The Resonance of Magicks (Piercing Membranes Between Worlds)
The Dark Mother
Him Who Shall Not Be Named
Sleeper of N'Kai
The Lurker at the Threshold
Reclaiming the Old World (Despairing the New World)
"Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form – and the local human passions and conditions and standards – are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes. To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all. Only the human scenes and characters must have human qualities. These must be handled with unsparing realism, (not catch-penny romanticism) but when we cross the line to the boundless and hideous unknown – the shadow-haunted Outside – we must remember to leave our humanity and terrestrialism at the threshold."
- H.P. Lovecraft
When Poisoned Dreams was about 75-80% complete my imagination simply got the better of me. I was Googling all sorts of different names from Lovecraft lore such as: Shub-Niggurath, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Yog Sothoth, ... as well as some names that are associated with or integrated into the lore like: Tsathoggua, Y'Golonac, Cthuga, Hastur, etc. I looked at various artists renderings of what these beings could look like as there wasn't much available by way of descriptions, mostly bits and pieces of attributes. I was having so much fun piecing the first album together, and so submersed in Lovecraft's universe, that I wanted to do a second album - a continuation.
Inspiration was at an all time high and I was so deep in all of this that I went straight for the jugular. I read the above quote and knew, without any doubt, - THAT is exactly where it was going to go! I knew the concept of this album would stem from the magicks activated in Necronomicon and The Estoteric Order on Poisoned Dreams and the veer sharply (and quickly) into the unknown.
"when we cross the line to the boundless and hideous unknown – the shadow-haunted Outside – we must remember to leave our humanity and terrestrialism at the threshold."
... well ... Nothing could have prepared me for the experience I was about to have creating the sequel. The intensity of it reached a fever pitch to a point wherein I found myself compromised in certain ways. The psychological effects of delving this deep were not insignificant. I had to go to a very dark place within myself to bring this work back and it was a far less pleasant experience than Poisoned Dreams was. I almost didn't complete the album and didn't even consider working on it for several months. Obviously, after a supportive nudge from James Babbo at Middle Pillar Presents, the album was completed. In hindsight I am proud of this album being as it turned out to be precisely what it needed to be.
"whereas most of the religions and mythologies in human history seek to reconcile human beings with the cosmos by depicting a close, benign relationship between man and god, Lovecraft's pseudomythology brutally shows that man is not the center of the universe, that the "gods" care nothing for him, and that the earth and all its inhabitants are but a momentary incident in the unending cyclical chaos of the universe."
- S.T. Joshi
The idea was to go big or go home, so to speak. I already knew that I wanted to "re-awaken" the 'outer gods' and take a road far less traveled. Cthulhu is a popular creature, socially acceptable even, hence why Poisoned Dreams was about resurrecting it as an end game. I realize that Cthulhu is the only creature that Lovecraft really describes in full and that familiarity is what our fragile human minds latch onto. Lovecraft knew full well that if you take away all familiarity, all humanity, that you create something truly horrific. In short, Lovecraft was right... fear of the unknown is the oldest and strongest kind of the oldest and strongest of human emotions. So in strict accordance with the understanding of fearing the unknown as well as the human mind's inability to "correlate all its contents", I set out to create an album that even I could not personally relate to having created it. I feel that I was successful in that arena.
Poisoned Dreams earned a fair amount of critical acclaim. When TS-HO was released there were only a few reviews published and it almost seemed as though the album was being ignored. As time went on I began to realize that this was not the case, it is an album that is rather difficult to digest. TS-HO came out in 2006 - the MySpace days - and I promoted it heavily. I remember getting a message on MySpace from a very talented artist/composer named Mars Homeworld. The message read to the effect of, "I've been watching you for some time now to see if you were the real deal or just another one of these people claiming to be a Lovecraft fan. You're definitely the real deal and I really dig what you're doing!" I mention this because the album began to get some very strong responses. I do not measure the success of my work by how many positive reviews are published, but if I'm being honest I appreciate the hell out of that!
People use it for their live action role playing games to set the mood, I hear about that a lot. Haunted Houses have used it to frighten customers. Re-Gen Magazine referred to the album as "a symphony of dark ambient magnificence" and voted TS-HO as one of the best albums of 2006! I began to receive e-mails from individuals thanking me for providing them with a tool which they were using in their 'summoning rituals'. One individual purchased the large Hero Clix Cthulhu statue and had it shipped to me to inspire me to create the finale to what I had gone and said would be a trilogy. Hardcore Lovecraft fans embraced the album, some heralding it as a definitive transmutation of Lovecraft's work. Some even came out and asked if I was spiritually channeling Lovecraft himself. One individual in particular played the album on his stereo at home and his wife asked him if a serial killer had recorded it - I'm still giggling about that. The album may have a small following but it is a loyal one.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Shadow-Haunted Outside. It is a nihilistic, overwhelming and even belittling experience to listen to the album, especially in the dark and quiet calm of night. I think it might have been a shock to some fans of Poisoned Dreams as there is no melody here, nothing human or pretty or recognizable about it. People either have the album as a permanent addition to their collections or want absolutely nothing to do with it, there is no middle ground.