The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H. P. Lovecraft

The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H. P. Lovecraft

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by Gary Hill

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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H. P. Lovecraft 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book starts with a forward by S.T. Joshi, a leading authority on H.P. Lovecraft. It does an excellent job giving an overview to the book. The Strange Sound of Cthulhu starts with an introduction to Lovecraft¿s life. This provides good background for readers who are there for the musical aspect and unfamiliar with his writing. It is strait-forward, giving just the information needed to understand how he could still have an impact on music today, almost seventy years after his death. The rest of the book is broken down into the musical genres he inspired. From psychedelic rock to country, groups little heard of all the way to big names, such as Black Sabbath and Metallica, have attributed some of their inspiration to Lovecraft. Hill analyzes the songs¿and even group names¿that have roots in the literature of Lovecraft. The book compares lyrics with Lovecraft prose, and touches on music rumored to have Lovecraft ties. He gives details of each song, and in many cases, interviews with the artists behind the music. They discuss how their music ties in with Lovecraft, how they were introduced to his writing, and even their favorite Lovecraft tale. Though the idea of seeing the music described in words may sound dull to some, Joshi was correct in the forward when he said, ¿Gary has that rarest of skills among music critics: the ability to describe a song, whether vocal or instrumental, in such a way that readers seem to hear it running through their heads.¿ Here¿s an example: Destiny¿s End was formed in 1997, and with their first album, Breathe Deep The Dark (1998), began a flirtation with Lovecraft related material (at least indirectly). That album included a few pieces which fall into the Lovecraftian territory. First up was the title track, which draws its story line (at least a bit) from ¿The Outsider.¿ Frantic drumming starts it, then a very tasty guitar riff enters to carry the track into its opening verse. This one is fast paced, rather epic sounding heavy metal. A slower, slightly sparser segment later is quite powerful and leads into a short instrumental break. A Rob Halford like scream later is worth mentioning as are the stellar bridge and instrumental section that follow. Some of the guitar soloing here, with its Eastern tinges, is just plain awesome. This whole track is a definite winner. One really needs to only look to the first verse to see the links that this one has to the story. ¿I¿m Obscure, the shadow black / Alone I walk on the shunned path / Centuries mine, reveal the past / The unknown yawning black¿¿ Though Hill claims that the book is in no way exhaustive on the subject, it is as close to being exhaustive as it can get. It is designed to snare the readers that are there for the music to start reading Lovecraft, and the readers there for Lovecraft to look out for the music. I found myself getting out my old music to listen for what Hill describes. If I had to pick a part I did not like, it would be the end. It seemed a little abrupt, like running out of information. It carried on to thank everyone and listed the hopes for what the book will do for everyone who reads it. That smoothed out the end enough to close the book on a good note.