cover image The Armageddon Chord

The Armageddon Chord

Jeremy Wagner. kNight Romance (, $17.99 trade pa

Death metal guitarist Wagner (of bands Broken Hope and Lupara) debuts with a highly entertaining, albeit predictable, blend of heavy metal and hardcore horror. Festus Baustone III, a morally bankrupt billionaire secretly suffering from terminal cancer, hires archeologists to uncover musical hieroglyphs that, if correctly translated, could ignite apocalypse. The dying tycoon then sets out to find a guitarist who can literally "raise Hell on Earth and wipe the world clean." Kirk Vaisto is just finishing up his latest solo album when his agent manipulates him into taking Baustone's offer, and soon the virtuoso rock guitarist finds himself at the center of a conspiracy with the spiritual future of humankind at stake. Electrified by breakneck pacing, a cast of over-the-top characters (a deformed Nazi Egyptologist, a self-obsessed frontman, a stigmatic priest, etc.), and memorable lines like "The power of the riff compels you," this thriller neatly exploits the considerable shared fanbase of apocalyptic fiction and Apocalyptica.. (Sept.)