Sunday, 15 June 2014


It seems so long ago now that I sat down and wrote this statement of intent on various social media sites:

“So many nu-metal vocalists shout that they're going to beat someone up, yet so few of them are credible physical threats. The eternal paradox. If a skinny dude with hair twizzles, a scrappy long chin beard and bad tattoos comes at me I'm unlikely to feel fear. That's all I'm saying.

Well, what I'm actually saying is that you should all fund my new Patreon project, a blog where I tour the world and fight nu-metal singers against their will. It starts small - slightly good-natured, grubby dust-wrestling with David Draiman - but leads up to a grand climax where I kick the absolute fuck out of Chester Bennington.”

Oh, the wild elegiac fancies of youth. What strange desires and misguided intellectual wanderings led me to this fever dream, and could I have strayed from the path laid down by these words even if I could have known the Stygian depths to which I would fall?

As reported by reputable news sites the world over, my Patreon campaign broke several records and resulted in beautifully-worded tributes from both celebrities and the general public. I'll include some here, since it is vital to your understanding of this whole affair that you understand what led to the proud swelling of my chest as I strode forth to my Herculean task.

And then, of course, this infamous missive. Only later would the full significance of these words be felt, but at the time all I knew was that a gauntlet had been laid down. Would I rise to this challenge? Could I?

Fight #1 – David Draiman

Since I had named my first and last targets online, I was aware that they would know I was coming. It was possible that they would have prepared a welcome for me in the form of traps, bodyguards or simply through intense last-minute physical training. With that in mind, I knew that for my first fight I would have to strike fast and hard.
Perhaps Draiman foolishly believed the online sensation of #numetalshowdown to be an idle threat, or perhaps he was simply overconfident. Whatever his reasoning, he made a tragic mistake the moment he chose to set foot outside his house that hot summer morning. Tracking him by scent and spoor, I followed him as he bought breakfast from a street vendor and strolled away. Sensing that the moment was now, I leapt out on him from the bushes and tackled him to the ground. We rolled through some plastic netting and down an embankment onto the dry earth of a construction site.

“I have come for you, David Draiman!” I roared, though the last three words were somewhat muffled as he thrust into my face the breakfast bagel that he was still clutching desperately, not yet ready to abandon sustenance in the presence of a fierce rival. It's entirely possible that he intended to consume it for a mid-fight energy boost, though this half-formed plan was left in tatters as his blind panic forced the dense bread and cheesy egg treat into my mouth.

I bit down hard on his fingers, causing a shrill “OOH AH AH AH AH!” to erupt from his fear-curled lips. This was to be the calm before the storm however, for swiftly Draiman lifted me bodily off the ground with bear-like strength and slammed me into the dirt. We rolled apart, got to our feet and circled each other with menacing intent. My memory is somewhat clouded with the pure adrenaline thrill of nu-metal conflict, but I believe I slammed my fists into my nipples in inarticulate simian rage.

The rest is a blur of body hair, flexing muscles and animal grunting. Suffice to say that four hours later we were drained and broken, clad only in sweat and the roiling heat haze. A huge crowd had gathered, screaming and cheering in equal measure whenever one of us would pitch the other face-first into a cement mixer or swat our opponent down with a brick hod. Some observers would tell me later that they experienced a homoerotic thrill from this incredible scene, despite the fact that Draiman and I were only partially erect.

In the end this first titanic conflict came down to stamina, and years of bellowing onstage had left Draiman capable of sustaining his savage defence for only so long. We both knew when the end had come, and after one final belly-to-belly suplex he stayed on his knees. Eschewing eye contact, Draiman simply nodded once, silently and stoically. His weird chin-piercing things glittered under Helios' harsh gaze.

I returned his nod, and raised my arms to silence the suddenly ecstatic crowd. Several of them ran forward to towel me down, and I instructed them to see to my fallen opponent first as a mark of respect for both his resilience and his noble acceptance of fate.

Casting my eyes to the midday sun, I whispered a single name to the still air. A name that had mocked me in my weakest moments since the dark hour when I first read that accursed tweet.

“Fred Durst. Freeeeeeeed Duuuuuuuurst...”

Looking back upon it now, that first soil-caked encounter with David Draiman was where it should all have ended. A decent victory, a pure victory, with the loser left able to hold his head up high with pride. A fight lost honestly to an alpha beast, with a body left battered but intact, is not a cause for shame.

It is to my detriment that this went further, and deeper, into abyssal chasms of grave destiny.

Fight #2 – Jacoby Shaddix

While my immediate desire was to engage my nemesis Fred Durst in direct open combat, I felt that I had to grant the pantheon of nameless gods that had invested me with such potence another sacrifice before I was worthy enough to transform the Limp Bizkit frontman into a gasping, broken wreck.

The crowd that had gathered to see me hammer Draiman into exhausted, glistening meat had given me a taste for spectacle, and I felt the need to ensure this second matchup also took place in front of a baying mob. My plans were laid down, and executed flawlessly. There was only bliss and thunder in my mind as I stepped out from the wings onto the stage of a prominent metal festival. The vast crowd immediately fell silent. I suspect Shaddix had felt my presence scant seconds before this ominous omen, and wheeled on the spot. He nodded once, in grim acceptance, then made an almost indistinguishable gesture with his free hand.

At this signal, his bandmates leapt to the fray. Cowardly perhaps, but also a sound tactical decision. No doubt he anticipated that I would be slowed and exhausted so much by the auxiliary Papa Roach onslaught that I would succumb to his scheming follow-through assault. But it was all for naught, as I slammed aside the henchmen with ease. A sickening crunch of bones followed, as one by one they all fell to the wayside. Horton gave me the most trouble, his straight-edge powers infusing his fists with enough strength to strike home not once but two times on my weaving frame.

But in the end Horton was tossed fifty feet into the crowd, who closed around his weakly struggling form with a great howl. I am told that hours later, after the area was cleared with gas, all that remained of him were bones cracked open for the sweet marrow within. I turned to face Shaddix, who was pale with the realisation that his gambit had failed.

In the sudden quiet I spoke.

“Coby Dick, this is your blackest hour.”

In a flash, enraged by this use of a defunct stagename, Shaddix leapt towards me. Borne aloft to the height of several men on a crest of black lightning, he spat incantations in the language of forgotten U'lakri, where the first men and women were doomed by their own damned hubris. As he came for me, one hand was curled into a frenzied claw to focus his forbidden magics. With the other he bashed his microphone into the side of his head in mock angst, just hard enough to appear sincere but not enough to do any permanent damage.

It was a feeble last resort. All his bleak sorcery availed him not. The black lightning broke apart upon my shining brow, I caught him by his neck in one coiled fist and bore him to the ground. He passed out then, partially from terror but also likely from a great deal of internal bleeding.

The crowd gave off a single ululating cry and began to copulate wildly in celebration. They became one single mass of bad eyeliner, baggy jeans and those chunky multicoloured bracelet things. It was a true horror, and I fled the scene as soon as I stopped quivering in glory.

Fight #3 – Fred Durst

The time had come. Energised by the defeat of the ghastly being that had come to dwell in the form of Coby Dick, I decided to face Fred Durst. For days I stalked his friends and family, to no avail. Clearly, he had decided that he would choose the time and place of our forthcoming battle. With this realisation, I waited. Hours later a messenger arrived, clad in the red cap and slack jaw of one of Durst's disciples. He held in his malformed hands an elegantly embossed card, upon which was printed an address and a single sentence.

“Come if you dare, y'all.”

I dared. Dear reader, I dared too much.
Arriving at the address within the hour, I beheld a seemingly innocent office building. Knowing that there must be more to this everyday scene, I entered through invitingly askew glass doors that swung gently in the breeze. But I had underestimated the resourcefulness of my opponent! With a crash trapdoors opened beneath me, spilling me into a metal chute through which I plunged into his subterranean lair.

Of the perils there I will not speak, but suffice to say that there were ingenious traps and hungry beasts aplenty. I suspect I will permanently bear the surface burns earned by carelessly leaping through a web of contracting laser defences, though the sharkbite on my upper thigh is fading day by day.

Finally I stood on a high metal platform, facing Durst on his throne of irradiated steel and ragged photos of famous girls he has claimed to have fucked online. Cracking my knuckles, I told him that his diversions had failed him.

“It don't matter, son. Ya gotta have faith.” he cackled.

And with that, it began. We stood but a foot apart, trading identical blows. The cold green glare of his tactical weapon displays shone on our strangely calm faces as each strike hit home. Later, in the eerie silence that follows battle, I would examine these and discover that he was mere days away from a devastating biological assault on the United Nations.

In the end, a moment of distraction was all it took. I had realised that we were an even match, and I would need some kind of psychological edge. I planted one final gargantuan punch to his sternum, before choosing the words that would bring me the victory I sought.

“You're a shit rapper, mate. Well shit. WELL shit.”

He hesitated for a second, appalled at the sudden clarity this truth afforded him. In that moment I grasped him and lofted him high above my head, before bringing him down and shattering his spine on my knee. He dropped to the floor, broken. I had won, but even then, in my majesty, shadows began to eat at my soul.

I had destroyed not only his pride, but his body. Was this what I truly wanted? Grimly, I went forth to end this. On a scrap of paper in my pocket, names had been scrawled hastily in crayon and then smudged out with my own ecstatic juices. Only one remained.

Chester Bennington.

As I sit in my study, only regret sits inside my heart now. These final words will be as an epitaph for me, even though I'm actually still alive and fine and quite looking forward to the Game Of Thrones season finale tomorrow.

Fight #4 – Chester Bennington

Chester had known I was coming since all this began. But with no will to resist, he simply awaited the inevitable. No preparations had been made, no allies sought and no deceptions prepared.

I found him alone on a wild windswept cliff, looking out to sea under an azure sky dotted with clouds. I stood beside him for some time. Eventually he murmured “Beautiful... so beautiful.” under his breath, then walked a few paces away from me. He mustered as competent a martial arts pose as he could, and waited for me to initiate our conflict.

It was clear within but a few exchanges of fist, foot and elbow that he stood little chance of resisting. But he had an innocent resolve that I now find far more honourable and princely than any of my actions through this sordid campaign. Moments later I stood over him, holding his fragile form up by the hem of his bloodstained wifebeater vest. He gazed at me then with terrible understanding.

“I tried so hard...” he began to speak, with the voice of a doomed angel. What the rest of those words were, we will never know. For I was overcome with a dogged bloodlust that had sunk its roots deep into my pounding heart. I closed one fist tight and with a single blow, struck into his babylike face and through the back of his head.

There, stood on the edge over the swirling waves, with seagulls crying out for my vanquished foe and his brain matter dripping softly from my knuckles, I was struck by two thoughts.

Firstly, that I had irretrievably wounded my immortal soul.

And secondly, that perhaps my Patreon campaign had gone a bit too far.

I let Chester Bennington drop from my grasp, over the edge of the cliff. I have visited there since in quiet contemplation, and on the very spot where those last moments played out there now grows a patch of white flowers previously unknown to sage or scientist. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on this fortean occurrence.

Unsure of what was to follow, I turned, expecting only the birds and the silently judgemental spirits of the water and sky. But instead a figure stood upon a nearby hill, clad in dark robes and patiently waiting for me. One final opponent had sought me out. I had not come to the end of my fall yet.

Fight #5 – Chino Moreno

A single katana was impaled in a large boulder ten feet from Chino. He drew back the silken hood of his robe and indicated towards it with a tilt of his jaw. It was one of those times where he's lost loads of weight, so there was no wobble.

Inflamed at the audacity of one who would seek me out, I drew the sword from the granite. It emerged with a rasping groan, and my enigmatic opponent pulled an identical blade from the folds of his robe. We stood in a guard position, as thunderclouds rolled in overhead and rain began to pour from above like the veiled tears of mighty Apollo.

We remained there for several days, locked in a mutually evaluating stare so blinding that it seemed that we smote the air between us in twain.

Then we both struck.

We dashed towards each other, twisting our bodies and swinging our blades. We reached ten feet apart again and turned in the crashing downpour. I glanced down to see the trace of a shallow cut along my flank, then looked up to see Chino fall to the ground, practically severed in half.

Driven by an impulse I did not yet understand, I ran to him. I held him in my arms as he passed far away, knowing too late that he had come to teach me a lesson. I clutched his cooling body to mine and wailed impotently.

“But the Deftones are fucking quality! They started out as really good nu-metal and now they're something else that doesn't really fit in any genre but are always consistently innovative and excellent! Noooooooo! CCHHHHHHHHIIIIINOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

And with that, it was all over.

There is nothing more to tell.

I hope that reading this has proved instructional for you, since as a legacy all I can now dream of is that others will heed my warnings to never imperil all that they are by entering into a musical genre-specific crowdfunded vendetta of bloody combat.

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