Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - The Shadow Out of Tim

On The Shadow out of Tim, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets have finally produced an album that successfully manages to mix their weird brand of humor without sacrificing the crawling horror of the work of their inspiration, H. P. Lovecraft. The Shadow out of Tim is a re-telling of the HPL story "The Shadow out of Time", a "rock opera" in the parlance of our times. Most of the music is catchy, but straight-ahead rock with tinges of punk and heavy metal providing a bit of flair. The notable exceptions include "Chapter V: Return To Melanesia", a mostly percussion/vocal based number and "Chapter IX: Ride The Flying Polyp" which provides a charmingly entertaining King Diamond impersonation by Toren Atkinson, the lead singer. It should be noted that Toren has a gift for making HPL-style vocabulary sound absolutely normal in the context of a rock song. Given HPL's tendency to use turgid and florid prose more often then not, this is a true talent.

The most impressive bit about this album is how it slowly sucks you into the creeping horror of Tim's plight. The songs start bouncy and charming and slowly get darker and more foreboding as the situation unfolds. Luckily, the Thickets avoid the biggest risk with more serious material and never become turgid parodies of their normal fare, instead opting for a Lovecraftian less-is-more tactic, narrating their narrator's shock at what he sees inside of explaining exactly what he is terrified of. Somewhere, Nyarlathotep is smiling.

Visit the Thickets at their website, and you can purchese the physical cd from them here or from CDBaby.

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - Chapter V : Return To Melanesia

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