The Lovecraft Connection

Having read a great deal about the direct influence of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction on heavy metal, I decided to pick up a couple of his books at the library. I know nothing about H.P. Lovecraft, other than he wrote horror and sci-fi. So far, the book I’m into now has been hit or miss – some stories are more compelling than others. They were all written between 1920 and 1945, and the language is definitely dated. The stories are short, averaging around 10 pages, and the writing tends to follow a formula – a scene is set, usually with strange circumstances, and the reader is kept in suspense until some horrific twist or revelation at the very end. I found my first direct heavy metal reference last night in a story titled The Outsider, which is a cleverly crafted tale of someone escaping from a dark, castle-like structure in search of sunlight. When this someone does escape, he realizes that he’s a horrible creature never meant to see the light of day. You further realize that he’s in Egypt, and he’s a mummy. It’s clever because the story is told from the mummy’s perspective early on, so you empathize with his desire to escape from his lightless tomb, and you feel sorry for him when he scares everyone away. Then, of course, the poor guys looks in the mirror and understands why everyone is terrified of him.

Anyhow, the reference is at the end when the mummy realizes he’s not meant to be seen, and resigns himself to “ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night wind, and play by day Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka…”

Another Lovecraft-metal connection occurred immediately after picking up the copy of Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear and Other Stories I’m currently reading. On the back cover was an illustration I immediately recognized:

lovecraft

I recognized the eye illustration from the cover of Obituary’s Cause of Death:

obituary_causeofdeath

After doing a little research, I found out that this was done by legendary sci-fi/horror illustrator Michael Whelan. He has the original illustration on his website. Appropriately, it is titled Lovecraft’s Nightmare B

whelan

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~ by mikehill25 on May 19, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Lovecraft Connection”

  1. […] Music to read by: Judas Priest’s Blood Red Skies Diary of Dreams Check out this blog talking about Lovecraft’s influence on metal. […]

  2. My favorite: Ungl’Unl’Rrlh’Chchch.

  3. I too, have recently just started reading Lovecraft. I read one called “White Ship” and immediately realized the connection to classic doom legends Solitude Aeturnus’s “White Ship”!!

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