The union between Lovecraft and music it has always been a present note, pass me the line, within the narrative of the "Loner of Providence". Many musical groups, after reading his stories, were inspired to create something lasting by taking the stories and tales of the Myths as inspiration.

From Italian progressive to Norwegian black metal, many wanted to leave their composition linked to this theme. So why not write about it?

Do you ever, during a long queue in front of the post office, listen to some music and look around you? Here yesterday it happened to me too. But how was the union born?
During the long wait I see behind me a girl who is reading. He has a Lovecraft book in his hands and I start to smile. Was reading The one who whispered in the darkness. I am old now and therefore, in certain situations, I turn into "Dad Beaver" and I start to tell her a story just to pass the time. An interesting story, by the way, but I'll tell you another time.

But today we talk about music because, immediately after having used my little courage to talk to her, I picked up the phone again and started listening to some music. But I specifically went looking for something he was talking about Cthulhu. Hence the desire to write an article on Lovecraft and music.

Let's start?

A rare image of the Seeker R.

Lovecraft and music in his stories

When we think of Lovecraft and music, the first thing that comes to mind, to anyone who has read his works, could be the music of Erich Zann (which we got to talk about in his transposition in comics). In this story, Lovecraft tells the story of a young man who finds a home in the Rue d'Auseil under the apartment of Erich Zann. During the time spent in that house, Lovecraft describes the music that the old man composes for an exceptional audience, the External Gods.

[...] It would be useless to describe Erich Zann's music on that horrible night. It was the scariest thing I had ever heard, because now I saw his face and knew that his inspiration was fear. He was trying to make noise: to hold off, or to suffocate, something that was outside [...]

The music of Erich Zann

For Lovecraft, music is fear, it is something unknown. Scientific studies have actually found that music can trigger up to thirteen different sensations:

  • divertissement
  • gioia
  • eroticism
  • beauty
  • relaxation
  • sadness
  • dream
  • triumph
  • anxiety
  • fear
  • boredom
  • anger
  • the energy

If you have an interest in understanding what I'm talking about, you can go to this address where the brain's response to certain types of music has been mapped. Unfortunately you won't find it the music of Erich Zann, lost as narrated in the story.

Lovecraft and music go hand in hand to reinforce the concept of horror
Lovecraft and music go hand in hand to reinforce the concept of horror

But Lovecraft uses music not only in that story. There are many stories where Providence Solitaire uses a musical interlude to distract the reader's attention from what's going on. This trick can be found in the text The rats in the walls (1923) during which the protagonist, inevitably doomed to madness, while listening to chamber music from a gramophone, begins to hear other sounds, other noises. At first he hears the incessant swarming of flocks of rats scratching the wall with their paws. Later it is Nyarlatotep, adored by the Romans with the name of Atthis, husband of the goddess Cybele, defined as the crazy and faceless god who screams blind in the darkness and is accompanied by two amorphous and idiotic flutists to steal the music scene.

Same "music", in the story, set in the realms of the Dream, the dreamlike search of the unknown Kadath. Here the character, Randolph Carter, Lovecraft's alter-ego, tries to reach the court of the External Gods and when, finally, he succeeds in his enterprise, this is what awaits him

[...] the last incorporeal mist of the creeping Chaos that blasphemes and gurgles in the center of all infinity, the irrepressible demon, Sultan Azathoth, whose name no mouth dares to utter, who gnashes his teeth hungrily in the dark and inconceivable spaces that lie beyond time, between the muffled beats of drums that raise reason, and the monotonous dirge of cursed flutes [...]

The dreamlike search of the unknown Kadath

Again, music is the master to instill fear in the reader. And at times he succeeds, in my opinion, better than with his meager descriptions, especially given the scarce vocabulary he used in his stories.

It would be really interesting to know what Lovecraft thought and music in his little lonely world. I invite anyone who reads this article to share knowledge about it, I would be very happy to be able to fill this cultural gap of mine

Lovecraft and music have always had a very close relationship in many contexts
Lovecraft and music have always had a very close relationship in many contexts

Music inspired by the works of HPL in our world

Lovecraft's work has inspired the music of several generations. A keen observer might notice that the heavy metal musical current has been most influenced by it, but I assure you that you will be surprised when you discover that even our progressive music, from the 70s onwards, has drawn heavily from its work.

Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Blue Öyster Cult, Cradle of Filth, Tiamat, are just some of the names of the foreign bands who mentioned Lovecraft's work in their music.

One of the most striking cases of contamination is undoubtedly the album cover of Iron Maiden Live after death. In pose we see the famous Eddie who, coming out with some vehemence from the grave, shows a particular epitaph.

Lovecraft and music have always been linked, no doubt about it

But would you like to hear something now? I remind you that a lot is heavy metal, so consider yourself warned!

Black Sabbath - Behind The Wall Of Sleep

This Black Sabbath song takes its title from the story Beyond the wall of sleep. Visionary and otherworldly images, a distant star that burns becoming a supernova near Algol, "the devil's star" (whoever has played in Coriolis knows), a clash against a incorporeal enemy. All themes that Lovecraft had dealt with, and from which Ozzy and his companions took this piece.

Metallica - The Thing That Should Not Be

Here the Metallica fish with full hands from the story The Innsmouth mask. Tracing the footsteps of the previous work The Call of Ktulu, completely instrumental, here Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett compose a song whose lyrics are about men hybridized with fish watching the sea waiting for the “thing that shouldn't be”. Father Dagon? Mother Hydra? Only the loss of your sanity will get you the right answer!

Blue Öyster Cult - The Old Gods Return

I love this group. It literally drives me crazy and not for these Lovecraftian texts, but for all their work.
The stars are aligned. A new zodiac appears in the sky. The Moon, with its evil and hidden face, observes the horror. The Old Gods are returning.

Music undergoes a distressing crescendo. One perceives the fear and the inevitability of the end of the human being. The way is now open and no human can be saved.

Italian progressive, Lovecraft and his music

We are young children of the 80s and 90s or even the 2000s, but the music scene of the 70s had given rise to a progressive rock genre that was envied by many in the world and which is still listened to and sold today.
But few know that one particular band, Le Orme, to make himself known overseas, he recorded a vinyl entitled Beyond Leng. It was 1975 and the band wanted to launch on the American market; what better way than to get attention using a Lovecraftian reference? Many of the songs included in the album were already present in previous works, but were chosen for their marked evocative characteristic.

But you absolutely must not think that the Italian prog story ended here. In 2016, in fact, a young musical group called Gears of the Valley, publishes his second work entitled Warm Spaced Blue. In this album there are three songs related to Cthulhu, which catapult the listener into a crescendo of fear and experimental sound. A real treat for the ears. I leave here the first part of the three that make up the ode to the great and mighty Cthulhu. Have a good listening.


It is now a self-evident truth to say that Howard Philip Lovecraft has strongly influenced the comic-literary, videogame, cinematographic and musical panorama. Each cultural sphere, in one way or another, has undergone a sort of contamination linked to its work.
Maybe too much, according to some.

I am not the right person to make a judgment about it being too biased. I am of the idea that the horror, that of Lovecraft's stories, of the music he inspired, come on based games on his work, ai gamebook, can't get enough of it.

Do I love to be scared?
I wish I could succeed, but with what is proposed to us day by day by the mass media, by television and by the attitude of some individuals, I find myself almost anesthetized.

Maybe just as Breccia hypothesized in a comic of his on Solitaire Providence, the door to true horror remains closed thanks to these artists, writers and players who, every day, face the horror beyond the stars and time or, more simply, the government of their own state.

I started with a story told in the queue and here I am telling another one. Before leaving, however, I would like to involve you directly. Is there any song that deals with the topic of the Myths to which you are particularly attached? Would you like to share it with us?

I'm always looking for good music!