A Journal Of The Dark Arts
8 Threnodies For A Late Father.
Welcome to another edition of Horrorscores, where we transform yr waking dreams into a living nightmare.
We often ask ourselves, both personally as well as universally, what makes a person obsessed with horror? This is more like a zen koan, rather than investigative journalism, as each wayward soul has their own path and reasons for wandering into the shadowed realms. Like some ship of lost souls, each has their own tale to tale.
Disincarnate hit close to home, and conjures some fierce sympathetic resonance, with its 8 threnodies for People Eaters’ father, who passed away in 2013.
Let us look, first, at what exactly is a threnody.
A threnody is a song, hymn or poem of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person. The term originates from the Greek word threnoidia, from threnos “wailing” and oide “ode”; ultimately, from the Proto-Indo-European root *wed- (“to speak”) that is also the precursor of such words as “ode”, “tragedy”, “comedy”, “parody”, “melody” and “rhapsody”.
Synonyms include “dirge”, “coronach”, “lament” and “elegy”. The Epitaphios Threnos is the lamentation chanted in the Eastern Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday. John Dryden commemorated the death of Charles II of England in the long poem Threnodia Augustalis, and Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a “Threnody” in memory of his son.
From the whisper-quiet lamentation of Emerson’s resignation, at his son’s passing, to the screaming nuclear blast of Penderecki’s Threnody To The Victims Of Hiroshima, another famous Horrorscore, for its inclusion on The Shining soundtrack, that sounds like nothing so much as the peace of the 20th Century psyche ripped to shreds by 1000 hungry ghosts, threnodies remind us there are as many ways to mourn as there are people.
Disincarnate is largely made up of ominous cello swoons, and bilious clouds of static electronics, that congeal in the air like ectoplasm, only to turn into a plague of locusts and sandstorms. The 8 tracks work as a cohesive whole, a nocturnal journey, although there are individual moments that stand out. Disincarnate sounds like a seance held in a subterranean laboratory. Its what the soundtrack to Flatliners might’ve sounded like, if they had turned to black magick to exorcise Billy Mahoney. They entire proceedings is suffused in a sickly green phosphorescence, like walking at the bottom of the sea.
Most of Disincarnate is subtle, instrumental, and atmospheric, casting a mood, a long-shadow reverie, and leaving the listener to draw their own conclusions.
An incantation emerges on “Me Mokutu Vakamatea” that acts as manifesto for Disincarnate as well as THIS horror fanatic.
Buried/lying open mouthed/beneath the shadow/of the black sun/forever lost in the silent void of the final dream/an end to the body/a new heathen earth/gives birth/to godland/in the desolate half light/of their rotting temples/the nearly alive kneel before their false idols/afraid/their blood turns to powder as they eat HIS flesh and swallow HIS lies/a feast of forgiveness.
When seeking to deal with grief and make sense of the world around us, sometimes Christianity’s “Golly Gee, I hope i’ll see them again some day in some better place”, feels a little weak, and is a cold comfort in the face of losing a parent. For some of us, waiting around for the afterlife is not going to cut it, and we fly into a pagan rage at the vastness and mystery of life, and our powerlessness. Can a (wo)man be blamed, for wanting to conquer death?
These heretical vocals, written by Slowthaw and delivered by Joshua Levesque, are delivered in a disaffected drawl, but containing all the fury of black metal. It is subdued, to become an event horizon of human emotions that you suspect could rend the veil, once and for all.
I have come to suspect that, at the lowest level of psychological motivation, that my own interest in horror, fantasy, and the supernatural stems from the fact that my own dad died when i was little. Horror and the occult were my only hope of seeing him again, with my eyes, rather than in my dreams. It is a shattering psychological wound, that i don’t think there’s any coming back from. Just coming to grips with, and learning to live.
All of these revelations, of course, come long after the fact, and is still largely guesswork, even though it seems silly i don’t know the shadows and corners of my own mind. The obsession started because it started, and i have always been obsessed with the dark side. From this simple fissure, this root compulsion, has built a complex world of associations, thoughts, observations, aesthetics. Horror is as useful as a lens for analyzing the world around us as any, frequently revealing people’s hidden fears and motivations. It is the symbolic language of the unconscious; where nothing stays hidden, and nothing is as it seems.
Like Hamlet can tell you, a father’s ghost is something serious to contend with. One wonders what People Eaters’ relationships with his/her/their father was? Was he supportive of the label, of PE making musick? Or did they have to fight tooth and nail to go their own way? Were they supported or repressed? Is this a benevolent ancestor or a vengeful demon?
The ghosts of my family inform everything that i do. They’re wonderful people, loving and compassionate, but rather stuck in the American midwestern protestant work ethic. Yr job is yr life, and you are yr job. End of story. Unfortunately, no one bothered to inform them that the industrial revolution is over, and there is little place for a dual-brained, ghostly, androgynous man, so i’ve been forced to go my own way. I recently lost one of my closest relatives, who had been with me through the hard, dark years, and seen me return to light. She was incredibly lovely and supportive, but wished i would “settle down and get a real job”, right to the end. Sorry, Auntie, as much as i was looking forward to a bright and shining future in service industry slavery/whoredom, i’m afraid i must decline. I’m a bit busy this century.
This mixture of emotions: the sadness of loss, the regret of not having been more successful while they were alive to see, the excitement of FINALLY inheriting adulthood and the freedom to go away, are just an example of some of the dense tapestry that lie, like a school of barracuda, beneath the obfuscating surface of Disincarnation.
Aetheric Records are some of the finest purveyors of spectral drone, dark ambiance, and harsh noise. There is a QUALITY, some dark inner light, on each of their releases, that is difficult to quantify but impossible to ignore. And Disincarnate is one of their finest releases yet.
If yr not yet familiar with the label, (or if you are), AR made us an introductory mix for their label. Check it here.
Enter the haunted laboratory: