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Draconis Blackthorne's Shadomantium

Malefik Musick Reviews by Draconis Blackthorne
Nox Arcana: Blackthorn Asylum
{XLIV A.S. Monolith Graphics. Genre: Orchestral, Classical.}

Nox Arcana: Blackthorn AsylumAmidst tangled vines and spiny black thorns, there lays the magnificently gloomy edifice surrounded in a miasma, suddenly enervated with a flash from the storm. Dare you pass through the gates into the recesses of this demented dimension...?

The first spectacle one considers is the amazing cover art, an asylum still echoing ethereal shrieks in the still haunted air, whereupon entering the atmosphere, one is transported into a world of shadowy phantoms who lurk in the darkness of the sanitarium's corridors.

Nox Arcana are the musical wardens of this institution, guiding one via one Dr. Neville Aldritch, who unfurls his nefarious experiments upon the unfortunate residents; veritable so-called 'freaks' and undesirables of society, although each with their own fascinating complications. Cronologuing his progress in journals bedecked with strange occult diagrams, Blackthorn Asylum does carry many secrets... can you decipher their meanings? What you thought could not possibly be begins to reveal itself before your terrified eyes. Take care if you learn too much - for the closer you get to solving the riddles, the closer you reach the threshold of madness...

The experiments begin as dusk settles... the results of sometimes morbid work to reach a new plateau of technology, where sometimes certain "sacrifices" must be made for the evolution of science.

Based upon Lovecraftian idealizations, with a strong From Beyond influence, Blackthorn Asylum also calls to mind the characters of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, and even Dr. Moreau .

Along with the always gracefully aphotic, in keeping with the theme, some of the orchestrations in this opus appropriately tend towards the more atonal at times, pressed with a sense of desperation and urgency.

Also with the splendid introductory and concluding narrations {some of Aldritch's recorded notations} perceived as if from a phonograph, also notable is a segue-way track entitled "Shock Treatment" from the introductory atmospheric impressions, entirely comprised of the sounds of said activity, in a combination of deep pulsations ebbulating electrical currents amidst screams from the patient.

The richly ornate booklet contains stimulating puzzles, clues, and cryptographs depicting arcane theorems such as phrenology, procedures, treatments, and certain historical tools of the trade, manifested in Vargo's distinctive dark art.

Blackthorn Asylum manages to convey an entropically dramatic musical and visual presentation of 'chaos contained', sometimes blurring the lines in the listener's mind.


Nox Arcana
- Phantoms of The High Seas -
{X/XIII/XLIII A.S. Genre: Classical, Instrumental, Orchestral}

So beware the whispering wind...

1. Dead Men Tell No Tales 2. The High Seas 3. Edge of the World 4. Pirates 5. The Gallows Jig 6. Crossfire 7. Oblivion 8. Racing The Wind 9. Siren's Call 10. Trove Island 11. Against the Storm 12. Lords of the Deep 13. Maelstrom 14. Out of the Mist 15. Still Waters 16. Black Sails 17. Fate of the Tempest 18. The Fog Rolls In 19. Widow's Harbor 20. Ghost Ship 21. Skull and Crossbones


Nox Arcana: Phantom of The High SeasA phantom ship appears in the fog, torn sails, cruising eerily through the night underneath the full moon's blue light, as the ghosts of maritime swashbucklers arise from the deep to tell of deadly adventures...

Based upon the travels of an accursed vessel named The Tempest, and beginning with an appropriately gruff narration as if spoken by Black Beard himself, setting the tone for this morbid excursion [complete with the chanting of "Yo-Ho..." in the background}, Phantoms of The High Seas is a splendid Gothic translation of Pirate lore, with choirs and sound-effects to richly compliment and accentuate the tenebrous orchestrations. Also featured is a haunting vocal piece entitled "Fate of The Tempest" sung by 'Ty Cook', which recounts the tale.

The lavishly decorated booklet is your treasure map to the musickal gems herein, filled with darksome illustrations from the quest which will accompany you along your journey.

'Neath the black banner of the Jolly Roger do we sail for gold and treasures unimagined in splendor. May greed be your guide, and may the cleverest survive to enjoy the booty!


Nox Arcana: Grimm Tales
{XLIII A.S. Monolith}

Grimm Tales by Nox ArcanaThe mysterious figure sits upon the throne-like chair, decorated in ghoulish fane... the dusty leathery storybook framed in silver cracks open, letting forth a swirling vortex to enrapture the reader into its multi-dimensional fetters of the imagination, traveling forth into shadowy worlds of a Dark Witch's spell... the fireplace glows strangely this night, transmutating forms in the hell fires, warming the flesh with delightfully chilling sound-scapes and enchanted tales...

Based upon the eerie stories of The Brothers Grimm and released in the Walpurgisnacht season, Nox Arcana wonderfully manifests the sinsations to compliment one's own experience when submerged herein.

Along with the "Gregorian Shadow Choir", Christine Filipak participates as the voice of Sinistra the Witch, who from her castle, sternly warns the wayfarer who veers too close to her domain, and the hag crone mixing up her bubbling brew. From The Hollow, An enchanted orchestral garden comes alive with the blackest Magic, weaving its nightmarish influence, compelling towards the labyrinth of dreams.

Joseph Vargo's splendid artwork splendidly graces the diabolically ornate booklet, accompanied by poetic descriptions of the fearsome adventures within, creating a truly gratifying multi-sensory saturation.

From antique portals of timelessness generated with the infernal sonic machine herein, Grimm Tales cascade along the daemonic mind to enhance One's haunted atmosphere, invoking the muses to dance in the darkness of the flickering chamber.

Your adventure is about to begin... enter at your own risk!

5/5

Shadow of The Raven
Nox Arcana

Track Listing: 1. Darkest Hour 2. Melancholia 3. Descent Into Madness 4. The House of Usher 5. Madeline's Lament 6. Haunted Memories 7. Annabel Lee 8. Legacy of Sorrow 9. The Black Cat 10. The Cask of Amontillado 11. Mysteries of the Night 12. Midnight Dreary 13. The Raven 14. Morbid Reminiscence 15. Lenore 16. A Dream Within A Dream 17. The Tell-Tale Heart 18. Murders in the Rue Morgue 19. The Pit and the Pendulum 20. Masque of the Red Death 21. Nevermore

Nox Arcana: Shadow of The RavenA superb unleashing by the minstrels of the macabre, dedicated to master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe. His most prominent tales are musickally portrayed herein, gloriously gloomy symphonies combined with accentuating sound effects, ghostly arias, phantom chanting, as well as narrations to spin on the victrola in one's darkened chamber, complimenting the haunted environment herein quite well.

You can hear the wind as it howls outside the chamber door, accompanied by the ghastly squawks of the devilish raven; the swing of the pendulum's blade slowly descending upon its victim, the deep pounding of that tell-tale heart, the terrible apparition of the red death, the banshee-like wailing of the spectral black cat, and the eerily melancholy, bitter-sweet echoes of love-lorn memories resurrected...

One can picture the dimensions of Poe's mind which open from dusty leather jackets; at the bidding of the ornate portrait, these wonderfully strange orchestrations float through the room across cobwebbed library shelves, opening musty yellowed pages like misty fingers aglow in the darkness, turning the pages from one horror-laden mystery to another...

The elegantly decorated booklet displays Vargo's sublime Gothic artistry, visually enhancing the morbid legacy of Poe's tenebrous imagination. A sublime listen and contemplation overall.


Nox Arcana
Blood of The Dragon

Nox Arcana: Blood of The DragonThe theme of this invigorating Classical / Mideival opus is that of Fantasy-Action-Adventure, with music reminiscent of Highlander at some points, with a distinct Dungeons & Dragons flavor. A veritable soundtrack to warrior escapades into realms of myth and legend, dragons and knights, misty lochs, Sorcerers and maidens fair. Great musick to plunge the depths of the imagination to accompany many mental adventures, with narrations from a veritable "Over Watcher" leads you into places only dreamed of in dark lore fane, as well as actual sung vocals on one track.

The Ancient Legacy beckons The Mighty as The Quest Begins. The Citadel of Secrets awaits your entrance, towering from knotted vines and black iron gates. Can you translate the ancient runes encribed on yellowed scrolls to lead you to the next great discovery? Deep within the lambent temple dim by flickering torch flame, consult The Sorcerer to find the Treasure of The Four Crowns, where your journey twists along dark paths amidst the Highland Storm unto the enchanting Mist Loch where many mysteries dwell, transmutating fog swirls about you revealing ghostly forms and phantom faces; a gateway to the Underworld opens beyond The Mystic's Keep, leading down through the Stygian Depths where the Legions of Darkness await. Hellfires leap from below with vengeful demonic cries, whose denizens shall soon pillage the land. Steeds of Thunder shake the heavens and quake the earth in their terrible wrath as baneful spectres emerge with eyes aglow in infernal light.

Rogue's Hollow there dwells shrouded in a haze of ancient spell as the Warrior's Dawn glows red, an omen of what is to come. With hearts pounding, The Siege yields Dragon Riders sillhouetted upon the horizon, as the fearsome Flame Tongue spreads across the bloodied land. Defenders of The Realm rise up to battle these shadowy phantoms with war-cries echoing through the ages. Within the marble-laden Chamber of The Immortals, the living gods are present, and with the Blood of The Dragon, hail the Eternal Champions evermore.

As usual, the actual CD and booklet are splendidly elegant, filled with marvelous artwork {including a topographical map of Draconia}, and accentuating storylines.

Dare you step through the arcane portal into fabled dangerous dimensions to face nightmarish creatures and bewitching beings who rise up from the Stygian depths? Can you solve the riddle and survive to become part of the legend, or perish where many mighty have fallen...

5/5

I was pleased to receive an autographed CD and poster with My order, and the sentiment is mutual.
Nox Arcana
Carnival of Lost Souls
"Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the circus of the strange, the sideshow of the sinister and the theatre of the bizarre... Cast your eyes upon cruel oddities of nature and behold monstrous creatures rising from the depths of the abyss. Hear the dark wisdom of gypsy soothsayers as they unveil things yet to come, and marvel with awe and dismay at unbelievable death-defying acts that teeter on the very brink of doom. Leave the mundane world behind, for those who visit this festival of phantasms are never the same again..."

Nox Arcana: Carnival of Lost SoulsThe diabolical Ring Leader bids you come forward, you are welcomed to immerse yourself within the dark carnival worlde of olde, a phantom circus of wonders and horrors wherein patrons' curiosities become overwhelming, to sometimes gain the better of them and become part of the sideshow...

Bewitching orchestrations accompany the wayfairer, spellbinding the observer to enter the fetters of ominous tents containing myriad spectacles of nightmarish fane. Compelling oddities possess the mind further into the darkness displayed before your eyes...

Tricks and treats lay waiting 'round every corner, collected the world over from timeless eras, echoing ghostly whispers to present the greatest show on earth...

An absolutely enchanting opus; besides the brilliant orchestrations, Carnival of Lost Souls manages to conjure the underlying sensation of this Magical world to create a haunting frame which enhances the experience ever more. One could almost perceive the sights, scents and sounds therein - from laughing phantom children to the crack of the lion-tamer's whip, to the fortune teller's enthralling reading, and the breathing calliope, played as if with a life of its own...

Freaks! Jesters! Exotic creatures from foreign lands... Pay the toll at the gate, at the mere cost of your soul... this is The Devil's Carnivale, The Circus Diabolique... you will never want to leave...

5/5

Nox Arcana
Transylvania

Nox Arcana: TransylvaniaWithin a black coach, travel down the dark oak-arched path into the world of the timeless Dracula legend, unto infamous Transylvania, where nightmares come alive down torch-lit halls, and cobwebbed doors are opened to reveal blood-soaked horrors lain hidden for centuries.

Within the ornate booklet are depicted our musickal hosts: Joseph Vargo's Baphomet medallion bodes well with the chalice held as if in an indulgent toast, and William Piotrowski sports a splendid wolf's head cane. The rest of the diatribe features artistry and quotes from Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker, which combines in a psychodramatic narrative enhancing the overall creation.

'Transylvania' is a wonderfully dramatic musickal escapade into the imagination of Bram Stoker and Nox Arcana blended together, providing a most remarkable soundtrack to the classic tale. Another magnificent opus to accompany one's nocturnal activities, empowering the atmosphere by candlelight and incense's curl. This musickal release calls to mind masquerade balls, elegant accoutrement, and noble opulence in all of its splendor, certainly complimenting one's own haunted Manor.

Rating: 5/5.



Nox Arcana
Necronomicon

Impressive musickal accompanyment serving as a fitting tribute to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Magnificenty dark and brooding, narrations and incantations enhance this sonic novel as the lavishly decorated booklet serves as a veritable playlist, as phantasmagoric visions manifest in the shadows of your mind. They are as 'real' as you wish them to be...

A decidedly Middle-Eastern influence is noticable here, with sporadic sounds of sitars and finger cymbals join to create a serpantine embience reminiscent of an ancient temple. The prime Maskim Xul Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Dagon, and of course, Cthulhu are specifically addressed, with character descriptions of each. [sans Shub-Niggurath...]

Suspend disbelief and open the gates of the swirling abyss when the CD case is unsealed and The Old Ones call up from the depths. Behold, the stars are as one...

Rating: 5/5.


* Necronimicon: Some Facts About a Fiction by Magus Peter H. Gilmore.



Nox Arcana
Darklore Manor

"Woe befalls all who dwell within Darklore Manor, for those who have met their fate within this blighted place are cursed to forever wander its unhallowed halls."

A magnificent treasure found, a veritable key to Darklore Manor. Travellng through the thick foliage of black forest underneath the moon's gaze, the fog increases as you near the omninous Mansion - at the iron gate, a phantasmic gentleman beckons one to enter the gloriously gloomy estate... and enter we will... there is no turning back. A strange chanting fills your mind as vertigo overtakes the consciousness, the shadows deepen beyond the creeking door, as the candlebrum is lit, and now into the labyrinthine hallways.

The musick is repleat with a mystical ambience flowing to take you into this infamous legend. The booklet is spooktacular in its artisry, relating the tale as well as poetry. As revealed by a yellowed scroll, seems Mr. Damon Darklore had been experimenting with some Dark Sorcery, uncovered by the swinging bookcase which leads into a secret chambre. A wonderful surprise awaits on track 21, so keep listening. The astute will discover the interactive booklet contains various clues and indications relating to both the story and the music itself.

Travel back in time to witness the events that occurred once upon a time in the theatre of your mind, allowing the dread muses to rise. Darklore Manor is a welcomed addition to aurally haunt one's own 'unhallowed halls".


{Keep in mind that this is 'part one' of the subsequent 'Necronomicon' opus, which reveals the nefarious source of events. Extended explanations of both are available at the Nox Arcana site}.




Nox Arcana
Winter's Knight

Winter's KnightHere is Solstice musick for our kind - every song geared towards a winter theme, ergo, the title "Winter's Knight", displaying a black winged Knight wielding a sword in the midst of the graceful falling of first snow...

There are a couple of traditional tunes herein such as "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman", and even a folk song "Coventry Carol" floats through the forest from an arcane time long ago... yet they are done in a manner that is most mystically enchanting - veritably 'darkened' to taste. Haunted Winter cantibles, to be sure.

The overall impression derived is that of an abandoned windblown cathedral still resonating its ghostly orchestras, both angelic and monk-like choirs, with phantom fingers at the splenderous organ creating the soundtrack of nightmares and dreams in this magical season, spread forth across the year through. There are occasional inclusions of classical guitar, distant church bells, howling wind, and poetic narrations enriches the opus creating one-of-a-kind compositions ideal for Solstice celebration and beautifully evocative ponderation.

Rating: 5/5.




Fangoria

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