The pairing of Andrew Leman’s voice and Chris Bozzone’s music for The Dunwich Horror shows just how much respect and admiration these two have for what is one of the absolute core stories in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. If ever there were a story which laid out so much in such a succinct fashion, this would be it.
Over the course of four LP sides, the tale of Old Whateley’s strange offspring, Wilbur, is told, and the harrowing story is one of ever-increasing tension and madness. It is therefor appropriate that Bozzone’s main theme for The Dunwich Horror is one of circular alarms, the sound of synthesizer seeming to doppler in and out of the speakers as if hearing a far-off tornado siren. The tones of alert, warning all at a distance that something – or some thing – is out there, wreaking havoc, is only too appropriate to the account related here.
At the times when the tale is relating elements of a mysterious nature, as when the monstrous creature first escapes and become the titular horror, Bozzone uses a classical guitar to create a sense of pastoral dread. The sound is beautiful, but undeniably ominous, the plucking of the strings placidly announcing the terror which is lurking somewhere in the forest and hills just beyond reach.
When interior scenes of learning and knowledge take place, Bozzone’s synths take on an ecclesiastical aura. The sound is akin to one of a small church organ. While there are no scenes which take place in or near a house of worship, knowledge is very much the Whateleys’ religion. It might be a hideous inverse of what one might think of as worship, but the ever-ongoing quest for more enlightenment as to what lies beyond human understanding is very much equivalent in Lovecraft’s telling.
Hearing Leman read from the Necronomicon at length is a hair-raising experience. The reader’s voice is doubled by a static-filled echo, as if coming from somewhere outside this dimension, being relayed by both Leman himself, but also channeling the Great Old Ones, as he recites, “The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen,” from the book written by Abdul Alhazred.
Less terrifying are Leman’s myriad voices for the many personages populating Lovecraft’s saga. The reader finds voices and accents for each, every one of them distinct in accent, age, and affectation. Merely hearing a line or two from one of these individuals means that an image is instantly generated in one’s mind eye, so vividly accurate are they.