The year was 1997, and I had just logged on to the internet. After a few months of cruising around and checking things out, I came up with some big plans. I'd always wanted to be an entertainment writer and own a bookstore, and the internet put those possibilities in front of me.
On the World Wide Web, I could reach an audience that would appreciate my reviews of heavy metal music and fantasy books like the readers of the newspaper that I was writing for at the time never would. Associates programs gave me the opportunity to have a book and music store without a lot of the hassle of actually running a book and music store. It was the perfect storm, so I thought.
That led to the launch of two sites on the old members.aol.com servers, The Hall of the Mountain King (viewable via the Internet Archive), which served as landing page and music site, and The Bookwyrm (also viewable via the Internet Archive), which housed my book content. In my mind, these two sites would eventually become go-to hubs for content on fantasy fiction and heavy metal. As you can see, that didn't work out quite as I'd planned.
The sites went through many iterations and redesigns. The ones in the Internet Archive links are among the better of the earliest designs. I'm secretly glad that none of the 1997 versions of the page (with even wilder graphics and midi music on every page) are archived. After a strong start, they languished when I didn't get the results I'd hoped for, and I maintained them in fits and starts over the years.
Around 2005, I decided to enter the world of blogging. If you dig back far enough on my books page, you'll find some of my early rants, some posts about the New Orleans Saints that don't really fit on the blog now and other things as I experimented with this new format. Eventually, the old AOL servers were taken down, and I realized that I could use blogs for my reviews (and it was much easier than maintaining the AOL pages). After a few years of jumbling everything together, I decided to split books and music again in 2010. What was once The Bookwyrm became The Royal Library (a tongue-in-cheek play on the Hall of the Mountain King name), and my music review site once again became Hall of the Mountain King.
I plan to celebrate 20 years quietly, as befits the stature of the blog, with a few unplanned and informal posts, beginning with the top 10 viewed articles on this blog.
there are some expected appearances on this list, like Sabbath and BLS, but also a few surprises, and at least one failed experiment. Granted, I don't have stats from those early AOL sites, but I'm pretty sure these would still hold up even with those. Looks like May 2011 may have been the peak for this blog.
10. Review: Black Label Society, "Order of the Black." Published August 29, 2010.
9. Still Spinning: Black Sabbath, "Sabotage." Published May 17, 2011.
8. Review: Spheric Universe Experience, "Unreal." Published June 17, 2009.
7. Stuck in my Head: "Sad Man's Tongue," by Volbeat. Published May 12, 2011.
6. Review: Hank III, "Hellbilly Joker." Published May 29, 2011.
5. Still Spinning: Scatterbrain, "Here Comes Trouble." Published August 26, 2013.
4. Review: Soulfly, "Omen." Published August 11, 2010.
3. Stuck in my Head: "Trouble," by Danzig. Published August 15, 2009.
2. Blast Beats: Disturbed, Jaldaboath, James LaBrie. Published October 25, 2010.
1. Review: WhoCares, "Out of My Mind." Published May 12, 2011.