A Life Dreaming: The Fantasies of Richard Dadd

I enjoy fantasy – a lot. Part of my dedications into the idea of fantasy have focused on delving into all aspects of its history. From games to literature to folklore, the term “fantasy” becomes more nebulous when stretched into history becomes even more intangible across centuries when compared to what we know today. Fantastic subject matter before the 20th century has this ethereal quality when placed alongside fantasy art of the last quarter century and becomes the source of great fascination when trying to dissect. A style today that…

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WHITE WARD – Futility Report (2017)

Oh man, people really like sax. White Ward is sort of a new band from the Netherlands who is making quite a name for themselves based on the combination of saxophone within the template of post black. I really wish there was more to say about that but honestly the use of the unorthodox instrument is causing tremors of excitement in people leading to phrases like “black jazz” even though the actual jazz elements are few and far between. Regardless we have masterfully produced record which is supported by Debemur…

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DRAGONFORCE – Reaching Into Infinity (2017)

Dragonforce - Reaching Into Infinity

There is little to be said about Dragonforce in 2017. I actually wrote about the band’s last album with as much cynicism as apology for a band that reached a level of popularity that was unexpected and ultimately damning. As the band prepares to release their seventh record nearing the 15th year of being an entity, this British outfit continues to do what they have been known for — making really fast power clean metal in an age where that may not be the coolest or even most nerdy thing…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXIV

The Eventual Death of Dungeon Synth I have been following dungeon synth for around two years cataloging its history and charting its progression as a microgenre in an age where microgenres have ephemeral existences. I have always professed a love for this style and its community of creators, recorders, and fans. Dungeon synth has existed for decades in various identities from strange black metal/dark ambient offshoot to an independent electronic genre with sometimes new connections unrelated to its past. Dungeon synth has existed before the age of the internet and…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (May)

I feel both relieved and strange about the fact that the majority of this list comes from one source. NWOTHM Full Albums has been a primary source to the influx of new traditional and speed metal throughout the year. I have been culling the 2017 albums, EPs, and demos which has been constantly updating the world with rad music. Perhaps in the future we will have multiple sources for this type of music but for now it seems to be relegated to a few killer outlets. Before that however, some…

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AYREON – The Source (2017)

Ayreon is not a name with universal appeal. Despite a cult like fan base and general recognition in prominent European cities, Ayreon has been celebrated and praised by progressive metal fans much to the bafflement of everyone else. If you were not familar, Ayreon is a Dutch project centered around creator and ringleader Arjen Anthony Lucassen and about a billion guests on each record. 2013’s The Theory of Everyone saw 9 guest vocalists and 11 guest musicians from high profile progressive and power metal luminaries. Ayreon records are usually involved…

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SHORES OF NULL – Black Drapes for Tomorrow (2017)

Shores of Null is a relativity new band from the shores of Italy. Okay, I know Rome isn’t exactly on the shores but I thought it a good way to open a review. Shores of Null, in their relative newness, offer a combination of music still largely unexplored. Black / doom is something that I have particularly enjoyed from lesser known bands mainly because each time an act employs the sound, the result sounds different from one another. Take Black Drapes for Tomorrow which takes the baritone smoothness of Type…

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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

Dungeon Synth Compilation III

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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