Monthly Archives: September 2011

Confessions of a Corben Addict

So I was supposed to be writing some WCT material during my lunch break today, but I decided I’d go for a walk instead, and found myself strolling to a Metal shop called “Blasphemy” which I pass every morning on the way to work but have never been inside.

I had assumed from the window displays that the shop only sold Metal paraphernalia like key chains, shirts, and the like, so I was surprised to find a few shelves full of CDs as well.

The CDs were not comprehensive or very well organized — vaguely alphabetical — but I started flipping through them somewhat seriously. I’ve been having painful cravings lately to hear any new shred guitar Metal (my three-year-old son keeps choosing guitar magazines for me when he goes to the library with the Mrs.), so I was keen to make a DISCOVERY, though I had no idea of what. Nothing catches my interest. How can you tell what it sounds like from the cover?

As I’m about to give up (isn’t that always the way), my eye wanders over to a painted cover of a dragon smoking a pipe on a cliff while a human slave child sweeps up human bones.

Corben. It has to be Corben.

Here’s what happens:

1) I have never heard of this band before, and the photos on the back are dubious, but someone from the shop has put a handwritten sticker on the jewel case that says: “BRILLIANT POWER METAL!” Well, that’s my kind of Metal, and it means someone in the store has actually listened to the thing and been inspired enough to recommend it to people.

2) I check the inside credits (there’s no shrink wrap). It is indeed Corben. My skin is starting to warm with the excitement of the find.

3) The CD is $28.50. That’s a bit pricey. But I’m tempted to buy it. Just for the cover.

4) But is it an original Corben commissioned for the CD, or did they just re-use one of his old paintings?

5) If it’s an old one, will I be able to find it easily elsewhere? Is it in some book of Corben paintings that I can buy for $50 and get 200 paintings?

6) If it’s new for the CD, will I be able to find it cheaper on the internet? If I can’t find it online (highly possible given how obscure it looked) and I come back to Blasphemy another day will it still be here? It’s so obscure that no one else could possibly want it, but — by god —  THAT COVER!! It might tempt someone else anyway. Should I hide it somewhere in the middle of the stack? What if somebody still finds it?

7) Everything about the CD is incongruous. They’ve got a Power Metal name (Heaven’s Gate), a Sleaze Metal apostrophe in the album title (Livin’ In Hysteria), and a dragon cover that’s played for laughs.

8 ) The CDs in this shop are not shrink-wrapped. I don’t even know if it’s used or new. Should I pay $28.50 for a (possibly) used CD?

9) Do I even have enough money to buy it? The bank account is a bit low. Do they take credit cards here? Wait, maybe I’m carrying enough cash.

10) I have to buy it. I don’t even know if I’m ever going to listen to it, but I have to have it for the cover.

11) I take it to the counter. I have enough cash. The guy can’t stop looking at the cover and laughing either. “I’ve never heard of these guys, but that dragon smoking the pipe!”

Tell me about it.




UPDATE 1: The piece was apparently indeed created in 1984 as an art print and then appropriated by the band in 1991. It’s called “Blue Dragon”:

UPDATE 2: The album is excellent. I’m thrilled to have found it and bought it on impulse.