Witchlords – Demons in the Dark

The debut album by Belgian outfit Witchlords is more or less tailor-made for a Hollywood Metal review. Boasting a steely-thewed barbarian battling an undead warlock on the cover, the stage is set for some fighting fantasy metal, which is exactly what you get. And then some. I don’t know what is behind this corner Just do it, roll the dice Double red skull What does that even mean? These words kick off the album opener and title track Demons in the Dark, a fast-paced Maiden-esque ode to dungeon crawling that…

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Temple of Mystery Records – Trapped Under Ice Vol. 1

Trapped Under Ice

When it comes to metal, Canada has a distinguished legacy and a thriving contemporary scene. From Voivod, Anvil, Exciter, and Annihilator to some of my personal favorites like 3 Inches of Blood, Unleash the Archers, Striker, The Order of Chaos, and Blood Ceremony, Canada has been sending heads banging for decades. Now Temple of Mystery Records shines a light on some of the lesser known ranks of the Great White North metal legions. Trapped Under Ice Vol. 1 is a compilation boasting ten tracks from a diverse roster of underground…

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Stoner Roundup at the New Year Corral

Happy New Year to one and all, and welcome to the flipside. Dragging anchor today? No problem, I’ve got your back. Stoner metal, as the name would suggest, is the perfect soundtrack to a day spent in bed nursing a hangover, and 2018 saw no shortage of sun-baked desert riffage. A few made my Top 25 list, but many more were deserving of some shine. Time to remedy that. So order some takeout and soothe your aching noggin with some fuzzed-out grooves that you may have missed out on last…

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Top 25 Albums of 2018

Writing end-of-year lists is a cumbersome, but truly gratifying endeavor, I think, as it allows me to revisit a whole year’s worth of wonderful music releases, some of which have fallen unjustly into the cracks of consciousness or vanished from the general rotation radar. It’s a journey of joyous rediscovery unearthing musical gems that I’m excited to share with whatever audience that may be reading this. Only bummer is having to leave so much great stuff off the list. I could make one twice as long, but I have a…

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Top 10 EPs of 2018

Sorting through my Bandcamp collection in preparation for my best of year list, I found it impossible to narrow down to a measly ten releases – and unfair to pit three song EPs against fully-fledged albums. So, to start things off, here are my ten favorite EPs of 2018: 10. Outer Head – Outer Head (Demo) Thick slabs of beefy doom drenched in a heady psych broth and served in a grimy stoner bowl, this killer demo oozes potential. A full-length from these UK trippers should be something to look…

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Dungeons and Dragons – Art and Arcana: A Visual History

”If you thought that was cool, wait till you try the real thing.” A friend told me something to that effect in the schoolyard one day in 1984. My eleven-year-old mind was still reeling with excitement from having spent most of my weekend engrossed in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, a book unlike any I had ever read before. The Fighting Fantasy gamebook by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone had totally swept me up and pulled me in to a magical domain of excitement and peril akin to the wondrous…

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