We’ve all got a different story about the moment we were introduced to Heavy Metal, when its sound and fury lit the blue touch-paper on a passion that in most cases has lasted the rest of our lives to date. Central to this has been escapism – an ability to transcend the everyday and offer a world of mystery and imagination beyond the mundanities of our surroundings.
You might even argue that the last eighteen months have given us plenty cause to be looking for escapism, and with this in mind here at Iron Fist we’ve done everything in our (considerable) powers to summon the most thunderous sturm-und-drang, the most demented geniuses, the most inspiring madmen, and the most furiously potent of metal protagonists we could possibly throw together.
Who better to lead the charge than King Diamond, the banshee-shrieking legend whose aural nightmares and moonlit serenades have haunted the darker quarters of our imaginations for near as dammit four decades now. Obsessed as we are always with the genesis of this kind of visionary work, we delve into the very early days of Mercyful Fate and the origin story of this particular metallic supervillain.
Needless to say it wasn’t only the King who was pushing boundaries in the ‘80s in Denmark, and there’s a uniquely Danish flavour to this issue – unsung speed metal heroes Evil tell their tales of their days as prophets of the underground, and the zine report gets the lowdown from old school stalwarts Blackthorn zine, who chronicled the glory days of the mid-80s with style and aplomb.
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Chris Chantler brings us a history of the first wave of Swedish metal, mapping out the terrain between the rough-hewn Viking charm of Heavy Load through to the epochal rackets of Bathory and Candlemass. Bringing all the way up to the here and now, we also chat to Swedish twenty-first century upstarts and iconoclasts Enforcer and Tribulation
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Moving westwards, we talk to Fenriz on the uniformly excellent new Darkthrone album and the perils of life as an artist and visionary in these treacherous times. In fact, there’s no shortage of cult heroes in our manor, as we catch up with lunar traveller John Cyriis of Agent Steel as well as getting the lowdown on the new Cirith Ungol journey on the metallic space-time continuum.
Here at Iron Fist we make it our business to keep tabs on all and every band keeping the metallic fire ablaze, and there’s plenty of cans of petrol to hurl on the pyre this time around, from heads like Irish leviathans Dread Sovereign, monolithic broadsword-wielders Eternal Champion, new lords of gloom Unto Others, high energy rock merchants Haunt, Colombian blasphemers Witchtrap, not to mention diehards of the calibre of Pounder, White Void, Barbatos, Mork and Possessed Steel.
Rounding it all off, we rifle through Max Cavalera’s record collection, delve into the fevered imaginings of artist David D’Andrea. and – thoughtful types that we are – get a motivational chat from our old mate Ryan Waste.
Come, come to the sabbath, down by the ruined bridge!
Iron Fist is coming for your soul, and you’ll thank us for it.
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