Various Artists

Wizards & Demons: Music Inspired by the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien

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Castle's Wizards & Demons: Music Inspired by the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien is not a reissue of Led Zeppelin IV; rather, it's a spirited, goofy, and occasionally dark collection of '60s/'70s art rock excess with both feet planted firmly in the mythology of Middle Earth. This is obviously a niche product, as listeners with an aversion to either Tolkien or progressive rock are served well by the compilation's title, and will no doubt have an easy time avoiding an accidental purchase. That said, it's a whole lot of stupid fun for fans of the genre, offering up 14 tracks (only Sally Oldfield's new agey, vaguely African-sounding "Songs of the Quendi: Night Theme/Wam Pum Song/Nenya/Land of the Sun" breaks the ten-minute mark) of British folk-kissed psychedelic obscuro rock. There are a few mystical instrumental cuts to smoke your "Longbottom Leaf" to from Decameron and Fairport Convention offshoot Trader Horne, a groovy romp through the "Magic Forest" with Noel Redding's Fat Mattress, and one heavy-ass trip through Mordor with Sam Gopal's Sabbath-esque "The Dark Lord," all of which (like most hallucinogenic material) provide an experience as ridiculous, as infectious, or as miserable as the mood you bring to the beginning of the trip.

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