Thursday, August 28, 2014

CD Review: Dreams in the Witch House Rock Opera

Dreams in the Witch House (Lovecraftian Rock Opera) CD

Running Time: One Hour and five minutes

Presented by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Adapting Lovecraft into other media has not always been the easiest thing for writers, directors and producers. It is one of the many reasons Lovecraftians have such interest and dread thinking about Del Toro $150 million (projected) epic take on At the mountains of Madness. One can hardly think of Re-animator as faith and often films like The Thing ( based on a John W. Campbell story) or Alien are often considered more Lovecraft than the films credited to the Lovecraft stories. Certainly a John Carpenter movie like At the Mouth of Madness feel more Lovecraftian than say Karloff’s Die Monster Die which was loosely based on Colour out of space.

In my opinion Stuart Gordan’s best Lovecraft film is Dagon ( based on the Shadow Over Innsmouth) but he also did a pretty solid while not entirely faithful version of Dreams in the Witch House. However I have now discovered a much more faithful adaptation of Dreams of the Witch House, but the most Lovecraft feeling media I have consumed since the Silent film of Call of Cthulhu.

Executive producer Mike Dalager has completed a project so wide in scope it is amazing that it was finished at all. With over a dozen voice actors and six member band that lived in various countries. Writing a rock opera based on a beloved story is challenge enough. Then organize members to record in LA, Sweden and Denmark. Get guest guitar performances from famous members of metal bands like Douglas Blair Lucek of WASP and then pay for it all when certainly no record label is backing you.

The audacity of this project is my favorite thing about it. I personally prefer a heavier brand of metal but a few of the songs are metal with excellent guitar leads. For a preexisting band like say Iron Maiden to choose to write and record a rock opera is one thing. They have an infrastructure in place. To say I am impressed by this project is an understatement. I think every library with HP Lovecraft books should have this in their collection and connected to his name in their database. I am serious about that.

The music is very well performed, some were a little more traditional rock for my taste, but it is all very, very well done. The songs range from operatic metal to straight rock, some with 90’s feeling. The most impressive part is all the songs tell the story of Dreams in the Witch House better than Stuart Gordan’s Master of horror episode. It is the story of Miskatonic University student, Walter Gilman who starts having nightmares while staying in Arkham's infamous Witch House. Brown Jenkin ( played here by Chris Laney) is a hybrid humanoid rat-like creature who torments the sleeping Mathematics genius as he unlocks the secrets of universe and opens up travel to other planes of reality.

Big thumbs up.

Check out this video for my favorite song on the record: Or this song featuring guitar leads by WASP’s Douglas Blair Lucek

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