Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse Review: Thrall by Steven Shrewsbury

It’s the antediluvian age, and Gorias la Gaul is a legend among legends—even if he is over seven hundred years old and with a bad back. But when a cult of necromancers tries to resurrect a sadistic bard with the knowledge that can destroy the world, can even Gorias save the day—especially when one of the villains is his son?

With Thrall, Shrewsbury delivers a grim and gritty Sword & Sorcery tale, one that is more than just a straightforward hack n’ slash. Not that there’s no hacking and slashing, there’s actually plenty. But you’ll also find deep characterization and moral quandaries. This is no happy campy “good vs. evil” story, more like badass vs. badass vs. undead badass vs. even more evil badass while vs. each other. If you’re a fan of Conan, Red Sonja, or Fafhrd then will love Gorias.

 

Best to read while listening to: the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian. Duh! Also, Slayer.

 

October 29, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SpecMusicMuse Review: The Seventh Throne (Rising Dawn Saga, Book 3) – Stephen Zimmer

The third book in Stephen Zimmer’s Rising Dawn saga, The Seventh Throne, continues the adventures of Benedict Darwin and the gang while introducing new big bads like Ares and Set.

 

Benedict gets kidnapped and tortured for information by the government, Gregory leads an armed resistance against the hijacked UCAS, and Friedrich partakes a quest into the Abyss in search of Erishkigal. And all as martial law gets declared on the UCAS, the Abundant Harvest virus is unleashed onto the world, and war is declared between the UCAS and Mandaria.

 

You’ll find twists and turns galore as Zimmer continues his epic saga. And his descriptions of the Abyss is just as vivid, detailed, and (darkly) fascinating as Purgatarion—drawing from myths from many diverse cultures. The third installment is just as much a page turner as the second was.

 

Also, Erishkigal FTW!

 

Best to read while listening to: Epica, Nightwish, Metallica, Megadeth…and maybe some Enya for the Abyss scenes just to mess with your head even further (hehehehe). Just kidding. Enya works for Purgatarion. Midnight Syndicate is perfect for the Abyss scenes.

October 15, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: The Storm Guardians (Rising Dawn, Book 2) – Stephen Zimmer

The second book in Stephen Zimmer’s Rising Dawn saga, The Storm Guardians, starts out strong and stays that way. Where the first book, The Exodus Gate, primarily set the saga up, it’s in the second book where it picks up the pace.

The setting is like a paralell modern day world. A very familiar world where mostly the names have changed: the UCAS=USA, Grand Charter=Constitution, Yorvik–you get the picture. Although I’m not exactly sure about the small town Godwinton…. (Godwin’s Law?)

The shapeshifting An-Ki are now divided into three clans and despite crossing time and space to escape the global flood and find themselves in a time period they know nothing about, they still find themselves pursued by their ancient Nephilim enemy that managed to cross the Gate as well. Fortunately, they now have help, in the form of a new order of Avatars known as the Watchers.

However, in the spirit world, Beleth leads an army of nasties out of the Abyss and invades Purgatarion in what is quite possibly the most epic and imaginative battle I have ever read in any fantasy novel. Heck, you even get to root for spiders (for once).

All this while Dagian Underwood, Jovan, and the rest of the conspirators (a mixed bag of human and Dark Avatars) continue their march toward a one world government with the revealing of Living ID, along with a federal assault on a home in Godwinton reminiscent of real world events such as Waco and the Brown residence.

The second book reveals many mysteries as Benedict Darwin and the gang continues to find themselves caught up in a conflict so big that no single world can contain it. It contains a large cast of characters, yet Zimmer manages to keep the pace going while still giving each chracter’s proper time in the spotlight. If anything, The Storm Guardians, is a promising continuation to the saga.

Best to read while listening to: Anything from Rob Zombie (no joke). Also, there’s a new band called the Sons of Liberty….

October 8, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Midnight Syndicate – Carnival Arcane

Midnight Syndicate outdo themselves with Carnical Arcane – one of, if not the best music CD they’ve yet produced. A concept CD centered around a carnival where the magic is real and bad things tend to happen, it even comes complete with sound effects and voices to increase the forboding atmosphere as the music plays.

Not every song, however, is macabre and spine-tingling. “Dr. Atmore’s Elixirs of Good Humor and Fortification,” for example, sounded like it would fit well in a Final Fantasy VI remake, possibly involving something to do with Kefka or maybe the Mage Tower. Also, of the 25 songs on the CD, many are very short (there’s even one that’s only 36 seconds). But overall, the CD is a nice variety of “wonders both fantastic and macabre” and will keep you listening from start to finish.

Once again, Midnight Syndicate delivers.

Best to listen to while reading: anything in the Horror or Dark Fantasy genres–specifically something involving carnivals or clowns….

October 1, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment