ULVER – The Assassination of Julius Caesar (2017)

If you are in anyway familiar with Ulver, you are quite aware this band has left the realms of metal decades before this date. Actually it has been close to 20 years since this Norwegian collective has done anything remotely close to metal. Now comes the question, why do they keep getting invitations to metal parties (metaphorically speaking) and reviewed by metal websites (like this). I have little to offer in way of an answer other than Ulver is a group of vampires weaving some mind spell on all of…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXIII

The final confrontation with the giant, King Snurre, and the entry of mighty adventurers into the caverns under his stronghold (DUNGEON MODULE Gl-2-3, AGAINST THE GIANTS) discovered that Dark Elves, the Drow, had instigated the giant alliance and its warfare upon mankind and its allied races. Numbers of these evil elves fell before the onslaught of the party of adventurers, but many of the important Drow fled away to the northwest – the escape route a seemingly natural passage a full 30’ wide extending endlessly under the earth. Investigation of…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (April)

I think it is going to come to the point where my choices for Frazetta paintings are going to delve into the racy selections. Before we go full nudity with images how about we slip into adult artwork with this wonderful 1967 painting called Apparition. From the limited amount of records on Frazetta paintings, I can not find any magazine or book cover that this painting is attached. This does not mean this painting wasn’t used for something, rather, any connection is lost. What we do have though is a…

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Dungeon Synth Compilation III: Ethereal Dungeon Tales

Ethereal Dungeon Tales is the last of the compilations created from the material culled from an open call for dungeon synth. With the close of this compilation a total of 3 hours and 20 minutes of new and recent dungeon synth has been committed to memory. I am grateful for the admins at the dungeon synth Facebook group to allow me to arrange and organize all of this material. Not only has it allowed this series to showcase new artists but has also given me a reason to appreciate all…

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PALLBEARER – Heartless (2017)

I actually hope sometimes the bands never read the reviews I write. I feel more comfortable knowing I can be critical, honest, and gushing without looking like a super dork or an asshole. Pallbearer’s 2012 Sorrow and Extinction was a big album for me as it hit at a time when I was done with stoner doom / sludge but not finished with doom that didn’t sound like a bong rip. Pallbearer’s success with traditional doom was contrasted with the fact they pretty much did the same thing as Warning…

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PILLORIAN – Obsidian Arc (2017)

Pillorian

Man, it must be difficult to be in a band that is going to be dogged and compared to your previous band. As you will probably eventually read, Pillorian is the continuation of music from John Haughm, founding member of Agalloch. Pillorian is the new venture from Haughm following the recent disbanding of Agalloch and Obsidian Arc being a support group for old fans who are still dealing with the news. It must be difficult being in a band with the guy from Agalloch especially when you are the drummer…

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Dungeon Synth Compilation II: Wand & Shadow

“Wand and Shadow” was my original suggestion as the name for this entire project. I thought it sounded neat as well as capturing the magical and dark aspects of dungeon synth. When proposed in an online polls, it was the second most popular name with “Keepers of the Shadow Realm” rivaling it and “Ethereal Dungeon Tales” being close. Instead of strong arming my favorite name as the project title as I would have loved to do, the community suggestions were used as volume names with Dungeon Synth Compilation being taken…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (March)

Well here we are in the deep of March and by the looks of it we are not slowing down with any new material being released. Something that I noticed that is different than searching for black metal or dungeon synth each month is the need to diversify tags. While the other two could be found with one tag, all of this new material came through the various tags of “speed metal,” “NWOTHM,” “NWOBHM,” “traditional,” “doom,” and he all confusing “heavy.” I believe it is this diversity or even nebulous…

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Dungeon Synth Compilation I: Keepers of the Shadow Realm

For the record, this compilation was conceived as an idea across two communities. The larger Facebook dungeon synth group and its smaller cohort, the dungeon synth forum. On the same day, two separate people had the idea to collect and publish a free compilation based around newer music for either posterity, exposure, or contribution into the vast growing renaissance of newer dungeon synth.

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Dark Powers: The Magic and Benevolence of Synth Bard

Thick cold fog swirls around in this darkened courtyard. Sporadic flashes of lightning lance the angry clouds overhead. Thunder pounds the courtyard. A light drizzle begins to fall. Ahead, torch flames flutter in the wind on each side of the keep’s open main doors. Warm light spills from those open doors into the courtyard. Doors in the gate towers on each side of the tunnel entrance are shut against the rain. A howling wind rushes through the courtyard. The dark towers of the keep loom above in the mists. Flickering…

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BLACK SAILS [S4E1-3]

Oh shit. What the fuck happened last season on Black Sails. Oh that’s right, fucking everything. If you were not aware of my long and strange relationship with Starz original programming Black Sails, you can read a dozen articles or me going through conflicting emotions regarding pirate themed political drama. In the shadow of larger shows like Game of Thrones, Black Sails offers the off brand variety for fantasy drama that is filled with violence, sex, deception, intrigue from an ensemble cast that weave multiple storylines like a goddamn maypole….

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXI

I can remember a time when I reviewed 5 or 6 new dungeon synth releases. We are now up to 18. This is because of many things. One is I legitimately want to listen to everything that comes out each month and that will yield a larger crop of releases I want to discuss. Add to this my desire to explore the furthermost reaches of the style with more experimental works and one has a big bushel of dungeon synth. Lastly, I feel the market and releases are growing. Included…

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WIEGEDOOD – De Doden Hebben Het Goed II (2017)

Sometimes bands work their way up to known recognition and other times they come out of left field. Sometimes it is a mix of both. Wiegedood is not new as 2017 is seeing their second album release after a marginally well received debut. The interesting thing about this year is the continuation of themes and names as Wiegedood has decided to do a second installment of their debut with De Doden Hebben Het Goed II. The gloom patrol rounds the bend for a second night out.

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WITHERFALL – Nocturnes and Requiems (2017)

Since starting the HEAVY METAL 2017 article, I have been keeping an eye out for new speed, traditional, and gruff power metal. Witherfall is not within that realm despite being an unsigned power/progressive/heavy act from Los Angeles. I know it feels weird to delineate between the two but soon you will see the difference. Witherfall has had no sort of introduction before their full length and comes with zero announcements or hype. Despite some of these odds to find a home or fanbase, Nocturnes and Requiems is a fantastic record…

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