Rest Rituals for Godlings and Guardians Review

      Rest Rituals for Godlings and Guardians is a new project that I snagged the promos for.  It forges two individual fantasy inspired tales into a stand alone, one-shot comic book and pairs it with an original instrumental vinyl record to serve as the soundtrack.  A record and a comic book paired together.

      There are things in life that naturally go together,  Batman and Robin, Hetfield and Ulrich and of course the obligatory peas and carrots.  They are undeniably intertwined and the sum of the two is greater then that of the parts.  Another entry I would certainly add to this list of symbiotic marriages are comic books and records, in particular heavy metal records.  Both mediums have always had an underground basement collectibility and fringe charm to them.  They make a tasty union that stimulates the senses visually, audibly, even tactually.   Some of my favorite down time is spent nestled in my best chair listening to doom metal and reading comic books, my mouth surrendering its smug satisfied smile only for a brief moment to sip bourbon.   This is how my batteries recharge.

     Although both comic book collecting and vinyl collecting are based in 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 both comics and records are ensorcelled with a mystical key that unlocks our mind and can sweep us off to the most distant destinations in the depths of our imaginations.  Join them together and you have a most potent witches brew. 

     The comic book portion of  Rest Rituals for Godlings and Guardians spins two yarns in a fantasy/medieval, metaphoric realm and touches on themes of anxiety, the burden of parenthood, and self doubt.  At first glance I didn’t see how these topics could successfully be incorporated into a fantasy narrative, but the writer wisely steeps and layers these themes into action fueled stories.  The tales are light and a bit direct but still warrants rereads to experience the full immersion of the metaphors; particularly the second story that focuses on the troll that feeds off of fear and how the characters react to it.  The way the villagers perpetuate the spread of the fear through exaggeration and misinformation sounds all too familiar these days.

   The art itself has a sketchbook, chunky and architectural aesthetic to it.  This style lends a rustic feel to the characters and works well for structural elements.  Great halls, cliffs, and temples along with strong jawlines, and broad shoulders build a most primal motif.  A setting rife with hardship.     

     The music on the album is certainly inspired by Sleep’s Dopesmoker.  I also hear riffs akin to that of Mount Salem and draw similarity’s to early releases of The Sword and Tuskar.  It is heavy, slow and fuzzy.  It was important for me to remember as I read the comic book that the music plays a supporting role to the reading.  It creates an atmosphere of a cold, difficult, and epic experience.  Distorted, repetitive, and thick riffs meld well with the challenges and relentlessness of the struggle in the first story.   The slow driving drums give it scale and helps define the magnitude of the rugged, mystical setting.  A slow blowing wind sound in the distance chaps the cheeks and leaves the listener searching for hearth and home.  The soundtrack isn’t overly intricate or complicated,  I believe it was an intelligent stylistic choice to keep the music well crafted and detailed but accessible and not overly ornate.   This allows the stories in the comic to do the heavy lifting.  It’s good stoner doom, just straightforward and cleverly supplemental.

     Rest Rituals for Godlings and Guardians is an excellent concept that is well executed with a high production value.  I would love to see more projects in this vein that follow in its footsteps.  It is familiar enough to be inviting and different enough to be interesting.