What happens when you cross Metal with gaming? You get The Red Opera. This is going to be one exciting ride to come, devised by the brilliant minds of Rick Heinz, Drake Mefestta (DiAmorte) and Paul Allender (Cradle of Filth), this 5E campaign is ultimately going to bring the metalheads of the gaming world and the gamers into the metal world as the two come clashing together, simply into one mesmerising and excitable game. Rick divulges into what is going into this mind-blowing masterpiece:-
Metal, Gaming, and the Rise of the Red Opera: Last Days of the Warlock
Do you remember Satanic Panic? That troubled period of US culture that raged from the 1980s into the early 1990s. It spread to other parts of the world and weaved its way into culture at an important time in history—when gamers were just being born. In the ’80s; ‘Stranger Danger’ was all the rage, and fundamentalist preachers like Jerry Falwell had picked up steam. Geraldo Rivera’s made a documentary Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground that told metal fans everywhere: Ozzy Osborne will lead your children to the devil. Alongside this, anti-occult crusader Pat Pulling led an organization called BADD, which stood for ‘Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons.’
If you’re a fan of metal, this might sound either familiar or wickedly cool. After all, witches and warlocks are part of our regular medium today. If you’re a gamer, then you might remember the cheesy anti Dungeons and Dragons comics. Naturally, for a large portion of us; we saw both sides. When BADD published ‘The Devil’s Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children For Satan?’ (Published in August 1989); it asked police officers to openly interrogate teenagers about the Necronomicon. H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. At that moment, there was nothing that could stop me from listening to Nine Inch Nails or Black Sabbath while rolling D20s in my basement. After all, a South Side Calumet City Police Officer just asked a 12-year old boy if he was in league with the devil—because his mom was listening to Metallica.
Now let’s fast forward to 2020. The year of murder hornets, riots, COVID-19, and who can say what is yet to come. Music and Gaming both serve as an important cultural means of escapism and bonding. With the concert industry taking a massive hit; it is going to become undoubtedly harder for bands to get noticed. Tabletop RPG’s faded from view for some time, but have made a recent resurgence in popularity thanks to shows like Critical Role. However, the Comic Con or gaming circuit is in the same struggling boat as the concerts are. Once again, I find myself having both my fandoms pinched by events outside of anybody’s control. Fortunately for me, I’m a writer who happens to enjoy a fair bit of escapism, healthy doses of Diablo, and the fine arts of Folk Metal.
One year ago, Drake Mefestta (DiAmorte) and Paul Allender (Cradle of Filth) were in my kitchen talking about their live production: ‘The Red Opera’. They already had the music done and they were going to shoot a video in the upcoming months. They were excited and filled with enthusiasm over how wickedly cool it was going to be. A metal-rock opera with drama, symphony, actors, a stage show, and friggin’ vampires (because why not). After hearing the instrumental version of the music, I made a simple comment: “I could run a game to this music. You should turn this into a 5E campaign.”
A year of writing, filling in holes, and battling with the coolest inverted dungeon: Joseph Asphahani (The Animal in Man), Pat Edwards (Space Tripping), and Myself (Rick Heinz) finished! Right as 2020 got off to a start, DiAmorte and us joined forces with Apotheosis Studios to bring the project to life. A merging of metal and gaming, inspired by warlocks and witches, and a twelve-year-old kid who was told that we should never make deals with the devil. The Red Opera: Last Days of the Warlock is an extensive, player-driven campaign book designed for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons using the open gaming license. Drawing inspiration from the heavy metal DiAmorte album ‘The Red Opera’, we centred upon the often- overlooked and much-misunderstood class: Warlocks. A class that rules a setting called the Shadelands, where the veil between worlds runs thin, and anybody (warlock or not) can cut deals with the elusive hidden Patrons that exist there. Bring along your existing higher-tier campaign and characters following a mysterious trail, or wander the Shadelands as entirely fresh characters experiencing adventure for the first time.
But be assured, whether Warlock or no, the pacts these mad magicians strike for power with their mysterious patrons will be at the centre of the experience, and players will find many opportunities to peak beyond the veils separating realms and pledge to these beings if they so choose. The very foundations of the Shadelands are built upon the forces that fuel Warlock magic, for it is a place unlike any other where all the pacts of all the patrons converge. And its ruler, Dorian The Accursed King, binds them together. He once envisioned a realm where Warlocks would not have to hide who they were or who they served, a place where they would not be shunned by other professions. And by his will, Dorian made it so, although lately his hold on sanity has been strained…
In order to bring this project to life, Apotheosis Studios has chosen Kickstarter as our medium. It’s where most bands and gamebooks go these days. Simply search www.theredopera.com and the internet will whisk you right there. The band DiAmorte has grown and evolved to feature a vicious cast: James McClellan Dorton III (Black Crown Initiate and Doom Eternal), and Colin Parks (Devilment / Ghosts of Atlantis) have recently joined Drake Mefestta and Paul Allender. Everyone from the writers to Apotheosis Studios, to DiAmorte is itching to bring this project to life. A full metal album and a full-length campaign adventure with a wicked cool setting.
By helping us with the Kickstarter, you can even bring your world to life in the book and collaborate on this project with us! Come take part in The Last Days of the Warlock with us at
SharpTone Records launches as a label and will encompass many multitude of genres and subgenres in rock music. SharpTone is co-founded by Nuclear Blast CEO Markus Staiger and Shawn Keith. The new music company’s headquarters are located in Los Angeles with satellite offices in the UK, Germany and Australia.
The label’s roster is quickly taking shape and expect new releases from these artists in the upcoming months:
Attila - new album 2016.
We Came As Romans - new music 2016.
Miss May I - new album 2017.
Loathe - releasing “Prepare Consume Proceed.” July 8th. https://youtu.be/JBsijrAFpVM
Pre-order here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/prepare-consume-proceed/id1122015456
Fronz (vocals) from Attila states: "We are really excited to announce that we have officially signed to SharpTone! We are at an amazing point in our career and we know that these guys have the power that we need to take things to the next level. We're ready to dominate the planet with our brand new album. SharpTone is a label that shares our enthusiasm and understands who we are and what our vision is. So let's fucking crush the world and spread party metal to the masses!”
Keith states “Developing this label has been very exciting for me. The opportunity to partner and cultivate new and established artist working towards broadening their global potential is thrilling. SharpTone will continue to diversify and evolve as a brand for music fans to truly identify with. We are not just another record label, we are new music company, allowing artists to be as creative and passionate as they choose to be.”
For news and music visit: sharptonerecords.co
Ellefson Coffee Co, the premium coffee brand of Java connoisseur, author, and rock star David Ellefson of Megadeth, has officially unleashed it’s second blend Kenya Thrash. Packaged in a distinctive red metallic bag, Kenya Thrash is a bold high-octane blend of 90% Kenya-Kichwa Arabica Beans, and 10% India Robusta, roasted with a kick, for a high blend of flavour and function. An “Earthy and Savory” blend, with distinct notes of Grapefruit and Black Pepper, Kenya Thrash is a guaranteed wake up call to body, mind, and taste-buds.
“Thrash” is the follow-up to Roast In Peace, the highly celebrated original Dark Roast Blend, small-batch roasted from 100% Brazilian Arabica, with distinctive notes of “Chocolate, Dark Caramel, and Roasted Nuts”, already receiving high praise from coffee lovers and media alike. With features on major web outlets like Blabbermouth, Brave Words, a segment with Ellefson on Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante’s Coffee podcast, and a feature in the July issue of Revolver Magazine, and high profile artists like Hellyeah, Sevendust and Lamb of God publicly singing it’s praises, Roast In Peace has already become a staple in the mugs of the Rock N’ Roll elite.
But, says Ellefson, Roast In Peace is more than just a distinctive coffee offering, but also a mission statement.
“My love for coffee has accompanied me around the world for my entire musical career. Just like the spirit of a culture or the melody of a song, the enjoyment of coffee brings people together and creates harmony among us. The beans in this bag are traceable to their global origin and exemplify the spirit and culture of the people who grew them."
"It is my aim to bring this roast to our tables and awake our taste buds, fire up our rock n roll spirits and continue the global fellowship of music, art and coffee. May you, Roast in Peace!"
Ellefson Coffee Co blends are artfully small batch roasted by Parliament Coffee Roasters, and the blends hand picked by Ellefson himself. Both blends are available in 12 OZ Whole Bean (or Ground) bags directly from empmerch.com.
Do you know this guy? Yes? Then you will know about him and what he has recently done to upset most of the metal community, if not the entirety. If not, then in a nutshell Mr. Phil Anselmo formerly of Pantera and now front-man of Down deliberately used the Nazi salute and bellowed 'White Power'.
Racism does not belong in metal, well only in one sub-genre and for blatantly obvious reasons, the aforementioned NSBM movement which essentially is 'National Socialist Black Metall'. Said bands would sing about the Holocaust (in appraisal), fascism, pagan-related topics and hatred towards not just Jewish people but also various ethnic groups such as Muslims, Blacks, Orientals and other people of non-white and Aryan descent. Varg Vikernes is one musician who is an open racist and supporter of said metal sub-genre, in fact he would be applauding Phil's antics during this gig, despite it's appalling nature and his 'grovelling' apology, come on do you really think the metal community would forgive you? Actions speak louder than words, and Phil? The metal community will take you 'Down'.
When you see metal bands emerge from various parts of the world with widely different ethnic backgrounds, in fact not only bands but musicians alike. Think Jesse Leach (Devil You Know / Ex-Killswitch Engage), Freddy Lim (ChthoniC), Derrick Green (Sepultura), Mike Smith (Ex-Suffocation), etc., I'd love to see these musicians perform with Phil on that night, I just can't imagine Phil walking off the stage in a straight line let alone legs intact.
Racism is bad enough as it is without a (well it seemed) respected metal musician doing something so blindingly stupid and highly abhorrent, from which has mounted a huge social media storm against him - essentially he has fallen victim to his own actions.
But despite this, racism appears to be receiving a welcomed kick in the teeth by metal musicians, bands and fans alike. Global Metal Apocalypse has analyzed planet metal and has come up with three points as to how and why metal music has become a way of bringing the worlds peoples together through one passion, one music, one love.
You know to think that Africa is developing a rapidly growing breadth of metal bands from East to West and South to North, disregarding North Africa for this point (as covered later) we begin on the topic of bands who live south of the Saharan desert, or to put it plainly black people.
The pictured metalhead is from Botswana as highlighted in a CNN article linked here, when you think about it when Africa is the last frontier for metal music to emerge from and then to think that these are people from medium-to-poor nations in terms of economy, life expectancy and the like.
To think that the following listed countries have at least one metal band in their country, more importantly one with black musicians:- Angola, Botswana, Uganda, Cape Verde, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Burundi and Zimbabwe just goes to show that the African nations are enjoying a musical shift and because of this they have attracted fans from their own and neighboring countries.
In fact it's the likes of Skinflint, Vale Of Amonition, Iron Sliver and Mortal Soul who are making a buzz in Europe, with the first former signing to a label in Europe.
So yeah Phil? Sub-Saharan Metal fans and musicians stand united and point their fingers at your face with disgust.
2. Alienating your peers in the metal community.
Well Robb Flynn hits the nail right on the head, watching this video he makes the statements that Phil Anselmo sympathizers ought to apprehend and hear. Because those who support Phil's actions are just as racist!! No, there is no room for racism in metal.
I hope, and I don't, which I agree is a contradictory before I have even started writing the next paragraph, that Down do not get to perform anymore. I hope, no matter what band Phil belongs to he never, ever gets on a major stage again. There again, he might as well get the deserved abuse from the respectable metal community he deserves, not Nazi sympathizers battle crying 'white power', this action by Phil Anselmo SHOULD NOT GOT UNNOTICED, NOT ONCE, NEVER.
Well Phil let's be honest I very much doubt that the likes of Corey Taylor, Robb Flynn, Bruce Dickinson, in fact all the metal greats could not even look at you in the eye. As for the bands who looked up to you, note I say 'looked', probably now hate you as much as your band mates hate you for one being a closet racist and two bringing shame on the band Down.
The media alike will say what the community is thinking, heck I am speaking on behalf of the global community of whom I love endearingly. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all one in this music movement, but you, he he, you Phil Anselmo are nothing but a disgrace to the metal community. Apologize all you like, it's all on the internet for the world to see.
We are a community, A COMMUNITY PHIL! WE LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME WITH YOUR RACIST VERBIAGE.
3. Folk Metal
Why folk metal? Why bring this into this article? The clue is in the name.
We are all folk in this community, not you Phil Anselmo. Racism is not welcome. What? Are you racist towards Black Metal? Get a grip, retire because your career is considered redundant, finished.
Folk Metal is embraced by various races, nationalities and religions. We have had bands from Israel like Orphaned Land, creating Middle-Eastern influence folk metal thus touching upon their own cultural understandings. ChthoniC from Taiwan, who sing about their historical past - are you racist towards them because they're Orientals?
Or how about Myrath from Tunisia? Because they're Muslim? What about Tyr from the Faroe Islands, because they're not American? Because none of the bands mentioned are like you? We are all folk in this community, we are all together standing as one. You know Phil? You've said so much hatred and disgust over the years and we've tolerated it, but this is beyond toleration.
As a lover of the global community, I was offended and I stand by the world's musicians, be it Robb Flynn, Till Lindemann, Devin Townsend or my beloved brothers and sisters in Asia, Africa, etc. In fact I stand by every single metal musician who opposes your vile and cowardly antics.
I respect all metal musicians, well not all, I don't respect Varg Vikernes and CERTAINLY NOT YOU PHIL ANSELMO.
RACISM DOES NOT! DOES NOT BELONG IN METAL.
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