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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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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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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The problem with reviewing Dark Souls 3 is that it’s all too easy to find yourself reviewing the series as a whole. Not a lot changes between incarnations and that which does change – setting, enemy layout, the story being told – changes only enough to be new. It’s clever but that’s nothing new, all that’s changed is the specifics of that design. With this in mind, coupled with the fact that this seems to be the last, this review will be something of a retrospective, taking a look at…

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SAGE’S RECITAL – The Winter Symphony

Winter Symphony, as an album, is fucking absurd. This isn’t a criticism, Neo-Classical Metal is famed for the thick vein of absurdity that runs from its metallic crust right to its molten core, but while some groups are content to merely hit at the over-enthusiatic bizarreness that marks out the genre, Winter Symphony dares to occupy the valley of the absurd in its entirety. My first hint that this was the case was in the album’s inspiringly triumphant cacophonous beginning. This is where it’ll lose a lot of people; there’s…

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Blackguards 2 (2015)

Blackguards 2 is (obviously) the sequel to Blackguards, a game I know absolutely nothing about despite Steam’s insistence that I spent 15 hours with it. Honestly, I remember writing the review to it with greater detail that any part of playing the game itself, which in a way says everything I need to know about how good it was. I do remember it reminding me of Banner Saga. Blackguards 2 reminds me of something else entirely. It’s the tale of a woman, cast from a life of power and luxury…

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Fire and Ice

I do not think I did, but may have squealed. I can’t be sure. I tried to subdue my excitement when replying to Brendan’s latest email asking me if I wanted to start reviewing movies. “Do not show all of your cards at once,” I told myself. “Try to stave your excitement or there will be no mystery.” Along with heavy metal, forgotten surf rock, and model ships in bottles, fantasy holds a large part of my interests hostage. If you would like a refinement of that category, my interests…

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IN MOURNING – The Weight of Oceans

In Mourning - Weight of Oceans

I was really prepared to like this album a lot more than the 5/9 may indicate. In Mourning was brought to my attention by a friend and frequent co-host of the radio show a few months ago. We played a track from their previous album, Monolith, on episode 105. That song and album were good and I had high hopes for this new one, The Weight of Oceans. The artwork and name of this album are a 9/9 collectively. Upon seeing it for the first time I thought this was…

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