Nox Arcana Necronomicon
By Marcus Pan
I just wrote up three thrash CDs, the last
of which was a very powerfully brash black metal album. I'm not much of a black
metal fan, so that was very hard for me to do. So I have no choice but to calm
down my senses, chill out and let my imagination take me somewhere softer. So
what do I do? I put on a CD dedicated to the Elder Gods of evil, darkness and
terror. A tribute to the Cthulhu Mythos by Nox Arcana. So much for softer.
Friends of Midnight Syndicate and creators of some of the
best gothic soundtrack style music in...well anywhere, really. This time Nox
Arcana, known for taking us to places like abandoned and haunted asylums and
castles, bring us with them into a much older and ancient place. Titled
Necronomicon, it takes on one of the classic literary hoaxes of all time
by H.P. Lovecraft(1). If you are even remotely a horror or science fiction fan
you've heard of the gods of the Necronomicon. Names like Cthulhu,
Yog-Sothoth and Dagon bring back memories of some of the best horror ever
penned or played.
I wouldn't trust a project of this magnitude to anyone other
than the Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski duo (except Midnight Syndicate,
but they just did the AD&D Soundtrack(2) so it's Nox Arcana's turn).
The CD jacket is in and of itself a work of art with a short diary entry from
Simon Barrington, an archaeologist who in 1939 discovers the original
Necronomicon, penned by Abdul Alhazred in his own blood, deep in the
bowels of a tomb buried near Damascus. In closing he beseeches the keeper of
the original book to destroy it, lest it fall into the wrong hands and bring
about our downfall as a civilization.
The music describes the creatures and laments of mankind as
the Elder Gods once again lay claim to the earth after Yog Sothoth opens the
gate and the great priest Cthulhu awakens them from slumber. Done in their well
known soundtrack instrumental style, classically arranged and wonderfully
visionary. Mythos opens Necronomicon with a Vincent Price like
reading of the old gods and their banishment to outer realms. The Nameless
City marches us to the edges of evil where Alhazred's Vision shows
us the depressing horror that awaits mankind.
The dark drums of Ancient Shadows awakens the shadows
of old. The readings continue, as on track 6 we are introduced to
Azathoth. The readings' text are included in the CD booklet as well.
Others we'll hear about are Nylarthotep, Dagon, Yog-Sothoth and, the
most famous of all, Cthulhu. Eldritch Rites is a brooding masterpiece
wrapped around the soft speaking of an elder priest as he chants a
Necronomicon ritual and is one of the most frightening pieces of music
ever pressed, even with it's slow speed. The darkness that surrounds
Necronomicon as a whole is truly mind numbing.
The Haunter of the Dark speeds up a bit with moving
synth work and The Awakening's rhythm brings us further along on a
quicker pace and opens with the famous phrase: "That is not dead which can
eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die." Cthulhu Rising
is also a great track with heavy drum movements against a dark brooding melody
that could easily be a string instrument as much as a wind. It pulses to a
powerful climax and leads into the closing four minutes of The Great Old
Ones, dominated by tympani drum pounds and slow moving orchestration with a
violin hiding in the back as mankind may some day find themselves hiding from
Azathoth and all of Elder Gods' sinister machinations.
(1) See the Off the Shelf
review of The Disciples of Cthulhu for
more on this in Legends #100.
Reviewed in Legends #140.
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