SFF Song of the Week: Jesse Bullington

Here’s an awesome choice from Orbit author Jesse Bullington, a polymath (ie he’s very brainy) and a delightful guy.  His first novel The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is a stunner, and utterly original.

Jesse Bullington writes:

Metal and fantasy have long been confederates but few bands have fused the two as successfully as Bal-Sagoth. They take their name from a story by Conan creator Robert E. Howard and their creative cues from him, as well as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and other pulp favorites, but rather than simply regurgitating the works and words of their heroes Bal-Sagoth has gone on to create their own complex SFF mythology that allows them to explore the farthest reaches of the cosmos as well as the forgotten empires of the earth. Further differentiating themselves from other bands, each album by Bal-Sagoth is an epic collection of tales, not a random assortment of songs…and when I say epic, I mean it: how else do you describe a record titled Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule? What’s more, a single album is often not sufficient to contain the glorious legends in their entierty and so a single tale will span several albums–the heroic archaeologist Caleb Blackthorne III appears on two albums, and those dread Guardians of the Astral Gate feature prominently on five. In selecting a single song from their body of work I decided on “Arcana Antediluvia” because in many ways it captures the essence of the band while still standing alone, so that the novice may appreciate the tale without foreknowledge of the mythology at hand–though a sequel track on an upcoming album is rumored…

[Act I: The Argosy on the Eldritch Sea]

[The Antediluvian Oracle:]
And so it was written, that rage would carry him like a howling wind, leaving only frozen corpses,
Their bones rattling in hollow armour, to tell their tale in his wake.

[The Black Mariner:]
Behold, my blackened, grim and gory axe, the searing glow of trenchant steel.
I’ll notch another widow to my haft, and wreak red vengeance ‘cross the waves.
Tales of black-sailed argosies, bedeviled by base treachery!

[The Antediluvian Oracle:]
His gaze is as fire, his words are as spear-points, his voice is as thunder, his touch as the plague!

[The Black Mariner:]
Storm-prow cleaving, dragon rending, nighted deeps far, far below,
Hail-scur scouring, sea devouring, sunken realm’s ethereal glow.

[The Antediluvian Oracle:]
And one night, there came a storm, a storm with searing red winds.
Fire and steel rode within it, and vengeance writ in thunder and blood!

[The Black Mariner:]
Down sixty fathoms, from stygian coral-clad tombs, the pitiless abyssal sea disgorges its shambling mold-mottled dead,
Dank innards blackly acoil with nests of slithering things!
Ghosts aglide upon the eldritch seas, unfathomed voyage to ascendancy,
Traitorous blood, the surf roils red, churning crimson, thrice-cursed dead.

[The Antediluvian Oracle:]
‘Tis enough that men might dream of being kings without aspiring to the power of gods.

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