Articles & Editorials

Lovecraftiana in Music (2. part)

FEELINGS, INFLUENCES AND REFLECTIONS OF LOVECRAFT’S WORK

Black Temple Below

Lovecraft’s influence upon the extreme genre is different from band to band, from an artist to an artist, that’s obvious. Admiration grows into a fascination, new horizons are discovered…and new music created. “I has always been very fascinated by the mind of H.P. , they way he describes the cosmic boundless horrors in his mind…were they just in his mind? Or are they the reflections of the deepest fears of human beings? I think he managed to combine his occult knowledge (discovered by him thanks to the books of his father and grandfather too) with the terrible nightmare and visions he had almost everyday, creating something unique and powerful… I have not discovered yet another author that could have such big impact on me, in some ways I feel really close to the abominations released on his writings (I think I have always being fascinated by his concept of “horror”…that’s maybe why I’m disappointed with the majority of other “horror” authors), becoming nearly an obsession. Black Temple Below has deeply being influenced by Lovecraft in the lyrics o fsongs like “Under The Pyramids” (inspired by the same-titled short novel) or “Nocturnal Congregation Trough Forgotten Woods”, which describes a ritual where Tsatthoggua, Yid and Azazel are being evocated… The writing of Lovecraft influenced the name of the band itself, which is supposed to be the place of gathering of a secret coven who is planning to invoke the Ancient Ones and sacrificing mankind to them. Few time ago we even did a noise/drone live performance focused on the writings of the Necronomicon, it was like a “ritual invocation” and everything that I sung was taken from that book,” explains BLACK TEMPLE BELOW’s Ipsissimus Nihil Magister his feelings about being influenced by the Man from Providence.

Best Conjurator

The further new ideas into occult sciences are well expressed by BEAST CONJURATOR’s input: “Besides the fantastic dark aura – the complete “alien”and “eldritch” atmosphere – present in Lovecraft’s work, I have a special interest in the “occult influence” impregnated in the texts, mainly the ones related to the Cthulhu Mythos. And among all this mystical blend of elder conjectures with non-Euclidean logic there lies the scientific thinking. Pure, critic, clever. The apex of human knowledge finds its ultimate eminence just to be completely crushed by the most baffling hypotheses of massive horror and madness. All of this fascinates me in ways that I can‘t even explain with words. We’re talking about true passion here! Our goal with Beast Conjurator is to pay tribute to  his horrific/oniric/mystical work. Of course we explore other lyrical elements (like occultism, ancient mythology and black magick), but our main influence is, and will ever be, Howard Phillips and his magnificent work.”

Akem Manah

“Lovecraft wrote stories that were weird and out there for his time and even still today. His writings were like the way my mind works when doing my own original lyrics.” says Nedry from AKEM MANAH. “So many great stories other than the famous one like the Cthulhu or The Lurking Fear. “The Tomb” was a great story, inspire my side project Cataclysm’s song “Visions Of My Grave” and the story “Rats In The Walls” inspired our (Akem Manah) song “Creatures In The Walls”. Nedry also well expresses the sad fact of old classics being sentenced to obscurity: “He wrote so many great stories that many people now don’t even know. Figure his last published story was around 1935. Younger people aren’t going to find out about his works unless a Youtube video is made or a song. So many great bands use his works for music so at least people are trying to keep his legacy alive.”

Corpsessed

Matti’s (CORPSESSED) statement is probably felt by many other artists and fans: “He opened new terrifying ways to view the world, after which it has never been the same and has been a huge influence on generations to come.” He continues: “Personally, his works have been a huge influence on my own humble attempts at lyrics and music – yes even on musical degree, as a ritualistic aspect and, of course, let us not forget the depictions of the Music of Erich Zann, and the vile drums and dronings of Azathoth etc etc!”

Burning Shadows

I really agree with Tim Regan’s (BURNING SHADOWS) take on the Lovecraftian influence:“I have always loved the otherworldliness of Lovecraft’s monsters. Often they can’t even be described by the narrator. It adds an element of despair and hopelessness to the stories since the characters often don’t know what it is that is coming to kill them. In “Haunter of the Dark”, for example, the creature is formless. How do you protect yourself from something that’s basically just a black cloud? The grandness and timelessness of the universe is always well-depicted in the stories, as well. Mankind and our world as we know it are often treated as an insignificant blip in the grand scheme of the universe. It’s such a different frame of reference when compared to other horror authors that makes his work so unique.” Continuing with description of their musical input into Lovecraftiana, Tim adds: “When we write our songs based on Lovecraft‘s tales, like “Sarnath” and “Haunter of the Dark” from our album Into the Primordial, we try to mimic the themes of the story musically. In “Sarnath,” based on The Doom That Came to Sarnath, there are odd time signatures and a lot of diminished scales used to create this dark world from which the creatures of Ib will arise to exact revenge upon Sarnath. In “Haunter of the Dark,” based on the story of the same name, there are again odd time signatures, a lot of dissonant clean guitar passages, and a constantly changing key. It is somewhat disorienting, which is how I feel the character’s final moments were. We are planning on doing more Lovecratian songs on our 4th album, due in late 2014, including songs based on The White Ship and Celephaïs. Our latest album, Gather, Darkness! is based on the novel of the same name by a contemporary of Lovecraft’s, Fritz Leiber. Fans of the genre should check it out!”

When asked about the impact of Master of Horror in his band, Sotiris V (SEPTICFLESH) has this to say: “The impact of in Septicflesh is obvious, as songs like “’Lovecraft‘s Death” suggest. By the way the influence goes back to even our frst mini Lp Temple of The Lost Race, as the main title song has a lot of Lovecraftian references. The common elements that are connecting Septicflesh with Lovecraft are: the attraction for the occult, the mystical ancient places, and the extraterrestrial intelligence that survives through the path of eternal dreaming.”

Asa-Noir

ASA-NOIR’s opinion on Lovecraftian influences is, well, unexpected, but very interesting, so let give them a space: “Simply put, Lovecraft is a constant source of inspiration, both musically and lyrically, alongside Norse/Germanic Paganism (or Asatru, if you will). Lovecraft offers us a way of coming up with new, dark and twisted ways of representing Asatru. In a nutshell, in our music we combine the outstretching tentacles and the out-of-this-world domains of Lovecraftian horror with the world of Asatru, and even the darker aspects of the human nature found in Negative Romanticism, such as Poe, blurring the lines between these worlds.”

Smothered

“I was completely baffled by the language used in his stories. It was so vivid and alive, yet scary and claustrophobic at the same time,” Christoffer (SMOTHERED) spares no words when talking about his favourite author. “It felt real. It felt that you were the person who was narrating the story. To me, when writing lyrics, The Cthulhu Mythos is always something I try to incorporate into our songs, however it doesn’t always turn out to be a direct Mythos-related piece. It sort of flirts with it more than incorporates it completely. One of our songs named “Sovereign” is about this slumbering dark entity that awakens and sets the world into a frenzied bloodbath with iconoclast and ritual suicides. Basically destroying all the “false” gods with the awakening of the real one. And yes, I had The Call of Cthulhu in mind when I wrote the lyrics for it. But it could easily as well be a reference to Satan or any other dark entity waiting to enter the mortal world and devour us all. I tend to write lyrics about serial killers, nuclear war, zombies and Cthulhu Mythos-related stuff. Works well for me and I don’t think I will be changing direction, ever.”

Tulzscha

“We all like myths and fictive reality and H.P. was a master in combining reality, fiction and horror,” Daniel from TULZSCHA joins the discussion. “We’re also love the huge universe of gods and characters he created. Even our first songs are influenced by Lovercraftian art,philosophy and atmosphere. Stories e.g. “The Music of Erich Zann” or “The Colour Out of Space” are endless fountains of inspiration. Beside our lyrics, which are (mainly) directly based on or influenced by stories, we often try to compose our songs in that way e.g. when we work on harmonics or riff-arrangements. To cut a long story short: We combine Lovecratian art and death metal because they were made for each other.”

Dylath-Leen

Bertrand (DYLATH-LEEN) “It’s hard not to admire people who can create an entire world, different lives with the possibility to feel free inside. There is something sick in his novels but at the same time, every time I read, I hear the scream of a dead man saying the worse will come soon for all of us. Lovecraft is incredibly lucid when he writes letters to friends, he makes perfect sociological analysis, his knowledge about literature, philosophy and many other sciences is incredible and at the same time he knows how to show the better and the worse of mankind. Poetry is in every word he uses… he’s a kind of prophet for me, revealing the content of a new eon of chaos to come… My way of expression is different but I think music can give those extreme points of view and can make people feel comfortable, or feel shiver because the atmosphere is beautiful or sick. Life is made of that kind of contrast and you can find it in every kind of art, our music is a kind of translation of what we feel when we read him.”

Azrath-11

“As I said, Lovecraft inspired me that much ‘till totally become a serious part of my musical trail!” claims Asmodevs Draco DVX (formerly of AZRATH-11). “If I just close my eyes I feel like engorged in a vortex between consciousness and dreams where all my visions and emotions become true and the natural consequence of this reaction is to write music and lyrics mindful of the energy that only his stories manage to evoke!”

Tyrant’s Kall

TYRANT’S KALL are certainly hard-core Lovecraft’s disciples, so let’s see what their view on inspiration by the Great Author and his impact on the band is. The vocalist Esmee says: “I know that using Lovecraft’s material in a metal band is not original. But we don’t care. Everything has already been done before. Pop singers still keep on writing songs about love, and nobody seems to make an issue about that fact. So why not take a subject that we find fascinating and let our fantasy do the rest? It is certainly an inexhaustible source that can always give new ideas. I even made some texts that are based on things that have really happened. But I let my fantasy turn the situation into a chaotic story, with lingering in the back of my mind. What fascinated me the most is the suggestions in the stories. Most of the scary things aren’t even really mentioned, but are created by the mind as you read along. It’s also difficult to keep your feet on the ground when you read stories, because it’s all so realistic. You aren’t always 100% positive about what ‘s real and what is made up. The fact that he created a whole cult and that today, people are still using his ideas in thousands of movies, paintings, stories, … is also something that fascinates me. I feel bad for him, knowing that he never realized how successful he would become after his death. I guess that ‘s a curse only the greatest of artists have to go through. I think the influences of the Cthulhu cultus aren’t really something we have in mind when we make music. But there is always some kind of threatening atmosphere to be found in the songs,so Lovecraftian influences aren’t far away. I write the texts whenever I have the inspiration. This inspiration can come along after I have just read a story, or sometimes even a year later, when the story has started to live its own life inside my head. Or even when I saw something on television or heard a story about someone who went fishing on holiday and had an encounter with a squid walking out of the sea towards him! When the rest of the band finishes a song, I try to find out what images it calls up inside my head and then I look at my texts, which one is the most fitting for this mental image according to me. This is the way we work.”

Innzmouth

Daemon (INNZMOUTH) feels his fascination: “I think what fascinates me is the way he structured his stories and the fact that it can be interpreted at many different levels one of them is how humans think of themselves as if they know everything while they’re pretty much like someone who’s trying to map an entire planet by looking through a keyhole, the other is the feeling of determinism that you can get out of his works, how we just have to wait until the bitter end and realize there’s nothing to be done.”

Similar view offers Marko (OAK ) : “To me it’s fascinating how he could evoke such haunting feelings in the reader’s mind. No matter who you ask but almost all of them get these feelings. I try to write songs in which the music itself will give the listener these emotions. Add on the lyrics and hopefully it will be something to remember when when you hear it for the first time.”

Alhazred

Impact on ALHAZRED? “Since these dark fantasies have a more surreal, dream-like atmosphere, I try to reflect this in the music Alhazred has created, going in a more psychedelic metal direction rather than the thrash or death metal sound a lot of -inspired bands have created. We also pull in some symphonic and ethnic (mainly Middle Eastern) sounds and explore all kinds of musical ideas.”

Bretus

“For a boy like me that were usually reading comics, Lovecraft’s world seemed as the Atlantis discovery,” remembers member of the band BRETUS. “I also appreciate his personal story as weak child with the will of knowledge. As a band we try to do the best for spreading the Lovecraft’s breath (only others can judge if bad or well ) but my greater dream is to make in music one of his stories. but is not so easy,” he adds.

Evangelist

What’s most fascinating about Lovecraft’s work? Explains EVANGELIST: “The most fascinating thing is ’s ability to create tension and horror without resorting to drastic language and all this gore stuff. Another thing is broadness of his vision, absolute “no limits” in his world’s creation. And last but not least, ambience of his work,that has no match whatsoever. It’s very inspiring for us as a band, because that’s what we want to achieve with our music – to create magical ambience with real impact on the listener.”

Gods of Hellfire

Finally, GODS OF HELLFIRE sum it up the best: “If I have to put it into three words, I suppose it would be imagination, darkness, and insanity. The writing immediately gripped me, and the tales themselves just hit some kind of inner note that I found irresistible. In terms of impact on the band I suppose there is less direct impact in terms of songwriting, as we have only really written one specific track that tell a Lovecraftian story.”

Daggerspawn

“His style of writing influences imagination a lot. Leaves traces and features of his creatures and characters and lets your brain mold the rest. Yet the atmosphere keeps you tucked in, I also applaud his ability to form a story with its present, history and ominous future. Creatures, events, chronology its a simple masterwork – and also a plausibility which always leaves u with a strong “What if its real?” after reading,” explains Nenad (DAGGERSPAWN). “On the band side it gave me inspiration to try and make songs as a bunch of stories literary similar to his, enabling a little deeper explanation of events inside the song. Everything is said, but not so crudely and vague which most of today’s lyrics are.”

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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