Bandcamp find: Khemmis

I dunno what they’re putting in the water, beer, and/or weed in Denver, but there’s some serious music coming from that city. While it’s an eclectic mix of genres, one of the most flourishing is Doom (some debate whether to actually call it Doom metal, I think it’s different enough from Metal and Rock to stand on its own), and a rising pillar of that music is Khemmis. This powerhouse quartet delivers some unbelievable power and atmosphere, while still offering some tasty melodies and vocals that embodied pioneers such as Black Sabbath, and also thankfully not fully diving into the murky waters of way-out-there Doom and Stoner Doom bands. Their new album is already finishing up, so there’s gonna be more to check out before too long!

Bandcamp find: Scale the Summit

Think of Dream Theater with a softer edge and no vocals, and you’ll be pretty close to what Scale the Summit sounds like. This Houston quartet packs some serious playing chops along with masterful mixing, resulting in some of the most polished music I’ve heard in quite awhile, not only on Bandcamp but anywhere period. Some songs do seem to meander a little too much, but hey this is progressive rock, it’s supposed to!

Torchlight II

First released in the fall of 2012 and only available on Steam, Torchlight 2 is now FINALLY available on GOG! I’m a big fan of the first Torchlight, and I heard there were quite a few changes and refinements for the sequel, so now I can finally dive in and see how it fares.

At character creation I immediately noticed there were four new classes to choose from: Engineer, Outlander, Berserker, and Embermage. I chose Engineer as I liked the notion of machines assisting me during combat. Beginning to play, I didn’t notice much else different aside from a few interface and graphical updates. Not that I expected much difference from the first game or others like Diablo, but I was hoping for a little more. What I really liked in Diablo 3 was having an NPC character help out, that I could also equip items, choose skills, etc. Yeah in Torchlight 2 you have a pet, but it’s not the same. I also didn’t notice much of a story in the game, although the same was true of the first Torchlight. Diablo 3 also suffered from this (or if there was much of a story, it wasn’t that important to the point of the game, i.e. continual leveling up and acquisition of items). The first 2 Diablo games had more story and was paced quite a bit slower. Weapons and armor weren’t dropped all over the place, so it was a big deal to get something to help survive.

I guess these kind of games, like most coming out these days, just aren’t for me. I need something with an engaging story and universe, something that will encourage me to keep exploring with a reason to do so. RPGs such as Skyrim are a little better in this aspect, but combat still seems to be the priority. I guess there’s a reason table-top RPGs appeal to me so much…

Mythras Imperative

As Chaosium moves forward with its new version of RuneQuest, The Design Mechanism had to make a decision as to what to do with its rule-set, which could no longer use the name. Rather than abandon the decades of work (as they had originally worked on RuneQuest II and Legend) they had done, they decided to re-name their game as well as create an introductory booklet that focused on more than fantasy, named Mythras Imperative.

In addition to the confusing name (if Mythras itself will focus more on fantasy, as far as I know), I’m not sure how The Design Mechanism is able to release their games, as they no longer have a license from Chaosium nor are they basing their rules on the OGL’ed Mongoose rules. While they claim to have their own license (but no details are in the booklet nor on their site), it’s certainly not as open as Mongoose’s Legend or D101 Games’ OpenQuest. I have no doubt Mythras will continue to be a high quality of work, but also a high complexity of rules as well as page-count.

Bandcamp find: Spellcaster

It’s amazing what you can find on Youtube, Bandcamp, etc. just clicking around once you start on another band’s page. I don’t even remember how I got to Prosthetic Record’s homepage (I think I was looking for info on what Revocation has been up to, but later realized they were on Relapse Records before signing with Metal Blade Records), and the featured video on their page is for Spellcaster’s Night Hides the World, their first release with Prosthetic Records. I was bracing for crazy growling vocals, overly-busy drums and ridiculously-downtuned guitars. But holy shit, what I got pouring into my ears was unbelievable! It’s classic thrash/power metal, from a group of young guys. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of them before. July needs to hurry up and get here so I can hear the rest of these kick-ass songs!