Friday, 25 March 2016

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...Make An Entrance

  Last time around I did album covers where young women were about to step through a doorway  Portal. For this small selection I'm going to do a slight variation on that. All the cover stars here have just emerged from a Portal and I find that there's some interesting differences.

  As I pointed out last time, the cover girls hanging about in front of gates tended to be elegantly dressed and a little hesitant. As we shall see, this lot are usually wearing a lot less clothing and if anybody should be worried about what's going to happen next,  it's the rest of the world.

 Wherever these Cover girls just arrived from, it isn't somewhere you'd want to visit.

Pagan's Mind - Full Circle (Norway 2015)

 Naked, electric, blonde chick coming through a Stargate?
  Yeah ....that's not gonna end well.
If I saw this in a movie I'd be telling the Good Guys to start hitting her with the biggest guns they've got. 
Or turn the AC right up to freezing. That might work. 

Pagan's Mind are Prog Metal. Here they are covering a Bowie track.

It's interesting how two bands can have very similar covers years apart.

Saidian - Evercircle  (Germany 2009)

If this young lady said she came in peace I might be inclined to believe her.
I'm still going to have a few snipers handy though, just in case her face falls off and little tentacles pop out of her eyesockets.

Saidian - For Those Who Walk The Path Forlorn (Germany 2005)

  Once upon a time I'd ahve looked at this cover and gone "Yay. A beautiful woman has stepped out of thin air. maybe she'll be my girlfriend." Now, thanks to thirty years of fantasy books and horror movies, I'm more likely to think. "Oh shit. she's going to eat my face."

 Who am I kidding?  I'm gonna be so mesmerised by The Pretty One that she could be clutching a severed leg in one hand and I wouldn't notice until too late.

 You just double-checked to make sure she isn't holding body parts, didn't you?

Saidian are singalong Power Metal. As is quite common, the lyrics are a lot darker than the music.

Queen Dementia - The Aftermath (USA 2014)

  "Hmm. I think I can do something with this place. What's it called? Earth? 
It's mine now."

The band are female-fronted Heavy Metal, a field that's seen a resurgence of late.

Atrocity -Atlantis (Germany 2004)

    Just out of sight - three priests with lanterns and some clever arranging of mirrors.
A clever priest-queen knows how to make an entrance. 

I think the lead singer of this band has the longest hair in Metal. 

 And finally, one of those clever album covers that doesn't tell you the name of the band. 

High Heeler - 12" Heels EP (Austria 2011)

Ooh, she looks pissed off.
Is that blood?
Shit, it is blood.
If you want to stick around and see what she wants, feel free.
Personally I'm legging it. See ya.

High Heeler are old school HM with a definite NWOBHM tinge.
No, this isn't a cover of the old Shangri-Las song

I hope you liked the covers and i hope you found a cool new band to check out.

If you have a cover theme you'd like to see that doesn't involve mutilation or naked blokes, leave a comment below and I'll see what I can do.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...Waiting At The Threshold

Hello and welcome. If you're visiting for the first time then I'll quickly explain what Heavy Metal Cover Girls is all about.

I find metal/rock album covers which have beautiful women on them. 

I post them, grouped under an arbitrarily chosen theme.

I also post a music vid for the band if there is one. 

I try to find something clever and witty to say about each one. 

You go "Oh cool" and hopefully listen to the music sample as well.

Easy, hey?

 Now you might think that I would quickly run out of themes but as it turned out, that's not the case. I've been doing this for a few years now and I have enough material in my folder to keep me going for another dozen or so posts - and that's if I don't repeat myself. 

 Today's selection all have a very simple theme; Doorways. Or if you want to use a more dramatic term "Portals"  

  One of the things I keep seeing is that if one artist uses a symbol, so will a dozen others. In the case of doorways  Portals it's a nice visual shorthand to establish that the character is on the brink of  something momentous.

 Does she go through and face what's on the other side? Does she stay here and deal with normal life?  

Is she running away from something or running to something?  

Is she hanging around waiting for somebody else to show up?

All questions that the artist might want us to ask - or he might just love drawing really cool gateways. 

As early 80s pomp legends Zebra so memorably put it "What's Behind The Door?"

Sunstorm - Edge of Tomorrow (Italy/USA 2016)

metal album cover woman doorway
   Technically this might actually be a window but it's a very Sci-Fi window that looks like a Stargate so I've decreed  it to be a Portal .
 I am Big D and this is my will.
  The other thing you will notice throughout this post is that the women contemplating these gateways are all quite elegantly dressed. 
 I'm not quite sure why this young lady has six feet of silk trailing from her armpit but I've never understood womens' fashion anyway. Yeti boots for instance - what the hell is that all about? 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A Fistful Of (Old) Comics: Starblazer

 A little while ago I was delighted to discover a small  bookshop in Cosham. What made this even better was the better half-dozen boxes of old comics next to the till. I was particularlly interested in the contests of two particular boxes.

 "Starblazer" was a British title that ran from 1979 to 1991 and was similar to "Commando" in approach.  Each issue featured a standalone story in a conveniently pocket-sized format, the major difference being the subject matter. "Commando" did War and lots of it. "Starblazer" did SF and Fantasy.

Did you really need me to tell you that? 
I mean, you weren't seriously expecting tales of bunnies and kittens were you? 

I don't remember reading them very often, possibly because the distribution was notoriously hapahazard, so I was interested to see what I had been missing.

I therefore grabbed four that looked promising, added them to the growing stack of "Ka-Zar", "Arak" and "Conan" comics then handed over a fistful of coins and trotted off merrily.

 Here's what I bought and here's what I thought.

 No. 96 The Promised Planet  (1983)

What's it about?:  A decrepit colony ship has finally been offered a world to cal their own - the catch is, MX-7 is bitterly hostile to human life.  A young engineer rebels and sets off to find the new tech his people need to survive the alien world. In the process he stumbles across a nefarious alien plot.

What I thought. I picked this up because the artwork looked awfully familiar. "Starblazer"  didn't credit artists or writers but I was fairly certain the artist was Jesus Redondo, the guy who made "Starlord" strip  Mind Wars so appealing. And I was right!
 The story moves along very quickly and manages to pack a helluva lot of action into 63 pages. The artwork also manages to pack a lot into a small space but without feeling overcluttered. I was rather impressed.

   Welp, I can see some exciting new nightmares in my immediate future. 

No. 194 Cabel And The She Warrior (1987)

What's it about? Tiberius Cabel makes his living collecting and selling rare animals from across the Galaxy. This isn't actually legal but so far Cabel and feathery sidekick Hairball have got away with it.
   But then his ship is accidentally impaled by a spacecruiser and Tiberius Cabel finds himself shanghaied by a shipfull of belligerent warrior-women headed for the infamous planet Netherworld on a rescue mission.
What I thought: The gender politics are as subtle as a lead pipe to the lughole - Cabel is bullied into washing up because that's men's work - but otherwise this is a fun little tale. Tiberius Cabel is not your typical  SF hero, being mostly concerned with getting his merchandise back and escaping with hide intact, but he's got a nice line in off the cuff plans and he's easy to like.
 Commandra and her gals are um, a bit flat by comparison, but not as obnoxious as they could have been.

 Once again this issue crams a lot into a small package and there's a delightful snarkiness underpinning the whole thing.  Witness Cabels' attempt at gatecrashing a restaurant that specialises in exotic cuisine.

    Shades of Douglas Adams, maybe? 

 If you like your SF a bit daft, then you might like this. 

The next two are each clearly part of a series. Since I hadn't read the previous installments that was a bit awkward.  

No. 264 Banished From Babalon. (1990)

What's it about?: Lady Cinnabar and her axeswinging brother Little Rulf are big believers in the traditional feudal virtues of honour, valour and settling petty disputes with violence. Sadly such things are no longer tolerated on the planet Babalon, so the brawling siblings are loaded onto a spaceship and shot off into space with the message "Don't come back"   
 Then a  family reunion in deep spaceleads to all manner of trouble, which means Lady Cinnabar and Rulf have to get back to Babalon before it's overrun by heavily armed space arseholes. 

What I thought. Going into this one cold, I was initially puzzled by references to Vivanna's earlier actions until irealised this was a sequel. Looking at Wikipedia, this was the second of three Babalon stories and Lady Cinnabar herself was spunoff from Morrison's earlier Kayn stories. 

  My other, immediate, thought was that the artist draws weird faces. At least one panel made me wince at how ugly everybody was.  I don't think that was deliberate. 
 Otherwise the art isn't that bad. The penciller is definitely better at drawing ships than he is at drawing female faces anyway. 
 As usual, the story takes a few pages to establish everybody and what they are all about then takes off at a canter. Starblazer not having much patience with filler or needless waffling.  There's some classic SF Man v Machine-logic debating and Rulf hits things with his axe quite a bit.

 Not bad but let down by some artistic flaws.
  Do you think maybe this planet was colonised by Brits? 

No. 267 Skald - The Saga Continues (1990)

 What it's about:  After ending the brutal reign of the Warlocks, the hero Skald, his faithful giant-ass Yak-thingie Crookhorn and feminist stereotype Linx are wandering the wastelands when they rescue a beautful young woman called Delana from maraudinfg Warwolves.  Her grateful father then asks Skald to do him a tiny favour.  To whit: Go and retrieve a certain Warlock gizmo for him.

Because Skald isn't an idiot, he's'not too keen on this idea. He's also wondering if he can get there and back without being killed by Warwolves. Oh, and before Linx loses her patience and sticks her sword up Delana's nose.

 Another fantasy story that has SF underpinnings but more "Post Apocalypse" than "Space Opera".

I won't lie. I didn't pick this up for the cover, the SF elements or even the giant yak. I added this comic to the pile because...
    I'm sorry. I find myself  magnetically drawn to warrior-women in fur bikinis.   
My, she's got big...earrings.

  I liked Linx and I'm tempted to check out the other books in the series - two earlier installments and a sequel - just to see more of her.  
  The other characters are pretty good too. Naturally Crookhorn steals the show on a regular basis, villain Glorkus is full-on, minion-killing mad warlord wickedness and Delana is...well I suspect if she wasn't female and pretty somebody would have thrown her over a cliff by now.  Skald himself has a nice, dry, zero-fucks attitude to him that I quite liked.

  Artwork is pretty good. Story is not exactly new territory but gets the job done in respectable fashion and kept me entertained all the way through.  Not bad value for 50p, hey?  

If by tactics you mean "Charging!" then yes, they worked. 

So there you go. For 50p an issue I got a little slice of adventure that's easy to stack on  my bookshelf. 

Favourite title: Cabel And The She Warrior, if only for the scene where our hero runs into a homicidal chef. 

BTW, It would be nice if DC Thomson did a reprint volume of some of these. Just a suggestion. 

That's all folks. 
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