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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society

A Shoggoth on The Roof

Review by Gary Hill

For fans of the author H. P. Lovecraft (particularly those with a good sense of humor), this is a pretty awesome album. I should admit here that since I generally am not a big fan of musicals, much of this music (although adapted from "Fiddler on The Roof") is new to me. Granted, I know a handful of the originals. The point I'm making is that, even with that form of ignorance I still appreciate the disc. These guys do a very professional and creative presentation that will probably have you dying to see the full stage production. This is an unusual, but quite interesting album, and just plain lots of fun. You can get more information on it by going to http://www.cthulhulives.org/Musical/cdinfo.html.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Act I
Tentacles
A classical organ processional starts this, then after running through ethnic music takes over for the opening spoken narrative. The whole cast joins in on the chorus of "tentacles". As the narrator begins his description of Cthulhu he joins in song and the full musical approach takes the track. This is bouncy and very fun. Various Lovecraft characters get their moments to speak including Herbert West, Randolph Carter and more.
Arkham, Dunwich
This old world tinged balladic cut takes on very cool textures here and works exceptionally well with the lyrical switch. Originally "Sunrise, Sunset", "Arkham, Dunwich" seems an obvious one.
Byakhee Byakhee
The theme here is more of the same with their spotless take on the music and the Lovecraft based lyrics. After a summoning some weird sounds emerge in the mix at times. Listening to the cheery vocal describing the taking by the Byakhee makes for a great and clever contradiction.
Shoggoth Prayer
A pounding starts this, then a pretty backdrop creates the motif for this prayer to call Cthulhu. The arrangement here is very cool.
If I Were A Deep One
This is hilarious. "If I were a deep one - blub, blub, blub, blub, blub." This reworking of "If I Were A Rich Man" is awesome. This is great! The arrangement gets quite powerful at times.
To Life
This cheery number deals with Herbert West - Reanimator. It works well, but isn't one of the strongest cuts here. The lyrics are quite funny, though. The "die, die, die" chorus is a definite winning touch.
Act II
The Nightmare
This one feels like Monty Python does a full Broadway musical with Lovecraft at its heart. This one doesn't work as well as some the rest, though.
Victim of Victims
This has a playful texture but is another that is only so good.
Very Far From the Home I Love
This one musically is stronger than the last couple. This is not over the top as some of the rest.
Do You Fear Me?
Organ music begins this one. The lyrics are hilarious and the arrangement is cool.
Miskatonic
This is another cool one and a great conclusion to the whole story and musical.
 
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