Title: The Music of Erich Zann
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Dark Ambient
H.P. Lovecraft has been an inspiration for many Metal and ambient projects, and not without reason. His obsession with dark occult powers and unnamable ancient forces from beyond are the perfect themes for dark music. However, many projects fail to really capture the old, creeping evil that is present in the written works of Lovecraft. Indeed, it is no small feat to accomplish creating music which truly represents the mastery of Lovecraft’s work. Alhazred is one of the few projects which does just that with the album The Music of Erich Zann, taking the listener on a musical trip into the esoteric darkness of some of Lovecraft’s most famous stories.
The intro track Welcome to Arkham sets the tone of the album perfectly. Alhazred uses classic synthesizer sounds to create a gloomy, brooding atmosphere. The track begins with the tolling of a bell, before brass and airy synth pads begin to weave obscure minor melodies, accompanied by the slow beating of a drum. The second track The Nameless City is one of the highlights of the album, with a haunting cello intro and dark flute sections. The use of slow strings and reed instruments evokes the images of walking through the ruins of an unknown and forgotten city, where darkness and malevolent forces lurk in the shadows. These first two tracks work together in an outstanding way to get the listener in the Lovecraftian mood.
The remaining songs are quite a bit longer, each totaling over 10 minutes. Brass pads are used often to create a distorted buzz, with flute reed instruments creating dark melodies. The title track The Music of Erich Zann features a great harsh synth intro, which sounds as if a madman composed it. The track really exemplifies why synthesized ambient music is the perfect medium for H.P. Lovecraft inspired music. The track The Great Old Ones slightly changes tone, with a simple Burzum like melody opening the song accompanied with more brass pads. This track is not as excessively dark as the others, and instead carries the feeling of a very ancient god rising from slumber. The overall atmosphere is similar to the subtle ambient melodies created by Varg Vikernes, which perfectly leads into a great cover song of The Crying Orc by Burzum.
Alhazred have released an excellent ambient release with this album. It is perfect to listen to while reading, contemplating, or drifting into sleep. While other projects try and fail, Alhazred has captured the darkness of H.P. Lovecraft through dark, twisted, and gloomy synthesized compositions.