Blame it on Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings movies or even Harry Potter, fantasy, a once-geeky literary obsession, is now one of the hippest genres in pop culture. Metal, which has always drawn from the dark and the fantastic, has long brought fantasy into the mainstream, and it might be just the right time for a band inspired by the darkness of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft to get its due.
If that is the case, then Crafteon, Denver's very own Lovecraftian black-metal band holding an album release party at Lost Lake Lounge on Friday, August 25, will cash in on this budding niche.
Crafteon started out as a studio project, the brainchild of vocalist and guitarist Lord Mordiggian, an avid Lovecraft fan and literature teacher. When he received a lot of encouragement from friends and other collaborators in the metal scene, Mordiggian turned his one-man band into a full touring act.
"I definitely listen to a lot of black metal from Sweden, so I think that leads into my songwriting," Mordiggian says. "Dissection, Shining, Bathory, those would be a few examples. I also play in some more traditional heavy metal bands, and I really grew up as a big Iron Maiden fan, so I think some of those influences could be heard as well."
Now that the lineup for the group is locked down, Mordiggian can focus on what he loves the most: penning lyrics inspired by Lovecraft himself and writing dark music to go along with those lyrical themes.
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"The album we are putting out is eight songs based on eight stories, and there is some philosophy behind Lovecraft's work that could work as themes, so it's not just a retelling," he says. "But most songs have to do with the cosmic forces of the universe; we are nothing. So many of the songs are dealing with chaotic kinds of emotion."
Crafteon take this philosophical inspiration and channels it into black metal that sounds raw and unpolished, although the riffs are immaculately written. Unlike some operatic or melodic fantasty-influenced bands, Crafteon manages to sacrifice none of the brutality in the music itself.
"We certainly have, I suppose, a unique atmosphere to the music," Mordiggian says of the group's take on metal. "I think most of the songs are kind of an emotional journey following the story they are written about, kind of a mix between storytelling and music together. I think fans of Lovecraft as well as fans of traditional black metal will enjoy our music; I think we've taken a somewhat original approach compared to a lot of the black metal bands who are out there. We're not trying to be derivative."
Mordiggian and his bandmates just released a lyric video for "What the Moon Brings," a concept song based on his favorite Lovecraft story of the same name. By channeling Lovecraft's philosophy and concepts, not just his words, Crafteon is able to capture the dark mood of the stories with its music.
While the group favors the darkness and despair conjured by black metal and Lovecraft's writing, Mordiggian also has a deep appreciation for the local metal community.
"Bands are really supportive of each other and a lot of times end up going on tour together," Mordiggian says. "I think in a lot of other cities, the local metal scenes can be kind of toxic, but most of the time here, local metal bands can be pretty supportive of each other."
Crafteon, Friday, August 25, Lost Lake Lounge, 3602 East Colfax Avenue, 303-291-1007, $7-$10.