The trading-card game Magic The Gathering is a popular reference point for some metal performers, due to its intense fantasy lore filled with orcs, elves, wizards, dragons, war and many other staples of the genre. The Acacia Strain have a song called “Doom Blade,” named after a card from the game, while John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats is a vocal fan of the game, alongside members of The Number Twelve Looks Like You, but now a new power metal outfit inspired by the game named Planeswalker is hitting the music scene.
The name is a reference to the players of the game, who use the game’s cards as their “spells” and also a reference to a class of magic wielding wizard characters. The group’s first single “The Forever Serpent,” is a song about one such planeswalker, Nicol Bolas, who eventually turned into an Elder Dragon, which is an ancient dragon capable of strong magical power.
“The Forever Serpent” is an anthemic metal song, with fantasy lore embedded deeply into its lyrics as they discuss Bolas’ story, backed by melodic metal choruses and pounding drums. The band’s members are shown playing Magic The Gathering and playing the song.
The main band is composed of Jason Ashcraft, the current guitarist for Helion Prime, a science-fiction themed heavy metal outfit and Sozos Michael, the band’s former vocalist. Guest musicians which are featured on this recording are Chelsea McMasters on bass, Alex Bosson on drums and Alex Nasla on keys.
“For those who follow Helion Prime understand that parting ways with Sozos was due to unfortunate struggles with visa issues as he lives in Cyprus, but I knew someday we’d work together again I just wasn’t sure how,” Ashcraft stated in a press release.”I then got the idea to start a band based completely on Magic The Gathering lore because between Helion Prime and Dire Peril I think I’m good on sci-fi based material and why wouldn’t I need ANOTHER project. When I first heard the song Sozos had written for us I immediately knew it had to be about Nicol Bolas.”