(As many of our readers already know, NCS contributor Grant Skelton is a budding writer of dark fiction, and now, as he explains below, he has some great doomy music to accompany his creations as well as inspiring them.)
Doom. Indisputedly one of the most metal words in the English language. It’s a very simple, monosyllabic utterance. It has only four letters. But “doom” carries with it a subterranean labyrinth of macabre connotations. In the metal world, it conjures images of abandoned cemeteries, perverse religious iconography, shadowy horned monstrosities, and a scummy chalice of nihilism.
Doom metal is a genre I’ve really grown to love in the last year. This site has led me to discover doom bands whose music has become personal, and even sentimental to me. And now we’ve finally made it into the throes of autumn, a season where nature itself decays. And how beautiful is that decay!
Temperatures under 60, burnt orange and crimson leaves, foreboding overcast skies, night falling earlier. As a writer, these climate changes fit in thematically with the music I’ve just described. Autumn is a gorgeous season that is often maligned and misunderstood. But I’m sure I’m not alone in my admiration of it.
Without sharing too much personal information, doom and funeral doom have been a catharsis for me of late. In my professional life (which often bleeds into my personal life) the despair and nihilism expressed in doom metal is often real. I don’t say this to elicit sympathy, but to mention the fact that despair, lack of meaning, the futility of your own efforts, and other doom metal themes are not exclusive to this genre. They are universal human experiences that each of us can relate to. Furthermore, we don’t have to be feeling the moods or emotions in doom metal to enjoy the music. Aside from the above example, I love my life. But my love for doom and funeral doom is not limited to my own emotional state.
Doom and funeral doom have given me inspiration for my own creative pursuits. Over the last year, doom has been my soundtrack while I’m writing. Doom feeds my creativity and motivates me to persevere in my own artistic development.
After my short story, “Outer Darkness” was accepted for publication, the station manager at Local X Radio asked me to record a dramatized reading of the story to broadcast on the station. Additionally, he asked me to continue the storyline with a series of stories based on this one. He asked for one story for each Saturday in October, for a total of five. All narration and voices are mine.
The third story, entitled “The Millstone,” features music (used with permission) from Seattle’s Bell Witch. Anyone who’s read NCS for any length of time knows that Bell Witch are favorites around here. But if you’re a new or recent NCS lurker, please enjoy Bell Witch’s latest album Four Phantoms below.
This series of stories I’m working on feature Reverend Malcolm Colt, an exorcist with a reality television show. The first story (“Outer Darkness”) introduced Colt and revealed his very disturbing secret. The second story (“The Devil’s Favorite Color”) saw Colt travelling to Nashville where he confronts a country music singer whose sultry Southern drawl conceals something sinister.
The third story (“The Millstone”) finds Colt meeting Clyde Merrick, a man who tells Colt that the only way Colt can help him is to kill him. This story features music by Bell Witch. It will air this Saturday, October 17, at 10pm Central on Local X Radio. Following that, I will make it available on Soundcloud for stream and download.
Find the previous two stories in the Soundcloud embeds below. These are completely free. Download them, share them, distribute them, enjoy them. My intent with these stories is to attempt to create, with my fiction, similar moods and atmospheres in the music that inspired it. I hope you will like what you hear.
Thanks to Bell Witch for the inspiration and permission to use their music. Thanks also to Simon Henderson at Oblique Artist Management.
Look for “Outer Darkness” in print in a spring 2016 anthology called Book Of Blasphemous Words, by A Murder Of Storytellers (amurderofstorytellers.com).
“The Devil’s Favorite Color”