December 17th, 2010

S.C. Hickman

Erdenstein: At the Mountains of Madness - Music Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft

Sometimes it seems as if there was nothing new left to discover in the music scene. But then again, one comes across exciting projects like those of the Hamburg-based band Erdenstern. The three musicians exchanged the sound of electric guitars and drums for that of strings and kettledrums and the simple structure of rock songs for complex symphonic composition and arrangement.

The musical universe of Erdenstern can best be described as a crossover of classical and medieval-folkloristic elements on the level of contemporary movie soundtracks. Their musical approach is in the narrative tradition of many classical composers — atmospheres and images are created and the listener is taken onto a fantastic and adventurous journey.

Their latest album, At the Mountains of Madness, flows with an eeire atonal music full of dark mellifluous undertones and percussive beats that portend lonely seas and a secret voyage into the blackest recesses of the void. Disembodied voices - sirens from a distant realm, float among the broken chorals like dreams of a nebulous and infernal realm of being where only the mad find comfort. A melancology bent on total annihilation twists each silken thread of this hyperchaotic stream of musical dissonance into an adventure of the mind and imagination: an extreme and terrible beauty, that guides the listener deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of magic, science and speculative realism that Lovecraft has come to be known for.  One begins to follow each adventure of this magical tale of grotesque splendour into that snowbound world where the City of the Old Ones still exists in all its supernal majesty; with each song one imagines a new fragment of this vast underrealm of being and chaos will rise up from the bones and ashes of its former kingdom, and like a deadly virus it will awaken within your mind a terrible truth which will forever haunt you and bring you to that no-place of the unreal where all things dwell in utter solitude and abysmal rapture. The ritual drums of those tribes that have always watched over humanity from afar will escape from their cold and vital existence and once again become the great lords over our insiduous existence.