Literature / Destructive Harmonics
is a currently mostly unpublished writing project by Floria
. It takes place in The Harmonicsverse
, a sort of Mundane Fantastic
-meets-World of Weirdness
version of early twenty-first century Earth, and can be described as "Metalocalypse meets
one of those cutesy Slice of Life
anime series about a bunch of quirky high school girls
although in this case the "girls" are five rock stars in their twenties and thirties. The project is mostly concerned with Maenad, a popular all-female heavy metal band that's difficult to precisely classify by subgenre, and whose members are, to a woman, Weirdness Magnet Bunny Ears Lawyers
, the band members' daily lives, their odder adventures, and the many ways they drive their long-suffering manager
Some writing about Maenad and associated characters can be found here
.See also the character sheet
Contains examples of:
- Alien Geometries: The living room of Maenad's Big Fancy House has four walls, but the sum of its angles adds up to a little more than 360 degrees.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Maenad, in-universe. Mostly-normal young women who just happen to be Weirdness Magnets? Humanoid Abominations who don't attract supernatural wrongness so much as create it? Apocalypse Maidens fated to bring about The End of the World as We Know It? And that's not even covering the normal differences of opinion people tend to have about celebrities.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: A running gag involves Yanang (a city girl with no interest in plants that you can't eat, smoke, or ferment) not believing that certain plants (including wintergreen, mistletoe, and wolfsbane) are real-world life forms.
- Asshole Victim: Fairly common as victims of the more serious negative effects of Maenad's Aura of Weirdness.
- Author Appeal: Music, exotic pets, lesbians...
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: No matter what's just happened to her, Lilja never looks worse than a bit pale and mildly disheveled. Does not apply to the other female characters.
- Valerian's hypothesis is that Lilja bathes in Scotchgard.
- Boarding School of Horrors: The Brocklehurst Center For Troubled Youth. In Valerian's grandmother's defense, she didn't know this when she sent Val there.
- Brand X: Glacial Geyser bottled water.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most creative types.
- Canon Welding: Maenad was originally in a different continuity from Venus Envy and some other parts of the Harmonicsverse.
- Casual Kink: Valerian had a day job as a dominatrix for a while before she joined Maenad, and Yanang has a few kinks of her own. It's not treated as any big deal.
- Classical Mythology: Valerian's a fan, and Maenad's name is a reference to it.
- Cool House: Maenad's mansion, in all its Gothic Revival, geometry-defying glory.
- Cool Pet: A whole menagerie of them, ranging from tarantulas to peafowl to small sturgeon, but restricted to small-to-medium creatures who don't need extremely specialized living arrangements.
- Lilja wants a dragon (or failing that, a pterodactyl), but has failed to find a reputable scientist who can make her one.
- Creative Differences: In-universe, one of the reasons Valerian left Imploded Aneurysm (the other was strained vocal cords). Val wanted to explore more fantastic and introspective themes and was beginning to cultivate her interest in weird religious imagery at the point that the other band members wanted to go Darker and Edgier.
- Creepy Child: Violet Aciano was a mild example in her youth, due to odd mannerisms and an aura of eeriness rather than anything actually dangerous. Perhaps surprisingly, she grew up to be rather moe as an adult.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Thanatocide's entire body of work, in-universe.
- Cultural Posturing: Regarding bizarre Scandinavian fish dishes, of all things.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Any time Violet tries to be intimidating generally comes out like this.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Magnus Ravnen actually earned the majority of his money through legal uses of his scientific talents, and viewed his supervillainy as a sort of combination of political activism and performance art.
- Deathbringer the Adorable: Most of Maenad's pets. After all, they are a metal band and have certain standards to maintain.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Musa, whenever she's under stress, and Violet, after Artemisia gets hurt.
- Dumb and Drummer: Averted. Musa is the only member of Maenad with a university education.
- Everyone Is Bi: Or at least most of the women who have a canonical sexual orientation.
- Everyone Is Christian at Christmas: More like "Everyone is pagan on the Solstice."
"We all have our party together and burn a Yule log on the Solstice. It is a good central location, and everyone believes in astronomical events."
- Expy: Valerian Nightshade, Musa Hawthorne, and Lilja Lakebetonika were fairly heavily inspired by Nathan Explosion, Pickles the drummer, and Skwisgaar Skwigelf of Dethklok.
- Extranormal Institute: The boarding school Artemisia attended, which catered to the daughters of supervillains and people in similarly exotic occupations. They had classes in applied chemistry and "interrogation techniques" along with fencing and home ec.
- Fake Band: Loads of them.
- Fictional Media: Quite a bit of it.
- Freudian Excuse: Fairly common, although not particularly severe.
- Valerian: didn't meet her mother until she was in her twenties, had a stormy relationship with her paternal grandmother, due to the whole "irresistible force versus immovable object" problem.
- Violet: her mother died when Violet was a preschooler, the aunt who raised her is a loving but rather intimidating Beloved Smother/Jewish Mother hybrid.
- Lilja: was both parents' Unfavorite, Linnea Hammerfall was sort of a surrogate parental figure before she joined the band.
- Musa: was both parents' Unfavorite (although her sister sees the dynamic differently), and is closer to the hippie neighbor lady who babysat her than she is to either of them.
- Yanang: is actually on amiable, if a bit distant, terms with her family.
- Gargle Blaster: Most of the cocktails Musa invents. For example, "Suicider," a little hard cider, apple brandy, Everclear, and cinnamon schnapps based concoction that tastes deceptively smooth for how strong it is, especially when it's served hot.
- Genius Ditz: The girls in Maenad, although they don't all manifest it the same way, and the level of ditziness often depends on Rule of Funny.
- Musa may count as a Ditzy Genius instead, as she's fairly book-smart.
- Genre Motif: Metal, although more focused on the lovably over the top elements than sheer brutality.
- Germanic Efficiency: The Hekatefest interview mentions an actual German efficiency consultant who was, true to the trope, very good at her job. Unfortunately she was also a serial embezzler.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Doctor Love thinks so.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Valerian occasionally falls into this, unintentionally. She blames her religious upbringing.
- Gothic Metal: One possible way to classify Maenad's music, although the question is complicated by the fact that nobody seems able to precisely define what gothic metal is, exactly.
- Heavy Mithril: Shows up in their lyrics on occasion.
- Hitler Was A Vegetarian: Yanang, being the suave and well-mannered lady that she is, brings this up once to Violet. This leads to You Know I'm Jewish, Right?
- Hollywood Homely: Explored in-universe, since the characters are female celebrities.
- I Call It "Vera": Freyja, Lilja's favorite guitar. Lilja's attitude towards "her" verges on Companion Cube or Cargo Ship status at times.
- Also, Ninjette, Yanang's motorcycle (a Kawasaki Ninja 250R).
- And Raven, Yanang's favorite glass knife.
- Improbably Female Cast
- In the Blood: Normally, Artemisia is a calm, and dignified with a Sugar and Ice Personality, but she occasionally has the strong desire to let her hair down and indulge in a bit of villainous ham. She tries not to publicly express this.
- Informed Ability / Take Our Word for It: Side effect of being a musician in a non-auditory medium.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Several minor characters. The Harmonicsverse can be a dangerous place, and Maenad does not help.
- Killer Rabbit: Averted with Maenad's peacocks, much to Yanang's disappointment.
- The swans are a straighter example, although they never manage to do more than lightly maim anyone.
- Knocking on Heathens' Door: Discussed in the "Holidays" interview.
Dude, Val would be awesome at that. She’d be like, "Hey, you want a copy of ''The Watchtower''?"
and they’d be like, "Yes, please! Make it two! Just don’t hurt me!" and nobody’d dare tell her "GTFO I’m an atheist" because she’d… fucking eat ‘em.
- Lighter and Softer: Maenad, compared to Valerian's earlier bands Judas Cradle and Imploded Aneurism.
- On a meta level, Destructive Harmonics compared to its major inspiration (the one that's not Azumanga Daioh), due to a much lower blood and gore quotient.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Malevolent Architecture: While the living quarters of Maenad's house are safe enough, the basements range from "difficult to navigate" to "how is that geometrically possible?" to "actively hostile to human life." The band thinks this is pretty metal.
- Marshmallow Hell: Valerian is very tall, full-figured, and of a physically demonstrative nature, at least with close friends. This was probably bound to happen sooner or later.
- Mistaken For Antisemite: For some reason, Violet's grandmother has developed the idea that all Scandinavian metal musicians (including Lilja) are Neo-Nazis. This makes things awkward when the band meet each other's families.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness:
- The majority of Laugh of the Medusa's songs are in the 5-6 range.
- Most of Maenad's material is a hard 7 or a light 8, though their harder stuff can reach 9 and they've done a few Surprisingly Gentle Songs.
- Judas Cradle was in the 9-10 range when Valerian was a member.
- Imploded Aneurism is a 10.
- Thanatocide is at 11 and proud of it.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Finding potential romantic partners who weren't scared of her has been a problem for Valerian on occasion.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Yes and no. Violet has a decent fanbase, but she tends to get more attention for her Cloudcuckoolander traits and being really cute than for her musicianship.
- Noodle Incident
- Norse Mythology: Lilja's a fan.
- Not Christian Rock: Valerian likes to use religious imagery on occasion, and she once wrote a song about Joan of Arc.
- Old Shame: Lilja used to be in the dorkiest Power Metal band ever.
- The Other Rainforest: Maenad live in Northwest Washington State when they aren't touring or otherwise traveling.
- Pass the Popcorn: Discussed during Lilja and Yanang's seltzer-and-pillow fight.
- Peking Duck Christmas: Violet (who is Jewish) mentions that in years when Christmas and Hanukkah don't overlap, she spends Christmas eating Chinese food and watching movies.
- Periphery Demographic: In-universe example: Violet's biggest fan bases are among young girls and college-age men.
- Piranha Problem: Artemisia keeps a few big tanks of piranhas, but she uses them more for the disposal of already dead bodies than as a means of execution.
- Rapunzel Hair: The Assassin (doubles as Godiva Hair on occasion), Lilja, and Artemisia, although it isn't as obvious since she normally wears it in an up-do.
- Valerian's hair is a borderline case, as it's about waist-length.
- Real-Person Fic: In-universe, Maenad gets some written about them. Valerian doesn't mind this, but she does wish that she didn't get slotted into the "abusive seme" and "fundamentalist homophobe" slots so often.
- Satiating Sandwich: Yanang's "best sandwich ever," which consists of bacon, four kinds of chile peppers, spicy pickled fish fillets, curry mayonnaise, fried onions, fried garlic, kimchi, and radish sprouts, garnished with crumbled blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, and dried shrimp, and served on dark sourdough rye bread fried in bacon fat. She thinks it's awesome. Lilja is Squicked.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: The conversation between Violet and Musa about what cleaning products from different countries would, theoretically, taste like.
- Serious Business: Anything that Maenad's involved in, between the "metal is Serious Business" crowd and the people who believe that the band have supernatural powers.
- Shout-Out: Lots of them, including:
- Wienrich and Boettcher chocolates
- Pan Terra, a bakery/gourmet sandwich shop.
- Thou Shalt Suffer, the pro domme house where Valerian worked for a while in her pre-Maenad days.
- Ebony Tears, Valerian's favorite brand of eye makeup.
- One of the Fake Bands mentioned in passing is called Rosa Sanguinea Gothica, i.e. Bloody Gothic Rose.
- "Suicider" is a reference to Nanny Ogg's homebrew.
- Three of Lilja's former bands were called Storm Bolter, Sororitas, and Necromunda.
- One of Val's exes was named Robert Candlemass.
- Iced Earth is a high end brand of frozen desserts (rather like Häagen-Dazs but more expensive and metal.)
- Shelob the tarantula.
- The Brocklehurst Center for Troubled Youth is a Jane Eyre reference.
- Artemisia has a desk plaque that reads "Be polite, be efficient, have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
- Memory Garden funeral home, one of Val's employers in her pre-Maenad days.
- Folkearth Supplements.
- Martha Jane Vikernes (the reporter from the holiday and Hekatefest interviews) is named after Varg (and Calamity Jane), although she has little in common with either of them.
- Sick Episode: One vignette in which Artemisia gets a cold and the girls try to help her get better with dubious homemade herbal remedies.
- Slice of Life
- So Bad, It's Good: In-universe example: most of Maenad's non-musical creative endeavors. They wound up making a movie that was the cinematic equivalent of high-budget Author Appeal but turned out reasonably watchable due to a competent director and successful application of the Rule of Cool.
- Springtime for Hitler: Any effort Maenad makes to troll its fanbase winds up becoming strangely popular.
- Super Weight: Maenad as a whole is Abnormal Weight when The Power of Rock is active, although some suspect them of being potentially higher.
- Artemisia and the Assassin are at the higher end of Iron Weight.
- Pi would count as Iron Weight when just how hard he is to kill is taken into account.
- Take That!: Violet doesn't think much of Moe fandom. To be fair, when you already have problems being taken seriously as an adult "real musician" even by your closest friends, having your girlish innocence fetishized by strangers on the internet does not help.
- Team Mom: Artemisia Mandrake (and occasionally Valerian) for Maenad.
- Theme Naming: Maenad and many of the people around them (their manager, the producer they work with, the members of Musa's former band, their doctor, their shrink, and some of their family members) all have plant-themed names. All of Valerian's named exes (and several other minor characters) are named after bands. Most of the Mauve Shirt employees are named after One Woman Songs (or the male equivalent.)
- There Are No Therapists: Averted, although plenty of characters who probably need help still aren't getting it, and the one therapist to get much characterization has plenty of issues of her own.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yanang Bai (tomboy) and Violet Aciano (girly girl).
- Transsexual: Lilja.
- Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Maenad and their associates have quite a menagerie.
- Urban Legend Love Life: Lilja's not celibate by any means, and she does flirt, but her in-universe reputation as a female The Casanova after Anything That Moves is a gross exaggeration. If she had that much sex she wouldn't have any time left to spend with her real love.
- The Verse
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Yanang and Lilja. Yanang and Violet have a one-sided variation at times.
- Watch It Stoned: Musa discovers that drugs don't improve Uzumaki.
"Honey, a word of advice – weirdass surreal Japanese horror does not make more sense when you’re really, really high."
- Whatevermancy: Vinomancy, Musa's alleged power to make anything alcoholic.
- Writers Suck: Erica Hawthorne (novelist) and Robert Candlemass (celebrity author of self-help books) are both rather obnoxious.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Maenad accidentally killed the man who left them their Cool House - or at least, he died of a sudden heart attack a few hours after listening to them.