Lords of the Trident
Fang VonWrathenstein was born when a volcano containing metal and steel erupted at the beginning of time. His one and only mission: create the most metal band in the world. He searched across the land for many centuries, until during his travels in Greece, he heard the sound of sweep picking emanating from a cave. After fighting off the man-eating bats with his bare hands, he came upon the one known only as the Socrates of Shred. Socrates imparted his sage advice upon Fang, and the next stop was the top of the tallest mountain in Japan: Mt. Yuufretokuwiku. Quickly ascending the treacherous mountain by riding on a cloud of pure shredding guitar, they met the fierce guitar warrior known as Asian Metal. After a three day battle that left most of the surrounding mountainside in ruins (and most of its inhabitants deaf), Asian Metal decided to join the warriors on their quest.
On the voyage across the Pacific Ocean, their ship was attacked by the fierce and proud Captain Bluddbeard, whose proficiency with the bass was so well known that the waves themselves would run in fear from the swelling sounds emanating from his pirate ship. During the battle, all four of the warriors happened to strike the same chord at the same time, causing a giant tsunami which flung the two ships across the sky, eventually crash landing in Southern Wisconsin. Striking a truce, the band was now almost complete. Suddenly, from a rip in the fabric of space and time itself stepped the cyborg DANALOG. Hailing from the equatorial submersible cities of the future, DANALOG explained to the warriors that the convergence of their explosive sound without a uniting beat could threaten to destroy the very fabric of the universe. DANALOG, whose original mission had been to travel back in time to fight dragons, decided to join the warriors as their metropneumatic drummer.
However, during one of the Lords’ most epic battles, one of DANALOG’s arm servos became jammed. A tremendous buildup of pressure caused the cyborg to explode, creating a massive crater that reached to the depths of Hell itself. Seizing his chance, the demon king Korgoth escaped from Hell through the crust and emerged from the crater, hungry for souls. Socrates, in his wisdom, immediately challenged the demon king to a guitar duel – a challenge Korgoth could not deny under demon law. As the battle raged, the surrounding landscape was reduced to rubble from the tremendous force of the sonic waves. Socrates stunned the demon with his flawless sweep arpeggios, then shattered his guitar with a pinch harmonic. The demon king, now enslaved, became the new demonic drummer for the Lords.
Soon after, the LORDS manifested what mankind now knows as the most metal album ever conceived: “Death, or Sandwich”. Following numerous highly publicized incidents of spontaneous combustion and/or face melting due to listening to the CD’s contents, a shadowy multinational group known only as “SPIDR” amassed an army of the most battle-hardened special ops soldiers they could find. Their mission: find and imprison the LORDS in order to use their unimaginable power as a weapon. Their first target was the Socrates of Shred. Although Socrates managed to destroy a large number of the soldiers, the group’s leader (codename: Red Widow) knocked him out from behind. Imprisoned, the Socrates of Shred decided to take his own life rather than be turned into a weapon. The resulting implosion wiped the prison (and a large section of the countryside) off of the map.
Weakened, but not yet defeated, the LORDS began their search for a new guitarist, all the while keeping a watchful eye for the agents of SPIDR. Traveling to Rome, the LORDS decided to attend the games at the Colosseum. There they encountered the famed Killius Maximus, an undefeated gladiator whose only weapon was shred guitar. Admiring his skill, Asian Metal lept into the area and challenged him to a duel. Their furious playing eventually led to a massive earthquake, destroying much of the city and leaving many sections of the Colosseum in ruins. After this impressive display, the LORDS were in agreement: Killius Maximus would be the new guitarist. But this would not be the end of strife for the LORDS…
During a short break from touring, Captain Bluddbeard and his crew decided to set sail in search of a legendary treasure in the middle of the treacherous sea graveyard known only as La Boca Del Diablo. Using his immeasurable skill to navigate the deadly rock formations, the Captain was near his prize. Suddenly, and without warning, a gigantic mechanical shark leapt out from the black sea, devouring the ship and all of its inhabitants. Broken, bleeding, and grasping at life, Captain Bluddbeard continued to pound away furiously at his bass, trying to escape the clutches of Davey Jones’ Locker. From the abyss, Death appeared. The Captain pounded his bass against even Death himself, but was no match. With his last breath, he begged Death to assist the LORDS in finding a replacement. Death agreed.
Shortly thereafter, Death appeared to the LORDS and informed them of the Captain’s demise. The LORDS were in shock – was this another attempt by SPIDR? Or perhaps someone (or something) else? But the issue remained – the LORDS needed a new bass player. Death thought the matter over. As Death himself was the only spirit able to match Bluddbeard on the bass, the only worthy replacement for Bluddbeard would be a bassist infused with the power of Death…and one who would be taught by Death himself.
For this task, Death journeyed to the decaying towers of the afterworld to seek out his High Priest – Pontifex Mortis. As the most revered leader of the Priests of Death, he would be the most worthy candidate for this task. Death explained the situation to Pontifex, and told him he would teach Pontifex the secrets of his deadly bass skill – if he survived the training. Over the course of months, Death’s arcane bass secrets were imparted to Pontifex, and through his careful study he harnessed a bass power equally as deadly as the power of Death himself. Summoned before the LORDS, and at the request of Death, Pontifex swore a blood oath to aid the LORDS in their metal quest.
After months of hard work, blood sacrifices, and countless microphones melted, the LORDS finally unveiled their latest masterpiece – the full-length album Chains on Fire. Rumored to contain an unthinkable amount of pure concentrated steel, the album took the world by storm. Literally. Anytime the album was played, large clouds would form, and the unworthy would be swept away by a tornado of the purest metal imaginable. Entire cities were decimated within seconds of the album reaching their area. But all was not well with the LORDS, for the agents of SPIDR were ever watchful.
Eight months after the release of the album, the LORDS’ gold-plated RV touring caravan was attacked on the road…from the air! A battalion of helicopters with the all-too-familiar eight legged logo suddenly appeared over the horizon. Destroying the highway ahead and behind the caravan with their tomahawk missiles, the LORDS were caught at a standstill, and exited the vehicles to fight. The helicopters fired a savage barrage, sending nearly all their available missiles rocketing towards the group. Pontifex used his deadly bass powers to create a sonic shell to shield the LORDS from the explosion. The shell could only withstand so much, however, and a stray piece of shrapnel passed through the dome and struck Fang’s necklace, which contained a piece of Korgoth’s horn, shattering it to pieces.
The Demon king, now free of his enslavement, immediately summoned a giant wall of hellfire from the missile craters, which destroyed the battalion in one fell swoop. Gathering the souls of the recently-departed pilots (and highway bystanders), the ground opened and swallowed a very satisfied Korgoth, and he was never seen again.
The LORDS were shaken by this attack, but they resolved to find a new drummer and continue the fight against SPIDR. The search led them to the hidden Castle Killrock in Europe, home of the eternal brotherhood of the executioners. Successfully navigating the many deadly traps and mazes of the castle, they found themselves face-to-face with the head of the order, Sledge Garrotte. The most prolific executioner the brotherhood had ever seen, Sledge made up for his small stature with an axe swing so fast and so heavy, the ground would shake for miles every time he took a life. Sledge’s spies had told him of the coming of the LORDS, and he already had his answer ready – yes. Sledge had grown weary of the confines of the castle, and had heard stories of the great battles of the LORDS. Besides, what better way to hone his power as an executioner than by crafting the ability to kill by sound alone? And so, Sledge joined the LORDS as their new drummer.
After months of solitary practice in the Mohorovičić discontinuity – a cavernous region thirteen miles beneath the earth’s crust – the LORDS were ready to destroy the unworthy once more, and summarily released their next album – the EP Plan of Attack. For the first time ever, two famed mortal producers – Doug Olson (engineer for Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick) and Martin Atkins (drummer for Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke) – were given the honor of assisting the LORDS in their quest. The resulting EP received incredible critical reception, but was deemed “too metal for human consumption” by NATO, and thus was banned in 47 countries on its first day of release. Underground smugglers risked life and limb to deliver the album across the world to ravenous fans, and the notoriety of the LORDS continued to grow.
All the while, a hidden unrest was growing. Unbeknownst to Fang, the silver-tongued leader of SPIDR had craftily poisoned Sledge’s mind with promises of glory, wealth, beef jerky, and women. “Why be forced to split your conquests five ways? Join us, and you shall be have our armies at your beckon. You will be the most powerful immortal in the world.” And so, deranged by greed, Sledge secretly joined SPIDR and hatched a plan to undo the LORDS from the inside.
Months later, the treacherous plan was put into action. Feeling the overwhelming call of battle, the LORDS embarked on an ambitious Eastward tour. All was going well, until amongst the treacherous mountains of West Virginia, the order was given to strike. Sledge had secretly prepared a small bomb in the engine compartment of the touring van, and upon receiving the order from SPIDR, he set off the charge and the van was immobilized. Before the LORDS could even figure out what happened, the attack began. Stealth SPIDR helicopters descended from the sky, and armored vans filled with shock troops cut off the highway. The LORDS were surrounded on all sides, unable to escape. A figured stepped through the lines of shock troops towards the LORDS, and for the first time, Fang came face to face with SPIDR’s leader – Red Widow.
Sledge broke away from the LORDS and confidently walked toward Red Widow, and in that moment Fang understood what had happened. Sledge had set the charge and betrayed them. Sledge held out his arm to finalize the deal with a handshake – the LORDS in exchange for eternal wealth and glory – but was instead met with the end of an electrified katana through his chest. Double-crossed! With his life slipping from him, Sledge realized that Red Widow had never indented to keep his promises. Sledge was simply a pawn in his game. And with his last remaining strength, Sledge activated the C4 charge hidden in the center of his backup pair of drumsticks. This was goodbye.
The explosion sent huge chunks of the concrete highway skyward, and in the confusion, the LORDS were able to escape into the wooded hills. After evading SPIDR’s helicopters in the thick woodland, the LORDS took refuge in an abandoned coal mine found amongst the wilderness. Little did they know that a most metal reunion was about to take place.
While attempting to find their way out of the labyrinthian mine, the LORDS started to hear an odd, pulsating sound beneath their feet as they ventured further into the earth. Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Dante Vitus (Lead Drums) – the touring drummer for the LORDS’ 1342 European tour (infamously dubbed the “black plague tour” because of a promoter’s idea to include a free rat with every ticket purchased) – had moved his medical laboratory under a coal-filled mountain in West Virginia after unintentionally causing the Friuli earthquake of 1348 during a botched practice session post-tour.
As the LORDS followed the reverberating sound, suddenly the ground was rent asunder by the Doctor’s tom blast, and the LORDS fell through the crevasse – straight into the good Doctor’s practice cavern. With the mind of an crazed medical genius and the reflexes of a skilled surgeon, there was no drum part that the good doctor could not master. The sight of a friendly face after such a shocking incident was a needed relief to the LORDS, and they immediately offered the full-time drumming position to Dr. Vitus. The good doctor accepted, and the LORDS were made whole once more. Fang vowed to find and destroy Red Widow the only way he knew how – face-melting guitars, eardrum-imploding vocals, and a thunderous, unstoppable rhythm section.
With this newly forged drive, the LORDS returned once again to the confines of their subterranean studio. Months of work, combined with the guidance of producer Doug Olson and mastering engineer Dan Harjung (mastering agent/engineer for Queensrÿche, Crash Test Dummies, Survivor, and Robert Plant) produced Frostburn – an album so METAL that many doomsday prophets heralded it as one of the impending signs of Ragnarok. On the night the album was released to the world, the moon turned blood red, and the spirits of the departed metal gods once again returned to earth to herald the coming of the LORDS. Reading these signs, the German sages of Killer Metal Records begged to join forces with the LORDS in order to spread Frostburn to all the lands of the world. The LORDS agreed, and thus the contract was sealed. No longer were the LORDS an unsigned band.
Over the next few months, there was much feasting and pillaging as Frostburn swept the lands. However, one LORD abstained from this revelry, secluding himself inside his cavernous practice quarters. Concerned, the LORDS pressed Killius to explain his behavior. Killius was overjoyed with the album, no doubt…but he reported feeling a malaise, an ennui. He felt that he had played every chord of every note possible, and had played them faster than anyone living or dead. There was nowhere left to go, no new challenge to face. As a gladiator, he had lived his life with the sole purpose of finding and defeating his next challenger. Now, to be left with nothing to challenge him gave him a feeling of emptiness. The LORDS listened to his woes, and were greatly saddened.
Filled with the resolve of helping their brother, the LORDS researched for weeks on end. And then, like the strike of a flint, Killius found his answer. Bounding into the main hall, he exclaimed that he had found his next challenge! Ancient tomes had spoke of yogi masters living in the Himalayas who – after decades of practice – were able to stretch their fingers to superhuman lengths. This, Killius surmised, would allow him to play the Forbidden Scales, said to have been invented by Satan himself. Although losing their brother saddened them greatly, the LORDS knew in their hearts that they had to let Killius seek his destiny. The LORDS bid Killius farewell at the foot of the great Himalaya mountain range, and watched as he disappeared into the blinding white of the snow-covered pass.
Not wishing to halt their momentum by waiting decades for Killius’ return, the LORDS sent out a call to find a new immortal guitar player. Many foolish mortals, wishing to test their mettle, applied to the position, but none survived. Months had passed with no word, and the situation was looking dire. But on the other end of the globe, word of the search had reached the ears of the great mercenary Baron Taurean Helleshaar.
Of noble birth from the Northern Kingdoms, the Baron was trained from a young age with deadly proficiency of both blade and string. Upon being framed for the murder of his king – a crime perpetrated and carried out by none other than SPIDR’s Red Widow – the Baron was exiled from his homeland, forced to hide in the shadows and flee those seeking to bring him to justice. Years passed, but the agents of SPIDR ensured that his “crime” was not forgotten amongst his people, and so he survived off of his other talents. A gifted swordsman, the Baron became a mercenary to the highest bidder, carrying out contracts where others had failed. Masquerading as a street musician, carnival performer, cover band virtuoso, and a teacher to those wishing to hone their skills allowed the Baron to stay mobile, and always one step ahead of his pursuers. The Baron sought two things – revenge against SPIDR for destroying his life, and the fabled “music of the arcane” – a powerful alchemical music lost across the millennia.
After hearing tales of the LORDS, and realizing they had a very powerful common enemy, Helleshaar answered the audition summons. The LORDS were awestruck by the Baron’s ability to solo with one hand and fend off attacks with the other. It was swiftly agreed that Helleshaar would join their ranks. Through this union, the Baron re-ignited his vendetta against Red Widow to one day claim vindication in his homeland.
Capitalizing on the overwhelming success of Frostburn, the LORDS hatched a plan to embark on their first international tour in over 750 years! After successfully navigating the riddles of the passport sages, the LORDS were left with only one challenge – finding a suitable metal steed for their longest journey to date. This posed quite a challenge – the last vehicle was destroyed, and the Baron had not yet finished his flying airship – so available vehicles were slim. A traveling merchant offered to sell his vehicle, and Fang was stunned to find that it was almost identical to their previous vehicle. A good omen? Fang thought so, but Asian Metal was not convinced. Something felt wrong…
Left with no other choice, the LORDS made the deal, and began their battle North. Decimating city after city, they finally passed into the frozen tundra of the Canadian Northlands. Many minions who inhabited these regions sent tales of un-pillaged wealth, beautiful maidens, and the best coffee ever conceived by man. The first few battles were rife with merriment and loot, and the LORDS were pleased. However, the farther they traveled, the more wild and icy the terrain became. Moosebears, owlbears, and foxbears seemed to challenge their every step, and the trees grew in number until they were as tall and ancient as the mountains in which they took root.
All the while, something was bothering Asian Metal. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something was just not…right. While traversing the Canadian wilderness, the built-in navigation system demanded they turn on to a wild-looking trail. “SHORTCUT”, blared the system. The LORDS were ill at ease, but without messenger eagles to guide them, acquiesced to follow the route. They found themselves deeper and deeper into the woods when, without warning, the engine died. Numerous attempts were made to resuscitate the steel beast, but it was all for naught. An eerie silence greeted them as they exited.
“Stay on guard,” remarked Asian Metal. “Something’s not quite right here.”
“How very perceptive of you!” The voice rang out and echoed across the wilderness. It seemed to envelop them on all sides. Fang knew that voice. The dreaded Red Widow appeared from behind the trees and stepped into the road.
“Red Widow! I should have known,” scoffed Fang. “But it seems you’ve made your first mistake – you’ve come alone.”
“Have I?” The LORDS’ armor suddenly became peppered with the red dots of dozens of laser sights. “You should know better than that. But…just to show you how utterly powerless you are in the face of the full might of SPIDR, I’ll tell you what…how about we have a little one on one?”
“I thought you’d never ask!” Seizing on this opportunity, Fang bounded forward, axe in hand. A mighty swipe extended towards Red Widow, but in a flash he vanished! Appearing behind Fang as quick as a shadow, he whispered, “You’ll have to do better than that…” and daggered him square in the back of the knee causing him to tumble forwards. As Fang righted himself, the trees in the trajectory of the axe swing began to separate and fall.
The pain of the wound began fueling Fang’s senses. Calling upon the power of pure steel, his eyes began to glow, and time seemed to slow around him. Red Widow’s attack came at lightning speed, but was somehow still visible, and Fang successfully parried. A sudden look of shock glinted across Red Widow’s eyes as he disappeared again. Another attack. Another! Another! All were blocked as Fang began to see the pattern emerging. Red Widow suddenly appeared from behind, Katana raised, ready to deal the killing blow…
The sickening, wet sound of metal through flesh was heard, and moments after, a thud – as an arm holding a Katana hit the ground.
An inhuman scream resonated through the trees as the disabled Red Widow hobbled backwards in pain. “You…you think THAT amount of power can kill ME!?” Contorting his body backwards, muscle, bone, and tendon suddenly shot out of the open wound and formed themselves into red, throbbing appendage. The LORDS were in shock – Red Widow had the power of regeneration? But how?
“KILL THEM!” screamed Red Widow, as he bounded back towards the safety of the wood. The rest of the LORDS took cover, but Fang, hobbled by the dagger in his knee, could not move fast enough. He braced for the impact of the snipers’ bullets, but instead felt the woosh of a flock of at least thirty arrows flying out from behind him. Each arrow hit their target, and camouflaged bodies fell like rain from out of the trees. But wait…these weren’t arrows…they were Drumsticks!
The remainer of SPIDR’s forces mounted a hasty retreat as Master Hercule “Herc” Schlagzeuger (Lead Drums) stepped from the woodland camouflage into view. A master rogue ranger, Herc was a hidden force that none could match. Raised and trained in solitude by masters of the art, Herc learned to meld with the shadows and move unseen. He shunned the standard arrows and darts of his ranger brethren, instead preferring a rather unconventional weapon: deadly sharpened drumsticks that he could command with pinpoint accuracy. Herc traveled the land with his loyal steed Shadowmere, whom he tamed during his ritualistic descent into the realm between life and death – the shadowlands. For this show of bravery in taming the fierce steed, the masters imparted their final forbidden secrets to Herc, allowing him to fuse his power with Shadowmere’s and siphon the power of any being he or his drumming impersonates – even the power of the former drummers of the LORDS themselves!
Herc told the LORDS that he had been following them in secret for some time, intrigued by the power they possessed. As a metal warrior himself, he wondered how his skills would fare against the fabled might of the LORDS. When he saw Fang in danger, he knew he had to show his hand.
The LORDS were in shock by this turn of events, but none more so than Dr. Vitus. He had spent the majority of his eternal life chasing the secrets of medical regeneration to no avail. Now it stood in front of him, cast in living flesh and blood, taunting him. Somehow SPIDR had unlocked the secrets that he himself could never fully comprehend. And, to make matters worse, the LORDS were now hounded by an enemy that they could never kill. In that moment, the good doctor knew what he had to do. Handing his sacred drumsticks over to Master Schlagzeuger, he explained his decision to his brothers. His life’s work would never be complete without total and complete commitment to his goal, and his fellow warriors would forever remain in danger without the knowledge of how to combat such a threat. For the good of the LORDS – and METAL everywhere – he must relinquish the thunderous percussive backbone of the LORDS to Herc.
Shocked and moved, the LORDS conceded to the Doctor’s wishes. The LORDS bade Doctor Dante Vitus farewell, and with the help of Herc’s roaring steel steed, safely made their way back to their homeland. The LORDS escaped the clutches of SPIDR once again, and with renewed vigor swore to continue to uphold their lifelong pledge: to vanquish the unworthy, to lead the righteous into glorious battle, and to continue to fight for a world where METAL REIGNS SUPREME!