The climax to 'A Hound's Hell', just as fierce and powerful as the intro, was Paul's favourite part. While Ed played a host of chord extensions on his clean channel, Adam played a lead line designed to suggest Phrygian. At the same time, Paul went through the outro verse. His throat was aching from the force that had been coming out of it, but he had trained himself well enough that he couldn't hear a difference yet. As he pushed himself through the last few lines, Jace went from his toms and hi-hat to his cymbals and his snare, announcing the end of the eight minute song. Ed let his last chord ring, with Paul doing the same with his last two bass notes. Adam played for two more bars on his own before the song finally concluded to a chorus of cheers.
Stepping back from his microphone, Paul gave himself a few moments to take deep breaths and relax his body. The gathered audience applauded appreciatively, feeding his enthusiasm to continue. Still, looking back over his three band mates, Paul could see the sweat on their faces as surely as he could feel it dripping down his own. The exception, as usual, was Ed, who looked much at ease - he was waiting patiently to continue.
Turning back to the assembled crowd, Paul returned to the microphone to address them.
"Well, after that I'm afraid we're going to have to slow down a little," he began to explain. In response, many of the spectators sighed or voiced their discomfort more vocally. This brought quite a smile to Paul's face. "Oh come on," he continued exasperatedly, "how can we survive another song like that? Did you hear it? Just give us one slower song between that and the big finale, okay?"
With the crowd seemingly sated, Paul signalled in Jace, who started the steady beat of the next song.
"Now, is everybody ready to continue?" The singer asked of anyone who would listen. "We've been playing with this one for a while so we're glad to finally have it ready for you. We've decided to call this one 'Captain Silver'. He's a non-metal pirate. Hit it guys."
On command, Adam and Ed began to hit the chords of the song together. It was a simple song, only really requiring two guitars for a couple of seconds at a time. It gave every member of Disbelief enough time to ease their aching muscles in preparation for their usual finisher. It also gave Paul another excuse to fit the influence of Magnus Ekwall into his work.
The lyrics were the main focus of this song. It did not glamorise the pirate life and nor was it an old sea shanty to be chanted in groups by the drunk or the young. Instead, it focussed on the lives of slavery, bankruptcy, war and prostitution that typically forced men and women to commit acts of piracy. These were things that consumed every day and every thought for the desperate. People all thought that being cold and heartless was a great thing, but they didn't choose it for themselves, they just wanted to hear about it happening far from them, both in location and in time.
The song told the story of Captain Silver, a deliberately deceptive title. Being born from nobility, Silver took to a life of piracy for the sake of personal gain. However, upon discovering that Silver was originally from a family that caused many of them untold misery, his crew began a mutiny against him as he slept in his cabin. His successor, a particularly ruthless Captain Stern, then tortured, killed and hung his former employer from the mast as a trophy. The crew then went on to rape, murder, pillage and destroy like a good pirate crew. It had been one of the most difficult songs to write and it was unlikely to ever become popular, but it fit the bill nicely. It also served as an effective prelude to the final song.
They received applause for the song once it was over, but it was only scattered. Captain Silver was supposed to make people think rather than cheer. In the end, it could have been much worse. Still, the time for thinking was over. As Ed began to play the familiar riff, sounds from the audience let Paul know that quite a few people knew what was coming. This was what they had been waiting for.
"This is it ladies and gentlemen, it's time for our final song," Paul announced. While some people had worked out what was up next, many more still looked quite confused. "After this it's time for the main event. Does anybody here like Redchip?"
In answer, the gathered crowd raised their voices in a cheer. Unfortunately for Redchip, the cheer was nothing close to the cheers that had been given all along for Disbelief. Clearly, the news that Rick Ash had left the band had left a lot of people lukewarm to the headliners. For many reasons, Paul had hoped to see Redchip's departed guitarist tonight, but Rick Ash was more than likely putting together his own supergroup to embarrass his former friends.
Unperturbed by the reaction that he had expected, Paul listened for Adam to come in with a low volume distorted first solo before he continued speaking. "Well they'll be up soon, but don't expect Disbelief to go quietly into the night. We still have one song left and it just happens to be our trump card."
As he finished speaking Paul played through the single bar bass line that led in the drums. Then, settling with his finger playing his low D string, Paul made his final announcement. "We are Disbelief, and this is Ruin."
With that, Adam turned his guitar up to maximum volume and everything went from there. While Adam went from riff to riff, Jace went from beat to beat, leaving Ed to go from rhythm to rhythm. Vocally, this was the hardest song in Disbelief's arsenal, but it was most definitely Paul's favourite. With a wide smile, Paul began to sing.
In truth, he had been forcing himself to concentrate hard on the music, but until now his eyes had unfortunately been wandering in a very specific direction. Over at their table, Ally was watching the show with a mildly amused look on her face. He still hadn't managed to make eye contact with her even once. Veronica and Anna were talking animatedly, which was unexpected. However, comparing the two of them, Paul could see nothing but similarities. Though he only knew Anna through Jace, he had known Jace long enough to know quite a lot about the entire Manning family.
Despite his wandering mind, Ruin had brought his focus straight back to where it needed to be. Every fibre of his being relished each second that passed with the sounds of Ruin in his ears. This was the outpouring of his soul, much like Jace had Thrillseeking and Adam had A Fish Named Goat. Sometimes everybody needed to let go. For Paul, he would write the music and the lyrics of Disbelief. Then, later on, stood in front of an uncountable number of people he didn't know, they would perform the songs that he had written. For all the drama with Cooper, Colt, Ally and Anna, this was the life - up at the front, expressing his art for anybody that could hear it. It fuelled his adrenaline to be heard.
Ruin was not a short song. It was a fast paced drag through the chaos that was Paul's mind, constantly re-written to fit whatever was happening at the time. The music would stay the same while the lyrics explored back and forth. Everybody else played the same thing that they had played since Disbelief's second practice session.
As the four friends smashed through their final song at a pace fuelled purely by an unending rush of energy, Paul again began to hear voices from the audience raising to join his. The chorus was their weapon of choice. Nobody seemed to know any of the other words, but they happily joined in with the few that they did know. As each chorus progressed, more voices would join in. Paul could see Ally, Veronica and Anna all singing along quite cheerfully. Ally knew the words to every Disbelief song through and through, but Paul had never seen Veronica sing and he had no idea how Anna even knew the words. Something had caught on to everybody at Indy's and it was not letting go. For a moment, Paul was sad thinking that he must have missed it. Shortly after, he realised that he was part of the cause.
Then came the first of Ed's solos. Falling back into the rhythmic support, Paul took three steps back from the microphone and let Ed move forwards. This was a moment for their mute guitarist to make himself heard. It started slowly, his fingers moving calmly through the familiar movements that he had made a million times before. With all eyes on him, Ed continued until the slow part was just about to end, and then, instead of playing the usual solo, he began to just make up a completely new one. Despite the fact that it caught everybody off guard, it only made the whole song more effective. The transition from fast to slow went as smoothly as usual. Hardly anybody in the audience would recognise quite what was happening, but those few that did were by far the loudest there. If nothing else, Paul was very impressed.
The solo ended, as it typically did, with a long and much repeated bend and return. There was a brief and relaxing interlude before Adam led the way back into the song. On cue, Paul stepped back up to the microphone, but Ed remained beside him. He was up at the centre of attention now and it didn't look like he was planning on going anywhere.
Finally aware of the power that Disbelief had over these people, Paul began to stamp his foot in time to the beat. They were slaves to the rhythm of the opening act, with seemingly everyone joining in. The scene was reminiscent of their energetic acoustic set at Mountford Hall. Everybody had joined in the stomp then and everybody was joining in with Ruin now. Unable to control his feeling of euphoria, Paul returned to singing with a smile on his face.
The last verse was the least changed. It was either the most memorable or the most predictable because several people were singing along. The Disbelief females led the charge proudly and, when the chorus began, Adam joined in through his microphone.
As Paul sang the last line with as much power as he could muster, they reached the official end of the song. Usually, Jace would strike his cymbals to signal the others and that would be it. However, it was fairly obvious that nobody wanted to stop. As the song began to wind down and the audience started to applaud, Paul took both hands to the high end of his bass and began to slap and tap. In truth, it was mostly comprised of hammer-ons, pull-offs, tapping and sliding, but the crowd loved it; it meant that more was coming.
Adam was the next to show his urge to continue. He did so by joining in with Paul, harmonising the bass and playing just as quickly as the bandleader was doing. Jace, ignoring his cymbals completely, smashed his sticks into the toms in front of him to show his own wish to keep going. Ed had never wanted to end Ruin at any point, even during practice. Looking into the crowd, Paul picked out the one person who was not enjoying the show. Stood, glaring at the performing band, was the singer from Redchip. He looked beyond furious, to the point where Paul suspected he would end up being attacked before the night was out. Nevertheless, his fingers would not stop even if his brain wanted them to. Disbelief simply kept playing.