Nigel remained completely motionless, drool dripping from the corner of his dumbstruck mouth.

Their blood began to spatter and catch fire when it hit the floor and the heat began to rise in its intensity. A savage wind blew around the garage, shaking and battering its contents. Ash felt pain explode from his very core, ripping its way along his body, every nerve ending seemingly on fire. His neck began to thicken and the muscles in his arms began to grow. He could feel his voice-box widen in his throat, pushing uncomfortably at the taught skin in his neck. Balzeel’s voice raged above the chaos.

“Between now and that point you will have what you desire, truly the world will tremble at the might of your metal!”

And then all was silent.

The demon had suddenly vanished, leaving only a faint scorch mark where it had stood moments earlier. Darryl, who was now equipped with huge forearms and strangely slender looking fingers, stood holding an unfamiliar guitar. He looked across at Glen who had now lost all of his hair. His shoulders layered with fresh muscle had heaved forwards, tearing through his t-shirt, his forearms now the size of fire extinguishers and his head oddly tiny in comparison. He was grinning wildly. Nigel, however, remained completely unchanged.

“Check this beast out!” Darryl said, thrusting the guitar towards Ash, the body of which consisted of a compressed ribcage, the neck an elongated Spinal Column, and a horned skull headstock finished off the intimidating looking instrument.

“That is one sick Axe you have there.”

“Shit Ash, what happened to your voice?”

The shrill, nasal tones that had littered the “Exploding Embryos” EP and had fallen foul of Tony Gaborni were gone, replaced by a voice that sounded like he was gargling gravel.

“Whoa.” Gasped Nigel before falling to his knees. “The chicken bits have all gone!”

* * * *

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"Yeah I'm a fan, what else can I say?" Zell Zoulder - DeathFist

And thus a Metal Legend was born. The next few months were a whirlwind of recording sessions and writing. The group’s first single “Gut-Punch” hit number one across most of Europe, and with its success came a wealth of gigs and the opportunity to record an album.

"...to say that 'Meat Kleevar’' is everything that a debut metal album should be, is doing the band a serious discredit. Established acts with years of writing behind them struggle to attain a level of musical understanding and successfully transfer it to the listener. Kleevar seemed to have attained this on their first attempt."
Rod Magnus - Riff.com

“Meat Kleevar” was the fastest selling Metal album of all time, (naturally, this was later succeeded by its follow up “Sodom all”) which cemented their place in rock and roll history. Stellar studio work was only part of the reason for their unmitigated success; the real furore surrounding the band and reason that they commanded such a massive and dedicated following was down to their live performances.

"Now I've been in the biz comin’ on thirty years, and the pyros and shit they serve up... I ain't the damnedest idea how they set that up. Shit just seems to burst into flames!"
'Mad' Mickey Tanner -Sfx guru

“I’ve seen some shit in my time, but watching them tear the house down whilst set on fire… that’s something you never forget man!”
Anonymous Fan – Meat Kleevar album tour (Manchester 2011)

Hits like “The Beauty of Blood (Spilt)”, “Fetid” and “Fuck-haus” were cropping up in movies and advertisement campaigns worldwide, the band was single-handedly pushing Metal to the forefront of the music scene, and their fans couldn’t get enough.

“I never owned a metal record until I purchased ‘Coagulate’, now I own everything they ever recorded!”
Kevin Strakly, MP – Wolverhampton

With a growing number of chart successes, a formidable touring and promotion schedule, Kleevar were literally everywhere.

David Silversonn: Critics of yours claim you encourage your followers to worship the Devil, citing that if you play certain records of yours backwards, the words "Hail Satan" can quite clearly be heard.

Ash: Well, I dunno about that Dave, but if you play our track "I love Lucifer" forwards, you can clearly hear me say hail Satan, what... five or six times is it, Glen?

Glen: Five or six times, yeah.
Excerpt from the David Silversonn Show (aired Jan 25th 2013)

For a time, Kleevar were on top of the world, everything they touched turned to gold, and it looked as though nothing could stop the runaway juggernaut that was the band’s success, yet the debt that they had almost forgotten was about to be paid back with a significant amount of interest.

“Looking back, I suppose the National Indoor Arena was a fitting venue to host what would turn out to be Kleevar’s final gig. ‘The Prophets of Profanity’ tour, named after their latest (and last) studio album, had broken all kinds of records and was widely regarded by music insiders as the most successful UK tour ever undertaken. They had played to the biggest crowds, in the largest venues and there really was nowhere left for them to conquer. With Birmingham regarded as the spiritual home of Heavy Metal, I guess you could say the band’s cycle was complete. Poetic really, in a blood soaked apocalyptic kind of way…”
Brian Stevens, Riff Radio DJ

October 31st, 2013. National Indoor Arena, (Birmingham. UK). Final date of “The Prophets of Profanity” tour.

The anticipation for the final date of the tour was almost suffocating. Twelve packed out venues had already born witness to an act at their devastating peak, 15,000 fans now stood shoulder to shoulder veiled only by the thin black drape that hung over the face of the stage. Their presence betrayed by a mass of disembodied voices, which would occasionally break into the familiar chant of “Kleevar! Kleevar!”

Ash paced nervously in front of Darryl, who was busy dropping the tuning on his skeletal guitar to its native D.

“Holy shit fellas, this is it. This. Is. It.”

Darryl nodded and strummed a thickly gauged string.

“Our biggest crowd man, right here, right now. Can you hear them out there?”

Glenn who was sat behind his expansive drum-kit cocked his head back.

“Fuck yeah baby! Kleevar WOOOOOHHH!”

The crowd behind the curtain whooped and yelped in unison, the chants returned with renewed gusto. The smoke machines began their final discharge, enveloping the stage and hiding Ash’s band mates from his view. This was the time when Ash reached deep inside himself, gathering his thoughts and focused on the show ahead. He could hear Nigel absently strumming a chord behind him as the pre-show lights began their final sequence of checks. Far in front of him he could feel the swell of fans surge towards him, able to sense the bands imminent appearance.

The lights fell in unison. A chorus of excitement erupted from behind the drape.

Clicks from Glen’s drumsticks. 1,2,3, (this is it).


The curtain fell, unleashing a barrage of noise and light as the punishing riffs of “Gut-Punch” thundered through the enormous speakers. The crowd roared their approval and began to bounce, moving as one sweating and writhing mass of bodies. The bass throbbed and the drums pounded. Kleevar’s final performance had begun.

Deep within the bowels of hell, Balzeel stirs, his hunger left unanswered for too long. There is a time to bide and a time to feast, and tonight Balzeel will feed, and feed well.

A ninety minute audio assault batters the crowd, who heave, sway and punch the air in unison. The band are relentless in their performance rattling through hits such as “The Beauty of Blood (Spilt)”, “Prophets of Profanity” and “She wants to bleed” with little to no let up. Finally, the crowd are granted a brief respite as the stage blackens and the band pause for a moment before launching into their final encore of the tour.

Ash reached for a towel, his body coursing with adrenalin.

“Crazy crowd, well into it, they are!”

The stage manager glanced up from his checklist and motioned to his watch.

“Thirty seconds fellas!”

“Fuck-Haus” was a crowd favourite stretching back to their earliest gigs. Its crunching riffs and razor-sharp vocals cemented its place as an obvious encore early on. The crowd were going crazy. The front of the stage was alight, the flames leaping a good five feet into the air, coinciding with every fourth drum beat. Glen and his drum-kit rose thirty feet from the centre of the stage on a hydraulic podium, it to set alight to provide a visual spectacle for the band’s encore.

As the intensity of the performance grew, so did the flames.

Glen’s sticks caught fire; still he hammered out the insistent rhythm. A gout of flame set Ash’s head alight yet he scarcely missed a note, his gravel laced voice hammering the mic and driving the crowd into a frenzy. Darryl’s Guitar was beginning to warp and melt in the heat, the strings slackening and becoming stuck in the molten bone frame which was now beginning to eat into his flesh. He howled in pain, the crowd howled louder.

And still the flames grew higher.

Ash, who was now barely visible behind the wall of fire, wore a mask of melted flesh, his voice only faltered when his vocal chords melted into his throat. He struggled vainly to pat out the fire that had reduced his head to a blackened skull.

The middle of the arena floor suddenly began to fall into itself from the centre. An expanding hole of intense heat and light quickly formed and swallowed countless bodies that kicked and screamed their way into oblivion. The chasm widened further and devoured the arena edges and its higher tiers, its occupants plummeting helplessly into the depths below.

The pillar supporting Glen and his drum-kit began to sway, the intense heat weakening the metal before its centre of gravity shifted too far, sending Glen and his drums careening into the void which had been the arena floor only moments earlier. Balzeel suddenly appeared from the depths, now many times larger than when it had appeared in the garage many months earlier. It caught the drummer mid-flight before clamping its jaws tightly around his flailing torso, silencing Glen’s screams. The bodies of Kleevar fans piled up on either side of the demon. They fought and climbed over each other in a vain attempt to escape their terrible fate. Balzee’s horrific laughter shook the entire arena as it began scooping large handfuls of people into its dripping jaws, gorging itself on flesh and bone.

As Balzeel retreated, the arena floor resealed itself, leaving nothing but a sooty residue that blackened most of the arena interior. A greasy sulphurous smell hung heavy in the air.

Nigel stood alone onstage. Sheepishly he looked out across the deserted arena floor. To his right there was a thick, pink puddle that had congealed around the remains of a guitar neck made from a spinal column. The podium on which Glen and his drum-kit had occupied was gone. Towards the middle of the stage lay Ash’s denim clad legs. His microphone, still gripped by his right hand lay on one of the monitors partially covered in soot.

"Was it a tragedy what happened to those fans? Well, depends which way you look at it. A huge loss of life no doubt, but you can bet your ass they are having one hell of an after-party!"
Klaus Kutter - ex Kleevar Roadie

By Dan Weatherer for HMS

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