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Gentlemen, The Metal Experiment Must Come To An End

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Good afternoon, everyone. I trust you’ve all given your personal communications devices to X22 over there? Good, very good. X22, that will be all. Maintain watch on the door. Clearance Level Viper or above, please. Thank you.

Very well, let us begin. We will be blunt here, gentlemen: the metal experiment must come to an end.

All right, Senator, settle down. Allow me to explain.

As I’m sure you’re aware, we launched Project: Hand of Doom in the late 1960s as a way to identify potential occult threats throughout the entertainment industry. Hendrix had just tapped a karmic well and was transferring that energy to the world’s music fans, and we were attempting to eliminate, or at least control, those individuals who would pose a threat to our plans once spiritually activated. But, as many of you remember, the majority of young people at the time were indulging in occult fetishism, and as such it became difficult to separate the worrisome individuals from the broad flock of hangers on around them. It wasn’t until we commenced experiments with downtuning and note arrangement that we discovered a way to clearly identify these dangerous figures.

On page three of the dossiers in front of you, you’ll find our launch proceedings. Because no average human hand was able to control the “heaviness” of these “riffs” at the time, we chose to create a guitarist with false fingers who could play these parts. Our test subject, a boxer-turned-factory worker from Birmingham, had already shown unusual brainwave activity which our sensitives claimed was indicative of occult karmic potential. Our agents staged an accident at his workplace—an industrial press that took portions of his two fingers–and before we could even put out a carefully-placed add for fingertip replacements, he’d actually built his own. Obviously, we were on the right track—

It would be wise, Ambassador, if you didn’t interrupt me again. As you can see, your predecessor signed the orders to launch this project. That he later regretted his participation is immaterial.

Anyway. As I was saying. This new form of music, which we labeled “heavy metal” or often simply “metal,” worked better than we could have hoped. Not only did it separate threatening individuals from the music culture at large, making them easier to identify, monitor, and if necessary eliminate, it also garnered a legion of young followers who were not always as, shall we say, charismatic as those they idolized. How could the message behind a genre of music loved by degenerate pot-smokers and teenage Satanists cause much harm to the world at large? That plus the creation of our own musical outfit, the Karmic Investigation Secret Service, made Project: Hand of Doom a rousing success.

None of us, of course, were prepared for the 1980s. Suddenly, metal was not the fringe art we had intended it to be. It was embraced the world over, by millions of civilians, many of whom could have their spiritual potential activated at any moment. We were facing an outright occult disaster.

Our initial attempts to control the project were unmitigated failures. We introduced revolutionary new narcotics to these bands, hoping to destroy their brains and ruin them in the fans’ eyes. We hired hit songwriters to pen saccharine ballads to discredit the “toughness” of these new artists. We even signed Senator Gore on as a moral agent, to sway public opinion. None of it worked, and the experiment began to run amok. By the end of the 80’s, the music had crossbred with the punk rock movement, becoming “thrash,” which not only legitimized the genre but turned the eyes of its fans on us. Suddenly, the world at large was no longer the villain, we were. Things were getting too close for comfort, and something had to change.

Yes, Cardinal, you have a question? Ah. No, I’m afraid we tried that. If you’ll turn to page fourteen, you’ll see that we staged several terminations throughout this time, on the riskier individuals popping up within the experiment. We did our best to make them look unrelated—plane crashes, bus accidents, alcoholism—but these were shoddily arranged, and did little more than martyr and immortalize our targets in the eyes of the fans. One might even say those interventions bolstered the metal fanbase, making them more dedicated.

Now, on page eighteen, you’ll see our attempt to, as it were, kill the monster we had created. Project: Ultramega was launched to both re-attempt Project: Hand of Doom’s prime objective while simultaneously stemming the popularity of heavy metal music. This, with the aid of one Hand of Doom test subject who was more than happy to play ball by donning only jerseys and making dolphin-filled music videos, became a massive success. The majority of Hand of Doom’s test subjects either converted or were driven underground where they belonged, and the clashing of the two karmic investigation techniques made many threatening individuals cynical enough to leave their spiritual potential unchecked. The 1990s ended with heavy metal transforming into “nu-metal,” a sort of… diet version of the original genre.

Yes, yes, I know, it was humorous to watch. However, this leads to the grave matters at hand, gentlemen. Project: Hand of Doom has survived. Not only that, it has mutated. We are afraid that we may begin losing our grip on the experiment.

Please observe these slides. Do these people, and this artwork, suggest traditional occult individuality? Look how varied the styles and aesthetics are, and how they sometimes blur together seamlessly. This test subject here, with the beard and spikes, is a charity jogger with a PhD from Cornell, while this one here, in the button-down shirt and gelled hair, is actually a Level 8 Black Magus. Yes, gentlemen, exactly. Which example is the true threat, and which is just some young person acting out? If you were asked to target one of these test subjects for examination and possible forced coercion, which would you pick? Now you see our dilemma.

Thus, it is the belief of the Ruling Board that we end the metal experiment once and for all. Our scientists and sensitives are working on several possible roll-out blueprints for this next step. The less destructive methods include smear campaigns on leading members of metal culture, while our more final methods include nausea-inducing backmasked tones and dosing the beer supply at certain international festivals with a neuron-wiping agent that targets memories focused on the beneficial effects of music. Once you’ve been familiarized with the many methods we are testing, you will be asked to vote on one—anonymously, of course.

Very good, gentlemen. That will be all. X22 will show you back to your transports. Oh, Ambassador, will you wait a moment? The Ruling Board would like to have a word with you.

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