For very good and well-proven reasons, the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft has inspired the music of countless metal bands across a range of different genres, but few have embraced the great man’s writing quite like the Dutch duo SwampCult have. Their new album The Festival — which will be released on October 2 by Transcending Obscurity — is based entirely on a Lovecraft story that bears the same name, and the album traces that story from start to finish, with each song representing a different chapter in the unfolding narrative. In addition, the album will be accompanied by a special story card for each song.
Today we have for you a stream of The Festival’s third chapter, a song called “Al-Azif Necronomicon“, along with a close-up image of the story card accompanying that track:
Of course, it’s one thing for musicians to be inspired by Lovecraft, and it’s another to translate those inspirations into music that both reflects the horrifying darkness of the writing, like a soundtrack, and stands out as a work of quality even if you know nothing about the muse that inspired it. As you will hear, SwampCult have achieved both objectives.
The best way to experience The Festival is to read the story (which is considered one of the first in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos), read the lyrics of the entire album, and then listen to it straight through. We can’t make that possible today, but fortunately these songs are awfully good standing alone.
“Al-Azif — Necronomicon” is slow, groaning, and steeped in an aura of encroaching doom, which is amplified by an array of ghastly vocals that range from inflamed spoken words to howls of malignant viciousness to wails of terror-stricken agony. This enveloping black cloud of toxins is pierced by a burst of jabbing, chugging riffs that bespeak violence, and the song concludes with an unsettling ambient segment that’s the stuff of nightmares.
To pre-order The Festival, visit the Bandcamp page linked below. Also below, we’ve included the album’s first chapter, which premiered previously at The Obelisk.