Tales From the Metalnomicon: Dark Discoveries

Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a twice-monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors... Though the teeming masses may not have caught on quite yet, Dark Discoveries has long been one of the absolute best magazines for lovers of horror fiction/culture, casting an aesthetic net wide enough to snare within its pages such diverse voices/talents as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Lisa Morton, William F. Nolan, J.F. Gonzalez, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, Graham Masterton, Brian Lumley, Brian Keene (Metal Militia -- PA), Richard Laymon, Joe Hill, and others. The fiction is appropriately harrowing, the essays endlessly edifying, and the interviews frequently traipse off the well-trod path into more interesting weeds.

It's a helluva genre mag, in short. And if any of the above sounds like your bag, dearest Decibel reader, Dark Discoveries #22 is the issue to check out: It promises a metal-heavy "Horror and Rock" theme and, lord, does it deliver.

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The fiction kicks off with "Bob Dylan, Troy Johnson, and the Speed Queen," a story by Repairman Jack creator/raconteur F. Paul Wilson, in which intellectual property rights become hopelessly, dangerously entangled in the paradoxes, vagaries, and future-altering ripples of time travel. Suffice it to say, Wilson makes the back story to "Mr. Tambourine Man" so interesting you'll find yourself wishing it were the real deal. Then there is the possessed guitar mind-bender "The Last Chord" by Douglas Wynne, a tale that cleverly unites razor-wire guitar strings, a blood-slurping fretboard, and silvery ghost piranha together at an isolated desert estate. Brian Knight's title "Zombie A Go Go: From the Misadventures of Butch Quick" probably sells his entry better than I can, but it's a ghastly frolic that lives up to its moniker. The deliciously oddball "Reunion Show" by David Agranott puts a Twilight Zone spin on the 80s D.C. hardcore scene, complete with arguments over what constitutes DIY and...clone wars?

On the non-fiction side of the ledger there is a lengthy, excellent essay from Dark Discoveries Editor-in-Chief and all around good egg James R. Beach on "The Horror in Rock" -- yes, of course it namechecks King Fucking Diamond -- as well as tasty bits on rock music's role in the Stephen King universe, Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare, the "Top Ten Rock & Roll Horror Movies," and an interview with Tales From the Metalnomicon alum/ultimate badass John Skipp.

The crossover between certain areas of metal and horror is obviously huge, but it is nevertheless always nice to see a tribute like this put together in a deliberative, reverential, not-at-all-phoned-in manner. Hails, Dark Discoveries!

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