Entering next phase (The Editorial)

With yet another change in the life of the Rubber Axe webzine I’m using this opportunity to think – through words – about the usual: the past, present and the future of this little medium.

To be honest with you (and if know me then you know I am honest with you always), I’ve always preferred a printed medium, and the reason is basically the same discussion about physical versus digital. A lot of people don’t see the value of physical item as a collectable, the time period piece with a value to the owner/collector, which is – at least for me (and I know I am not alone in this) – possibly the heaviest argument in the discussion, and, of course, the question of actually “owning the content” I am paying for is getting more and more important with disappearance/deletion of streaming channels, changes in the archives of the streaming service providers etc.

So far, so good. Back in the day, with the experience of publishing a print publication, obvious choice was to continue that way. The major obstacle back then – and what’s growing into even a bigger one – was the prohibitive cost of postage, which basically made the whole issue of self-publishing (other than using print-on-demand services as CreateSpace, Lulu and others) a no-go – unless you are a lone fanatic doing it for the sake of doing it, losing money along the way.

So, obviously, web publishing is where it’s at. Enters the Rubber Axe webzine, 2018.

I’m not gonna deny that the expectation were quite different from the initial output. Sounds familiar? I will not go to details, suffice to say that really soon was evident that things needed a shake-up, along with a big jump in the knowledge, especially a technical expertise. What a challenge! I loved it and still love the thrill of learning something useful, which – in turn – can be put into the operation and you can see the actual results pretty soon, almost immediately. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Everything evolves and the Rubber Axe webzine evolves as well.

It’s May 2020 now and the webzine enters its next phase. 2 years is enough to find strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, to find one’s own voice and to follow the heart. Yes, I’ve said it – to follow the heart. Because this is a work of love, the love for the side of culture many people don’t even known it exists.

So, yes, the whiteboard on the wall is full of coloured ideas and thoughts, the question marks and notes, music is blasting (just a little), the research for new articles continues, website is being optimized…times,they’re a-changin’ indeed. And that’s great.

Oh, what about the future, you ask? Have I forgotten about it? No, I haven’t. You just have to wait and see for yourselves.

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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10 metal albums which made me the metalhead I am today

Every metalhead has favourite albums. Either being the milestones of discovery of new genres, or just personal favorites – some we revisit from time to time, some we just remember fondly.

But I am pretty sure we all have our personal top tens. Today, I’d like to talk about 10 metal albums which have contributed to my development as a metalhead. And that’s a helluva great personal journey, I have to say!

1. Accept – Metal Heart (1985)

Accept – Metal Heart (1985)

There was a time when every metalhead I’ve known back in the day had been talking about Accept. Well, the “Metal Heart”, with the famous solo “Für Elisse“ has certainly contributed to the fame of those German metalheads, then still fronted by the small guy with a great crispy voice, Udo Dirkschneider. And even today this album stands out as a pillar of the German metal scene – and that scene is great to this very day, and for that we are all thankful, aren’t we?

2. Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)

Metallica – Master of Puppets (1986)

Although as the time passes, I prefer Jump in the Fire EP as my favourite ‘llica material (and Master of Puppets with …And Justice For All would be together on the second place, that’s for sure), Master of Puppets was on the very same bootleg tape I’ve had Accept’s “Metal Heart” on, so it’s safe to say those two albums made me a metalhead. Being only 9 years old back then, even a kid could recognize the great stuff those thrashers present. And for the record, I’ve stopped to listen to them after Black Album, but that’s a story for another day, I guess. Still, Master of Puppets rule. No doubt about that.

3. Slayer – South of Heaven (1988)

Slayer – South of Heaven (1988)

And then along came Slayer. From the Big 4, Metallica and Slayer were the only bands I’ve regularly listened to (sorry, Anthrax, sorry, Megadeth – although I’ve found my way to Dave Mustaine’s stuff later on, while as for Anthrax, only album I’ve been able to listen to was State of Euphoria – liked it, but it didn’t convince me to pursue the other material by groovy thrashers from New York further).

While many would swear on Reign in Blood as the best album Slayer has ever put out (and with “Angel of Death” probably most controversial), the first two songs from South of Heaven (the titular one and “Silent Scream”) must convince anyone this is the fine stuff. And it is. For me, Araya & Co. did their best right here. End of story.

4. Sepultura – Arise (1991)

Sepultura – Arise (1991)

I won’t be able to tell you which album was the first encounter with those fierce Brazil guys from Bello Horizonte, but it was the middle of 1987, so it had to be either Bestial Devastation or Morbid Visions. And for my ears, accustomed to Metallica, Accept, Destruction and Helloween, this was the heaviest stuff there was. And heavy it was, but it was Arise with the shitloads of catchy trash-death tunes, which made it to the staple diet of a young metalhead. Beneath the Remains album was OK (and “Inner Self” was – and still is – a fucking kickass song), but “Arise”, “Desperate Cry”, “Dead Embryonic Cells” and the rest of Arise album simply bulldoze anything they did before to the ground. I need to say I’ve stopped to listen to Sepultura after Chaos A.D.

5. Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)

Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)

Ah, Death…would you believe I’ve exclusively had this tape in my tape player for about 6 months straight? Yep, I have and I’ll tell you a secret, the other album sharing this honor was, surprisingly, Enya’s The Memory of Trees – man, I love this album so much!

But Death’s Spiritual Healing record was – as far as I can remember – probably the first death metal album I’ve heard. Not so long ago I’ve played it again and the nostalgia coming from hearing those riffs was beyond belief. Fucking great record. And while later I’ve come back for Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy, plus later stuff, Spiritual Healing is the best Chuck Schuldiner ever presented to my ears. RIP, man!

6. Bathory – Twilight of the Gods (1991)

Bathory – Twilight of the Gods (1991)

Here again, older metalheads will definitely argue first Bathory albums were the best (and for Quorthon’s black metal era it’s undeniable he’s one of the fathers of black metal), I’ve falled in love with this magnum opus. The slow mood of the windy Scandinavian lands, the Viking themes, great musicianship and especially characteristical choruses – along with previous album, Hammerheart, Bathory single-handedly created the whole new genre – Epic (or Viking) metal. Not that this is the only thing I am grateful for, but Twilight… is to this day in my playlist. It’s simply great.

7. Cathedral – Forest of Equilibrium (1991)

Cathedral – Forest of Equilibrium (1991)

Who would have guessed which musical way will Lee Dorian go after departing from grindcore monster called Napalm Death! Certainly not me but I’ve been hooked up the moment I’d read about it in one Czech fanzine (it was Metaliště fanzine, for your information).

And man, does that album kills!!! Doom and gloom simply flows through your speakers straight to your ears! I’ve used to listen to this album while reading H. P. Lovecraft’s stories and those two have created the perfect combo. To this day I’m thinking of Cathedral while re-reading Lovecraft – and of Lovecraft while re-listening to Cathedral. And I won’t stop anytime soon, that’s for sure!

8. Beherit – The Oath of Black Blood (1991)

Beherit – The Oath of Black Blood (1991)

Now it’s called a compilation (but I remember back in the day it was never called that, just an album), but I am not here to argue about it. But imagine the jaw falling down when I’ve seen the cover. What young metalhead didn’t want the t-shirt with that cover? I certainly did (but alas, never managed to get one). And luckily, I’ve been able to buy a tape from my friend who – although a metalhead himself to this day – haven’t really appreciated the chaotic black metal of Mikko Laiho and co. Well, I have and certainly agree this stuff is not for everyone. But I adore the chaotic nature of this album and the next one, Drawing Down the Moon is simply another classic of the genre, albeit in totally different way.

9. Mayhem – Live in Leipzig (1993)

Mayhem – Live in Leipzig (1993)

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is for me the pure essence of Mayhem, but the best recording of those evil Norwegian black metallers is this live material. Pure, undilluted evil filtered through Dead’s vocals and supported by no less evil music from Euronymous and the rest of the group. Along with Burzum debut (and Aske EP) this – at least for me – is the Norwegian black metal in it’s truest form.

And for the sake of completion, I’ve had this album only on tape, with black cover and pink Mayhem logo. The above cover with Dead was released only later.

10. Impetigo – Ultimo Mondo Cannibale (1990)

Impetigo – Ultimo Mondo Cannibale (1990)

What an album! It took me ages to lay hands on the Polish bootleg tape of this amazing album, and it was probably the first expose of my ears to deathgrind/goregrind. And to this day, as we all agree (right?) it stands the test of time as the greatest goregrind album of all time. Who does disagree?

Apart from wild music and Stevo’s unbelievable vokills, this album introduced me to my favourite thing from metal records – intros made using the audio clips from various horror movies. Yes, back in the day every good album has some intro (and I truly miss this feature), but Impetigo has brought a fistful of them and also created a craving to get all those movies (and that has happened only long after I’ve been listening to this great album).

Of course, there are other albums I could have mentioned, but that would be outside the scope of this article (noisecore era of Meat Shits, for example)..damn, now I need to go and listen to those albums again!!!!

UK’s Electronic-Pop Band EMPATHY TEST Announce The Release of EMPTY-HANDED EP.

May 23, 2019 – UK Electronic-Pop band EMPATHY TEST is pleased to announce the release of their limited edition EP, EMPTY-HANDED

Availble on limited edition digipack CD, 7″ vinyl and digital formats June 20!

Following the success of double A-side single, “Holy Rivers / Incubation Song”, which has racked up over 150,000 streams on Spotify since its October release and was praised by Clash Music for its “shimmering synths, glacial electronics, and heartrending vocals”, London Synthpop group EMPATHY TEST returns with a second, tantalising taste of their upcoming third album, in the form of new single “Empty-Handed.”

Track List:

  1. Empty-handed
  2. A River Loves a Stone
  3. Empty-handed (TRAAPS Remix)
  4. A River Loves a Stone (Ari Mason Remix)

Empty-Handed presents another sonic leap forward for a band that has never been one to tread water when it comes to their sound, presenting a harder, darker style whilst simultaneously tipping their proverbial hat to the Synthwave scene that helped launch their career back in 2014. An arpeggiated synthesiser provides a relentless momentum from the get-go, while the deceptively simple composition gradually builds to its epic conclusion.

Opening line, “My heart is an empty vessel / Drifting out to sea” sets the tone both lyrically and emotionally. It’s about being unable to give a partner the emotional support or commitment they need and the feeling of emptiness that comes with that. As always, Empathy Test delivers a perfect marriage of music and emotion, the sudden flourishes of strings and synthesisers rushing past like spirits in the night.

There’s a sense of urgency here that has not been present previously, as well as an innate confidence that suggests the third album, which comes after the simultaneous release of two debut albums Losing Touch (Remastered) and Safe From Harm in November 2017 and is slated for release in early September, might just be the band’s most accomplished to date.

Attention Writers:
Empathy Test is AVAILABLE for email interviews.
Email: william@newdarkagespr.com for more information.

UK tour with Actors

June 20, 2019 – Trillians – Newcastle
June 21, 2019 – Voodoo Rooms – Edinburgh
June 22, 2019 – Ivory Blacks – Glasgow
June 23, 2019 – FAC251 – Manchester
June 26, 2019 – Maze – Nottingham
June 27, 2019 – Esquires – Bedford
June 28, 2019 – Slade Rooms – Wolverhampton
June 29, 2019 – O2 Academy Islington – London
June 30, 2019 – Exchange – Bristol

Festivals

June 09, 2019 Wave Gotik Treffen, Germany
Aug 11, 2019 Mera Luna, Germany
Aug 15, 2019 W-Festival, Belgium

North American tour with Aesthetic Perfection

Sept 06, 2019 – The Casbah – San Diego, CA
Sept 07, 2019 – Club Red – Mesa, AZ
Sept 08, 2019 – Rock House – El Paso, TX
Sept 12, 2019 – Amp Room – San Antonio, TX
Sept 13, 2019 – Elysium – Austin, TX
Sept 14, 2019 – Warehouse Live – Houston, TX
Sept 15, 2019 – The Church – Dallas, TX
Sept 17, 2019 – The Goat – New Orleans, LA
Sept 18, 2019 – Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA
Sept 19, 2019 – The 926 Bar – Tallahassee, FL
Sept 20, 2019 – The Orpheum – Tampa, FL
Sept 21, 2019 – Will’s – Orlando, FL
Sept 24, 2019 – The Milestone – Charlotte, NC
Sept 25, 2019 – Fallout – Richmond, VA
Sept 26, 2019 – Dangerous Pies – Washington, DC
Sept 27, 2019 – Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA
Sept 28, 2019 – The Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
Sept 29, 2019 – ONCE Ballroom – Boston, MA
Sept 30, 2019 – Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
Oct 01, 2019 – Coalition – Toronto, ON
Oct 02, 2019 – Howlers – Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 03, 2019 – The Event Center – Cincinnati, OH
Oct 04, 2019 – Small’s – Detroit, MI
Oct 05, 2019 – Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
Oct 06, 2019 – Club Anything – Milwaukee, WI
Oct 07, 2019 – Warehouse – LaCrosse, WI
Oct 08, 2019 – Red Sea Lounge – Minneapolis, MN
Oct 09, 2019 – Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
Oct 11, 2019 – Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
Oct 12, 2019 – Area 51 – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 14, 2019 – Pub 340 – Vancouver, BC
Oct 15, 2019 – Highline – Seattle, WA
Oct 16, 2019 – Paris Theater – Portland, OR
Oct 18, 2019 – Brick and Mortar – San Francisco, CA
Oct 19, 2019 – Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA

Biography

Since Empathy Test’s conception in January 2013, the independent London electronic pop duo has produced two stunning, four-track EPs and a steady stream of memorable singles which have won them both critical acclaim and a legion of dedicated fans worldwide. Their unique brand of cinematic synth pop has been featured by the likes of Vice, Netflix, HBO, MTV, XFM, KCRW, BBC Introducing, Clash, Idolator, Earmilk, PopMatters and many more.

In 2017, the band began a crowd funding campaign to fund the self-release of two debut albums, ‘Losing Touch’ and ‘Safe From Harm’. The PledgeMusic campaign was 661% funded and the band raised over £26K to release the two albums via digital, CD and vinyl formats. To date, Empathy test has sold nearly 1,500 copies of each album on CD and 300 on vinyl.

After touring extensively in Europe and beyond, Empathy Test released the first taste of their forthcoming third album (set for release in September 2019) in October 2018, , in the form of a new double a-side single Holy Rivers / Incubation Song. Clash Music wrote that the new material, featuring “shimmering synths, glacial electronics, and heartrending vocals”, illuminated the band’s “potent creativity”.

Empathy Test are childhood friends Isaac Howlett (vocals) and Adam Relf (production). Isaac performs their songs live with the help of Christina Lopez (drums) and Samuel Winter-Quick (keyboards).

Industrial/Rock Band 51 PEG Breaks 14 Year Silence with A\VOID

Industrial/Rock band 51 PEG are pleased to announce the release of their new album A\VOID. This is their first release after a 14 year hiatus.

After garnering a following in the Mid-Atlantic region in the mid-2000’s and sharing the stage with acts such as 30 Seconds to Mars, Orgy, and The Birthday Massacre, the band is back with a 16-track offering that builds on their unique blend of the alt rock, goth, prog, and industrial genres.

“A\Void bearing all the hallmarks of the band’s previous work – striking melodies, complex progressions, and top-notch musicianship… but now, much more finely tuned, honed, sharpened into an eloquently produced industrial/rock package. With such a strong showing after 14 years, 51 Peg has certainly made the 14-year-long wait worth our while.” – ReGen

A\VOID Track List:

  1. A Void 03:46
  2. No Ctrl 04:50
  3. Another Nothing 03:38
  4. Coded in Time 04:36
  5. Acceptance 04:31
  6. Prying Eyes 04:04
  7. Super Spy 05:19
  8. Night Things 05:25
  9. Parachute and Savior 06:09
  10. Cat Scan 03:25
  11. Now and What Used to Be 04:19
  12. Death March 03:34
  13. Zero Zero 04:47
  14. Walk Through Me 04:40
  15. The Light That Lit Your Way 05:28
  16. The Void 02:56

51 Peg formed in 1998, with the release of their first album “Strange Appointments” coming in 2000 which drew comparisons to a varied group of artists like Peter Murphy, Depeche Mode, and Orgy. The follow-up album “Esc \ Ctrl” featured a more focused and polished sound, and pushed the band forward in popularity. The group went on an indefinite hiatus in 2007 but was offered a reunion show in 2016 which proved to be successful.

Building on that momentum and with the combined experience gathered over the years in other projects, the band decided to write their most ambitious material yet. Listen to the latest evolution of the band’s sound at 51peg.com.

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.”

Lovecraftiana in Music (1. part)

From among the vast numbers of horror and sci-fi authors, none is probably more known, but then also unknown in some way, than the famous Providence man, Howard Philips Lovecraft. We might discriminate against some other great authors with this statement, but Lovecraft has created something which inspired not only his friends and later followers with their literary outputs, mainly in the now well-known Cthulhu Mythos, Lovecraftiana reached to almost every cultural area known to a man. In this article we will look into Lovecraft’s influence of the extreme music.
For that purpose I have contacted several bands which in their works are influenced by Lovecraft’s work. Of course, the band list is not exhausting, some bands didn’t respond, some I might have missed…anyway, enjoy the Lovecraftiana in Music!

DUSTY TOMES OF LITERATURE

“It was September 1st. For the first time we met a good friend of us at home. We didn´t know that he got a library with ancient books. And there we saw it: the one and only book written by Abdul al Hazred: The Necronomicon!” relates Daniel (TULZSCHA). “Back to reality: Most of us have been very into literature, especially dark/horror/fictional literature. You cannot be fan of horror literature without knowing H.P. Lovecraft, that’s impossible. To all of us, he has been one of the first and best authors in horror literature.”
Ways to discover Lovecraft’s literary output are various and different. Those interested in literature took sometimes very varied ways to discover the genius of horror. Matti (CORPSESSED) explains: “H.P.Lovecraft’s writings have had an impact on me since a very early age when I stumbled upon his novels when I must have been no more than 10 years old. I probably did not get the whole gist of his writings back then, even his use of language and adjectives is very characteristic and peculiar. But his writings have grown on me immensly during the years and dare I say even influenced on how I view the universe and humanity…. Lovecraft paints a cold and Nihilistic world, where morality is very subjective, perhaps even meaningless and the whole existance of mankind is rather indifferent. Or atleast very insignificant in the face of Cosmic horrors lurking beyond the reaches of our perception.”
From one classic author to another, that’s the case of Carlos Zea, guitarist from Columbian bestial death metal act Yog-SOTHOTH: “The approach to the work of Lovecraft was by coincidence because at first I was very inclined towards literature of Edgar Allan Poe, then discovered H. P. Lovecraft. And then I started joining matches with lyrics of bands which already was a fan as King Diamond, Morbid Angel or Metallica.”
Similar experience comes from ACEDIA: “Lovecraft has got to be one of our biggest influences. I first discovered him through my local library looking for authors similar to Edgar Allen Poe. The first story I read was Shadow Over Innsmouth.”
Or, as ALHAZRED puts it: “I first discovered Lovecraft many years ago, when I was in high school. I’d been a fan of fantasy, SF and horror many years prior to that, especially with writers like Asimov, Poe and Tolkien. In fact, the first things I read by Lovecraft were his ‘dream fantasies’ rather than his more famous SF/horror works, and this aspect of Lovecraft’s fiction is still my favorite. In a similar vein, the writings of other late Victorian or Edwardian writers like Lord Dunsany, William Hope Hodgson and RW Chambers have had a significant influence on my music.”
Basically speaking, if you are into horror literature, sooner or later you will discover Lovecraft (if not, there’s something wrong, obviously). It might even be an accident: “I came across one of his stories by accident and I immediately felt attached to it. There was something peculiar about his works and the odd feelings it transfers to the reader that inspired me to search for all of his works and read them.” (Daemon, INNZMOUTH)
Not unlike the experience of Alec (GODS OF HELLFIRE): “I was actually introduced by my brother, who came back from university around 12 years ago and slapped a mystery book into my hand and basically told me “you’ve got to read this!” Well, I did…and then I went out and got another, and another until I’d read just about everything there was. In the meantime I started to see the name cropping up everywhere… societies, films, people who wrote on in his style, all I suppose continuing his work where he left off. I began to realise what a big impression Lovecraft had left behind, and also to kick myself that I hadn’t began reading his work earlier.”
Experience by the member of BEAST CONJURATOR nicely describes this journey through horror genre in literature: “My passion for the Lovecraft work started when I was a teenager. I was a enthusiast of the Fantastic Literature and used to read writers like E.A. Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Arthur Machen among others. I always saw names like “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Cthulhu” and “Great Old Ones” printed in numerous places but I only “got the call” when I bought a old compilation with some short histories from the Horror Master. Then it was COMPLETE fascination! I just couldn’t stop read about the Mythos and its author. It became a true vice and since then I have dedicated some years of my life in the search of all kind of edition in Portuguese (and some in English). Lovecraft work just became part of my life, living under the Necronomicon’s influence, and would be impossible if it did not take a important place in my artistic work as musician and lyricist.”
Asmodevs Draco DVX (AZRATH-11) relates his encounters with the weird tales of Lovecraft: “My first approach with Lovecraftian themes was at the high-school, since the very beginning I felt his works were extraordinary masterpieces, his skills to blend the reality and history in a unique ingenious formula is astonishing and at every reading totally blown my mind away introducing me in another darker dimension where I drowned my fantasies and ideas later took form unto the music for Azrath-11!”
Horror genre is not just a men’s thing, certainly we can find great horror writers – and their followers in the form of female artists, as Esmee Tabasco (TYRANT’S KALL) unequivocally states: “I am someone who loves to read. Even as a child I was always with the nose in the books. I also had a big fascination for anything that was associated with horror and the supernatural. I guess I was a weird kid. And I was also much more mature than others when it concerned these kinds of subject. I was 7 when I saw my first horror movie. When I was 12 I kept a big file with newspaper cut-outs and all the information I could get about serial killers. Not that I wanted to kill people or anything, but this was just something that fascinated me enormously. When you add things up (the books, the movies, …) it was only a matter of time before I would come across the work of Lovecraft. As a matter of fact, I read my first book for adults when I was about 11 of 12 years old, and it was a compilation of Lovecraft stories. And I swear it was love at first reading! Of course I was way too young to fully grasp the whole idea Lovecraft was hinting at, and I didn’t realise that there was quite often a link between the different stories. That realisation only came with the many years. I know that there are organisations like HPLHS, with members who almost dedicate their lives on studying Lovecraft’s life, stories and everything around it. They are admirable, but that is something I couldn’t do. There are still many other authors in this world that also deserve reading and so many other things to be interested in. So I am certainly honest when I say that there is much more for me to learn about the Lovecraftian cult. It’s more some kind of inert fascination that makes me come back to the same subject again and again. When I came in contact with the band, they were having some trouble finding a singer that fitted the band and the whole atmosphere they wanted to create. The singer before me was the first one who introduced the Lovecraftian cult in the music. Next to the music, this was also something that interested me in the band. One thing led to another and now I am the singer and I get my inspiration from the great Howard Phillips and everything that could have ever inspired him, or what he even might have written.”
“I can’t actually remember when I discovered Howard Philip Lovecraft the first time,” relates Christoffer (SMOTHERED). “It feels like he’s always been there. Like this safe place in my (sub)consciousness that I’ve always fall back on. I’ve read his novels every odd years since I was a teenager. But I think it must have been when I stumbled upon an Audiobook read by a famous Swedish actor named Ernst-Hugo Järegård who read stories like “The Hound” and “The Rats in the Walls” to name a few that I came in contact with Lovecraft for the first time. Must have been in 1993-94.”
“As a teenager, I wanted to try to read something else than what we were forced to read at school,” says Bertrand (DYLATH-LEEN). “So first, as a lot of french teenagers, I tried to find a horror book and my first try was Stephen King… in fact that was not my cup of tea (or my bottle of wine – say as you want for a french guy like me ;)) but in the preface of this book, the author described some kind of secret meeting of all the jet-set of this kind of literature in the house of the master of Providence… The mistery around this gave me the need to discover more, I searched for a book by Lovecraft and found “The call of Cthulhu”. I understood that Metallica was loving this and it increased my curiosity ! That book changed my life : first of all it was a great moment to read for the first time in my life and after that I read more and more different things about Lovecraft, who was seeing the world as I did very often… it was a weird and disturbing feeling. I found a spiritual father …”
As mentioned previously, readers of weird fiction, sci-fi and macabre sooner or later stumble upon Lovecraft, it’s almost inevitable, as witnessed by Sotiris V (SEPTICFLESH): “As I am a big fan of science fiction, I always enjoyed reading books of that genre. So eventually I stumbled upon the work of Lovecraft. I was immediately captivated, both by the thematology and the intense writing style.”
ZIGGURAT‘s D. Boyd has this to say on the topic: “I discovered Lovecraft when I was about 16 years old. Had always been a big horror reader and eventually stumbled upon his work. To say it changed my life is an understatement. My original musical goal was to base my lyrics around theology and history. But after really digging in the Mythos, the band took a whole new direction. Eventually culminating in the only band that IS “MYTHOS METAL MADNESS”! We are listed on HP Lovecraft.com and premier Lovecraftian artist, Dave Carson, has graced our shirts with his artwork. His art will also be our next album cover.”
First encounter with Lovecraft? “It was so long ago that it is almost impossible to remember. The Dreams in the Witch House must have been one of the first stories, and after that the ball started rolling,” (ASA-NOIR)
Nenad’s experience is similar: “Reading. I love reading especially of the criminal macabre, once u outgrow EA Poe u kinda stumble on HP L, and once u read it your hooked. Some old video games influenced since I was a child too but mostly books.” Nenad (DAGGERSPAWN)

FROM MUSIC TO LITERATURE, FROM LITERATURE TO MUSIC

The impact on earlier bands is clearly seen in older records and few artists found Lovecraft through them, let Tim from BURNING SHADOWS explain: “I discovered Lovecraft through Metallica’s “The Call of Ktulu” and “The Thing That Should Not Be.” Upon learning that these songs were based on HP Lovecraft tales, I picked up a collection of his stories from the bookstore and was instantly hooked. I have checked out a handful of the stories and movies based on his work (Reanimator, for example), but there’s simply nothing as good as the real thing.”
From one classic author to another, that’s the case of Carlos Zea, guitarist from Columbian bestial death metal act YOG-SOTHOTH: “The approach to the work of Lovecraft was by coincidence because at first I was very inclined towards literature of Edgar Allan Poe, then discovered H. P. Lovecraft. And then I started joining matches with lyrics of bands which already was a fan as King Diamond, Morbid Angel or Metallica.”
Says Ipsissimus Nihil Magister (BLACK TEMPLE BELOW): “I discovered Lovecraft for the first time when I was a 14-15 years old kid, being a fan of bands like early Morbid Angel and movies like “In The Mouth Of Madness” and “The Thing” by John Carpenter. When we briefly approached the Lovecraftian tales at school, it was done… since then I read any single book or tale by Lovecraft I could get my hands on. The first one I’ve read was “Azathoth.”
Metallica had really big impact on the fans of Lovecraft. No surprise, really. Tim from DAMNATIONS HAMMER reveals his experience thusly: “I think my first introduction to Lovecraft would have been through Metallica in the mid 1980’s with their tracks Call of Ktulu and The Thing That Should Not Be, the latter being my favourite Metallica track, love the lyrics too. Reading interviews with the band back in the day I remember Cliff Burton mentioning he was an avid reader of H.P Lovecraft – although I never understood why they spelt Cthulu as Ktulu? I can’t recall when I read my first Lovecraft book, I’m guessing it was around 1996 – the guitarist of the band I was in at the time lent me a collection of Lovecraft’s short stories as I wanted to read The Call Of Cthulu. Of all the stories in that first book I read At The Mountains Of Madness stood out to me, it’s still one of my personal favourites to this day. I appreciate the way the majority of Lovecraft’s work is interconnected with almost every tale mentioning the dreaded Necronomicon written by the mad arab Abdul AlHazred.”
But not only the older bands, newer generations of musicians get their initial inspiration also from other musical sources, as testified by Nedry (AKEM MANAH): “The way i got interested in HP Lovecraft was from the great band Electric Wizard. The song they did on “Witchcult Today” called “Dunwich” based on Lovecraft’s ‘Dunwich Horror”. Also the band Catacombs and his massive Lovecraft drenched album “In The Depths Of R’lyeh”.”
Tim (DAMNATION’S HAMMER) throws another musical influence in the mix: “When I formed Damnations Hammer the concept of the band was to invoke the same feeling I had when first discovering bands like Celtic Frost with their – at the time – surreal image and fantasy lyrics, obviously H.P. Lovecraft’s stories of macabre horror are a perfect resource for inspiration for Damnations Hammer. Additionally in the same way some of Lovecraft’s stories interconnect I wanted a theme to run through our work – on our demo EP from 2009 titled Serpent’s Wrath we have a surreal soundscape called The Hex, the soon to released album is called Disciples of the Hex and features a second soundscape titled The Hex ii – each subsequent release from Damnations Hammer will feature the next instalment of The Hex.”
EVANGELIST‘s way to discover Lovecraft is also via Metallica: “I owe discovery of Lovecraft to Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu” in the early 90s. There was no Internet, so I just had to go to library and check what this “Ktulu” shit was all about. Mindblowing experience for a teenager, indeed.”
“Really not when i was a child but more or less about 20 years old,” recounts his memories a member of BRUTUS. “I listened Metallica,Maiden and others heavy metal bands with Lovecraft’s lyrics and it has recalled my attention.
“I personally discovered him after hearing the band H.P. Lovecraft and later found out that he was a writer. Came in contact with his works through music (death metal to be exact) and later started to read his short stories.” admits Marko (OAK).
“We made a lyrical concept about lovecraftian themes in our first album Necrogenesis (The Spew records, 2010), but in our new record (our next album “Atonement” will be released by Comatose Music in 2013, and you can hear a preview on the label website, comatosemusic.com) we shifted the focus of our lyrics on the ominous and contradictory sides of human existence,” the member of LOGIC OF DENIAL writes. “Nevertheless, the core of our lyricism and the atmospheres we try to recreate are still influenced by the incredible work Lovecraft did on his writings. All the band contributes to the lyrical concept of our records, but I take care along with our singer Matt of the lyric duties, and we always loved Lovecraft since high school. We loved the dark, odd and, at the same time, epic and sublime atmospheres he instilled in his stories. Now, even if we don’t directly talk about Dagon on our tunes, that kind of feeling still inspires me when I write a new song, when I think about a cool title or when I try to drop some lines for some lyrics. After all, in my opinion there’s a link between the in-human sides of existence and the suggestive style Lovecraft used to depict his characters and his incredible stories.”

(end of 1. part)

Editor’s note: The article was written in 2013, therefore some of the bands answering are no longer active)

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