Dungeon Synth Compilation VII: Tome of Lost Worlds

Tome of Lost Worlds represents the 7th compilation made in 2017 and the start of a the third round of seasonal collections of new dungeon synth. Since starting this project, I wanted to showcase new and recent works from a variety of artists who are either entering into the genre or even working on new material. The series has naturally fallen into three volumes which have become the traditional volume, the experimental volume, and finally the narrative volume. Tome of Lost Worlds represents the traditional volume or at least the…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXVIII

If there ever comes a time in my life when I do not listen to dungeon synth (DS), I will look back on it as a genre that give me much more than the music everyone thinks about. DS is related to so many weird and outsider genres that just by association, it offers walking paths to some of the more fringe genres of electronic music. This digest is set up in a way that it leads with some of the more popular traditional sounding music and eventually unravels into…

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Modding D&D Basic

D and D Basic

Alright. History first. “The Haunted Keep” was a beginner scenario planted in the 1981 Dungeons and Dragons Basic Rules Set. The editions of Basic D&D would be released in colorful boxes which would be distinct alongside the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks. Basic D&D was intended to offer a stripped down ruleset that would eventually lead into higher levels with the advanced books. The Haunted Keep was a starter dungeon intended on teaching would be Dungeonmasters how to make up their own adventure as it gave the barebones of a…

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Pathfinder Log (1st Entry): Edge of Anarchy

Pathfinder - Edge of Anarchy

This is the start of a diary / log of of sorts revolved around running the Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign using the Pathfinder RPG system. This is not my first time game mastering an RPG game nor is it my first Pathfinder game. What this is though is my first time running a planned adventure as I have spent the past couple of years running homebrews which used loosely collected Pathfinder and D&D 3.5 rulesets. This is me trying to play it straight and for my players. This…

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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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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXVI

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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