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This season, we pay homage to one of the one of the finest pieces of graphic design to have graced a gaming product. Ever. And celebrate 25 years of the seminal manual of dice-rolling for mature readers that is The Realm of Chaos.
A grimy and baroque design classic, which has held it's own in the hearts of gamers for over quarter of a century. Our inspiration for Spring and Summer 2013, is, of course, the classic Realm of Chaos masthead from the demented pen of John Blanche.
The marque has a dark and somewhat obscure history. It made it's debut appearance gracing the front cover of the very first edition of Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness to wide acclaim.
This style was also seen in several White Dwarf advertisements and "Illuminations" articles for the difficult second book in the Realms of Chaos duology, the evocatively sub-titled Lost and the Damned. Yet this innovative styling was eventually left on the cutting room floor.
|rare shot of the original Lost and Damned version|
By late 1989 Realms of Chaos was swiftly becoming something of a multi-media project, nay a cultural phenomenon: as much an exquisite nightmare filled thematic fantasy art book as an exercise in random number generation and an extended meditation on the dehumanising effects of conflict. The Realms of Chaos gradually expanded to encompass all the major art-forms of western civilisation, from game to dramatic performance through role-play, costume and fashion, to sculpture and the visual arts until finally music came under its sway. The expression of Chaos was to emerge in the gatefold sleeve concept album to go along with it, by seminal grindcore / war-metal band Bolt Thrower.
Yet, where once 'Thrower were clad in black and white avant-punk visions of war as hell with their first albumn "In Battle There Is No Law", The Realms of Chaos takes a much cleaner, more polished approach than t and the somehow more soulless "volcano" logo appears:
|Cleaner Volcano Logo | Via|
The "volcano" logo also appears on the second edition of Slaves to Darkness and also on the Lost and the Damned. It's much glossier, neater and ultimately safer. The original could be said to be slightly hard to read, but as an expression of all that the Realms of Chaos stands for; destruction, mutation, randomness, magic and war, no single graphic or illustration can claim to be as iconic or definitive. Perhaps we are seeing Games Workshops final turning away from the spiky hard black edged underground aesthetic, from the baroque and grimy towards a more commercial, colourful family friendly aesthetic that would shortly dominate the primary coloured box sets of monopose plastic armies of Warhammer for a generation through 4th and 5th editions, before the final return and ultimate triumph of Grim Dark.
Bolt Thrower however, were not content to leave the marque to languish festering in its grave, and resurrected the characeristic calligraphic stylings (no doubt through some arcane and depraved necromantic rite) for various pieces of merchandise over the years and more recently for their charity gig "Bolt Fest" in 2012.
But what is myth, but a history of a time to come?
|Armour ov Khaös SV:5+|
AKA Oldhammer T-shirt
The new Oldhammer T-shirt designs as ever these are limited to 22 pieces, and are priced at £15, once they've gone, they're gone. These are using a different print process to the original Oldhammer T-shirts, and apparently will give a nice retro feel. There are still some limited stock of the original first edition "in battle there is no law" available, and I've also added two bags, which may (or may not) fit some rulebooks and minis in...
Please note, all fulfillment is done by Spreadshirt, and they accept 15-day returns. I do not keep stock of these items at all, and please do drop a note to say if you've ordered one, as they pass over no customer details at all.
|Oldhammer: Warbands of Chaos. |
It's an album cover concept for a compilation concept album that doesn't exist.
In the true spirit of '88-89, I've started putting together collective Oldhammer Soundtrack Spotify Mixtape a rather anti-social mix of heavy metal, grindcore, punk, space-rock, techno, hip-hop and pop music, from the likes of Motorhead, Hawkwind, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Toyah, Grand Master Flash. The concept is either music directly inspired by Warhammer, music around Warhammer themes, or music that you think may have inspired Warhammer. If you're on Spotify, i've set it as a collaborative play-list so you can add to it if you like, please do, or send me tracks (cheers Warlord Paul - Sabbath! Maiden!) and I'll add them in.