MOEBIUS VOLUME 1: UPON A STAR (1987)

Of all my reviews here at Hollywood metal, my favorite are when I get to review lesser known material. Be it albums, movies, or comics. Delving into a work either lightly tread or momentarily forgotten is a wonderful experience. I do not think Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius, is a particularly obscure comic artist, but rather he is lesser known than other fantasy comic artists. His work lies down a path that is accessible to anyone who travels a little bit farther into fantasy comics. Though it is easy…

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THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936)

The Invisible Ray

Along with The Old Dark House, The Invisible Ray is not a movie that comes up much in discussions on classic horror. This is strange, seeing how the film was also produced by Universal and starred two horror heavyweights Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi at the height of their respective careers. Despite the casting and the production company, The Invisible Ray differs from the rest of the Universal monster group as an oddball for many reasons. Perhaps the producers could never find a way to get a death ray to…

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XOTH – Hostile Terraforming

Holy fuck, space is terrifying. It’s big, it’s dark and don’t look but it’s hovering above you right now. It’s also, very more than likely, crammed full of terrifying unknown shit. And the shit we do know doesn’t make a lot of sense. Apparently, it also smells of searing flesh and burning steel, so it should come as no surprise that it’s a source of some inspiration for metal. Viking longboats on the horizon might spell doom for a peaceful fishing village but, if you really want to earn the…

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BELPHEGOR – Conjuring the Dead

If you haven’t heard of Belphegor, here’s everything you need to know. Their name is taken from a demon who is said to be hell’s ambassador to France, of all things, and who tempted humanity with invention and wealth. Their vocalist guitarist (fucking Helmuth Lehner, so named because whenever he talks you can hear the voices of the damned) worried fans in 2011 when he contracted typhus (which, holy shit, is pretty metal in itself, not only because the only more metal illness possible is mercury poisoning, but because typhus…

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DIVINITY – Original Sin

With a name like “Divinity: Original Sin”, certain associations come to mind. Terrible graphics, shoddy control mechanisms and messages not so much ham-fisted as gammon-knuckled tend to be hallmarks of the genre known loosely as “religiously informative games”. Also, they occasionally waddle ass-backwards into awesome, as in this example where you can suplex Moses. Really, there’s little consistency beyond being consistently awful. “Divinity – Original Sin” isn’t one of those. “Divinity – Original Sin” is a (potentially) multiplayer RPG, set in a world whose art style looks like a well-polished…

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MANOWAR – Sign of the Hammer

I enjoy reviewing older records that are approaching the realm of classics. I feel time is a way to measure a certain record’s maturation, and to evaluate if they become something more than when originally released. Time can age certain music, transforming it into something with heavier relevance or something forgotten. To narrow down classic records, it is easier to go on a schedule of anniversaries. To make it slimmer, one could go with milestone anniversaries. This would mean the years reviewed are 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, and so on.…

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ALESTORM – Sunset On the Golden Age

According to google, the record for circumnavigating the globe in a ship, alone, is 78 days. If you cut in a further 42 days for partying, rum breaks and general piratical tomfoolery, you might expect a team of four wandering villains to make the trip in 120 days. I only bring this up because Scottish Pirate Folk Metal band Alestorm could have sailed around the world once for each song on their new album and then twice again in celebration between now and their last release.

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TWILIGHT FORCE – Tales of Ancient Prophecies

I am going to be honest, the second I saw the cover for Tales Of Ancient Prophecies, the debut release for Swedish power metal act Twilight Force, I knew I was in love. I mean, look at that dragon. Look at that hero waving a sword at the mythical beast. I knew I was in love because their is only one type of sound that could accompany a cover like this. Prepare for choirs, guitar solos, and operatic escapism. Twilight force is the squire and torch bearer for bands like…

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HERCULES

Hercules 2014

Though people may not know it yet, 2014 is the year of sword and sandal. Unlike its fraternal twin, sword and sorcery, sword and sandal trades magic for history as its battles are set in the lush landscapes of ancient Greece, Babylon, Rome, and Egypt. At this point in the year, we have already seen 300: Rise of an Empire, Pompeii, and the first Hercules adaptation. On the horizon, audiences can look forward to the Ridley Scott retelling of Moses, aptly named Exodus: Gods and Kings. At this very moment…

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