FORGOTTEN REALMS

Alright. We have reached Forgotten Realms. Though all fantasy is pretty much in the same neighborhood, I feel certain places are way further than others. If Game of Thrones is here, then Forgotten Realms is way over fucking there. Yeah, you see that castle in the distance surrounded by swamp hydras? Yeah, beyond that. When explaining fantasy, I try to imagine I’m trying to explain it to someone who has no grasp of fantasy and is quickly losing interest. Oh, a more realistic fantasy story with lots of action and…

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Fantasy Art: BEGUILED by Barry Windsor Smith

Barry Windsor Smith - Beguiled (1982/1995)

Barry Windsor Smith has been one of my favorite fantasy artists since seeing his work in Epic Illustrated. Smith is distinguishable from other fantasy artists for his near academic style and embrace of the Pre-Raphaelites of nearly a century past. Both Smith’s love of medieval fantasy and classical renderings gives his work an almost timeless quality which compliments the romantic qualities of his paintings. Oh, and he drew Conan in the 70’s kicking the shit out of everyone. Beguiled was suppose to accompany his story of the same name in…

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VOLGARR THE VIKING

Volgarr the Viking

When I think about it, Viking’s are pretty underrepresented in video games. Indeed, aside for the occasional fitful monstrosity (I’m looking at you, “Too Human”) games have been pretty much devoid of viking warriors since the 80s. So, is Volgarr the viking here to revolutionise the viking image, bringing us all into Odin’s hall to feast and awkwardly ogle Freya (or Thor, depending) for all eternity? Not exactly. Put simply, Volgarr the viking isn’t here to revolutionise anything. After about ten minutes of playing it, I felt as though I…

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TYR – Valkyrja

Tyr

Wait. Are we sure this isn’t power metal? No, I am not saying that but, really? Only progressive folk metal? I mean it’s cool if you want to be power metal. No one is going to make fun of you. Every time I talk about Tyr, I have to make a mental note of where exactly the Faeroe Islands lay in relation to everything else. This outfit is from a very small network of islands that lay in the middle of the triangle created by Iceland, Scotland, and Norway. Historically,…

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Fantasy Art: A FIGHTING MAN OF MARS by Frank Frazetta

Hollywood Metal Fantasy Art - A fighting man from mars

Frank Frazetta – A Fighting Man Of Mars (1973)- This painting takes its name from the 7th book in Edgar Rice Burrough’s science fantasy epic The Barsoom Series. This is Tan Hadron, warrior from the Helium Kingdom and beside him is Tavia, a runaway who could take the head off a horse with her hands. The original cover art from the 1930 publication was approximately 150 times less badass than Frazetta’s painting.

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SACRED 2: FALLEN ANGEL

SACRED 2: FALLEN ANGEL

Normally I would review the first game in the series. I didn’t review Two Worlds before its sequel because it sucked. That is not necessarily the case here though. I haven’t played Sacred yet, because Sacred 2 is a prequel. Since its story takes place before the first one, a whopping 2,000 years before, I thought I’d play them in the order the story happens. When Ancaria was created, the creator put the Seraphim in charge of the world. They did this by being the only people that could use…

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Fantasy Art: PROGENITUS by Jamie Jones

Hollywood Metal Fantasy Art: Jamie Jones - Progenitus

Jamie Jones – Progenitus (2009) — It was only a matter of time before I did this. For anyone nodding their head in approval this is the Jamie Jones and the Progenitus that appeared on the Conflux expansion of the Shards of Alara block of Magic the Gathering. Yes it was the ten mana 10/10 creature and yes we are talking about the card game and no you can not leave. Jones has also done some extraordinary and larger than life art for Magic cards including Awaken the Ancients which…

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TOTAL WAR: ROME II

Total war rome 2

In this latest game, the creative Assembly challenges ancient Roman philosopher Tomisius Lupa’s famous assertion “You can’t go Rome again” with the aptly titled second jaunt into the time period. But will I be entertained, or will it just make me want to kick it’s esteemed creators in the Scutum? Who Aristophaknows? But enough of that nonsense. Let’s Hoplite to it. (I spent five thousand pounds on a degree in ancient Roman literature, which was a bigger joke than all this review combined) I’m going to come clean. I’m a…

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SKILTRON – Into the Battleground

SKILTRON - Into the Battleground (2013)

If you asked me what the weirdest country that a Celtic Metal band could hail from was, Argentina would be close to the top of my list (simply because of the sheer distance between that country and the music’s region of origin). Actually, anywhere other than the British Isles is weird because of the prerequisite cultural experiences one would ostensibly need in order to make this music. I mean, can you even really call Skiltron a *true* Celtic Metal band? How do a group of Argentines come to create this…

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HEAVY METAL

Heavy Metal Movie

If the tagline for Heavy Metal isn’t “Titties, Lasers, & Heavy Metal,” I am going to be upset. I feel that a perfect way to end my tour of 1980’s fantasy films is to end with Heavy Metal. I do this for a number of reasons. For the first reason, please see the opening sentence. Additionally, I began my 15 film marathon with Fire and Ice, another adult animated movie sold to an older audience of fantasy enthusiasts. In Fire and Ice I discussed my love for this style as…

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EQUILIBRIUM – Waldschrein

Alright Equilibrium, lets do this. Wait, is that Skyrim? Equilibrium is a pretty big deal in certain circles that praise Folk and Viking metal. In fact, this German outfit has been lauded for all three of there former records, which have been released with varying consistency. The Waldschrein EP looks like an intended stopgap to fill the void left since the release of Rekreatur nearly three years ago. In the vacuum of three years of silence we are given one new song flanked by other odds and ends. This is…

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Fantasy Art: WARP RIDERS by Dan McPharlin

Hollywood Metal Fantasy Art: Warp Riders by Dan McPharlin

Dan McPharlin – Warp Riders [Interior] (2010) – Alright, so this sort of deviates from the traditional fantasy template but McPharlin’s science fiction landscapes and imagery are far to stunning to leave uncovered. McPharlin is a current Australian visual artist who creates minimal science fiction landscapes in the style of 1960’s style sci-fi paperbacks. His work can be seen on albums covers such as The Sword, Pretty Lights and Prefuse 73. Aside from having the greatest taste in the universe, McPharlin achieves a sense of serenity within impossible landscapes which…

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THE DARK CRYSTAL

The Dark Crystal

I absolutely despise when people chalk up drug use to imaginative creation. The common joke of a creator being under the influence of psychoactive drugs sort of dismisses any creation as some far flung acid dream and weakens its actually validity as true imagination. It is also a part of a strange grey zone where drug use is okay in a culture as long as it was done in the past and comes with an interesting narrative. I have already attested that imagination can come without the aid of drugs…

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CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW

CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW (2013)

This game is narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart. That should be it for this review but unfortunately I have a word count to meet. [Nope, that was enough. -Editor] This game is quite the achievement. It was made by a small Spanish studio who’s previous works are Clive Barker’s supernatural shooter ‘Jericho’ and action-adventure game ‘American McGee Presents: Scrapland’. I had heard of one of those, Jericho, and wasn’t very well received by anyone. Thank god they had the support of Konami or this could’ve been a train wreck. It…

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