Posted on April 24, 2009 by Monica Valentinelli
Inspired by the horror writer Edgar Allen Poe, Shadow of the Raven is a musical interpretation of his life and his works through a variety of sounds. A rich, baritone voice representing Poe narrates the beginning of the songs in Darkest Hour. His narration ends with a line that speaks of dead things, lurking about in his crypt.
I implore you to heed my tale as I relate the grim and ghastly things that befell me in my darkest hour, once upon a midnight dreary.–SOURCE: Darkest Hour, Shadow of the Raven by Nox Arcana
This musical selection is a departure from some of Nox Arcana’s other CDs, because it employs an instrument wholly fitting for Poe’s era — the piano. Mysteries of the Night is a gorgeous piano melody that erupts into a duet with a violin, accentuated by a tolling bell. Listeners do not have to play the tracks in any sort of an order to experience the full effect of this soundtrack inspired by many of Poe’s short stories. You’ll find songs like The Pit and the Pendulum and The Tell-Tale Heart that feature interesting sound effects. You’ll hear sounds like a door creaking, a screeching cat, a pendulum swinging and a heart thumping. Each effect is integrated into the song, so that it becomes part of the rhythm, as if you couldn’t listen to the music without them.
I’ve found many uses for this CD, because there are so many emotional and tonal nuances to the music that it plays well in the background while I’m writing or reading. There aren’t any lyrics to the music which, in my opinion, works better than if Nox Arcana were to quote the stories that Poe had written. Instead, you are embraced with mournful sighs and lamenting choirs against the rich tones of a grand piano or a church organ. Whenever I listen to this CD, I picture a madman, sitting down at a black grand piano. A candelabra burns dully just above his music, and I’m somehow vaulted back to the Victorian age.
While there are moments of fear presented in the songs through tension and tempo, the songs in this CD are definitely what I would call “lilting” at times, rather than infused with a high energy. If you enjoy music that puts you in a dark and dreary mood, then you’ll definitely enjoy listening to Shadow of the Raven by Nox Arcana.