Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You by Scotto Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a neat little tale of Lovecraftian horror and rock and roll, encapsulated perfectly by the cover blurb: "Moore understands a key truth about Ziggy Stardust: Rock and roll messiahs are really fucking scary."
One could say the central figure of this musical horror story, Airee Macpherson, is sort of a genderbent Ziggy Stardust. If one defines a "genderbent Ziggy Stardust" as a "psychopathic criminal from a future dimension," who is using a sinister marriage of music and occultism to blast open a portal to return to her dimension. Our story is narrated by an unnamed music blogger who stumbles upon a new band, Beautiful Remorse. The very first chapter, Track 01, describes the effect this music has on him (or her? The story doesn't specify either way):
Time stopped while I was listening to it. Elation swept through me, as if I could die now, secure in the knowledge that I had at long last heard the most beautiful piece of music in the world and if I never heard any other music ever again, it wouldn't matter, because all music after this was going to sound like shit anyway.
Our music blogger hunts down the band's singer, Airee Macpherson, and scores an interview with her the following night at the band's show in Houston. Thus begins a steadily ratcheting tale of terror and suspense, one track at a time, with Beautiful Remorse's musical horror virus spreading throughout the land. The blogger is complicit and admits it, refusing to leave the tour even when band members are sacrificed onstage. There's obviously a Lovecraftian feel to all this, even if Cthulhu isn't mentioned (especially when Track 07 opens the wrong portal and a giant tentacle comes through). With Track 09, Airee finally manages to open the right portal, and disappears into it after leaving our narrator with Track 10 and a promise: if anyone ever wants her to return, just play the track and she'll come back to finish what she started.
The last chapter, "Coda," picks up the story ten years later, when--you guessed it--the final track gets loose on the internet. The song's name? "Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You." Which is a shivery bit of meta, ending on a promise of unopposed mayhem. This is a taut, well-written horror story that's worth your time.
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