Fantasy Art: Éowyn and the Witch-King of Angmar by Michael Kaluta

Hollywood Metal Fantasy Art: Michael Kaluta - Éowyn and the Witch-King of Angmar (1994)

Michael Kaluta – Éowyn and the Witch-King of Angmar (1994) – “Her eyes, grey as the sea were hard and fell, and yet tears were on her cheek. A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy’s eyes.” This is the point in battle of the Pelennor Fields where Éowyn smacks the undead shit out of the Lord of the Nazgûl. This scene was the October spread in a 1994 Kaluta Tolkien calendar and holy fuck, I need to cancel my annual…

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DARK MOOR – Ars Musica

Fuck yeah, piano slide. While I have always had a soft spot for melodic power metal, my interest and appreciation for rousing anthems of epic narrative is blossoming every day. Dark Moor is a band that I ran across a few years ago and since that time has acted as chapter breaks in my own ongoing power metal saga. Every few years, this band returns to remind me that quality music can exist in the most melodic of places. Are you ready to have your heart melted? I know I…

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OBSIDIAN TONGUE – A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time

Obsidian Tongue - A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time (2013)

I really wanted to love this album. Certainly, as the first few moments of “Brothers in the Stars” washed over me (after the drums kicked in – I’m not talking about the introduction) I was in good standing to do so. The song is quite beautiful, featuring dreamy guitars, pulsing drums, and savage vocals that float out of the mix like some beast howling in a forest at night. These hallmarks of atmospheric black metal are familiar and comforting and are handled marvelously on this album. Then here are also…

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MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

masters of the universe

“Many viewers reviewed the motion picture in comparison to the cartoon, when it really was an adaptation of the toys only, which initially depicted He-Man as a barbarian in the first mini-comics (no Prince Adam or Orko).” File the Wikipedia entry on the He Man franchise under “written passionately by a fan.” I must seek this author out and see his collection of Mattel action figures. Holy shit. We are really doing this aren’t we? We have reached Masters of the Universe, the live action adaptation of the cartoon…oh I’m…

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LEGEND OF GRIMROCK

Hollywood Metal Game Review: Legend of Grimrock

Although this game is fairly recent, it feels more like a retro classic than anything else. Which is great really. It is as close as you can get to a computer version of tabletop D&D, crawling through 13 levels of dark, oppressive dungeons to earn your freedom. Its hard not to draw comparisons to D&D when playing this game. You create your party of 4 prisoners, assign attribute points, skills and classes. You have a choice of 4 races: human (the all-rounder), minotaur (fighter), lizardman (rogue) and insectoid (wizard). Your…

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FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE – Labyrinth

Fleshgod Apocalypse exists for a variety of reasons. One, this Italian metal act remains one of the most popular acts in the very niche genre of symphonic death. Two, Fleshgod Apocalypse serves as a constant reminder that Italy has more metal acts than just Rhapsody of Fire. Three, this band has been created to confuse people that think classical music and metal have anything to do with each other even more. No, Vivaldi was not metal before metal existed. Put down the vaporizer and look into my eyes. Since 2009,…

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BASILISK by Boris Vallejo

Hollywood Metal Featured Art: Boris Vallejo - Basilisk (1990)

Boris Vallejo – Basilisk (1990) – Oh Boris Vallejo your calendars have graced my walls for years, making my breakfast making more epic by the day. This Peruvian painter, along with wife Julie Bell, has been at the forefront of semi erotic fantasy deceptions of both women and men wearing little to nothing and wielding sharp objects. In their world, everyone has 1% body fat and is capable of impaling mythical serpents.

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OF ORCS AND MEN

Of Orcs And Men (2012)

When I first heard of “Of Orcs and Men” I’ll admit I was intrigued. As a bit of a nerd, the idea of an Orcish adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel made me almost indecently happy. I found myself imagining a long and emotional story between two deep and interestingly flawed heroes. Perhaps foolishly, my head was filled with visions of Depression-era Mordor; Grishnakh violently pulling the legs off of a bound prisoner and sharing them with his fellow Orcs, perhaps a bad tempered chief called Gr’lee and, of course,…

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MASTERPLAN – Novum Initium

MASTERPLAN - Novum Initium (2013)

Masterplan’s “Novum Initium” is, as the pigeon-Latin would suggest, a new beginning for the power metal band. This album features an almost entirely new lineup save for guitarist Roland Grapow and keyboardist Axel Mackenrott, who apparently have been doing most of the songwriting as the music on this album differs little from that of the previous four. On this new release, the Germans stick to the most basic distillation of the recipe that has kept them alive for over a decade. The riffs and grooves are simple, the production is…

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HIGHLANDER

highlander

“You know you really can’t make fun of this like Krull” “There can be only one!” “Stop saying that, it’s not funny.” This is what my wife told me as we started to watch the 1986 sword and something fantasy Highlander. Highlander came at the time when fantasy films had a large market and people brandishing swords at each other was generally considered family entertainment. The film now has retained near cult status with even its tag line “There Can Be Only One” becoming absorbed in the cultural lexicon. It…

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AMARANTHE – The Nexus

Amaranthe - The Nexus (2013)

When I first heard of Amaranthe, I thought to myself, 3 vocalists seems a bit excessive for a normal band, doesn’t it? I mean, Avantasia and the newly formed Avalon have as many vocalists as they want, they’re special super groups. But Amaranthe is a normal band, and they’re songs rarely break 4 minutes. Surely there isn’t enough room for all three of them to get a fair shot? It all gets a bit hectic, but that’s the way I like my it. You get fast drumbeats and heavy riffs,…

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STARKILL – Fires of Life

Alright. Starkill. I feel that this band is just getting started. Soon internet searches will lead to this band rather than Starkiller, who is the main character of a periphery Star Wars project no one really gave a shit about. Starkill, on the other hand is a melodic black/death act from Chicago who is fitting right in on their current tour with Wintersun. Seriously, the two being paired together is a match made in the symphonic heavens. Holy shit, how old are these fucking kids? Fires of Life is their…

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