To Lovecraft, with love
I’m going away to Ireland tomorrow, back to a place where I lived for a while in my early teenage years. The place where I’ll be staying is 4 miles from the nearest shop, 17 miles from the nearest town and is at the end of a large forest. Pure isolation, so naturally I’m bringing lots of reading material.
Scanning my bookcase I spied a couple of H.P. Lovecraft omnibuses, books that I haven’t really picked up since I was 17-18. I’m sure that for a lot of people heavy metal and horror are natural bedfellows, but save for a select few films and the imagery of 30’s/40’s/50’s Universal Monsters I’m not such a fan of the genre in any medium. However, seeing those Lovecraft books reminded though of how great his mythos and stories are. it took me back to the first time I bought one of his collections in a charity shop for 50p and raced home to read through it; I’d heard whisperings of how unusual the atmosphere was in his stories , and even the name ‘Lovecraft’ seemed dangerously arcane to me. Maybe I’m just a weirdo. Anyway, I sat reading ‘The Haunter of the Dark’ as a storm raged outside my window, just as it does in the story. I didn’t think that the Haunter was going to ride the storm and come into the bedroom as happens in the story (that was more likely to be my mum, I was one messy kid) but I was enthralled.
Even the photographs of Lovecraft seem odd; I used to think that they fitted the bill of the misanthropic loner that his biographers have painted him as, but now when I look at them I see someone whose same, constant expression mirrors the detachment and indifference that the famed Great Old Ones show throughout his stories.
Anyway, whilst I haven’t read Lovecraft in a long time, the influence that his writings and universe have had over the music I have enjoyed for years is immeasurable. Today I’ve just been drinking coffee, baking a chocolate cake and trying to decide which bands have harnessed his weird atmosphere the best. It’s a hard life sometimes. So here’s my 5 favourite Lovecraft influenced albums (I’m sure Pranjal and Monica might be able to add to this):
1. Rudimentary Peni – Cacophany
A concept album by the English death punk band, based purely on H.P Lovecraft’s life. Absolutely insane but fantastic.
2. Catacombs – In The Depths of r’lyeh
The name of the album is Lovecraft related, and it has a very other-worldly atmosphere.
3. Moss – Cthonic Rites
Probably what it would sound like if Cthulhu came to earth, decided to swallow everybody and then recorded the goings on in his belly.
4. Ungl’Unl’Rrlh’Chchch – Ungl’Unl’Rrlh’Chchch
I swear that’s their name and I’m not making it up. A project that is a tribute to Lovecraft. Weird, eerie droning sounds.
5. Morbid Angel – every album. Not for the atmospheres but just because they seem to love H.P.L so much.
If anybody knows of any others, not just within the realms of punk/metal, I’d love to hear them. I’m off to eat some chocolate cake and pray to the Great Old Ones. (Oh, and check the graffiti out….incredible!) PeteF.