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H.P Lovecraft - The Festival [Cadabra - 2020]

Just in time for Christmas, Cadabra releases The Festival, the closest the world will ever see to an H.P. Lovecraft Christmas story. Teaming Andrew Leman and Fabio Frizzi together again, this interesting holiday tale is a perfect pairing of two masters, both wholly in their elements. True to Cadabra's high standards, The Festival is issued on 150-gram vinyl, with gorgeously grim artwork by Jesse Jacobi and liner notes by both Frizzi and weird fiction scholar and frequent Cadabra collaborator, S.T. Joshi.

Following the return to his ancestral home, The Festival details the unnamed narrator's introduction to and horrifying discovery of an ancient, eldritch ritual. Noted by scholars as the first instance of Kingsport in Lovecraft's writing, it is also intimated that this is the first appearance of byakhee. In addition, the Necronomicon is fleshed out a bit more here, so one can see the importance of The Festival in Lovecraft's oeuvre. Offering a terrifying and in depth look at an otherworldly ritual, The Festival quickly and efficiently captures the essence of what is "Lovecraftian," and does so amidst the juxtaposition of the traditional Christmas ritual. While it may not have been the author's intent to draw parallels between church rituals and those of alien creatures, the setting shouldn't be overlooked.

Cadabra never fails with their releases, and their pairings (um, what's it when there are three?) of readers, composers, and stories are unrivaled. There is a deliberate urgency in Leman's delivery that managest to add tension and horror all still while remaining calm and unerring. Like a true vocal marksman, Leman is pitch perfect and as good as it gets. Fabio Frizzi has upped his game quite a bit, and that's hard to do! Having been in the horror score game for ages, he is showing how well he can use his talents for creating cinematic twists and turns in perfect conjunction with the material and narration. His ability to switch from subtle to full on terror is fantastic, and each new score shows the evolution of a true maestro.

Hitting the streets just in time for Christmas, The Festival from Cadabra shows a terrifying yuletide ritual, set in classic Lovecraft Country. One that may put you at the children's table at your family gathering this year, this is another top notch entry in Cadabra's catalog. And hey, why are you having a family gathering this year anyway?!

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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