From the Stygian Blackness They Come
A Beacon of Unknown Origin
Peering Into Starry Wisdom
The Haunter of the Dark
The Black Pharaoh
The Crawling Chaos
Messages to Infinity...
...From the Audient Void
From the Stygian Blackness They Come (Reprise)
"I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim
Where they roll in their horror unheeded
Without knowledge or lustre or name"
- Howard Phillips Lovecraft
After the experience creating The Shadow-Haunted Outside, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I began work on what would eventually become the "trilogy finale" - The Secrets of Vanished Aeons - but it felt more like an obligation than inspiration. That's just not a place I can work from because all of my work, if nothing else, is sincere. I needed time to recoup and although I found myself tinkering with different projects, nothing had gotten off the ground. The years between TS-HO and Yawning Darkness saw, 2006 - 2013, saw the creation of two independent film scores: Closet Space and IN[B]ETWEEN though they were not released until 2013. I honestly didn't think I would complete my Lovecraft trilogy or even work in that domain again. However, when I came across images (yes, Google) of sculptures by one Jason McKittrick, inspiration returned!
I reached out to McKittrick and we shared our respective works with one another. He liked what I was doing and I liked what he was doing. The first NecronomiCon was to be held in Providence, RI that summer and I found myself inspired by his Nyarlathotep idols - various forms in which the messenger of the outer gods would deceive and torment mankind. His Haunter of the Dark idol (center) made me want to read the story of the same name... I was hooked... again! I fell in love with Lovecraft's work all over again.
So Lovecraft's The Haunter of the Dark, and Nyarlathotep, became the inspirations for a new concept album - So Comes the Yawning Darkness. Ironically enough I would refer back to TS-HO, tracks 2 & 3, "Messenger, Deceiver" and "Idiot God" and explore, in greater detail, the relationship between Nyarlathotep and Azathoth. I also became quite fascinated with the different forms that Nyarlathotep would take in order to carry out his "messages." There were only a handful of them and that was a crop, I felt, that was ripe for harvesting. We'll visit that premise shortly. So I knew I wanted some of the tracks on the albums to explore some of those deceptive forms. Again, ironically, this reflected the format of TS-HO and even extends from that work.
So I knew I wanted to explore the avatars of the messenger as well as the relationship between two alien beings. In figuring out how to connect the dots I turned to The Haunter of the Dark. The story mentions the Church of Starry Wisdom which, at one point, is raided by police and ancient relics and tomes are confiscated. So the idea then came to me to bring something new to the 'mythos' table. The idea of creating a new avatar for Nyarlathotep was inherently cool to me as was the idea of creating a new tome, and maybe that tome could be related to Nyarlathotep somehow. So in conclusion this album would be a study on the various forms of Nyarlathotep, the relationship between it and Azathoth, The Haunter of the Dark would provide the circumstance for the project and in the process a new form, tome and artifact would be created to enhance the experience.
The Avatar: Siphon
In creating a new avatar I was keen on the form and function of the thing. I took a look at Azathoth. Why? Because we're talking prophecy and this release is really a cog in that machine. My thoughts kept turning back to the flutists, the glowing pipers circling Azathoth containing it. I began to wonder what they are. In my mind those flutists are bright lights in a dark universe. They have the purity and energy to contain something massive from becoming something even more unfathomable than it already is. The answer to me was quite clear: children - bright lights in a dark world, pure, innocent and potentially incorruptible. So this form of Nyarlathotep would essentially be the equivalent to 'stranger danger' and tap a deeply sensitive vein that, unfortunately, is something of a reality in our society today. Why would I create something in this vein? Because this is a horror piece and I have children of my own and NOTHING is more frightening than the thought of something bad happening to them.
I called this form the Siphon, taking the light from our world to serve its own selfish needs. In this form Nyarlathotep would lure children away from their homes into deep dark places in our world where it could transform them into flutists to contain Azathoth. I was deeply moved by the story, The Pied Piper of Hamlin when I, myself, was a child. I shared my idea with Jason McKittrick who then added an aesthetic to the Siphon. He submitted that Siphon would appear as a child dressed in clothes from the 1800's. Its skin would be onyx in color with glowing purple eyes. I felt it quite appropriate that the Siphon appear in the form of a child to lure children away in play.
So with the Siphon now in place I thought it would be something to have someone visualize it. I turned to friend and (brilliant) artist Shane Gallagher who added even more intensity to the concept. The purple light is emitted from the eyes and mouth while it is transforming the children it lures away. And why lure children away to deep dark places you ask? Because Nyarlathotep has limited abilities in our world. He is messenger of the outer gods and deceiver of mankind. Therefore, the tears in the fabric between our world and the "outside" where they dwell waiting to re-enter are few and far between and not in plain sight. Those are places where his abilities are... more!
The Tome: Cor Tenebris
I wanted to create a tome associated with Nyarlathotep... a makeshift account of sightings / encounters. I decided to call it Cor Tenebris (Latin for Heart of Darkness). This tome would have been confiscated from the Church of Starry Wisdom and turned over to Miskatonik University for safe keeping. So for the release of So Comes the Yawning Darkness, there is a 12-page art booklet full of beautiful renderings of the various forms of Nyarlathotep by none other than Shane Gallagher. The insert booklet actually serves as the Cor Tenebris itself to coincide with the CD.
"And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished, for the small hours were rent with the screams of nightmare." - H.P. Lovecraft
The VOID Artifact
Jason McKittrick and I had discussed creating an artifact to be discovered with the Cor Tenebris in the Church of Starry Wisdom. My input to Jason was to take into consideration the overall prophecy being foretold with Poisoned Dreams and TS-HO as well as So Comes the Yawning Darkness. So he designed, sculpted and cast the Void Artifact in limited quantity to create an "Artifact Edition" of the release. We wanted to collaborate and create something new and unique for fans of Lovecraft as well as his 'mythos.' See below - The Void Artifact.