“Cthulhu” by François Baranger
(To commemorate the anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s death, Andy Synn has assembled a playlist of great tracks inspired by the great man.)
The influence that the work of H. P. Lovecraft has had upon the Metal scene can’t be understated, with everyone from Metallica to Morbid Angel taking lyrical (and musical) inspiration from his work.
Now yesterday just so happened to be the eightieth anniversary of Lovecraft’s death and, in true NCS fashion… we completely failed to acknowledge it.
However, it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon, and what is dead can never truly die, so here are a bunch of songs/albums which pay tribute to the author’s lasting legacy of eldritch, inhuman horror.
ALKALOID – CTHULHU
Let’s start out with something that gets straight to the point… the song is called “Cthulhu” and the music is a menacing conglomeration of humongous riffs, creeping bass lines, and deviant anti-melodies which even the Dark Lord himself would probably be able to groove to.
DREAD SOVEREIGN – CTHULHU OPIATE HAZE
More Cthulhu? Why the hell not? Though this one is much more on the ominous, doom-laden end of things, with its morbid, lurching riffs and scuzzy, skin-crawling sense of atmosphere.
SULPHUR AEON – INTO THE COURTS OF AZAGTHOTH
One of the most unsettling things about Lovecraft’s work was how he often conflated cosmic horror and physical degradation with themes of wonder and glory as if, by giving oneself up to the unknown and unknowable monstrosities beyond, one could achieve some form of hideous apotheosis. And that sense of grim grandeur and malevolent majesty underpins every second of this track.
Plus, you know… those riffs!!!
OBED MARSH – INNSMOUTH
Ugly, nasty, Doom from the bowels of Australia. In the words of Stan Lee… ‘nuff said.
THE GREAT OLD ONES – TEKELI-LI
And last, but by no means least… Tekeli-li. All of it. Put on your headphones and settle in for an auditory journey to the mountains of madness.
Great picks to honor a great writer.
I was thinking about chipping in a few examples, but soon realized there’s far too many. A song title search for ‘Cthulhu’ reveals just over 200 hits on Encyclopaedia Metallum. Now, there’s quite a few duplicate hits, but with various alternative spellings, I’m sure there’s many, many more.
“One of the most unsettling things about Lovecraft’s work was how he often conflated cosmic horror and physical degradation with themes of wonder and glory as if, by giving oneself up to the unknown and unknowable monstrosities beyond, one could achieve some form of hideous apotheosis”
Hideous apotheosis – damn, what an astute summation. Well done, sir!
As Gorger said, so many examples, but I’ll just leave these here:
https://mencea.bandcamp.com/track/elders “the old ones wait!”
Alan Averill (Dread Sovereign, Primordial): “The song (Cthuhu Opiate Gaze)is really about drugs….. Lovecraft is the gateway. He spent a lot of his time as a bed-ridden sick child out of his mind on medication. So I took the Lovecraft mythos as a metaphor for mind-altering substances. Also a chance for me to write a Chthulu song! And pay respects”.
Take from the interview we published here 1,5 year ago.
Yidhra “Ancient Ones”, “Dagon”
Lord VIcar “Pillars Under Water”
Bretus “The Shadow over Innsmouth” album
Arkham Witch almost full discography
Mountain Witch “At the Mountains of Madness”
Doomraiser “At the Mountains of Madness” album
The Gates f SLumber “Descent into Madness”
Electric Wizard “Dunwich Child”
Iron Man “Half Face/Thy Brother’s Keeper (Dunwich Pt. 2)”
Cardinals Folly “The Holocaust of Extasy and Freedom”
and many more I written about for Fire magazines issue 3 and 4 in the article dedicated to Lovecraft’s legacy in doom: https://www.facebook.com/fireheavypsychmagazine/
Not sure what point you’re trying to make quoting the interview?
All great picks from what must be an endless list of bands and songs. I recently saw Revocation and they referred to “Madness Opus” as their Lovecraft tribute of sorts, which sounds right once they get to the weird noodling parts and the mid-song interlude.
I’ve been reading the collected works on and off for the last 3 years or so (yes, I’m a slow reader, so what) and am about 3/4 of the way through the book, in the middle of Into the Mountains of Madness. Listening to TGOO’s Antarctica is a great fit with the story. I’d love to see someone try to match each of the major stories with a song or a couple as a soundtrack. (Preferably for the last quarter of the book that I haven’t read yet.)
I have to mention Swampcult’s new album, which is based entirely on Lovecraft’s story “The Festival”:
Damn I thought I’d read all of Lovecraft’s works, and I’d never heard of The Festival. Time to rectify that!
Im always championing Unaussprechlichen Kulten. Shit is so warped and… something just isn’t right with the songs. They are sickening. I love em.
Apparatus, I believe I found it here, is another weird creeper of a band.
And Im not sure Howls of Ebb has ever stated that they are a Lovecraft themed band, but I’d be damned if their music wasn’t the perfect accompaniment to the creeping death of Lovecrafts writing.
My favorite Lovecraft read of all was Dreamiest of Unknown Kadath. Amazing.