The wind is raging and whipping still-green leaves from the trees outside as I write today. When it gets to this point in October, my mind often turns to the stories of H. P. Lovecraft. Although not exactly the classic Halloween type scary stories you might think of, Lovecraft’s tales deal with ancient evils and unspeakable beings that nonetheless go well with the dying season.
In a strange coincidence, yesterday I stumbled on a musical collection from various progressive rock artists with songs inspired by Lovecraft’s stories. The Stories of H. P. Lovecraft: A SyNphonic Collection is a 3-CD set with songs based on a number of my favorite Lovecraft tales, including “The Haunter of the Dark,” “The Doom That Came to Sarnath,” “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath,” and “At the Mountains of Madness.”
Although the artists here are not particularly well-known—to me, anyway—the music is quite good and evokes the moody, atmospheric weirdness you’d expect in a collection inspired by Lovecraft’s writing. A large percentage of the overall package consists of instrumental music, as is not uncommon for progressive rock music. And a few of the tracks with lyrics aren’t in English, as the artists represented are international. And then, of course, there are a few songs that tell lyrically the stories they represent, such as the first track, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.”
The upshot is that this collection makes for some nice mood music for the Halloween season, and generally a good selection to listen to while writing—particularly if you’re working on something a bit weird or bent towards horror. It’s also a nice, brief introduction to some lesser-known prog artists.
Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins