Nerds Rejoice: Melopœia’s Xenharmonic, Tolkien-Inspired Black Metal Album Gets Release Date, New Single


Way back in April of last year, I sat down with Dave Tremblay of Vod to talk sub-bass music, experimental genres, and weird stuff. One of the strangest things we discussed was his xenharmonic black metal project Melopœia, an experiment aimed at rendering the text of Tolkien’s Ainulindalë into an album composed of 26-EDO music. Well, if you’ve felt like a stranded Rohirrim, waiting for the light of the third day to shine down upon your embattled keep within Helm’s Deep, rejoice, for Dave Tremblay as Gandalf has recruited Éomer and is riding forth to destroy the Uruk-Hai scourge.

At the time of this writing, only the fourth track of Tolkien’s Ainulindalë has been released so far, but the short tune offers more than an ample taste of the nerdery to come.

If your thoughts have been scrambled by gazing too long into the palantír (or you’ve slept a bit since last April), you may need a reminder of how Dave and co-conspirator Brian Leong (the vocalist for this project, i.e. literally the Mouth of Sauron) are working this whole thing out. Since I’m distracted by a stream of a Donkey Kong Country III speedrun feeling lazy, I’ll just quote Dave’s initial answer to me regarding Melopœia from our interview.

I’m also working on another, even more weird project with Ben, and it’s called Melopœia. It’s basically putting texts into music by assigning each letter of the alphabet to a note in the octave. That means I had to construct a 26 notes per octave tuning system, and it’s freaking bizarre. The album will take the text from Tolkien’s Ainulindalë, and put it into music of various genres.

If the burden of your ring is too great, rendering you unable to lift your finger to click play and hear the song for yourself but still want to know how it sounds, imagine Jute Gyte singing about Elves and silvery trees, and you’re mostly there. The lyrics to “Harmony” that create the unique tone of the song are:

Then Ilúvatar said to them: ‘Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I win sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.’

Based just on this one track, I’m stoked to hear the rest. I can always do with more Tolkien and microtonal black metal in my life. If you’re as jacked as I am, mark September 15th in your calendar, as that’s when Tolkien’s Ainulindalë will come to fruition. Until then, keep counting those slain orcs.

(Photos VIA and VIA)

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  • Joaquin Stick

    I understood exactly 0% of that opening paragraph. I vaguely remember that interview and thinking… isn’t that just going to sound like jumbled shit? Well, I am proven wrong. Neat.

  • This is like a depraved opera that mixes Tolkien mythology and Norwegian Black Metal recorded in a broken casette put together with duct tape.

    I am always open to experiments, I am still not completly sold with the preview song, but I am admiring all the crafting on this. Nevertheless, good job, Dave and Brian.

    • Ruth Franklin

      <<o. ✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:::::::!bq614p:….,…

  • BobLoblaw

    Pretty weird/awesome stuff. For some reason it reminds me of this.

    • Is this the Anders Nystrom project?

      • BobLoblaw


    • CyberneticOrganism

      Such a cool album. Blakkheim >>>>>>>>

    • Waynecro

      This album is great.

  • Eliza

    I’m really curious to see how this will turn out, as a massive Tolkien fan. The track that has been released is pretty good, so I’m highly anticipating this. Also, I seriously need to read Tolkien’s work in English too, the translation pales in comparison.

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    Is it just me, or is the volume of that track way too low?

  • tigeraid

    Wait. Hold on. How can you have music about Tolkien without POWER? Does not compute.

    • Eliza

      It’s refreshing in my opinion.

  • Eating Frisbees In Pyongyang
    • Eliza

      I love this album.

    • tertius_decimus

      Incredible pick. One of my favorites tracks in Summoning discography.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Do they take the Hobbits to Eisengard in this album?

    • Eliza

      I’d call blasphemy if they did.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I was joking.

        • Eliza

          That’s a relief.

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    I think I’m about to nerd-gasm

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    This is fucking horrible.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    Not canon.

  • Waynecro

    Man, this is some kind of crazy thing. I dig it!

  • Hmmm… (things that make you go)

  • Austin Arthur

    This is pretty great. I love me some weird metal. Microtonal stuff is the future!

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