Posts Tagged ‘HP Lovecraft’

Hadit - Introspective Contemplation of the Microcosmus

Italian doom lords Hadit bring the crawling morbidity on their ‘Introspective Contemplation of the Microcosmus’, originally released on tape last year through Caligari Records, but now seeing a CD release through Terror from Hell Records. View this as a future peek at what their upcoming full length will hold…

A dense sludgy crawl emanates from the speaker as we get underway with ‘Occult Whispers Declare the Impending Apocalypse’, before a suffocating, windtunnel vocal voids itself from another dimension. Everything that one would look for in death/doom heaviosity is here, from the inhuman growl to the juddering chug of the riffs. Merely by chance, it’s also the third release that has clearly featured HP Lovecraft as an influence recently, and I guess this is why I enjoy it so much. I’m a huge Lovecraft guy, and anything that attempts to bring out the ‘sound’ of what his novels and stories are is ok in my book.

‘Reborn in New Flesh and Supremacy’ has this uneasy groove to it, that rears its head between a punishing drum performance, and belched vocals of black murk. The EP closes with the monstrous atonal unease of ‘Thirteen Plains of Nonexistence… Awaiting Kadath’, which may sound unwieldy but it is a perfect summation of everything good about Hadit; blasting, inhuman roars, skin crawling atmospherics and heavy, heavy riffing. This upcoming full length should be fantastic.


Obed Marsh - Innsmouth

Feeding on from the Lovecraft inspired dread of Swampcult, I’ve found myself in ‘Innsmouth’, the debut Obed Marsh record that is crafted from cyclopean doom and morbid blackness. This Australian duo look to drag you off towards another space and time, a place where madness is as commonplace as water and Elder things crawl and creep.

From the watery ‘Prologue’ into the deep and dark ‘Innsmouth Ritual’, it is clear straight away that this is a listening experience designed to test your mettle. A dirging black cloud that envelops you and a rasping vocal that could be a follower of Dagon himself, belching unholy incantations that both invigorate and terrify. The undead crawl of ‘The Esoteric Order’ almost drips with malicious intent, while the glorious closing sequence to ‘Usurpers’ allows Obed Marsh to flex its creative muscle without stepping too far away from the core sound.

‘Deficient’ feels like a mournful cry for help, while the miserable ‘Desquamate’ amplifies that feeling even more. There is a dread murk that seeps within every riff, every rasp, that encompasses the mind with eldritch fear. This music is dark, sinister and, at points, harrowing. Obed Marsh have dragged up the foul beasts of the abyss, and their haunting gloom will drag you back down with them to cold, watery depths.

Swampcult are from the Netherlands, and have crafted an album of utter death and decay based on one of HP Lovecraft’s most intense and influential novellas, ‘The Festival’. The album is entitled the same as the story, and follows the dark tale of the beginnings of the Cthulhu Mythos. Come with us on a journey into the unknown, the unfathomable, and seek the dreadful truth…

Each song is a separate chapter of the story, unfolding the dread tale slowly and gradually building the suspense. Blending death, doom and black metal into an eerie soundtrack, the tracks are accentuated by tolling bells, strange squelching noises (the end of ‘Chapter III’ is particualrly disturbing) and other effects and samples that enhance this otherworldly feeling. A chugging, doomy album that is reminscient of early Florida death metal, sprinkled liberally with Paradise Lost-esque gloom.

Swampcult have created a record that is not necessarily here to bludgeon you into submission with earth shaking ferocity; rather they are here to unsettle you, to remove your sense of comfort and leave you open, bare to the uncoiling madness that creeps from the likes of ‘Procession’ and the leviathan ‘The Rite’. ‘The Festival’, like the story that inspires it, is a mysterious and ghastly tale where madness is real, and the nightmare is given form by the music. Many bands have used Lovecraft as an inspiration for their music, but rarely has a band come this close to capturing the oblique horrors that he hinted at. Superb.

This was originally published here:

What was extra awesome about this album was it inspired me to collect my giant HP Lovecraft collected tales to read ‘The Doom That Came to Sarnath’ again, which is probably one of my favourite Lovecraft stories. So bravo Space God Ritual.

Oregon doom duo Space God Ritual clearly has a huge boner for HP Lovecraft. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with that. Lovecraft is a towering influence over a lot of metal; his twisted, terrifying tales are so metal it hurts. Having songs called ‘The Doom Of Sarnath’ and ‘Mad Alhazred’ is a bit of a giveaway too.

Musically, there’s something delightfully Vitus about the band, particularly the sermon-esque intro track ‘The Elder Door’. Vocalist Alexander Olaff has a wonderful touch of Wino about his voice, which adds a layer of eccentric menace to the tales of madness and monsters. The howling laughter that accompanies ‘Madness!’ is a nice touch, and there’s something almost carnival like about the chorus vocals. This is followed by the more measured, almost bluesy ‘The Weeping’, which conjures up Sabbath’s mournful psychedelica. A magnificent, sprawling piece of psychedelic doom, it raises spectres of doom’s evolution from psychedelic rock and spirals into crushing riffs.

Necromantic Woman’ is what could be regarded as a potential hit single. It has a catchy, driving main riff and reigns in some of the more expansive moments into a grinding head nodder. It is a three and a half minute showcase of what makes Space God Ritual an interesting proposition; the unique vocals, the catchy riffs and the general oddness.

Mad Alhazred’ is more straightforward Vitus doom, rippling with atonal guitar lines. This is probably the best song on the record, an exercise in how strangeness can benefit doom metal when used effectively. ‘The Web Of The Witch World’ is less stellar, with a chorus that tries it’s hardest to catch your attention but yet just fails. Maybe it doesn’t benefit from being placed on the record after the tour de force of ‘Mad Alhazred’ but it fails to hit the spot.

What makes Space God Ritual more worthy of your attention than other stoner doom acts? They have that 70’s fuzzy guitar tone, occult overtones and riffs aplenty. But what they have that sets them apart is the sense of foreboding and drama that you would, ironically, find in a Lovecraftian novel. They strike me as a band that should be four or five strong, not two. They have an accomplished sound, polished and clear but losing no atmosphere. ‘The Doom Of Sarnath’ is a great example of the dramatic feeling, a story of doom and hopelessness.

Eldritch Tales’ is a unique piece of doom, standing at the crossroads of Vitus/Sabbath and a true psychedelic rock path. Mix in copious amounts of perfect lyric material and you have a fine album. This is the Sound of the Doom That Came to Sarnath…

How do you explain Australia’s most fucked up avantgarde death metal band to someone who has never heard them? “Its like death metal filtered through a wind tunnel”? “It’s like if Japanese noise artist Merzbow wrote a death metal record”? Maybe the best way is to put on their new record ‘Vexovoid’ and watch their eyes fill with dread. Portal are intense. Scarily intense in fact. I watched a video on Youtube the other day of every Dillinger Escape Plan song played at the same time (because somebody out there felt the world needed to hear this) and it sounded like Portal. Portal will attack your senses in ways you will never expect.

Their new record ‘Vexovoid’ is another example of how dark and dense death metal can truly be. If you’re a fan of HP Lovecraft’s writings, you can imagine that if any of his otherworldly creations who wreak havoc and insanity on the minds of those who see them wrote music, it would sound like this. Opening track ‘Kilter’ is a tornado of blackened, hate filled noise. It is thick, dark, atonal riffing coupled with the voice of doom. It is frankly staggering that such a sound can be captured on record. Portal have their intense, filling-with-dread atmospherics down to a tee here. The production isn’t quite as murky as previous record ‘Swarthe’, which allows a bit more of the band’s intricate moments to poke through. There’s a definite influence of black metal on ‘The Back Wards’, with some atonal tremolo riffing and blasting drums. It also has the Portal equivalent of a breakdown in the final minute, which translates to the sound of the earth cracking underwater.

With each track, the atmosphere becomes more oppressive and dark. The intro to ‘Curtain’ has one of the most brutal guitar tones I’ve heard all year. It’s like Meshuggah tuned even further down. ‘Curtain’ is probably my favourite track; the final half sounds like an enormous neutron hammer crushing humanity with each impact. ‘Plasm’ is a clattering cacophony of buzzing riffs, rumbling drums and inhuman howls, before it drops out completely and layers oppressive ambience in place of full on attack. It’s yet another example of atmosphere build up: ‘Vexovoid’ spends the majority of the record increasing the tensions and fears of us simple metalheads, making us shift uncomfortably at the lack of a headbanging moment. The end of ‘Awryeon’ sounded like it should’ve appeared in something like Hellraiser.

In short, ‘Vexovoid’ is an essential record of 2013 simply due to the fact that, other than the new Gorguts record, nothing sounds even remotely this intense while remaining unabashedly experimental. Put this on, grab your nearest copy of Lovecraft and prepare to be very scared. Yet again, Portal have created a warped, evil masterpiece.