Sunday, 15 May 2011


More Swords and Sorcery influenced DIY/punk culture, looking at a few 80's 'zines which appropriated images from the Fantasy genre and some AD&D inspired Black Metal.
Alchemist | Tony Ackland 1984 | via uk zine lbrary
Tony Acklands Alchemist first appeared in Warhammer Fantasy Battle 2nd Edition, and was to reappear in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st. Edition. Here it has been appropriated by the editor of Fight Back Zine for a cover. According to the uk zine library, Fight Back contains an impressive list of interviews, which tend along the thrash-metal / crust-punk axis of the alignment-chart*. Legion of Parasites, Uproar, Wretched, Instigators, Ma Maus, Bloodlust, Criminal Justice, Venom, Metallica, Deformed, Stupids, Terveet Kadet, Sarcasm, Morbid Humour, Chaos UK, Rafgier.

Elves | Victor Ambrus  | 1987 zine | via uk zine lbrary

Head | Ian Miller | 1987 zine | via uk zine lbrary

The charmingly named Poosheet - "lake district gig guide" with a modified Ian Miller head (2) and Victor Ambrus Elves (1), both from David Days Tolkien Bestiary. The Bestiary has terribly cobbled together text (with many errors and misrepresentations of Tolkiens work), combined with superb illustrations from Ian Miller, John Blanche, Victor Ambrus and others. I've no idea what content Poosheet contained.

UPDATE: Just stumbled across "Evilspeak" at Punk is Hippies blog. Which only goes and puts a Trevor Hammond image (the smoking zombie ghoul creature) from White Dwarf on the cover, pure 80's dungeonpunk gold...

Russ Nicholson | Zombie 1982 | Blast 'zine 2009

A more recent Death Metal 'zine Blast feturing Russ Nicholsons amazing Zombie from the first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (1982). I love it when artwork from childrens books is used for thee seriousness ov troo kvlt black metal. But really, that is one hell of a piece, the pure artistry of the detail and shape forming aside, I really wonder how the gore got past Puffins editorial team back in the day...

With regards reclaiming 'dungeonpunk', I'm stretching the idea of 'punk' to include DIY / 'zine culture that isn't necessarily punk in ethos or aesthetic. Of course crust/doom/grind/death/black metal grew out of punk, but then so did the new-romantics and art-rock, so such geneologies ultimately prove useless exept to show mutability of genre (which more often than not are a consrtuction of journalism than a defined movement which artists seek to identify with) and the monumental influence of punk.

Unlike Toyah who herself had punk-era credentials and created a certain weird-fantasy vibe mixing pop-occultism, fairy-tale and post-apocalyptic imagery or indeed the Hawkwind space-rock crossover with Michael Moorcock (mentioned in passing here), which more rightly belongs with prog-rock psychedelia (although with a much crustier production), pinning down a more definite influence of fantasy (rather than say, a horror based influence) on punk subculture does seem a little unlikely, especially when looking at the agendas of grindcore bands like Extreme Noise Terror or Napalm Death who are more interested in a radical anti-corporate, vegan, anti-war politic than the kind of conservative romanticism associated with High Fantasy.

However, Burzum named after "darkness" in Tolkiens language of Mordor, and whose lead Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes name-checks AD&D The Temple of Elemental Evil as an influence on the album art. He puts these influences down to youthful exuberance, and nowadays more often than not tends to head straight for the neo-völkisch jugular rather than messing about with the gateway drug of fictionalised mythologies.

Burzum artwork based on The AD&D Module: The Temple of Elemental Evil

Realm of Chaos / Bolt Thrower Tsirt | Ian Miller / John Blanche(?)
Finally a Bolt Thrower T-shirt for the "Realm of Chaos" album, with custom lettering by John Blanche (based on the Warhammer Realm of Chaos Supplement which grounded the concept of the album, provided artwork for the sleeve-notes) with a lovely thorny skull pile by Ian Miller. Damn. I want one of those.

* I hereby release the Thrash/Speed/Doom/Black/Crust alignment system under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license.

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