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Just a Fool - Killabits
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First of the Year (Equinox) - Skrillex
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Metallic Layers - Filther
The Macabre Tales of Jeebs
By Chris Chaka
The Birth of Jeebs
The cursed automaton conductor/composer known to the world only as Jeebs began its life in late nineteenth century as an instrument of unimaginable horror. Ulrich Braun, failed musician and venomous music critic, was not content with the pains his sharp words inflicted on artists who he deemed unworthy. In the dark recesses of his mind, he dreamed of a way to administer true, physical suffering on the music world. Working in partnership with Fritz, the disgraced half-brother of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, and the daughter of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau, also named Marie, he created a monster of steam, clockwork gears, and the blackest magic. Cloaked in fine garments, it could pass for human, though only at the fleetest of glances. Its exposed brain was a whirling calliope organ, covered and somewhat muffled by a tall top hat, open at the top for escape of steam. Its talon-like fingers were crafted from the charred hand bones of infamous maestro and arsonist Leopold Kroun. Inside his chest beat the heart of mad cellist Gregor Sorovich, circulating an enchanted green Ichor to its joints and motors. An elegant gold rimmed monocle was added to its emotionless iron face for a touch of regal distinction. When Jeebs took his first steps from the worktable, it was as if he walked straight from a nightmare. Thus began Ulrich Brawn’s reign of terror.
Jeebs was dispatched throughout all Europe hunting down the most creative talents in music and ushering them to a grizzly end. Always the torture would be performed in time with the incessant tick of the metronome grafted to its ribcage. Always the victim’s screams were recorded on wax cylinders for Braun’s later amusement. But while the cries of anguish filled Braun’s bitter heart with vengeful delight, Jeebs discovered its own repurposed heart was touched by the beauty of sound. When not under its master’s direct observation, Jeebs would reconstruct the recordings into a morbid symphony. In time, it realized its true calling. The vessel created to be the death of music somehow had the soul of a musician entombed within.
Deciding human beings were too fragile to make proper instruments, Jeebs set about constructing its own. Its orchestra would be creatures like itself, fashioned together from discarded machines and imbued with life from the green slime of its undead heart. They would be its children, and together they would perform a most sublime cacophony. It kept its dream secret from its master, for it knew the critic Braun would never approve. When Braun ordered Jeebs to the Americas to do away with the popular gospel group, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, it instead hid away in the bowels of the abandoned Grand Arcadian Theater to work on its automated orchestra. Braun eventually discovered the deception and tracked down his musical reaper. Jeebs had just put the finishing touches on a fidgeting, spider limbed harmonium when Braun confronted it. Sure enough, the critic was incensed. In a fit of rage, Braun struck the young harmonium with his heavy cane, smashing it to pieces. As the critic stooped laughing in the writhing debris, he heard the sound which caused his mirth to wither within his throat. It was a sound he was very much aquatinted with, though only through recordings. The sound was the steady tick of a metronome. And thus, the bitter music critic became himself the first great overture in the long career of the conductor Jeebs. His screams echoed the night, haunting the sleeping townsfolk with beautiful nightmares they would revisit for years.
Through the months, the legend of the demonic conductor spread throughout the city. One night, a small group of townsmen summoned enough courage to storm the Grand Arcadian Theater, with resolve to put an end to the nightmare choir within. Jeebs offered no resistance to their intrusion. Rather, it was delighted to have an audience for its newly completed orchestra’s virgin performance. With a stroke of Jeebs’ sharpened baton, the fabricated orchestra began to play. The townsmen nervously approached at its back, hoping to strike while the mechanical beast was so occupied. But to their great astonishment, the closer the stepped, the more rapt they became with the otherworldly tones swirling around them. Their hammers, pitchforks, and pistols hung slack in their hands and eventually fell to the floor. Not a man could bear to harm to the creature that had so powerfully swelled their heart with song. Now their thoughts were only on protecting this dark angel of music, so the world would not be deprived of such a genius. The group entered a pact with the conductor to serve it faithfully, taking on the title of the Gentlemen Jeebs. To this day, descendants of the Gentlemen still devote themselves to the metal maestro, spreading the tales of Jeebs throughout the centuries.
And the conductor itself? Jeebs lives still, though most of its original body has been replaced, due either to wear or deliberate harm. Its form constantly evolves, just as the music that drives it. Only the Gentlemen know its current location. To be sure, where ever Jeebs may be, it works with ecstatic fervor on its next grim masterpiece.