Rituals of rest for gods and guardians is a new project for which I hung the promos. It forges two individual fantasy-inspired tales into a stand-alone, unique comic and pairs it with an original instrumental vinyl record to serve as the soundtrack. A paired record and comic strip.
There are things in life that go naturally together, Batman and Robin, Hetfield and Ulrich and of course the obligatory peas and carrots. They are undeniably linked and the sum of the two is greater than the sum of the parts. Another entry I would definitely add to this list of symbiotic marriages are comic books and records, especially heavy metal records. Both mediums have always had a collection of subterranean basement and fringe charm. They form a tasty union that stimulates the senses visually, aurally, even tactilely. Some of my favorite moments of rest are spent nestled in my best chair listening to doom metal and reading comic books, my mouth only giving up its smirk for a brief moment to sip bourbon. This is how my batteries recharge.
Although comic book collecting and vinyl collecting are based on the possession of material objects, they offer something more. Put the two together and you no longer have physical objects, they transcend into an experience. Somehow, comics and records are bewitched with a mystical key that unlocks our minds and can take us to the farthest destinations in the depths of our imagination. Join them together and you have a most powerful brew of witches.
The comic part of Rituals of rest for gods and guardians spins two threads into a fantasy/medieval metaphorical realm and addresses themes of anxiety, the burden of parenthood, and self-doubt. At first glance, I couldn’t see how these topics could be successfully incorporated into a fantasy narrative, but the writer wisely infuses and layers these themes into action-fueled stories. The tales are light and a little direct but still deserve to be read again to experience the total immersion of the metaphors; especially the second story which focuses on the troll that feeds on fear and how the characters react to it. The way villagers perpetuate the spread of fear through exaggeration and misinformation seems all too familiar these days.
The art itself has a sketchbook, bulky, architectural aesthetic. This style gives a rustic feel to figures and works well for structural elements. Large halls, cliffs and temples together with strong jaws and broad shoulders form a most primitive pattern. A decor prey to hardship.
The music on the album is certainly inspired by Sleep dopesmoking. I also hear riffs close to that of Mount Salem and draw similarities to early versions of The sword and Tuskar. It’s heavy, slow and fuzzy. It was important for me to remember while reading the comic that music plays a supportive role in reading. It creates an atmosphere of cold, difficult and epic experience. Distorted, repetitive, thick riffs pair well with the challenges and relentlessness of the struggle in the first story. Slow-driving drums give it scale and help define the scale of the rugged, mystical setting. A sound of wind blowing slowly in the distance cracks the cheeks and leaves the listener searching for a home and a home. The soundtrack isn’t too intricate or complicated, I think it was a smart stylistic choice to keep the music well-crafted and detailed but approachable and not too ornate. This allows the stories in the comic to do the heavy lifting. It’s good doom stoner, simple and intelligently complementary.
Rituals of rest for gods and guardians is a great concept that is well executed with high production value. I would love to see more projects in this vein that follow in his footsteps. It’s familiar enough to be inviting and different enough to be interesting.