Nature is Beautiful (Vol. III – Invertebrates ONLY)
Everybody gangsta ’til the house centipede starts skittering. What is it about diminutive crawling critters that can send even the most Tapout-wearingest, creatine-powderest musclehead onto his/her tiptoes on the nearest furniture? Perhaps it’s the undulation of far too many legs, the lack of a skeleton, or maybe the way they appear so suddenly, in a place where we’re supposed to be isolated from nature. While house centipedes are harmless to humans, their presence alone confirms that other unwanted guests have taken up residence in our homes.
It’s no wonder there’s a sci-fi/horror trope called the “bug hunt,” where your typical space marines track down and exterminate insectile megafauna that live only to consume manflesh. When we feel powerless, we lash out, creating these oversized fantasies in Starship Troopers and the Alien franchise; however, one doesn’t need to visit LV-426 for a taste of the otherworldly. We’ve got things right here at home that would make a xenomorph blush.
Chalcid Wasp – Hyperparasitism
So you forcefully lay eggs down a humanoid’s throat and then your offspring burst out, killing the host in the process? ?That don’t impress me much. ?Chalcid wasps take the unnerving concept of parasitoids to the next level—they parasitize other parasitoids in a process known as hyperparasitism.
Let’s break this down: a parasitic Braconid wasp shoves its ovipositor deep into the body of a plump caterpillar, where it lays eggs that will hatch before the offspring eat their way out of the living host. The Braconid wasp flies back to the cocoons of its more developed offspring, only to find a Chalcid wasp depositing its own eggs into the Braconid cocoons. Here’s your Inception-themed barf bag. Please try not to splash on Leo DiCaprio’s face, he deserves better than that.
It says something about Vastum that their album, Hole Below, has so many songs that can accompany nature’s most twisted behaviors. “Intrusions” is the perfect match for a species that invades the bodies of its victims, transforming their tissues into an external womb.
Bombardier Beetle – Exothermic Defense
You’ve come equipped with some opinions, and you’re going to let the whole Facebook thread know, damn the consequences. With a cry of “Greta Van Fleet is the most important band since Gorguts,” the gloves come off and you’re ready for the naysayers. You will fight tooth and nail for your truth, but your hot take is nothing compared to that of the Bombardier Beetle. When threatened, this beetle retracts the barrier between two compartments in its abdomen, allowing hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide reservoirs to intermingle, spraying a noxious chemical mixture that can reach temperatures of 210° F. This defense is often fatal when released on other insects, and acts as a painful lesson for those minding their own business online.
Another day, another molten manifesto written by a guy wearing leather vambraces made from fetish garb he bought on eBay. The only true companion to such a Twitter tirade is Judas Priest‘s “Metal Meltdown.” Out of control, about to explode, it’s coming @ ya.
Water Spider – WATER. SPIDER.
This entire species is like the physical manifestation of a Black Mirror episode—What if spiders…but too much? Whether using the hydrophobic hairs on its abdomen to create a mobile scuba tank, or building an underwater bubble home from silk and protein-based hydrogels (the composition of which is still unknown to science), the water spider’s entire life-cycle occurs beneath the surface. Yes, that includes underwater hunting and love-making. Thankfully, these organisms live mainly in Europe (far away from me); knowing this, all of the state-of-the-art public transit and open-air metal fests in the world couldn’t make me jealous. Midwest Christian metalcore > water spiders.
“Thalassophobia” used to mean “fear of being in large bodies of water,” but as of today, this definition is being amended to “fear of being in large bodies of water BECAUSE OF H*QQIN’ WATER SPIDERS.” Ascension has you covered with waves and waves of riffs that fill your lungs as you sink into the depths.