The sigilhype?

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When I was still working with Yacht, I was in the fortunate position to be able to drive around in a company car. In fact this car I was allowed to drive in was rather luxurious: it even came with a standard USB port with which to connect a thumbdrive. Obviously I used this to my advantage to do away with having to use the CD part of the car stereo: I could now play MP’s on the integrated audio/navigation system.

This ofcourse created the fortunate situation (coupled with driving long distances) that I could listten to books while driving. Getting more positively entertained or educated while driving. And catching up on books for which I did not have the patience to read them in hardcopy.

Fast forward to today: I have a secondhand, 2003 model renault with buitl in entertainment system. With no USB or MP3 functionality. However the habit of listening to books is still there (it makes the long drives bearable), fortunately I do still have an Ipod Nano. Although it is still quite an unnerving experience to shut oneself off of everything (soundwise) while driving.

And thus, I put on the (relatively short) new audio drama, The Sigillite. The artwork has been out for quite some time (I read about it over 4 months ago on the bolter and chainsword forums). And it raises quite a few expectations (mostly the roman numericals on the skulls as seen above). Without diving into spoiler territory, I will just tick off the good and the bad (or at least, my opinion):

The good

  • Sound and atmospheric quality was awesome. I really liked the voice work, though int the latter half of the drama I was way more interested in the dialogue, thus it could have been toned down slightly.
  • It finally references what the Emperor has been/is doing after Magnus’ wonderfully thoughtout message. I would love to see that whole story, the history of that project and all its side, and completion paths fully fleshed out in a 10 hour+ audio book.
  • It shows that being truly powerful in one way does not equate in power over all the fields.

The bad

  • The story felt rushed in the end. I am a sucker for lore, and love to have it fully fleshed out. I want to know all the details, the histories. the thoughts etcetera. Its a bit of a sore spot for me in the whole Horus Heresy: for being all powerfull in mind and body, none of the superhuman beings ask the obvious question: WHY. Too often things are left as hints or as half said words. This breaks down a bit of the wall of wonder one should feel in such a dark and extensive setting.
  • The hype is a lie. If you know what I mean by the hype, then sorry, now you know the answer.
  • I am left wondering what the importance of this story is in Horus Heresy line. It does not show a truly deep motivation beyond the obvious. It’s not deep enoiugh to show a deep insight into the psyche of the sigillite. Nor does it give any arm twister plotwise.

All in all I am not sure if i should recommend this audio drama. If you like a bit of atmosphere, sure go right ahead. If your looking for a revelation or a plot twist, or anything that promotes the broader story, honestly, I am not sure if this will add anything.

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Black Library Audio Drama: Butcher’s Nails

Angron and Lorgar begin a secretive mission together, but World Eaters’ berserk fury soon attracts the attention of xenos raiders who will not allow him to follow this bloody path.

Running at approximately 73 minutes, this latest audio drama published by The Black Library in the Horus Heresy series depicts an engagement between the World Eaters and the Word Bearers versus an Eldar fleet. Although briefly touched upon in previous books and audio shorts, a publication in this series focusing solely on the World Eaters (Lorgars legion features, but mostly as a side-show) deepens the lore of the Hersy even further. Written by the excellent author, Aaron Demski-Bowden, we get a deeper look into what makes this legion, and especially the primarch Angron, tick.

I enjoy listening to audiobooks on my long commutes. Although I do not have the luxury of being able to devote all my attention to the story (seeing as I play this through my car stereo, as opposed to those who listen to these drama’s on a more portable media), it makes the long rides more bearable. In fact, many a time I am wishing for the road to be longer so I don’t have to interrupt what I am listening at.

Buther’s Nails is one of those excellent audio drama’s. It grips the listener straight from the get go, and propels him/her right into the action. The World Eaters, now commonly depicted as violence chasing madmen, do benefit from the Horus Heresy series as a whole. This drama, and other shorts before it, including “cameo’s” in other books, give each representative of this legion a lot more depth beyond the mindless savagery they become known for in the current universe of Warhammer 40K. I was quite pleasantly surprised that this drama featured less violence, gore and battle scenes than one would expect. Granted, it does depict one long skirmish, but the deeper layer Aaron Demski-Bowden has managed to weave into the story adds an overwhelming sense of tragedy associated with Angron and his legion. An overwhelming sense of what-if was left behind in my mind, as well as a huge amount of despise for the main characters brother Lorgar. It is very tempting to write spoilers on the story as a whole, suffice it to say that Lorgars role in the downfall of the traitor legions, and as an architect of the current state of chaos,deepens even further.

The voice casting was pretty good. The voice for Lorgar was spot on for what I would have expected. I was surprised by the choice for Kharn, I do hope they stick with that for the rest of the series, for it IS distinctive. Changing it up would only hurt his character. I felt Angron was slightly off. While depicting his pain and madness, I felt it missed some of the oomph and boom I would expect for what the character represents. After all, we are talking about post-humans here, with Angron being a demigod towering over his space marines. The story itself was flowing quite nicely, with never a dull moment that I wished would go faster, or that would obstruct the flow of the narrative. In fact, the story was so well written, that at the end I was worrying I had missed something on the road as the road seemed much shorter than it really was.

I highly recommend this short to everyone interested in the Warhammer 40K universe. Though I do admit: with some of the already established lore in mind, especially the back story of Angron, and where he and his fellow space marines end up is slightly mandatory. It makes everything all the more dramatic and tragic, and enhances the experience as a whole.