Lovecraft and heavy Metal: A Macabre Love Story (Part I)

3332
177
Share:

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Thus spake H. P. Lovecraft, and with this singular manifesto, and the body of work it guided, often collectively called the Cthulhu Mythos, the influence of this writer was chiseled into the foundations of horrific and bizarre art for eternity. There are few writers in the last few centuries to whom can be ascribed the monumental influence over literature, music, visual media, and entertainment possessed by Lovecraft. His dark visions, although borrowing thematic elements from his contemporaries and predecessors, cast a singular visage of terror on American society and still linger on the periphery of modern man’s consciousness, gnawing in the darkness like some nameless horror and pushing us ever closer towards insanity.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, born August 20, 1890, was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century, penning dozens of short stories, novellas, novels, and letters throughout his short life. Lovecraft spent most of his time in New England, a setting that would establish itself as a permanent fixture in his strange tales. His first story, published in 1916, was the Alchemist, and Lovecraft would go on to write numerous stories, both under his own name and as a ghost-writer for Harry Houdini, many of which appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. Lovecraft is often credited with cofounding the genre of “weird fiction”, along with his contemporaries August Derleth, Frank Belknap Long, and Clark Ashton Smith. His style, drawing heavily upon a variety of techniques meant to obfuscate the truth and confound readers, was informed by other authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Dunsany, and Algernon Blackwood. Amongst all these authors, though, Lovecraft’s foreboding shadow looms the longest upon modern art.

Although he is most famous for his short story, the Call of Cthulhu (1928), Lovecraft’s work can be divided into three cycles. The first, the early cycle, recalls the gothic romanticism and supernatural horror of earlier writers like Poe and mostly eschewed the later unity of the mythos for independent, terrifying tales of reanimated corpses, visitors from other worlds, changelings, and pagan ceremonial rites. The Dream Cycle followed the early cycle and began to delve into the eldritch horrors spawned within the confines of Lovecraft’s macabre mind. My personal favorite Lovecraft story, “The Rats in the Walls,” was written during this period. The third and most famous cycle typified the Cthulhu Mythos and is easily the most widely known of his periods, largely due to the influence of the titular Great Old One on later media.

“Ever Their praises, and abundance to the Black Goat of the Woods. Iä! Shub-Niggurath!
Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!”

Lovecraft’s work is characterized by a number of distinct (often termed Lovecraftian) characteristics. First, narrators within his tales are often highly unreliable. Lovecraft’s characters often suffered terrible fates and witnessed atrocities akin to the worst horrors only dreamed of in the minds of death metal vocalists. These witnesses to the unknown and unknowable would then simply attempt to tell a tale cobbled together from the fragments of shattered sanity, leading readers to question the veracity of their words and blurring the lines of reality. Second, Lovecraft had a penchant for describing the indescribable with just enough detail to inform the reader that something was terribly amiss; like a master caster of shadows, Lovecraft most often left the accompanying mystery surrounding one of his ancient horrors to be puzzled out by the reader’s fevered imaginations. Lovecraft never described great Cthulhu in the stunning level of detail in which we are accustomed to viewing him; no, Lovecraft allowed that image to slowly bore and worm its way into collective consciousness until it took the shape it has now. Last, Lovecraft eschewed human concepts such as morality in his stories. To the Great Old Ones, humans were simply chess pieces to move about and discard as they saw fit; these monstrous beings, reigning from dimensions beyond description and understanding, aligned themselves to neither good nor evil. Morality was a toy for mortals.

Alas, H. P. Lovecraft passed away at the age of 46 due to malnutrition and cancer. His life, marred by obscurity and melancholy, remained of little import until later writers discovered his brilliant work. We owe a debt of gratitude to August Derleth for preserving Lovecraft’s work and to H. P. himself for allowing his mythos to pass out of copyright so that future authors could attempt to etch their own names into the non-euclidean monuments laid by their forebear. Today, Lovecraft’s indelible mark can be found in all corners of art, and the Cthulhu mythos itself fully reached the public’s consciousness when Cthulhu was included in an episode of South Park (Coon and Friends). Thankfully, Lovecraft’s legacy did not slip into the abyss that so often threatened to consume characters in his stories, and his tales have captivated the minds of many artists for decades.

“He did not employ the music-rack, but, offering no choice and playing from memory, enchanted me for over an hour with strains I had never heard before; strains which must have been of his own devising. To describe their exact nature is impossible for one unversed in music. They were a kind of fugue, with recurrent passages of the most captivating quality, but to me were notable for the absence of any of the weird notes I had overheard from my room below on other occasions.”

Lovecraft’s fantastical tales have stitched themselves inextricably into heavy metal, the genre most susceptible to the influence of Lovecraft’s eldritch horrors. To the extent of my knowledge, the first song that directly mentioned Lovecraft’s mythos was The Call of Ktulu by Metallica.

Numerous other artists have since gone on to allude to the mythos and draw lyrical inspiration from Lovecraft’s haunted pages. However, there is another, more subtle influence that Lovecraft has had on heavy metal, and this is apparent in bands that possess an “otherness” to them. This sense of extra-dimensionality is difficult to convey in words, but it should be apparent to fans of groups like Gorguts and Dodecahedron.

It is a feeling of structured chaos, of modes and rhythms that just are not quite right, of tones and atmospheres that hide a colossal, cyclopean darkness somewhere behind the confines of a song. Lovecraft has left his mark on metal in two distinct fashions. In the next two installments of this post, Masterlord SteelDragon and I will discuss both of these branches of Lovecraftian metal and provide some outstanding examples of each. For now, I’ll leave you with Morbid Angel’s Gateways to Annihilation, an album that somehow straddles the line between to the two.

“The most merciful thing in the world… is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”

-W.

Photo Via http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/1/11957/743194-yogsothoth.jpg

  • Paris Hilton

    The only author that gets jocked more in metal than Lovecraft is Tolkien.

    • W.

      That’s because every black metal band ever takes their name from something evil from Middle Earth.

      • Paris Hilton

        True dat! The name Burzum is literally a Black Speech word from Fellowship of The Ring. So no one can tell me black metal is cool or intimidating in any way, shape or form haha (that being said I dig quite a bit of black metal)

        • Xan

          Gorgoroth is the name of a dead plateau in Mordor. Cirith Ungol is another one. This album cover also looks pretty Nazgulish.

          • Rob M

            Grond was the name of the ram the hammered at Minas Tirith..also a killer death metal band from Russia…and cant forget Fenriz’s old side project Isengard

          • Xan

            Looking on Encyclodaedia Metallum, there are at least 148 bands that reference Tolkien. http://www.metal-archives.com/search?searchString=Tolkien&type=band_themes and 229 that reference Lovecraft: http://www.metal-archives.com/search?searchString=Lovecraft&type=band_themes

          • Keegan Lavern Still

            I call bullshit. Those numbers seem WAY to low.

          • Xan

            They definitely are. The bands listed are the only ones that people have typed the lyrical theme of Lovecraft or Tolkien in for. The band would need to be entirely centered around either for one of the lyrical themes to be considered Lovecraft or Tolkien. The real numbers of references are probably in the 10,000s.

        • Between The Buried & Smee

          Plus Amon Amarth is Sindarin for Mount Doom

          • Pagliacci is Kvlt

            I thought it was Sindarin for “Under Armour?”

        • Gurp

          I think it’s all quite ironic considering Tolkein was a devout Christian.

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          for me unless black metal bands are practicing satanists, they are just death metal ( vital remains, deicide, incantation , immolation) The whole black metal mystique died long ago, over 20 years ago with the passing of euronymous. Then cradle and DB stepped in and squeezed as much commerciality as they could out of it. Thats my take. Its is a typical all or nothing statement, but i know my friends would accept nothing less from the KING. “better to have thine own eyes picked out by a vulture than be untrue to ones self.”
          The scrolls of skelos – chapter 25 verse 7.

    • I’d like to see David Foster Wallace jocked more in metal. Songs can be ninety minutes long and require additional CD’s to get the full backing tracks.

      • Paris Hilton

        I’d also like to see some more H.G. Wells get jocked!

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        i first read that as canadian producer extraordinaire david foster, hahhahhahhahhhaa

    • Pagliacci is Kvlt

      I follow the “Tolkien Black Metal” page on Facebook. It’s amazing and amusing to see the sheer number of Tolkien metal bands.

    • Max

      There used to be a lot of Michael Moorcock, but that seems to have dropped off after the ’70s.

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        Moorcock collaborated with Hawkwind & BOC on lyrics and Elric even ended it up in a couple of early issues of marvels Conan title in the early 70’s.

        • Max

          Yeah, he was quite the hard rock fan back then, I believe. I have two art books each dealing with the work of Roger Dean and Rodney Matthews – they were both used a lot for the covers of fantasy novels and records in the ’70s – and Moorcock is mentioned in both of them. I think he might have had a band of his own, too.

        • KJM

          I saw BOC last Summer, great show.

  • Flushgod Apocalypse

    I’m ashamed to say that I’ve heard the name H.P. Lovecraft a better part of my life, yet have never taken the time to read about his life or any of his works. Thanks for the well-written article, Dubs.

    As a Lovecraft n00b, where’s my best starting point?

    • W.

      Collections of his works are pretty easy to track down. Barnes and Noble has a fantastic bound copy of his works for relatively cheap: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/barnes-noble-leatherbound-classics-hp-lovecraft-h-p-lovecraft/1106658815?ean=9781435122963

      • Xan

        Damn! I didn’t know they had the whole collection. I have a compilation of his greatest stories. Update: Totally bought the book.

        • Flushgod Apocalypse

          I’m about to make the purchase as well and I’m pretty damned excited about it.

          Also, this: http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/

          • W.

            Like I said, all of his stories are basically open source at this point.

          • Xan

            I had to have the book so that when I beat posers faces in before the great flush, I will be beating them with a pimp ass Lovecraft book.

          • Flushgod Apocalypse

            I’m aware — I can read articles, etc. digitally, but I really prefer to have a physical copy of a book. Plus, it looks fucking awesome.

          • W.

            I’m with you on that.

      • Keegan Lavern Still

        I love those nice, thick bound classic books that they sell, especially the bundle discount. I have yet to get the Lovecraft collection, but I have an Edgar Allen Poe collection as well as the Divine Comedy. I’m just waiting until I have the time to really dive headlong into them.

    • Rob M

      Hell, you can find his short stories online for free if you want…theyre all in public domain so its not even illegal.

      • W.

        I’m pretty sure there are a few that I haven’t even read. I need to get on that.

    • The Devil

      Shadow Over Innsmouth, Rats in the Walls, Call of Cthulhu, The Dunwhich Horror.

      • W.

        I actually prefer Shadow Over Innsmouth to Call of Cthulhu.

        • The Devil

          Shadow is his best short story, IMO. And I’ve been reading them since they were first published.

          • W.

            Have you ever seen the movie Dagon? Super cheesy, but based on that story.

          • The Devil

            Yeah, it’s pretty bad.

          • KJM

            The movies made by the HPL Historical Society are far better than any of Stuart Gordon’s, except maybe From Beyond.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd5gWGfnK5M

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            ever see this 1970 classic slice of lovecraft starring dean stockwell.

          • KJM

            Yup.

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            It was pretty cool because sandra dee had always been such a goody two shoes in hollywood and in this there is quite a bit of implied sex with demonic creatures no less. It also has one of the best opening title sequences i have ever seen.

          • KJM

            Title sequence by Sandy Dvore, just like this one

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGVmlRQtBCc

        • Scrimm

          By faaaaaaaaaar

    • Fromwisdomtohate29

      Same here.

      The fact that he was a huge racist(like a lot of the writers of that time) sort of scared me away as well. Shame on me.

      • W.

        As I mentioned to Gurp below, I’m well aware of his racism, but I debated mentioning it here. I’m not always able to absorb the art while detaching the artist’s crappy perceptions, but I’ve been able to do so with Lovecraft simply because it was pretty much a cultural norm then.

    • Keegan Lavern Still

      I like “The Music of Erich Zann.” It’s pretty short, but I think it’s one of THE stories that embodies Lovecraft’s writing while being easily-digestible.

  • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

    Gateways was probably my favorite MA album. It picked up where Covenant left off.

    • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

      Digging the atmospheric vibe on this Dodecahedron. What a wonderful place this is to discover stuff that others sites are so afraid of putting out there!

    • Christian Molenaar

      No need to worry, no one liked Illud Divinum Insanus.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Love the Lovecraft. Such great stories. Thanks Dubya.

    • W.

      Thanks, man. MasterLord SteelDragon and I have some cool song selections lined up for parts 2 and 3.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        It’s amazing this site has barely been in existence and it has literally slayed the last two years of MS.

      • Negrodamus

        W. I know I’m late to this party, but this is an excellent article!

    • Xan

      Lovecraft, Tolkien, Poe, and Stephen King are by far my favorite writers.

  • Awesome write-up! Can’t wait for Part 2.

  • Paris Hilton

    Does anyone here actually write? I really only write short stories as a hobby, which is partially the reason why you’ll see my huge comments on here or MS

    • More Axl/Vince fan-fic!

      • Paris Hilton

        That can definitely be arranged! I just need a new idea haha

        • PartySmasher

          I’ll illustrate it…on second thought, no one wants to see that…or do they?

          • Paris Hilton

            I fucking lold at the thought of my Axl/Vince fanfic done in comic book style

          • Paris Hilton

            If you could illustrate it, it would be awesome to send to MetalSucks.

          • PartySmasher

            If you’re being serious I would be more than happy too, I’d love to send it into MS.

          • Paris Hilton

            YES!! You have full permission to!!!

          • PartySmasher

            Gnarly, I will post the results probably by this upcoming Monday on here or in the forums.

    • I think we all agree that that particular short story needs to be posted in the metalsucks comments by an anonymous commenter.

      • Paris Hilton

        I mean… anyone could take that comment and copy/paste it… right?

      • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

        why do we want to prevent people from finding it here?

    • W.

      I actually started a novel a few years ago, but my graduate work has basically derailed that until I finish my dissertation because I have to spend so much time writing papers/reports.

      • Paris Hilton

        That’s awesome to both you!! I’ve had some of my short stories win like small contests and shit and local artists things but that’s about it. I like short stories pretty much cuz I like writing but don’t have the attention span for a novel haha

    • Xan

      I haven’t published a book yet but I’m currently writing my first.

    • Steve Smithwick

      I don’t actively write, but I have a bachelor’s in journalism, and I used to freelance a bit for my University’s newspaper. I haven’t had anything published since around 2010 though.

      That said, I’ll definitely do some writing for Hell’s toilet!

      • Paris Hilton

        I’d even do some posts for Toilet Ov Hell. I probably wouldn’t be very good but I’d at least be better than Axl

        • Please do!

          Btw, I’m planning a regular Sunday feature on music and getting swole. I think I’m going to call it “Swelling to the Jammiez”

          • Paris Hilton

            THAT would be my kinda post haha

          • We can switch out weeks as writers for it!

          • Paris Hilton

            Yeah man that’s a sweet idea!

    • Mr. Bojangles

      Your story the other day about Axl and Vince’s relationship was very well-written. It brought tears to my eyes.

    • Tim Wilsön

      umm.. I study english lit.?

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      I have a blog for reviewing horror and exploitation movies, mostly obscure. I’ve been really slack about updating this year but every so often a bit of writing just comes together near perfectly and gives me a great rush.

      Also I’ve finally started on a sci fi/fantasy/mystery novel that I conceived years ago. Only a few pages in but at least I’ve made that first leap. Although I am a bit tempted to just farm the idea out to someone more likely to be able to write the whole thing…

      • W.

        Would you consider writing any horror movie reviews for this site? I’m certain that would appeal to a lot of the readers here.

        • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

          Sure thing, yeah. Always love to chat movies and spread the good word on things I enjoy that don’t always get too much recognition.

          • W.

            Awesome. We’re stoked to put up good content on here, because our goal is to maintain an awesome community. Are you on our facebook group? If so, you could send any posts you have to me. Otherwise, you could just email them to me, and we can get you set up.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            Yep, I’m on the group. Tom Birkhead here!

          • W.

            Sweet. I shall correspond with you.

          • Paris Hilton

            I’m considering writing a post for Sunday. Joe had a workout tunes idea I may write on. I’d probably have to email a post, however.

          • W.

            Just email it to Joe. Ask him for his email. Glad you’re jumping in on this!

    • Keegan Lavern Still

      I haven’t written -beyond music and bullshit research papers- since last winter, but I really enjoy it. I’ve made classmates in several of my writing courses both recoil in fear/pain and laugh until they’ve cried. And that’s just from dumb personal stories that I exaggerate.

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      I didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag i am actually brad serling, the grandson of rod serling. My grandpa had the best stories, would scare the shit out of us kids. I even got to meet william shatner when he starred in an episode of night gallery. This is a groundbreaking article by the way. The serling estate approves.

      • Paris Hilton

        FINALLY! I KNEW YOU’D GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE!

      • W.

        I’m glad you approve, Conan.

    • NeverBlack

      Well, I have a lot of poems I write on my mother tongue. Also, I have a lot of lyrics that, for some reason, I write mostly in english.

      I’m about halfway on a book settled on a pre-unified Italy (XIX century).

      Oh, I also finished a book this year, settled around that 1905 russian revolution that failed. I’m also pretty sure that you guys would love it, since there’s a lot of stuff inspired by metal bands and songs. Hell, I even had a 4 hour playlist with some Doom, Death-Doom, and Gothic metal when I was writing!

      I’m not sure if I should post some stuff from my book (sounds like someone full of himself/attention seeking person, in my humble opinion), but just to give an example: My books is named ‘Seven tears are flowing through the river’.

      PS: Sorry for any grammar error or mispelled word. English is not my native language, Portuguese is!

    • The Satan ov Hell

      I published a book once. It sold five copies and was later pulped.

    • Anthrallica

      I used to write a lot, mostly short stories. About a decade ago I wrote my best piece chronicling the rise and fall of a personal friendship. I started writing notes for a long form/novel length fictional story and then joined a band, met a woman and had kids so I never finished it.

    • Scrimm

      I do actually. Still an amateur by all means, but I have three novels and several short stories as well.

      • Paris Hilton

        Sweet! I couldn’t imagine tackeling a novel

        • Scrimm

          I actually find it much easier than the short stuff to be honest. Maybe because I don’t outline or plot, much like King, but just start with an Idea and a few characters and let the story unfold and tell itself. Amazing how it works and it’s cool cause it’s like you’re getting to read the story as you write it. Downside is I am almost dyslexic when it comes to grammar so I have to edit a lot. It’s why a lot of my posts probably look like shit, if I tried to make them all correct I’d obsess over them for hours.

  • KJM

    The Chaosium website seems to be having issues otherwise I’d post a link to the new “Steampunk Cthulhu” anthology my friend, Adam Bolivar, just got published in. Stupid internets.

  • The Devil

    Sabbath had “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” on their debut album in 1970. That kinda started it all as I recall, but there could have been some non metal bands with Lovecraftian lyrics antedating Sabbath I just can’t remember at the moment

    • Steve Smithwick

      I get it; it’s hard to remember human history when you’ve seen all of it.

      • The Devil

        Not to mention the shit that happened before the creation of man. The weird thing is, Lovecraft somehow tapped into knowledge that you mortals weren’t supposed to know, and don’t ask me how. All that stuff about the Great Old Ones and Cthulhu is actually true to some extent.

        Before we had a falling out, Jehovah and I, and the rest of the Heavenly Host had to deal with some big time shit in banishing all those noodley armed fuckers from this universe during The Time of Chaos. Sealing them away was a huge pain in the ass, and for some reason, any mention of that skirmish was conveniently left out of the Book of Genesis (probably because I was kind of a badass in those battles).

        I guess the cat’s already out of the bag out though, so there you have it. If you mortals want to try to hearken the return of those disgusting things, I’m not lifting a finger to defend the cosmos this time around. Fuck it.

    • W.

      Oh thanks for the reminder. I totally forgot about that song!

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • Warheart

    I love the Lovecraft mythology, the pure concept, but his writing style sometimes was ridiculous, in an overloaded, outlandish and pompous way.

    • W.

      I actually prefer his first two cycles. I thought the Mythos got a bit tired towards the end.

      • Warheart

        Yeah, he probably started to recycle ideas in that era.

        To me, the first stories of Randolph Carter were excellent, actually the shortest ones are my favorites of him (Together with Charles Dexter Ward and Mountains of Madness), but the one he did with Hoffmann Price (Gates of Silver Key) lacks strenght (although it isn’t so bad) and Dream Quest of Kadath is pretty boring.

        Also, I used to think about Call of Cthulu as a remake of Dagon, LOL.

        • W.

          CoC basically is a remake of Shadow over Innsmouth, and I like Innsmouth more. I think Charles Dexter Ward is actually the story that got me hooked.

    • W.

      Also, I feel like I should point out that Derleth’s meddling really changed the nature of the mythos and did away with some of the elements that made it so powerful in the hand of other authors.

  • Metaphysical Anus

    I need to start reading Lovecraft. I have quite many books but haven’t had the time to read them yet.

  • George Lynch

    Dude, I am digging the Dodecahedron.

    The name immediately reminded me of a rhombitruncated icosidodecahedron…

    Proof it exsists: http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~sudzi/polyhedra/archimedean/rhombitrunc_icosidodeca.html

    GL

    • Dodecahedron is the first black metal band I’m actually super interested in hearing more from. IDK, I’ve tried to get into black metal before but to no avail. I did like some of Mitochondrion’s Parasignosis, but that’s more plague metal than just straight up black metal

      • W.

        Some of the stuff in Post 3 may tickle your fancy, then. Stay tuned.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    This site has gone from crazy what-if idea to a kickass place for great articles in just over a week. Well done guys.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Also really liking that Dodecahedron track

      • Cthulhu

        Dodecahedron are fucking godly!!

        • CyberneticOrganism

          YOU, mighty Cthulhu, are godly.

          • Cthulhu

            Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn

  • Mr. Bojangles

    Great article W.

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    This is probably an unpopular opinion, but Gateways to Annihilation is my favourite Morbid Angel album. I was 15 when I got it and it absolutely crushed my skull.

    Weird coincidence: I bought a book with collected Lovecraft tales just two months ago. Just waiting to finish A song of Ice and Fire, then I’ll fill my mind with all the horror. Looking forward to it already.

    Thanks for a great article, definitely got me interested to read more!

    • W.

      I actually recently finished ASOIAF too (at least what’s been published).

    • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

      Agreed on GoA

    • Paris Hilton

      Gateways rules, no fux given

    • Orgiastic Disembowelment

      FFttF and Gateways are two of my favorites from their discography. Secured Limitations and Summoning Redemption are played regularly. Even Heretic gets a decent amount of spins. The Steve Tucker era were some good years indeed.

      • Max

        Opening of the Gate is my favourite, although there are several other classics on it too. The music really heaves and ebbs on it – it’s like Azagthoth was finally able to express in music what he’s always talked about when interviewed.

        The production’s among Morbid Angel’s heaviest, as well. It’s just a pity Eric Rutan’s song at the end was mixed with the drums too low.

  • Christian Molenaar

    Good post, but leaving out this song is a punishable offense:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJAiTjmGrtA

    • Rob M

      Such a killer band…damn shame they never released an actual full length

    • W.

      We’ll cover far more bands in Posts 2 and 3!

  • Rob M

    Took me a long time to get into Lovecrafts writing. It never clicked for me when I was younger, but now, along with Howard, hes one of my favorite writers.

    …so, out of respect for Lovecraft, here’s a little Atomic Aggressor

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH1B1y5NRbc

    • In all honesty, as much as I dig Lovecraft, his writing style can be a bit tedious (kind of like Dostoevsky); but like his work, slogging through the antiquated prose pays off in the end.

      • Rob M

        Thats how I felt about it originally…it wasnt until I read some of his shorter, easier to follow stories that I started to get into it

  • What’s up everyone! I used to post on that other site as Agony, but I finally got my disqus fixed and moved over here.

    Last year I backed a Sandy Peterson boardgame project on Kickstarter called Cthulhu Wars. It has super awesome plastic figures of mythos monsters. While I wait for my game, I’ve been compiling a Cthulhu Wars soundtrack, so I might post some tracks here.

    By the way W, thanks for the Dodecahedron suggestion a few weeks ago–definitely digging it.

    • W.

      We’re going to posts Parts 2 and 3 of this series next week, so I’d definitely be down to here some more song suggestions.

      • Rob M

        Sulphur Aeon should definitely be on one of those lists…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6cFDfQJi8I

        • W.

          Shhh, don’t spoil it. They’re being covered in Part 2.

          • Rob M

            Sorry..I’ll be good

          • W.

            Tis okay. I’m glad people seem to be enjoying the theme of this post.

        • This is badass, thanks!

          • Rob M

            Yeah..that whole album crushes, and the cover art is fucking amazing

    • Here’s the game I was talking about. It’s expensive, but awesome. Sandy Peterson has a long legacy with the Call of Cthulhu RPG.

      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816687860/cthulhu-wars

  • Stomach Earth is the sound of Tsathoggua clawing his way up out of the Earth.

    • Sorry, can’t seem to embed properly.

    • Negrodamus

      Stomach Earth is some genuinely evil sounding music in my opinion, and I dig The Red Chord, too.

    • Gurp

      I am suddenly very glad I just clicked play.

  • I live right by Lovecraft’s grave. Currently finishing up “The Horror In The Museum” collection.

  • If you imagine Azathoth as dark matter, waiting on the outside of our universe to come in and annihilate everything, Obsidian Kingdom’s Last of the Light might be the entropic hurricane that ensues. The unexpected horns in the middle might be played by the Servitors of the Outer Gods before all hell breaks loose again.

    http://youtu.be/biZqaBbeNpU

  • Cock of Steele

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nV8d3vu_Yc I, unfortunately have a hard time getting through novels, unlike my damn brother who can just devour those things like they was readable cheezits.

    • Gurp

      I know the feeling. It took me a week to get through At the Mountains of Madness.

  • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

    Here’s a pretty rad band/song relevant to this article –

    http://ceremonialcastings.bandcamp.com/album/cthulhu

    • Was digging this until the vocals kicked in!

      • Rob M

        Ive always found them to be a bit heavy with the keyboards as well. They do have some cool album covers though

  • Being carried away by Nightgaunts into the starless, black sky? Here you go:

    http://youtu.be/UEmWpbciu9A

  • Gurp

    I think it’s also important to remember how ridiculously racist Lovecraft was and how that fueled a lot of his work.

    • W.

      You know, I considered whether or not to touch on that. I definitely don’t want to defend some of his crappy attitudes and perceptions, but rather highlight his impact on art.

      • Gurp

        I get the feeling. Finding out about it for the first time really colored my perception of his work and it was even harder to get into it.
        Now though I think its kinda flattering that he equates people like me (non-WASP immigrants) to some of the most immortal fictional baddies of all time.

        • W.

          I really hope I didn’t offend. We accept all here at the Toilet!

          • Gurp

            Pah, no big deal. Despite the fact that 3/4 of my family immigrated here from Latin America in the last 60 years I’m almost as white as sour cream.

    • While that’s true, the xenophobia in his work is at least purely metaphorical and not outright racist itself (at least I can’t really think of any examples of that). The point is, that I’m not sure you’d pick up on that if you didn’t already know it. The sense of dread, impending doom and madness, and the threat of being devoured by tentacled horrors is about as metal as it gets–hence the crossover fascination.

      But I have a problem with people like Varg and can’t stand Burzum, so maybe I’m being hypocritical? Or maybe the distance of 100 years makes it easier to swallow?

      • W.

        I mentioned to @fromwisdomtohate29:disqus that I think I’m able to detach the art from the artist in his case largely because of the time when he wrote. A lot of authors were still heavily racist in his time, but in our modern day, it seems that someone like Varg has no excuse.

        • KJM

          What Varg did was so far beyond just having noxious views.

      • Gurp

        I have a compendium of some of his work, it really sticks out like dog balls in some places. Just straight-up names Poles, Irish, and Italians as scum intruding upon his precious WASP New England communities.

        Kinda like the creatures in the Cthulu Mythos, in fact.

        • I’m about to re-read some stuff (haven’t in a while); it’ll be interesting to see how my older self might pick up on all that now.

    • KJM

      Supposedly he did renounce his racist views before he died with the help of his Socialist friends. However, that doesn’t change the nature of his already published work.

      • Gurp

        I did read somewhere that he started to relent before he died. I wonder from time to time what his later work would have been like.

        • KJM

          It’s supposedly documented in a collection of his letters and more recent HPL biographies. I haven’t read any of his stuff in a very long time.

          • Gurp

            I’d like to see that collection, didn’t know something like that existed. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Mr. Bozflusher

    Good job Dubs!

  • SMOHLG

    NERD. Just kidding, this is awesome. I wish I could write like this.

  • PartySmasher

    Excellent article

  • Fromwisdomtohate29

    Really good write-up. I’m going to have to brush up on my Lovecraft now.

    Also I hope you guys include this band in your follow-up.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cwmE6BLfDTs

  • FeelTheDarkness
  • geddy

    I’m willing to do photoshop jobs/ assassinations. Just hit me up via email with anything you want done for future articles.

  • Jointsalot

    Great article W.

  • KJM

    Here’s that Chaosium link I talked about earlier.

    https://www.chaosium.com/steampunk-cthulhu/

  • Elizabeth Short

    Hails! All of my nerdy hand and wrist (plus some sleeve) tats are Lovecraftian lameness. And yes, one of them is Hello Cthulhu.