*prognotes – Alkaloid’s The Malkuth Grimoire, Part I

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while now, you might have noticed we really like science fiction. This is, in part, due to the fact that yours truly is a massive fan of the genre but it goes beyond that; plenty of our staff members are also well read in science fiction and when you expand the social circles to include blog-adjacent well wishers, the list of science fiction lovers grows long indeed. In addition, I think we’ve pretty solidly proved that metal has a true obsession with science fiction. It’s not like we discovered that; metal has been doing stuff with science fiction for ages now. But it appears as if more and more bands draw on the stars for inspiration, weaving grandiose and mind-bending epics of what life out in space looks like in their darkest, most twisted, and most over the top dreams.

We’d honestly be remiss if we didn’t dedicate a post (or two) to Alkaloid. Besides being one of the most impressive progressive death metal bands in operation right now, they’re also one of the most ambitious when it comes to their lyrical concepts. What started as a careful approach by me into their lyrical content, doubting that the first album was all concept, quickly turned into a fascinating deep dive. You see, I didn’t originally think big enough. I was sure that tracks from The Malkuth Grimoire like “Cthulhu” or “Orgonism” were separated from the album’s concept and thus, it could not truly deserve a *prognotes analysis. But I was wrong; Alkaloid’s brush knows no bounds and, on this album, they weave Lovecraft mythos, bio-engineering, cold space opera, and hard physics into one bewildering and massive whole.

“Wait, what?” you might ask. How does Cthulhu fit into space opera, for crying out loud? Well, we’ll attempt to answer that question by analyzing the lyrics of the album themselves but let’s start with taking a step back and talking about what kind of science fiction we have on our hands here. You see, the idea of melding the supremely weird and otherworldly entities of H.P Lovecraft’s work into science fiction isn’t a new idea. Hell, it’s even been done in metal before. In fact, a detail that a lot of people seem to forget nowadays when thinking about Lovecraft and his work is that it spawned a genre called cosmic horror. The idea of space, the inherently weird, hypothetical reality of traversing it, and the shift in scale that the human mind will have to undergo in order to grasp it are all major themes of Lovecraft’s work.

There are many ways to describe horror but scale is a pretty good way to do it. Being in the presence of something truly towering, something so massive your mind breaks on it, is a sensation very much akin to what we call horror. That paralyzing sensation deep in our gut that we can’t outrun whatever it is that’s in front of us, the unbearable realization that our lives won’t be the same after seeing whatever it is we’ve seen, that’s pretty close to fear and horror. In contemporary philosophy, such ideas are called hyperobjects and they’ve been utilized to describe things as disparate as nebulae, global warming, death, and more. In fact, space itself falls into this category; how many of us have been struck with existential thoughts and a deep seated fear of the void when contemplating just how big and empty our universe is?

So, why not make the implicit overlap between massive, Elder Gods that lurk beyond space and time and space itself explicit? That’s exactly what science fiction has been doing for decades now, in ideas like space whales, vast, star-spanning entities, or simply the very loneliness and coldness of space. In a pleasing loop, science fiction also tends to draw threads from these emotions of helplessness and turn them back into the bodies experiencing them; what does a race when it is faced with the impossibility of the size of the universe? Many a time, it responds by starting to look at its own existence and modifying it, pushing its boundaries in order to start shaping space itself to its whims. This is what drives ideas like terraforming, astral engineering, and radical genetic engineering, to name a few.

To this tradition of turning back from the vastness of space into the human body, Alkaloid add their voice. The Malkuth Grimoire is the story of a race, probably human, which encounters a vastness, something that is larger than their perceptions could ever hope to comprehend, and decides to harness it. In the process, they unlock terrible power and pay terrible prices, gaining enough power to start manipulating the very solar system that is their home. In doing so, they tap into forces beyond their comprehension and change who they are on a basic level, coming to terms with the terrible and awe inspiring forces they are now working with. It’s a tale of high science/magic, the blurring of the lines between reality and fiction, the terrible biological prices which technology demands of us and yes, a story of Dark Gods and Forces Beyond Space and Time. Let’s dig in.


“Strings to be pulled by intuition”

 

The Malkuth Grimpore opens with the grandiose “Carbon Phrases” but we have to spend a few moments on the title of the album before we dig into its first track. “Malkuth” is one of the “Sephirot” in the occult theory of Kabbalah. In case you’re somehow unaware of one of the most popularized and modernized theories of the occult, Kabbalah is an esoteric tradition rooted in Judaism but heavily used in Hermetic (read: Renaissance) and Christian thought. It sees the material world as only part of the grand metaphysics of creation and, through a series of pseudo-realms/spheres of influence/semantic spaces, attempts to describe the grander order of things. “Malkuth” is the lowest Sephirah, farther from Keter, which is the crown of god. However, it is by no means evil, instead playing the role of the pivot, the Ouroboros turning point where matter turns once again into spirit and the cycle of Kabbalah beings anew.

“Grimoire” is easier to define. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English defines it thus: “a magician’s manual for invoking demons and the spirits of the dead”. Through the merge of both words, right in the album’s title, we immediately derive the esoteric and occult themes of which the album’s story will tell. However, by understanding that Malkuth is often associated with powers over matter and the transformation thereof, we can also start gleaning a hint of the more scientific elements which this album will bring to bear. All of this is, of course, in perfect keeping with Lovecraftian mythology, where science, the supernatural and that which lies beyond creation (much like Malkuth does, dreaming in the lowest reaches of the structure of reality) merge into one unsanitary, megalomaniac and powerful whole.

Sure enough, “Carbon Phrases” has at its center the classic image of the magus-scientist, delving the secrets of creation and beyond it for knowledge they were not meant to possess. The protagonist’s search for knowledge is naturally a meld between reason and unreason. Remember, that in Lovecraft’s thematic realm, knowledge and madness walk hand in hand. Indeed, this is true for the entirety of the occult milieu; knowing comes from careful esoteric knowledge (learning the rites, studying the code, researching the history) but also through inexplicable and often terrible revelation. Knowledge, or gnosis in this case, knowledge which goes beyond creation, is the path but it leads towards things unknowable by mere human tools. Going towards knowledge is inherently departing from reality and departing from reality is none other than madness. This is also what we get at the opening of this album, the very first lyrical phrases:

” Thoughts are slowly moving on
Unseen where they‘re coming from
In disguise feelings‘ tension moves
– Strings to be pulled by intuition 

[…]

So call me, reason, tell me your name! 
Set me out of my mind! 
Foresee the treason combining each frame 
Shaping the perfect design”

The search for perfection is often the promise at the end of the epistemological inquiry of reason and madness. This has to do with many ideas but the most important is The Great Chain of Being. This Renaissance idea, which had its foundations in Hermetic and Christian thought, divides the entirety of creation into levels, each with their own unique attribute. Humans, of course, are special: we are close to the vegetative and mineral realm which lie at the bottom of creation (much like Malkuth does. These overlaps are not coincidence) but we’re also close to the angels and to god. We have the ability to look beyond our own realm and inquire about higher levels of existence. But perfection lies outside of our reach; only by divine grace can we gaze upon something perfect. Only the angels and the saints receive the “beatific vision”, the direct view to god’s face. The Lovecraftian theme and, indeed, Kabbalah itself, take these ideas and reverse them, reflect them through a mirror darkly (remember the mirror metaphor; it’s going to be important).

At the bottom of creation, where Malkuth once again turns into Keter and the basest of matter becomes spirit again, there is also the promise of enlightenment. If the beatific vision is pure joy and the rationality of god, then the bottom is the inverse, an ecstatic state derived from madness and horror but embodying its own kind of perfection. Something waits in the depths to mirror the Christian god and it offers something very different. Thus, our protagonist is in fact two protagonists. In his striving for an answer, our magus hits on a sleeping entity, something old and terrible and powerful which has been waiting for a quickening, youthful mind to which it can grant its knowledge and, ultimately, through which it can return to the mortal plane:

“I am condemned to see things in youth 
Kindness as matter, conceiving the truth 
Like a spider in its web I‘m waiting for a muse 
A kiss to be abused 

Find me all season cold in my grave 
I am the father of time 
Feed the horror that keep my veins alive, 
To unwind the perfect line 

[…]

And once you feed the fire 
My will is set ablaze 
Strings of thoughts move towards my consciousness 
Prosaic cynic‘s disease makes me crawl on my knees 
Pulls me under in quick sand, makes me understand”

Those last two lines throw us back to the magus’s perspective; through communication with whatever it is that lies down there (a simple look at the track list or even basic Lovecraft mythos knowledge will reveal the answer, but we’ll keep the mystery around for a bit) is enlightening him. In the face of “prosaic cynic’s disease”, which is to disbelieve even when belief is necessary, this ecstatic, mystic and occult knowledge is forcing them to understand. But understand what? Here, the track’s title and its numerous appearances in the lyrics (“Carbon phrases take all their ways to find you / A phrase of love I‘m afraid can‘t be shaped without heart”) coupled with some of the other stanzas are our clues. The track’s title is “Carbon Phrases”. When we remember that language in the occult is power, with Hebrew (at the root of Kabbalah) being the language of god and thus of creation. To speak something is to change it, to make it take shape, to create it.

Thus, the knowledge being gained is none other than the manipulation of flesh itself, the augmentation and creation of life. This idea will repeat throughout the entire album (and, indeed, throughout its successor, Liquid Anatomy), of the modification of the flesh as a key to unlocking knowledge. For now, it hangs in the background of the track, with the last few words hinting at another duality (or reflection; remember the mirror metaphor?). As the entity unlocks the key to changing humanity, it has a clear interest: creating a way for it to come back:

“My creation 
Through you my youth unholds its fire 
Ideas reveal in semantic spirals, concealed 

You can read between the lines 
What you‘ll find is grace 
At the bottom of humankind”

The following track, “From a Hadron Machinist” also has an interesting title. The syntax of it is a bit weird; what comes from a Hadron Machinist? It’s hard to say exactly what Alkaloid meant here but my assumption is that the answer to that question is “this entire story”. That is, that the Hadron Machinist is our magus from the previous track, the figure of the doomed genius who is communicating with this Lovecraftian entity from the beyond. This also fits into the muddying between science, magic, mysticism and fantasy that we’ve already hinted at, in which science is the bridge towards the un-imagined and the impossible. It is enough to get us to the doorway of mystical understanding and is thus important but cannot take us that last step and is thus insufficient.

 

How is all of that in the title? Hadrons are some of the smallest building blocks of our universe, particles defined by their structure (specifically, that they are made up of a number of different types of quarks. For example, a proton is a hadron). So, this Machinist’s work is to peer into the smallest parts of our universe. In another classically cyclical image, in those smallest of things, below (like Malkuth is below the Tree of Life in Kabbalah) lies the greatest power, a massive entity imprisoned in the building blocks of our universe. But the Machinist’s science has only gotten him this far; the last step, beyond the smallest things in the universe and back into untold power resides with the mystical and unintelligible figure he finds in the bottom. It is that which waits below that offers the end of the cycle, the return into power:

“Call on me – human source to nothingness
Blindly see through dreams
Unlock the key to a world by void concealed
On black ice beneath the sea

From Malkuth earth reborn
Walks the one to marry moon and sun
Be one reflection

Sincere – your organic thought machine
Reckons the plane obscene
I can feel the deafening silence
Illusive asylum arriving for real”

As we mentioned before, the lowest point of the Tree of Life, Malkuth which lies ostensibly outside of it, is also where the cycle turns and bites itself. Through Malkuth, earth reborn; from this small place of nothingness comes reality, both in the literal sense in which the smallest particles of the universe are those that built it the way that it is but also in our literary sense in which the greatest power awaits within the void between particles. This power is “the one to marry moon and sun”, an obvious reference to the dualism that is so common in the occult between the two heavenly bodies. They represent male and female, overt and covert power, scientific and mystical knowledge and many other pairings besides. Their marriage is an obvious image of immense power, the melding of opposites from which true power comes (if you’d like to read more about this subject, I suggest going to the source and reading the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, perhaps the most important medieval text on the occult. Looking at its cover is enough for our needs now, as it prominently features the marriage of sun and moon).

The stanzas above also feature the intriguing phrase “organic thought machine”, which ushers in, or rather merely emphasizes, another important theme of The Malkuth Grimoire. This is the meld between flesh and machine and how one is merely an extension of the other (in both directions). Later in the album, and especially in Liquid Anatomy, its successor, we’ll see how the body, machines and computing fit together. For now, we can understand the most basic need of this entity and why it would even bother with humans in the first place:

“We have one desire – calculating infinity

Sincere – your organic thought machine
Levels the plane obscene
I can see beyond the horizon
A stellar asylum – illusively real

Sincere – your organic thought machine
Levels the planes obscene
I can feel the deafening silence
A string alliance – illusively real”

Human brains are “organic thought machines” and they can see this, our plane. It must be hard for a massive entity to visualize our material plane, yet alone analyze it for…what? Something. “A stellar asylum”. This beast beyond space and time searches for something in our realm, something which would grant it solace, protection, perhaps the ability to remain in our plane without being banished out into the tiniest of spaces once again (all of these deriving from the word “asylum)? In any case, this is the alliance that’s been forged; the human, the Hadron Machinist, is being offered untold power for him and his race (more of which we’ll see in future tracks yet to come) and in return, they will help this entity search for whatever it is it’s looking for. How? By “calculating infinity”.

If you had to perform such a mind-bending task, you’d probably start by getting as many computers as you can. In general, getting lots of computers in the same place, working on different aspects of the same task, is a really good idea. That’s why multiple core CPUs are so common; when you run computers in parallel, you achieve truly impressive multipliers of calculating power. Now, if we view the brain as just another machine, on which excels at gathering input from our reality and analyzing it, it becomes a perfect choice for a processing unit. Before we move on to the next track, there’s one last thing in this one that we’ve skipped and which is inherently important to our future understanding. It’s in the very first stanza:

“Call on me – human source to nothingness
Blindly see through dreams
Unlock the key to a world by void concealed
On black ice beneath the sea”

The third line is where the important thing lies. Our Machinist is not just communicating with an entity, they’re also seeing the place in which this entity resides and it is not just some floating void between particles. There’s a whole word down there, drowning in an ocean. The ocean is of course a major part of the Lovecraftian mythos, as the most famous of its entities arises from it (it’s getting really hard not to actually say the name, but I’m saving it for the big reveal a paragraph below). This will become increasingly important as the album progresses, as the entity is struggling not only for its freedom but to return an entire world (potentially with other entities on it) from where it has been exiled. Why it has been exiled can be speculated upon even with the lacking knowledge that we have now. It’s safe to say that a being (or beings) with such great power pose a threat and a good way (perhaps the only way, if they can’t be destroyed) to get rid of that threat is to banish them.

“Before Time became a lie”

All this is further confirmed by the following track, “Cthulhu”. That’s right, our nefarious entity from beyond space and time is Cthulhu himself. Try to act surprised although there’s little reason for you to be at this point. An interesting question can be posited before the track even begins, however: is this really Cthulhu as in literally the being described in the Lovecraftian mythos or just a creature so ancient, powerful and deep that it might as well be called Cthulhu? The latter seems to be the answer here, since the attributes self-described by the subject of this track are close to the Lovecraftian original but add a certain religious overtone that’s more direct than anything imagined in the Lovecraftian corpus.

 

Beyond an allusion to the Watchers from the Lovecraft story “The Watchers Out of Time” (“I remember / Before the Watchers came / before Time became a lie”), this version of Cthulhu seems different than the classic one; it’s more possessive and emphatic towards its believers, it seems. There’s an agenda here, a return that is not just a cosmic entity coming back to life but a rebirth of what seems to almost be a culture. It appears that this version of Cthulhu seeks to elevate and uplift those it comes in contact with, not content with mere destruction of all that is sane. This creature has a plan:

“Asunder
My temples have been torn asunder
My children lost
Forlorn they wander
Until my body is reborn in thunder
That crushes the world

[…]

I can see where you are
Sense the fear in you
Taste the blood of a star
Feel me breathe in your soul
Like the poets of old
For they always knew

[…]

And asunder
The universe is torn
From under the endless seas shall be born a wonder
A rift in space-time to adorn and plunder
The ruins of a lie”

That last stanza has two very important ideas for us to unpack if we are to understand the rest of the story. The first is “a rift in space-time to adorn and plunder”. Remember when we pondered earlier about where exactly this timeless mystical prison lies in which our entity is imprisoned? It appears we have our answer and it’s none other than a black hole. That line can basically only mean that in the context of the science fiction we’re talking about, as “rift in space-time” is a common way to describe black holes.

The second idea is the idea of ascension or “uplifting” in science fiction wherein lesser races are given technology or knowledge from more advanced ones. This causes them to “rise up” from their current ignorance and assume a more active role in the affairs of the galaxy. Sometimes, these actions are benevolent, mostly in Golden Age science fiction where naivety was still rampant and post-colonialism was still unheard of. Later, mostly during the 70’s, the stories of uplifting took on a sinister turn. Think of Star Trek‘s “Prime Directive”, which explicitly forbids this course of action or of Ursula Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle (or of Poul Anderon’s Jem or of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis book series or a million others). All of these present uplifting as a dubious endeavor, often times serving the uplifter more than the uplifted.

Which is the case here remains to be seen but it’s important to remember that our Cthulhu is not only talking about his own release; he/it is also talking about setting the human race (we assume, it could be another) free from the constraints of the planet. The interesting thing here is that there’s a bit of Catch-22 going on here; on one hand, Cthulhu wants to be set free. But in order to do so, he needs outside help. However, in order for any race to be advanced to break his prison, they need massive amounts of energy and the scientific knowledge to harness. This knowledge is known to few, with Cthulhu among them. How is he to break free then? Luckily for it, and us, the way out is found via our Hadron Machinist and the fire burning with his mind. To signify this loop, this overlaying of humanity over Cthulhu and vice versa, Alkaloid offer us one of the best stanzas on the album:

“I am the keeper of the gate
Herald of the Ancients
Physical mind
If you seek yourself in me
Me in you is all you will find”

“If you seek yourself in me / Me in you is all you will find”. Indeed, for in growing closer to Cthulhu and his influence, humanity will start to resemble him more and more, in thought, form and power. As Alkaloid’s saga unfolds, Cthulhu will less and less seem like an Elder god, an entity which is inherently beyond humans, and more and more like a member of an alien race, monstrous in its otherness but completely reachable and imitable in its biology. The knowledge which Cthulhu will bestow upon the humans in its service will be one of ancient technology and a rapidly accelerating return to power of a precursor race. But, as we mentioned above, first it needs to escape its prison and for that, uplifting humans is necessary. Which is exactly what’s discussed in the next track, “Alter Magnitudes”:

“Lucid delusion of force
Illusions reflect on their source
Reflections to weaker minds appear
True when by darkness concealed
Re-open your mind
– Magnitude‘s divine source –
Sync into your soul
Be torn by light
Away from the boundaries of death
Activation –
As neurons blaze
A cell‘s invoking space inside your brain
Magnet‘s connecting to you
By activating the prefrontal cortex
Denominations decline in time
Your soul enshrines what brightly shines
Through the void science unwinds “

 

It’s not accident that this track’s pace is breakneck. It’s all about acceleration, a feeding of force from the unimaginable psyche of an ancient and advanced being and into the minds of the Hadron Machinist and his ilk. As this knowledge courses through them, knowledge which is inherently mystical and beyond their ken (“Lucid delusion of force / Illusions reflect on their sources / Reflections to weaker minds appear”) but it also starts to transform them. This connects back to the Renaissance and Kabalah ideas which we referenced earlier and how the trans-formative power of knowledge plays a part in them. Knowing is not just about skills learned or facts known, but rather about changing oneself and transforming the way in which they experience reality.

So too, here. This knowledge literally and physically changes the minds of those that encounter it, rewiring their brains. But notice that space and death never leave the narrative’s gaze for long; something inside these brains begins to unfold, to take shape, and it has everything to do with Cthulhu’s quest for freedom. From earlier clues, it’s apparent that the entity is trapped not only beyond the reach of death, life and time but also of space; if our theory that it’s behind/inside a black hole is true, then any hope for its rescue will inherently have a lot to do with physics and science. Thus, we can understand the last line of the first stanza and, indeed, the last line of the second:

“As neurons blaze
A cell‘s invoking space inside your brain
Magnets reprogram your phase
A static base collaborates
When orange haze cuts through the maze
Lucid delusion of force
Illusions reflect on their source
Reflections to greater minds appeal
Fascinating, but unbelievable
Re-open your mind
– Magnitude‘s divine source –
Sync into your soul
Be torn by light
Away from the boundaries of death”

The blending of mysticism, magic, science and space travel begins in earnest here and will only accelerate as the album continues. As the mind of our humans begins to change, they are “torn by light”, a phrase which makes sense with our conception of the black hole as Cthulhu’s prison. Thus, we can understand that our subjects begin to move closer towards this prison, to tear the fabric of their being beyond this existence so that they may go and rescue the Elder god. Another important thing to note here is that, beyond the solitary connection between Cthulhu and “the poet”, the Hadron Machinist, it is now in more intimate connection with humans; in fact, it appears it has connected them to some sort of machine, denoted by the lines “Magnet’s connecting to you” and “magnets reprogram your phase”. Magnetism, a weird force that often defies common sense, often takes the role of changer and transformer in science fiction and it’s no wonder that it’s used here as the catalyst for the change going over these subjects.

 

Thus, we’re now dealing with a “cell” rather than a solitary person, a group of people on which Cthulhu is operating. This is the processing unit, the joining of several minds into a computing machine which can “calculate infinity”. What it plans is nothing more than the enlightenment we had described earlier, blending science and magic together. The entity plans to take them over the edges of their perception and show them the core itself, the source of knowledge, and through that meeting change their minds into something that has the knowledge to free it in turn. The next track, “Orgonism”, is a true tipping point in this process; it affirms many of our theories so far and moves the plot forward as well. It’s also one of the most busy tracks on the album lyrically, so take a deep breath now. We’re going to spend a while with it. It opens with a description of the uplifting, as the mind of those hooked into the machines described in the previous track transcends their current existence into a higher plane:

” A silent earthquake
Ripples along all senses
Invisible sirens spin astral beacons
Pull strings along the web of nerves
Tighten the noose around the core
Like sleep the vessels grow
Soaking in elysian juice –
and craving more
Invoking in the deep the source
of the glow
Gentlest trembles flow like streams
With every breath resistance bleeds
Swoon turns flesh to lucid dreams
Of older spheres – and the torrent feeds
Through swelling ether – a raptured lilt
Through throbbing flesh the neurons fly
Minds dissolve in wanton tilt
Like angels falling from the sky “

“The vessels” here are nothing else than the people being experimented themselves. They are vessel of the entity’s will, carrying its objectives and knowledge into the world beyond its prison. Note here, again, how mind and space bend into one: the process both changes their senses and operates on their “web of nerves” but also spins “astral beacons”. The material world and the psychic one are one and the same and as knowledge pours in and the subjects come closer and closer to the entity’s mind, their sense of self is being torn apart. This also ties us back to the beginnings of the album and this post, where we made the conflation between the changing of the flesh and the gaining of knowledge. The genius of this track is how things are coming to a pitch from all directions of the metaphor: on the spatial level, “Parallels merge in purity / Into a center of gravity  / A hungry singularity”. We are coming closer to the black hole itself. On a psychological level, “The lie of self exposed as the joke it is / From primal urge and quantum foam”, the very ideas which separate a living mind from matter and the universe are broken apart. On a biological level, the very brains of our subjects are changing. And, of course, on the spiritual level:

“In Daath I emerge 
Limitless, trailing light as mere shadow 
In Chokmah I enter 
In Tiphareth I strike 
Secreting pulses 
Nectar of the gods 
In Kether I abide 
Source of the glow”

The entity’s essence is now working its way through the sephiroth and the Kabalah tree of life; Daath(a complex word broadly meaning “mind” in Hebrew) is a hypothetical eleventh Sephira in later versions of Kabalah. From there, the entity progresses to Chokmah (meaning “wisdom”). These two entry points make sense since we’ve been talking about the manipulation of minds; the entity is indeed working its way from its prison in Malkuth and through the minds of humans into this world. It passes through Tiphareth (loosely translated as “Glory” or “Beauty”) and strikes there, impressing its power and magnitude upon the fabric of reality and, finally, arrives at Kether, the Crown, the source of divine wisdom, the mover of the universe, the originator of things. Whether it be the Lovecraftian Cthulhu or space opera’s alien entity, one thing is clear: it is usurping the very role of a god, aiming to install itself at the center and origin point of the universe itself.

But what is to be the meaning of its freedom? How will these humans affect the breaking of its prison? This remains to be seen (and will be expounded upon further in the album) but for now, it appears that the end goal of the entity is to take these humans beyond. By dissolving their sense of self, the entity is bringing them over to its side, showing them the universe behind the universe in which it resides. But its not doing that just for the sake of enlightenment; its purpose is to tie these beings closely to its own objectives and desires. Because of the scale of the entity and its mystical role in the universe, this means tying the subjects to the desire of the universe itself:

“Where there was nothing 
Now want is pulsing 
The lie of self exposed as the joke it is 
From primal urge and quantum foam 
and hungry vacuum 
A dimension is born 
Free-fl owing fi elds awaken orgiastically 
Earth themselves as untouchable shadow 
Love Under Will propels the vessel 
The temporary weave in the fabric of 
worlds that is I”

One term should scream at you from this stanza: “Love Under Will” is, of course, a direct reference to Alaister Crowley. Alaister Crowley, as if he needs any introduction, is the world’s most famous practitioners of the occult; he founded a cult/religion/philosophy called Thelema in the early years of the 20th century. Many people, including then celebrities, congregated around the highly charismatic figure of Crowley and his world perspective which espoused radical freedom and, some might say, a version of anarchy. This world’s view most famous statement is the one referenced above: “Love is the law, love under will”. This idea, of love as the prime moving force of humans and the only law which they should obey, fits beautifully into the science fiction underpinnings of this album. It is an idea that has fascinated science fiction for decades; authors like Dan Simmons, Samuel R. Delaney, and many more have written about how the laws of the universe are all allusions to the law of love.

Love is compassion in these science fiction stories and, in the grand universe, the law of “like draws to like” is simply the law of love; gravity, magnetism, magic, interstellar drive, are all aspects of the same thing, the desire of objects to be together. Sound familiar? It should as this is exactly the milieu on which The Malkuth Grimoire relies for its story. The conflation between love and physical forces is right there in the stanzas above us. The mixing of magic, through the references to Crowley, and science are plain to see; this love, this force that draws stars together, is assumed by none other than Cthulhu itself. What it is doing is attuning these humans to this force, bringing them together with the powers that make the universe work. All to affect its freedom of course, a freedom which will require tremendous amounts of energy to achieve. At last, now attuned to the very workings of the universe, the subjects of these experiments can no longer be contained by our simple reality:

“Massless bliss – oxytoxic tachyons 
Endowed in ubiquity 
Cannot be dragged into the 
subluminal swamp 
The blind observer reduced to a toy 
Riding the pulse to where alpha 
and omega meet 
Spectres gather at the fringe 
of incarnation 
Accelerate to escape velocity 
Momentum, take us to the other 
side of life”

This stanza, at the very end of the first part of this album, ties everything beautifully to the beginning. Remember how we described Malkuth? Ouroboros. The turning point. The mirror. This is exactly what we see here: “Riding the pulse to where alpha / and omega meet”. At the joining point between the realms, between Malkuth and Keter, that’s where the black hole. At the joining of the beginning (“alpha”) and the end (“omega”) is where the singularity lies and where our entity is imprisoned. It is to this place, beyond the realms of reality, that the subjects of the experiment are being taken in their transformation, the knowledge they are being given as their very minds collapse, the power they are learning how to manipulate as they themselves come under its auspices.

The next parts of the album will focus around the freeing of the entity which abides within the black hole. It will first describe, in a suite of tracks dubbed “Dyson Sphere”, the scientific steps taken to harness and direct the amounts of energy needed for this undertaking. It will then describe the spiritual side of this experiment and, finally, the breaking loose of the beast and the changing of the universe. As this part of the album will contain at least (if more) complexity as everything that’s come before, we’ll be splitting this post in two and continuing it in a few week’s time. In the meantime, this post has certainly given you a lot to think about and explore; while you wait for the next installment, try to re-listen to this album and pick up some references we left on the editing room floor; there are plenty in there. See you next time as we bring The Malkuth Grimoire to its fiery, frozen conclusion.

Comments

Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.






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