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Dungeon Master - Quest Of The Ages

Published February 13 2008

=Staff's pick

The Dungeon Master Summons
March Of The Titans*
Quest Of The Ages*
Tale Of Valeria's Hero
Valeria's Star*
The Great Demise
Mystic Forest
Quest To Destroy The Golem
Rock Golem
The Arcane Tower
The Legend Continues...

Genre Traditional Folk Metal
Nick Spyker
Tracks 12
Brendan Southam
Runningtime 39 Min.
Matt Grant
Label Self Released
Jeff Szkody
Release 08 Aug. 2007
Zack Spyker
Country USA
Nick Spyker
Similar artists Warlord, Cauldron Born, Pharaoh

This is the dragon's tale, an ode to the arcane; to the twisted tower, sire, sally forth! Behold the royal class of titans marching into the mystic forest, under the stormspell of the Dungeon Master. Who is this Dungeon Master who summons souls, you query? Well, it is definitely not the sadistic mystic in the 80's cult film starring "Wild Child" Blackie Lawless. In point of fact, Dungeon Master is an Ohio based quintet of benighted minstrels, who coalesce their myths through rock solemn melodies and folk mettle offerings.

These brazen boys sounded the clarion call to unite in the summer of 2005. These noble heroes gallantly gathered on the fields of glory to brandish their savage swords of steel vengeance. Similar to Armory's fraternal intuition, brothers Nick and Zack Spyker melded iron laden harmonies with guitarists Brendan Southam & Matt Grant, and bassist Jeff Szkody. All five valorous victors matched wits with one another, and set sail on The Quest Of The Ages.

These five fondlings stem from a cell of diversity and musical appreciation. Each character contributes his personal preference to tincture the elixir. Given their moorish abundance of metal predilection, each member casts in his lot to the cauldron borne. The marshalls of mortor and pestle graciously grind each ingredient in order to form a different taste and flavour. Although their My Space page cites such influences as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Children Of Bodom, Journey, and Dragonforce, none of these artists ever echo in my ear. There are no funky breakdowns, erratic, melodic death ramblings, or over the top solos. I detect more folk based fantasy yore. There appears to be a more 70's era renaissance present, epitomized by such acts as Rainbow, Jethro Tull, Magnum, or King Crimson. Fans of Falconer, Blackmore's Night and Elvenking would most likely delve into these mysteries. I hear the melodic undertones of artists like Pharaoh, Lordian Guard, and Cauldron Born, whose '97 debut has recently been re-issued by Stormspell Records, with a Warlord cover.

The majesty of sword and sorcery envelopes these crafty crusaders. These masters reenact role playing scenarios steeped in Dungeon & Dragonsbane eulogies. They even take it a bit too far with constant narration reminscent of Rhapsody Of Fire. This neverending storytelling motif serves to allow the legend of enchanted lands to mystify, but given the laconic identity of noteworthy accompaniments; this endeavour becomes a detrimental disarray.

With laudatory appelatives such as Cypher Stormcrow, Galoran Halfmoon, Aramil Siannodel, or Valencium Bloodthorn graphically painting the portrait of faith, the campy sun burns bright. The risible sobriquets dance with pompous circumstance, mingled with caricatures of countenance. Once one views their rather mundane photos at http://www.metal-archives.com, belief is suspended. The band biography provided by their My Space description allows for some wandering savage amusement. All this suggests that Dungeon Master take everything too seriously; sadly the music does not translate or endure to such efficacious heights.

These mere lads of leisure do express degrees of talent and honest songwriting aptitude. Although, their mettle might is not essentially a heavy load. Most songs are slow epicurean war hymns with an evocative, passionate structure. Each edifice is constructed story by story, as the overall yarn unwinds. Valeria's Star, Mystic Forest, and The Great Demise exemplify this. Vocalist Nick Spyker sings with a very crisp, epicene enunciation, and romantic tone. Guitarist Matt & Brendan emulate the Murray/Smith harmonic, elucidating an homage to Vivian Campbell, Jack Starr, Bill Tsamis, & Tommy Shaw's sincerity. The keyboards are less pronounced, and maintain their classical consistency, like that of Virgin Steele.

The CD is self-financed and self-produced, which provides for adequate production values. Unfortunately, given that there are really no analogous or titular resounding horns of promised paradise, my interest quickly wanes. With each retentive listen, I become less enthralled or captivated. Several songs blend together, and denote minutely punctuated, pedantic devotion. The three songs which you can sample at their myspace, give a strong indication of their direction. If you enjoy, Cirith Ungol, Omen, Manilla Road, and Medieval Steel, lend the lads your ear. As I prefer faster, and more rapid waves of vibration, I'll remain in my hostel environment as the legend continues; even still, I must decline to join them on their Quest Of The Ages.








6,5 chalices of 10 - Michael the MettleAngel

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