Unearthing The Metal Underground: The H.P. Lovecraft Themed Metal Scene
The metal underground is a truly vast and unexplored place, and every week we try to bring a few bands to light that metal fanatcis may not otherwise have a chance to discover. Today we’ll unearth the Lovecraftian underground – three bands that primarily (or even solely!) draw their lyrical and musical style directly from the works of the master of cosmic horror and weird fiction: H.P. Lovecraft.
This style should perhaps more accurately be described as the “Cthulhu Mythos” underground, as many bands don’t stick strictly to Lovecraft’s works alone, but rather pull from the greater mythos created around his work and expanded upon by many novels, games, and movies through the last several decades. Outside of music, the Lovecraft phenomena is an interesting topic deserving of several books, as it has developed amazingly far to become a mythos within a mythos. There are entire religious practices now based around the fake books described in Lovecraft’s stories, along with ceremonial magical traditions using the names and titles of Lovecraftian entities. There is even a graphic novel that postulates Howard Phillips himself really had contact with alien things, but wrote stories about them to make humanity think it’s all fake and keep us off the trail of the horrible truth.
Mind shattering horror and unknowable, malicious entities beyond humanity’s ken are material ripe for heavy metal, which has pulled from this mythos liberally during the past 25 or so years. From Metallica’s “The Call of Ktulu” to the Septicflesh track “Lovecraft’s Death,” bands large and small have paid homage to the seafood hating man who warned his fellow Earthlings to stay out of the oceans and away from the stars.
We’ll start off with something a little off the beaten path this week – a gloomy rock opera style group featuring members of bands such as Hortus Animae and Hawkwind. The international act Space Mirrors is definitely a different trip than many metal fans might be used to, but if you ever enjoyed Tiamat or anything that’s along the lines of gothic rock you should be right at home here. Use the silver key and take a journey through the dreamlands through the clips available below.
While mind-numbingly fast, blistering technical death metal, or perhaps depressing black metal, might seem like the obvious routes for music based off Lovecraft, a surprising number of groups instead go for a funeral doom sound. Among those ranks is Fungoid Stream, which has songs about such mythos related topics as night gaunts and (what else?) sentient fungus.
Fungoid Stream began with debut album “Celaenus Fragments” and then released second full-length “Oceanus” back in 2010. The band doesn’t seem to have much of a presence online on any of the big social networking sites, but a few songs can be heard through YouTube. Check out the tracks “Star Winds” and “The Book” below, and just remember that when the mushrooms develop sentience and start putting our brains in jars for experimentation, Fungoid Stream warned us all well ahead of time.
Auroch is a blackened death metal assault that throws in a few thrash curveballs, and is now starting to gain some recognition and success in the scene. On the eve of self releasing “From Forgotten Worlds” (reviewed here), the band just recently inked a deal with Hellthrasher Productions for an impending official album release.
To see what the band itself had to say about Lovecraftian themes, and how they are expressed in the music and lyrics, check out our recent interview with Auroch. You can also listen to the title track and “Slaves to a Flame Undying” in the bandcamp player below.
These are but three metal bands following in the grand tradition of Lovecraft worship, and there are many more to be found. What did you think of these picks, and which Cthulhu Mythos bands do you recommend? Be sure to check back in again next week as we continue to unearthing more underground metal acts.
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