Swords of Steel: A Metal Homage To Pulp-Fantasy


Swords of Paperback

Throughout its history, swords & sorcery has been an integral part of heavy metal. From the very first Black Sabbath album back in ’70 to the latest Grand Magus record in 2016, fireballs have flown and steel clashed against steel in a fight most noble. Tales reminiscent of the adventure and horror-tinged stories of the pulp-era have secured a strong foothold in the hearts of metalheads. Many of us have pictured ourselves facing dragons with our massive blades erected (better have that fire insurance) or joining the pillaging, plundering, murdering rapists known as vikings on one of their totally honorable conquests. [Editor’s Note: I’ve never once pictured these things. Y’all some nerds.]

If you count yourself among these dreamers, congratulations on becoming one of us I’ve got news for you, boy. No longer will you merely have to content yourself with lyrics about black hounds of vengeance ripping their prey to pieces, continually interrupted by a fist-pumping chorus. By the grace of the good people at DMR Books you can now actually read original fantasy stories in Lovecraftian/Robert E. Howardian vein, penned by your favorite metal lyricists.

SwordsOfStelae SwordsOfSteele

If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you’re a metal music enthusiast, and as such the very fact that all of the featured writers are metal musicians should be its own appeal. First up is Byron A. Roberts. If you’re not familiar with his band, Bal-Sagoth, you’ve been missing out. Roberts’ lyrics have always been short stories ranging from Conan- like, evil witches rallying armies of chaos to foolish archaeologists releasing malign gods and suffering the consequences. Bal-Sagoth is centered on Roberts acting these stories over the best fantasy-metal ever created, which makes him no newcomer – and you’ve got checking out to do.

Kor-Avul-Thaa… finest jewel in the crown of a realm of sublime glory,
greatest city in the Middle Kingdoms, mayhap all the world… Its splendid
walls of shimmering crystal could be seen from a hundred leagues distant,
kissed by the golden rays of the sun, or caressed by the ethereal fingers of a
midnight moon. Its magnificent spires and citadels, built by generations of
kings from the resplendent gifts hewn from the ancient bosom of the sacred
Crystal Mountains, had oft’ times been the bitter envy of rival emperors, and
many were the sieges which Kor-Avul-Thaa had withstood and repulsed over the
centuries, for powerful sorcerers did weave great spells of protection about
the dazzling towers, and none may have passed unbidden through the vast
sapphir ean gates of mighty Kor-Avul-Thaa…

Mike Scalzi, the former guitarist/vocalist in Hammers of Misfortune and the powerhouse behind (The Lord Weird) Slough Feg, is another name that ought to make these collections interesting. Albums like Traveller and Hardworlder are filled to the brim with not only sweet, precious guitarmonies, but also with sci-fi inspired tales, with the former being a concept album inspired by the GDW role-playing game of the same name.

I am a space pirate, you know my name
Asteroid mining is a dangerous game
Imperial navy can’t keep up my pace
Chasing a rock into Zhodani space

You heard about me in the frontier wars
Psionic menace carrying alien spores
A living legend in the asteroid mines
Outvoting tariffs and imperial fines
One-thousand credits is my humble price
Whether it’s nickel, iron, stone or ice
Only the wayfaring patron would dare
A merchant cruiser, a skyway corsair

Other writers whose stories will be appearing in the collections, but with whose lyricism I am unfortunately less familiar with, include E. C. Hellwell of Manilla Road, James Ashbey of the recently featured Solstice, Sean Weingartner of Eternal Champion, Scott Waldrop of Twisted Tower Dire, Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn of Venom, Howie K. Bentley of Cauldron Born and… uh… Jaron Evil of ARCHSPIREARCHPIREARCHSPIRE.

Order the first part here and the second part here. You can also download this sampler, that includes tracks from all participating bands, as well as a 25-page PDF of excerpts from the book.

Go like DMR Books on the book ov faeces and tell them the Toilet sends its utmost regards.

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