Interesting things can happen when you do a concept album that is based on a well-established “universe” created by someone else. In my experience it usually ends up as a parody or falling short.

For those not familiar with “Miskatonic”, it is part of the “Cthulhu Mythos” written by H.P. Lovecraft back in the 1920’s, (it is also an area in New England). The Miskatonic University is one of the locations within the nightmare world he created, featuring elder beings that roamed the Earth millennia before the human race. More importantly, The Miskatonic University has a dark and eclectic library whose most dangerous book is the Necronomicon.

The risk Casablanca has taken is to extend this well-established universe and in extending it, proposing that “Before man The Old Ones” ruled the world stated H.P. Lovecraft! But before The Old Ones, The Original human being of the Golden Void (the Original) ruled the earth Casablanca now claims.

This is all well and good, but does it stand up musically? Wholeheartedly, the vocals clearly ring out the tales and woes, while the music; considering the material, is uplifting. Opener “Enter The Mountains” has the very atmospheric sound of the wind; and while a guitar gently works its way into your subconscious, the vocals come in as Anders tells you his need to get back to reality. He is lost in the Architecture of Time, back to the streets where science meets the mythos. This is all delivered in a relaxed manner that carries with it something underlying and ominous. This soon crescendos and drops back down again. Around the mid-point an organ kicks in and the guitars open up as the tempo increases, the melodies and rhythm perpetuate the setting that came before. Weighing in at 10 minutes; the longest track on the album, the scene is set for the journey to come.

From here on in the story unfolds-“Closer” has a more traditional metal feel to the sound; with some old school keys thrown into age the sound, whilst maintaining that addict rhythm as the vocals continue the story.

The title track, “Miskatonic Graffiti”, maintains the soaring feel to the music as the vocals carry you on with the journey. The harmonies on the chorus just carry you! Closing the journey is aptly named “Leaving The Mountains”; opening with an ominous sounding spoken piece, the second longest track opens and is more than a fitting end to the album.

Now Casablanca are new to this listener, so I have no comparision to their earlier material; but this, their third album is well produced and well rounded. The guitar sections soar while the rhythm keeps you hooked. There is something that just seems epic about the sound on this album. They have tackled a tough subject and have done it with ease. This album falls firmly into the melodic rock camp and should provide good listening for just about anyone. Obviously this album is not just about the music but the story it tells; and while this does not go into the full details of that story, it is one that is enjoyable to listen to.

Line Up
Anders Ljung – Vocals
Josephine Forsman – Drums
Erik Almström – Guitar
Ryan Roxie – Guitar
Erik Stenemo – Guitar
Mats Rubarth – Bass

Track Listing
Enter The Mountains
This Is Tomorrow
My Shadow Out Of Time
RE: Old Money
Name Rank Serial Killer
Miskatonic Graffiti
She Was the One
Exit The Mountains


Words and Tentacles by Jon.

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