Collectibles Review – Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast Figurines

Be part of the legacy with the new collection of first-class figurines inspired by Iron Maiden’s award-winning RPG mobile game.

If you’re an avid Iron Maiden follower, always eager to see what’s next in the career of our beloved Heavy Metal behemoths, I’m pretty sure you have already seen online or even downloaded and played their mobile game Legacy of the Beast, released in 2017, where you are able to battle as Eddie across several different worlds inspired by the band’s unique imagery and music. What you might not know is that Iron Maiden, in a partnership with a multi-faceted production company called Incendium, are also offering their fans a collection of high-quality action figures called Legacy of the Beast Figurines, based on several characters from their award-winning RPG game. There are two types of figurines available, the ones you can see what you’re buying and the ones that come in a blind box, something tons of other manufacturers do for different collections based on movies, cartoons and TV shows where they lower the cost of the blind box, but you always end up spending more money than you have available by buying several boxes (because you never know what you’re going to get).

The ones you can see what you’re buying are a no-brainer, highly recommended for embellishing your “altar of Heavy Metal” together with all your other metal-inspired memorabilia, those being the SHAMAN EDDIE (inspired by their 2015 masterpiece The Book of Souls), the VAMPIRE HUNTER EDDIE (inspired by their 1980 instrumental classic Transylvania), and the TROOPER EDDIE, all costing around CAD$ 32.43 (or US$24.95). These highly detailed 1:24 scale PVC figures measure about 4-inches tall and come on a special theme base, packaged in a diorama-style window box. As I said, whenever you see one of those, simply buy them because they kick some serious ass. However, while searching for those Eddies you might actually find a blind box containing one of the 12 different individual characters featured in the Legacy of the Beast Wave 1 Limited Edition Figurines, and that’s when the “problem” beings because as already mentioned you have no idea what character you’re buying. Those 12 figurines and the chance of getting a particular one are:

Goddess Aset figurine – 1:12
Clairvoyant figurine – 2:12
Cyborg figurine – 1:60
Holy Smokes figurine – 2:12
Owl Cultist figurine – 1:12
Pharaoh figurine – 1:12
Rainmaker figurine – 1:12
Reaper figurine – 1:12
Samurai figurine – 1:94
Soulless Demon figurine – 1:12
Speed of Light figurine – 3:24
Wicker Boss figurine – 1:12

Heights of figurines vary, and are typically 9cm high including the stand, but of course the selection is absolutely random (based on the chances listed above) and you cannot ask the manufacturer for a specific item, nor can they accept returns on opened items. This means once you buy a blind box, it’s yours forever (unless you sell it on eBay or Kijiji), and that you may receive duplicates when ordering more than one item. For instance, I bought only one box and got the Clairvoyant, by far the most boring of all characters by the way, but it is what it is, and if I had bought two boxes I might have gotten two Clairvoyants. You can buy only ONE BLIND BOX for around CAD$ 19.43 (or US$ 14.95), or you can try your luck buying a special BLIND BOX MASTER CASE containing 12 individual blind boxes for around CAD$ 233.92 (or US$ 179.95). But again, keep in mind if you buy the carton with 12 blind boxes, you might end up getting 12 Clairvoyants instead of the Samurai and the Cyborg you wanted so much.

Apart from Iron Maiden’s official webstore, you can also find the Legacy of the Beast Figurines on sale from the Incendium webstore, as well as from Hot Topic (and they have the Shaman Eddie, the Vampire Hunter Eddie, the Trooper Eddie and the individual blind boxes in stock). Furthermore, you can always keep an eye on Iron Maiden’s official Facebook page and/or the Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast’s official Facebook page for news and other announcements about the game itself and giveaways. Yes, they’re giving away special packages of figurines to a few lucky fans every week or so, like this Legacy of the Beast Comic-Con Giveaway containing Trooper Eddie, Vampire Hunter Eddie, Shaman Eddie, six random blind box figures and three pin sets. And remember this is just wave 1, which means more awesome characters are coming whenever waves 2, 3, 4 and so on are released (and I truly hope that happens sooner than later).

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Album Review – Gothic / Demons (2017)

One of the most respected bands in the history of Romanian metal powerfully unleashes their “demons” upon mankind with their heavy and melodic new album.

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gothic-demonsEstablished back in 1992 by guitarist and singer Alin Petrut in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, Romania, Melodic Death Metal band Gothic has quickly become one of the most respected metal bands in the country, having played alongside giants like Manowar, Dimmu Borgir, Europe, Korpiklaani, Gojira and Napalm Death, among many others. Even after changing the band’s name to Ali(e)n and then to Innerfire in 2003 when Alin re-located the band to Belgium, the band kept building a strong reputation among metalheads all over Europe, returning to their hometown Petrosani in 2005 again under the name Gothic (as a separate entity from the still-active Innerfire) and culminating with their participation in the 2012 edition of Wacken Open Air after winning the Romanian finals of Wacken Metal Battle that year.

Exactly 25 years after the band’s inception, Alin and his Gothic are back with Demons, their first full-length album since their 2013 release Expect the Worst. Displaying a darkly beautiful artwork by the band’s own bassist Csaba “Taly” Talpai, and featuring for the first time George Lazar on harsh vocals and Vlad Golgotiu on drums, Demons is definitely Gothic’s most professional and multilayered album to date, blending the classic sonority from the band’s extensive career together with fresh new elements from modern metal music. After listening to this cohesive and melodic album, it won’t be hard for you to understand why Gothic play such an important part in the history of Romanian metal.

In the opening track Shadow Man you’ll quickly notice their musicality is not really “Gothic” as the band’s name states, but fast, melodic and aggressive music, a great mix of traditional Death Metal with contemporary Melodic Death Metal where Alin delivers some sick, heavy riffs while George blasts pure fury through his guttural growls; followed by the excellent Disillusion, also exhibiting a similar Heavy/Death Metal hybrid vibe. This song presents a good headbanging pace with neck-breaking riffs by Alin, getting symphonic and futuristic at times due to the spot-on keyboards by Florian Lysy, not to mention its vengeful lyrics (“We grew apart / Betrayed our hearts / Our souls are black / Our minds are flack / You wanted that / Now take it back in your face”).

gothicIn the first single of the album, the title-track Demons, Alin, Taly and Vlad add a lot of groove and heaviness to the musicality, setting the stage for George to growl even deeper, feeling like a mix of Hard Rock with Gothic, Doom and Melodic Death Metal ideal for the song’s lyrics (“I feel their breath inside my dream / The darkness stains around me / A web of black, surrounding scent / The night is growing senseless.”). In Catacombs, which starts in a pleasant, harmonious and exciting way with Taly blasting a thunderous sound from his bass guitar, we face a magnificent balance between the havoc generated by all band members and the extremely melodic guitar solos and keyboards, whereas in Time, an upbeat composition by Alin and his henchmen, Vlad delivers precision and anger through his beats, and despite losing a bit of its electricity in the end it’s still a very enjoyable song.

Destroying the Masses, a powerful chant where Gothic displays their darkest side, brings forward a menacing atmosphere and deep guttural vocals closer to old school Death Metal, while modernity comes from the metallic riffs by Alin. And it seems the band really wants to crush our necks with their sick riffs and beats in From Within, with elements from traditional Heavy Metal added to its Melodic Death Metal sonority to make it even more harmonious. Last but not least we have A New End, a melancholic and passionate composition sung entirely in Romanian (which in my opinion is an interesting variation from the rest of the album) and featuring guest vocalist Klaus Pardos, offering the listener the heaviest version of modern Hard Rock you can think of.

Are you ready to face the heavy music engendered by these talented Romanian demons? If your answer is yes, you can follow all things Gothic at their official Facebook page and check their latest videos (including some fun tour diaries) at their YouTube channel, as well as purchase Demons at Loud Rage Music’s BandCamp or webstore. Gothic are unleashing their high-end Melodic Death Metal upon mankind with their brand new album, and if I were you I wouldn’t miss this great opportunity to get in touch with the music by such respected underground band.

Best moments of the album: Disillusion, Catacombs and Destroying the Masses.

Worst moments of the album: Time.

Released in 2017 Loud Rage Music

Track listing
1. Shadow Man 5:01
2. Disillusion 5:42
3. Demons 3:53
4. Catacombs 6:04
5. Time 4:55
6. Destroying the Masses 4:34
7. From Within 4:04
8. A New End (feat. Klaus Pardos) 5:13

Band members
Alin Petrut – guitar, clean vocals
George Lazar – harsh vocals
Csaba “Taly” Talpai – bass
Vlad Golgotiu – drums

Guest musician
Florian Lysy – keyboards
Klaus Pardos – vocals on “A New End”

Metal Chick of the Month – Morgan Lacroix

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In your nightmares you will find me… In this twilight you will taste my embrace…

Whenever a female performer is selected to be the Metal Chick of the Month here at The Headbanging Moose, she’s not chosen only because of her skills as a musician, but mainly due to her significant contribution to the development of women in the world of heavy music. Having said that, it couldn’t be different this month with our metallic diva, the darkling Italian succubus Morgan Lacroix (or MorgaN LacroiX), the sexy frontwoman, lyricist, composer, producer and (why not?) lady vampire of Italian Gothic/Dark/Industrial Metal band Mandragora Scream (also spelled MandragorA ScreaM). Are you ready for a journey through the dark realms of vampirism with our enigmatic modern-day medusa?

It was more than obvious that I wouldn’t be able to find anything about Morgan’s age, place of birth or music background. We’re talking about a vampire, creatures that, above all things, must remain in the shadows and keep their lives as secret as possible. Well, as Mandragora Scream is a band from the comune of Lucca, located on the Serchio river in Italy’s Tuscany region and famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls, let’s assume she was also born in that same city. Whatever she did between being born and founding Mandragora Scream is something yet to be revealed by Morgan Lacroix herself, which means the focus will be solely on her career with the band.

Although Mandragora Scream were formed back in 1997 by Morgan, it was only in 1999 that the band released its debut self-titled demo containing four songs. Then in 2000 Morgan was introduced to Italian singer, guitarist and composer Terry Horn, and that artistic union resulted in their first full-length album, entitled Fairy Tales from Hell’s Caves, released in the year of 2001. According to the band, “Fairy Tales is definitely a concept album: a trip throughout the Dantean Hell, tormented by passion, anguish and insanity, where the character of Virgil is surprisingly replaced by an unusual bewitching vampire fairy.”

After that amazing debut, the band released the albums A Whisper of Dew (2003), Madhouse (2006), Volturna (2009) and Luciferland (2012), as well as the singles Jeanne d’Arc (2007) and From the Heart (2010), and a DVD named Dragonfly (2008), always providing us the lustful voice of our diva of darkness and also her own devilish touch to all lyrics, cover artwork, mixing, mastering, production and booklets. In addition, from those releases, A Whisper of Dew is also a concept album, centered on a vampire story purposely written for the band by Julio Angel Olivares Merino, horror-gothic literature writer and teacher of English Philosophy at the Spanish University of Jaén. Drawing inspiration from this tale, Lacroix composed the entire album lyrics. Also, in regards to their latest album Luciferland, there’s an interesting and extensive three-part interview on YouTube where both Morgan and Terry discuss about the album with Metal Hammer, which can be seen HERE, HERE and HERE.

Mandragora Scream are also featured on the international compilations Beauty in the Darkness Vol. 5 (2001), Mystic Art (2001), Nuclear Blast Vol. 6 (2001), Off Road Tracks Vol. 45 (2003) and Beautiful Voices (2005), toured with renowned dark bands Christian Death and The 69 Eyes in 2010 and with British Extreme Metal masters Cradle of Filth in 2011, and were the special guests in the 2010 edition of the Fantasy Horror Award. There are numerous videos on YouTube (and other platforms) where you can relish Morgan’s alluring vocals, sensuous moves and bewitching performance, as for instance in the songs A Vision They Shared, Blight Thrills, Medusa, Blindness, Breaking Dawn, Silent Lullabies, Bloody Ballade, the whimsical The Chant of Furies, and her awesome cover version for Cher’s Bang Bang, among others. Besides her work with Mandragora Scream, you can find Madame Lacroix lending her voice to the bonus song Watch Me Crawl Behind, from the 2012 album Happy Deathday by Greek Gothic Metal band SadDolls, and to the song The Promise, from the 2004 album Follow Me by Italian Power Metal band Wonderland.

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When asked in 2001 to provide more details about the history of Mandragora Scream, her explanation was beyond eccentric. In her own words, “The history of the name Mandragora Scream goes back to the medieval period. At that time witches used a root to make love and death potions called ‘Mandragora’.This root with man-shape was generated by the ejaculations of a hanged man and it needed to be pulled out from the earth with particular magic rites during full moon nights. When extracting the root from earth, witches had to be very careful not to break the arms or legs of the root, otherwise it would have screamed so loud to bring witches to death.” Interesting, isn’t it?

In regards to her unique style, our vampire queen mentioned her lyrics and the atmosphere found in her music reflect her soul, her life and her personality, preserving that way her own musical identity. Furthermore, Morgan grew up with fairy tales, in which she truly believes, feeling and living her own life like a fairy tale. In one of her old interviews, Morgan mentioned she wrote a book (probably in 2000) that is a fairy tale for her angels in the form of decadent poetry called “The Ballad Of The Angels”, but yet again I couldn’t find anything online about that book. It should be a very interesting and unusual reading, if that has ever been published, of course.

Another remarkable fact about her personal life is that she doesn’t actually feel Italian as her ancient blood is Transylvanian, and because of that she is fascinated with Dante’s La Divina Comedia (The Divine Comedy), considering it a masterpiece (who doesn’t?) as it deals with the dead and eternal pain.  And to make things even more complex, Morgan also loves the Scandinavian culture and is attracted to Vikings. Add to that her lovely obsession for fairy tales, and there you have one of the most distinctive and diverse fusion of topics you can think of.

Her favorite albums of all time are a classy mix of progressiveness, passion and liveliness, and do not expect to find anything too Gothic, modern or ghoulish on her list, as it includes Blackmore’s Night’s best album to date Shadow of the Moon, Dream Theater’s classic album Metropolis, Pink Floyd’s masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon, King Crimson’s In the Wake of Poseidon, Yes’ Close to the Edge and Genesis’ Nursery Crime. In addition to that, she’s also a huge admirer of Queensrÿche and obviously of the vocals by Geoff Tate, especially the song Someone Else?, which she used to listen to when she started singing.

At long last, are you curious to know what the meaning of life and death is to our goddess of Dark Metal? Morgan firmly believes in reincarnation, which means life for her is a long path we are following and while we walk along this path we have to learn lessons, sometimes highly spiritual lessons. She completes her train of thought by saying that we always have to give our souls a chance to fly a little higher, closer to the divine, and that we could probably say that death is a little like “changing skin”. In my opinion, this is a stunning concept by an even more stunning diva of heavy music.

Morgan Lacroix’s Official Facebook page
Morgan Lacroix’s Official Twitter
Mandragora Scream’s Official Facebook page
Mandragora Scream’s Official Twitter

“Try and wake up the valiant warrior sleeping within you, he may have fallen asleep in one of your previous lives. And, first and foremost, don’t let your flesh be just food for worms.  Let there be someone with your blood after you, in this way you’ll be able to prove you did not live in vain and your image will be reflected by your heirs as if in a mirror.” – Morgan Lacroix