Cultural Endeavours for May 4th 2012

It’s a long holiday weekend in the UK and that can mean only one thing – it’s time to avoid DIY and that kind of soul-sucking stuff  and leap wildly into the ready, saucy arms of music, books and films.

“The Dwarves” by Markus Heitz – no, that’s not my purse in the top right of the picture.

First up, Markus Heitz’s epic fantasy novel “The Dwarves”, which vaulted to the top of my reading list when I read that he was collaborating with Blind Guardian on the story for their next album.  As I’m currently devouring Blind Guardian’s back catalogue at a rate of knots, this novel seemed like a no-brainer for me.  736 pages of adventure for foundling Dwarf Tungdil, whose solitary status in the land of men is challenged when he’s tasked to venture into a wider world and meet his own kind for the first time, finding himself thrust into dangers and a threat to his race quite unlike anything he’s ever known.

In short?  European high fantasy – I’m all over it.

On a entirely related tip, cast your peepers over this duopoly of bad assery:

Blind GuardianImaginations from the Other Side
Blind Guardian – “Somewhere Far Beyond

And, yes, you do score a multitude of Special Internet Points if you resisted the urge to look at either of the Blind Guardian CD cover artworks and yell Tolkien at the top of your voice.  Kudos to you!

The albums date from – consults Wikipedia discography – 1992 (“Somewhere Far Beyond”) and 1995 (Imaginations From The Other Side) and pre-date what is many fans favourite BG release, 1998’s concept-themed breakthrough album, Nightfall in Middle-Earth.  Knock yourself out – yell “Tolkien” all you like when it comes to that record…

So, that’s my weekend – I may try to sneak in a viewing of “Night Watch”, too, as I’ve been reading the books – and I hope that yours is equally pleasant, be it spent with your family, friends or some combination thereof.  Just remember – keep it geeky, peeps…


“A Game of Thrones” – Metallic K.O.


Over at A Metal State of Mind, atleastimhousebroken, sterling writer, metalhead and fan of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice & Fire” series has penned a series of posts matching characters from the epic fantasy saga to apropos metal songs (Sansa Stark?Nightwish!).

I confess that it’s testing my geek resolve – this bank holiday weekend in the UK might be the one in which I take my first steps into Westeros…

So many books/tv series – so little time…

“Game of Thrones” theme goes Metal.


Dinklage throws the horns and all is well in the world...


Via our dear friends at the UK’s most heavily metallic publication, Metal Hammer, comes a link to a none-more-metal cover version of the theme song to “A Game of Thrones” (AKA, that show that I know I’ll love and still haven’t watched).  If you can think of a TV show more deserving of such musical treatment, you’re a finer nerd than I (if you just said My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic, please feel free to depart the blog forthwith).


Frankly, what’s not to like?  Erstwhile shredder and YouTuber ERock331 also does bad-ass covers of the themes from Doctor Who (yes, yes – thrice YES!), Back to the Future and other geek-friendly loveliness over on his YouTube channel and confirms his (newly-confirmed, by me) status as a gentleman, scholar and delightful nerd.

Respect is, quite clearly, due…

Matt and Liam’s Axe Wound

Supergroup - how much more Seventies can a phrase be?

That is to say, lead vocalist of Bullet For My Valentine, Matt Tuck, and Cancer Bats screamer Liam Cormier, who’ve joined their not inconsiderable lungs to form Metal supergroup, Axe Wound, along with various escapees from Rise to Remain, Pitchshifter and Glamour of the Kill.

What a lovely name for a band – you could bring it home to meet your parents and everything.  Ahem.

You can grab a track from the band by shamelessly hitching your e-mail address to their Tumblr blog and take in a sound which apparently skews more towards the likes of Slipknot than Bullet’s ‘crunchy old school riffs and massive choruses’ blueprint.

As a fan of both Bullet’s sing-along anthems (if not their frequently paint-strippingly bad lyrics) and Cancer Bats’ cheery punky abandon (go watch this glorious video for “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair”), I’m down with this side-project for Messrs Tuck and Cormier, albeit a little bemused how it fits into both groups’ touring plans for 2012, as both bands have albums out this year and now this side-project is in the mix, too.

Axe Wound are on for Download this June and some of the European summer festivals – who knows what lies beyond that?