THE likes of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are often cited as influences by modern guitar bands.
The Lord Of The Rings, less so. Though Led Zeppelin were inspired by the fantasy masterpiece in the songs Misty Mountain Hop and The Battle Of Evermore,Sydney metal band Battlesnake take their influence of J.R.R Tolkien's Middle Earth to new heights.
"We're massive fans of how Tolkien created this whole universe and we're looking to do the same thing," Battlesnake bassist Elliott Hitchcock said.
The seven-piece pack a punch. The music is filled with wailing prog-rock and metal guitar riffs and solos, a keytar and fantasy lyrics about supernatural demons (Call Of The Succubus), Lord Of The Rings orcs (Gorbag's Theme) and references to World Of Warcraft (The Parting Of The Fetid Mist).
"We're inspired by all the fantasy and sci-fi stuff we watched as kids and our love of trying to build worlds," guitarist Ben Frank said.
Even before you hear them play, Battlesnake stand out. When it comes to stage presentation, they take a "more is more" approach, decked out in Speedos and medieval knights chain mail.
"This person came to a gig and they loved the band and they wanted to do a collaboration with us and get us in some of their Speedos," keytar player Billy O'Key said. "We did up some designs and they made it happen.
"We really loved it, so we thought we should make it a thing."
While Battlesnake's collective tongue is firmly lodged in their cheek, the lads are polished musicians and take their stage craft and visual presentation extremely seriously.
"It's such a big thing and people often don't want to put as much attention into it," O'Key said.
"It's a massive thing. If the music is then not thought about, then it becomes a problem, so we try to think about them both equally and push to make sure the visual aspect of the show is as overwhelming as the musical aspect of the show."
The recording of Battlesnake's debut EP Myths and Legends of Gorbag's Domain was completed a week before COVID-19 lockdown began last March, followed by several months of mixing and mastering before the record's release in November.
It followed their stand-alone singles Nightmare King (2019), The Atomic Plough (2019) and Thunder Scud (2020).
COVID-19 meant Battlesnake's elaborate live show was in hibernation for much of 2020, only emerging for a comeback gig at Frankie's Pizza in August, followed by sets at the Lansdowne Hotel and Paddo RSL.
Battlesnake return to Dashville for the first time since Gum Ball 2019 on February 13 to perform at Thrashville.