The King In Yellow

Ah Pook The Destroyer

Independent release, 2021

http://ahpookthedestroyer.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/13/2022

This one is going to require some explanation.

For those unfamiliar with the horror of the Cthulhu Mythos, The King In Yellow is a play that destroys the mind of those who read it, and in doing so prepares the way for the actual King In Yellow to return to Earth and gain dominion over it. The play is fictional (though several writers have written part of it, including James Blish), but the fiction written about the fictional play is real. (Meta, huh?)

The indie progressive/horror rock band Ah Pook The Destroyer have taken this concept one step further, and created a theme album about the play. But in a clever twist on the original mythos, Paul Shapera and Matthew Broyles (also known as The Matthew Show) equate the mind-destroying power of the play with the reality-twisting of QAnon and those who believe in election thievery—and by association equate The King In Yellow himself with Donald Trump.

Heavy stuff.

Delightfully enough, the music’s pretty damn good as well. Shapera and Broyles create a twisted landscape of metaphor and lyrical complexity where Alex Jones is a priest of the Old Ones and the chosen people are white, Republican Americans. The music is well-performed and, in some cases, borders on the spare; there is a lot of use of harmony and spoken word samples, including some obscure ones (audio from the Manson Family trial, anyone?). However, when they get crunchy, they get crunchy; the best track by far, “Seeds Of Mammom,” is full of fuzzy seventies-style electric guitar. Ah Pook is, in the end, a talented band whose sound is precise without being sterile.

Does it get excessive at times? Yes. I can do without “Time Cube,” and the swirling Moody Blues-like “Children of Empire” doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the album. But “Q’s Clues,” “Beatitudes,” and “Commune” create a landscape of mental horror whose final denouement is the chilling “The Time Of The King.”

Ah Pook The Destroyer admittedly is seriously niche; there’s not a huge market for HP Lovecraft-themed progressive rock concept albums. (At least not since 1975 or so.) But The King In Yellow is worth checking out.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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