If you’re like me, you’re super lazy and wait until the last minute to buy gifts for people. If you have a metalhead in your life, though, it can be difficult to find that perfect present. After all, it just doesn’t seem that clever to get them yet another set of Death reissues. Don’t worry, though – this year, I’m here to help out! Here are some suggestions, broken down by the specific subgenre your loved/hated one is into. BLACK METAL: SCOWLER, BY DANIEL KRAUS (NOVEL)
Author Daniel Kraus is a friend of our people, having included an entire black metal subplot in his previous book, Rotters (for credibility, here’s a playlist he put together for that book). There’s no actual metal in this one, but it doesn’t need it. A harrowing tale of a family trapped on an isolated farm by their brutal, escaped-convict patriarch, this descent into insanity and violence will keep you glued to the page all night. And man, does it go to some dark places. Dark, dark places. Plus evil toys! Give your favorite black metal mutant this with some Wolves in the Throne Room or Agalloch and watch them wrap themselves in a cocoon of grim bliss.
Here is the black metal song from his previous novel:
POWER METAL: RAVINE, BY STJEPAN SEJIC & RON MARZ (COMIC)
Croatian artist Stjepan Sejic lists Nightwish and Rhapsody of Fire as his favorite bands on his deviantART page, but one look at this, his pet project, and you could’ve guessed that anyway. Dragons, magic-using geeks, chicks with wings coming out of their heads, more dragons, burly dudes with swords, hot babes with spears – yup, it’s all there. As you may notice from his deviantART page, Sejic is definitely ESL, but he has industry pro Ron Marz touching up the dialogue for him. He’s incredibly talented, and for $15 (practically the price of three regular issues these days) he’s giving you 150 pages of all the drama, romance, and treachery you usually only find between members of Finnish power metal bands. The second book comes out next year. Until then, bestow the first volume upon your favorite power nerd with some Blind Guardian and Helloween.
DEATH METAL: ZOMBICIDE SEASON 2: PRISON OUTBREAK (BOARDGAME)
There are tons of board games about zombies, because nerds, but this is far and away the best of them. It’s a cooperative game where you and your friends band together to try to survive an onslaught of the undead in a multitude of scenarios, and some of them get pretty hairy – especially when you find yourself locked in a prison yard with a toxic Abomination. Which is exactly as bad as it sounds. The game’s designers are French, and apparently have pretty good taste in music: they’ve included not only a Nathan Explosion-looking metalhead as one of the core characters, but also splattered references to Hellfest all over the board. While the game looks complicated, it doesn’t take long to learn. Your death metal-loving buddy might give you a weird look when you give him a boardgame, but pretty soon you’ll be hitting zombies with chainsaws to the tune of Exhumed and Carcass and having a blast.
CLASSIC METAL: PHANTASM II (MOVIE)
For a movie with no actual metal in it, Phantasm II may be one of the most metal movies ever made. The survivors of the first Phantasm (which it isn’t necessary to have seen; this is pretty self-contained) set out on a journey across a weird, quasi-post-apocalyptic America with the express goal of fucking up The Tall Man (a very creepy Angus Scrimm), the villain from the first movie. Basically, it’s a horror revenge flick, which is awesome on its own, but add in extra-dimensional dwarves in Sunn o))) robes, grave robbing minions that look like the Sodom mascot, a flamethrower, four barreled shotgun, 1971 Hemi-Cuda musclecar, graveyards, mortuaries, chainsaw fights, flying silver spheres of death, and the most bad ass ice cream man in cinema history, and you have a pretty horns-in-the-air night at the movies. The new Blu-ray from Scream Factory presents this classic in gorgeous high definition, the way it was (probably not) meant to be seen. Give this to your favorite Judas Priest or Iron Maiden fan and watch them headbang the whole time.
DOOM METAL: BOOZE.
I don’t actually know much about this stuff, but I understand someone wrote a book about good beers.