SEPTICFLESH – Codex Omega (2017)

Septicflesh - Codex Omega

Before we start this review. I must give thanks to Spiros Antoniou (Seth) for not only having an AMA on r/metal rather than other places on Reddit but answering most of the questions from fans including mine about the alien latex suit they wore for promo shots. the name Septicflesh carries weight in the extreme metal world for being one of the more recognizable names in the atmospheric / symphonic death genre mostly because there are only a handful of bands actually employing the style. Even if this wasn’t the…

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Diminished by Nightmare: The Phantasmal Architectures of Monsù Desiderio

Throughout my writing tenure at Hollywood Metal, I have always been into art — specifically fantasy art. While there is much to discuss on contemporary fantasy art, I have found myself drawn to the fantastic works of pre fantasy — meaning fantasy before it became fantasy as we know it today. Since the mid 20th century, fantasy has taken on certain tropes and stylistic markings that we can easily identify something belong to the fantasy genre or at least near it. My interest in pre-fantasy comes from fantastic artworks made…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (August)

As we seen with most of our cover images, this painting by Frank Frazetta, titled the Norseman and made in 1972, graced the cover of the inaugural volume of Flashing Swords magazine which was an anthology of sword and sorcery and other weird fiction. The first issue had stories from Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, and Poul Anderson. unlike other publications which sort of butchered the original composition,. Flashing Swords was unique in the fact that the entire Frazetta painting was given a nice black frame which allowed the picture to…

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Big Metal Month (August)

Big Metal Month was a new idea I had to keep up with some of the giant labels in heavy metal releasing new albums from well known bands. Since I have chosen to spend all of my time with dungeon synth and things no one else cares about, it is surprising to see some of metal’s biggest releases pass without notice. Big Metal Month also sounds like a comic book which comes in an oversized magazine with lots of pictures. This obviously makes me happy. Please use this column to…

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VINTERSORG – Till Fjälls, Del II (2017)

Till Fjalls, Del II

Till Fjälls (1998) was an important release for not only Sweden’s Vintersorg but also the field of folk / viking / progressive / whatever metal which would eventually blossom over the next couple of years. To this day the sounds and melodies on Till Fjälls exemplify music that is not only interesting but also immersive. Perhaps this is why, almost 20 years later, the band has decided to revisit the snow blasted landscape of their debut record with a conceptual followup.

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WINTERSUN – The Forest Seasons (2017)

Wintersun The Forest Seasons

Wintersun has had a long and tortured history. This is not to say they have not had their share of fame and praise, rather, the polarity that this Finnish melodic death band casts is long and extreme. Since the band’s well regarded self titled debut, the band has both been hyped by its fans and frustrated by its own series of production delays. Time I, originally scheduled for many years earlier, did both serve as a celebration for fans and also the platform for the eternal wait for its proposed…

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Longing for Memories: Frostveil and the New World of Dungeon Synth

Though I have been in the habit of celebrating new dungeon synth releases, there was a certain type of energy which surrounded the debut of Australian based act Frostveil. What was even more intriguing was the fact that Antediluvian Majesty was an honest to goodness dungeon synth release from a black metal outfit and the rest of Frotsveil’s work resides in harsher worlds. Black metal and dungeon ysnth have had a long and complicated relationship and even though Frostveil is certainly not the first contemporary black metal act to release…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (July)

Heavy Metal July

As always with this series, I enjoy highlighting art, mainly from Frank Frazetta, but also celebrating other popular works that could possibly align with the sound of traditional heavy metal. Case in point, pulp fiction. If we are going to be more specific than the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Though this writer has many works collected in his career, the name Boroughs is enshrined to two characters, John Carter and Tarzan. The later is where our picture comes from and not from Tarzan but his progeny Korak. The painting…

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The Lull A few months back people were discussing and even fretting about the influx of new artists into the dungeon synth scene. This is natural as what was a steady growth quickly grew exponentially with a few high profile articles and promotional spots. This lead to discomfort for some and excitement for others. I believe I have been quoted many times discussing the new arrivals of artists and how wonderful it was for the genre. Since doing this monthly feature for a few years, the new arrivals on the…

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Castelvania (2017)


It is difficult to see why an animated series for Castlevania could be anything less than a hit. The idea bridges both the nostalgia engine for rebooted touchstones as well as the search for new television series in already established fandoms. While the idea of a video game franchise being rebooted for television sounds like a recipe for hype but ultimate deflation, the Netflix Original Series manages to live up to expectations with a team of competent and passionate personnel working in the confines of an already established story arc…

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Popular Metal Radar (July)

I think I am always going to be destined to write roundups or at least be drawn to them. Processing music is a daunting task and for as many things which come out every week it is difficult to keep up with them or peak people’s interest in everything. Already this site has a dungeon synth and a traditional/speed metal roundup which is delivered to a small niche and loyal audience. What is funny about spending so much time in niche pockets is often not hearing larger releases. I tried…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (June)

It is now June which mans the series of Heavy Metal 2017 has been running for half of a year. In that time we have seen some wonderful things and fought marvelous battles. More importantly I have had the opportunity to search for Frank Frazetta paintings which has allowed me to seek out the source material. This month’s image comes from the 1977 collection of Conan stores called The People of the Black Circle which was painted by…wait for it….Ken Kelly. Yes the artist know for his Manowar covers, unsurprisingly…

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EMYN MUIL – Elenion Ancalima (2017)

Well it is May and I have yet to review this which is sort of strange. Emyn Muil is not a name which is far from the lips as this Italian project has been distributed and discussed on dungeon synth forums and been sold through proper DS labels. The somewhat surprising matter is that Emyn Muil is black metal and has DS in a minor role. The somewhat unsurprising fact is that Emyn Muil bends the knee in fealty to Summoning along with his bannermen of Caladan Brood, Elffor and…

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