Biography



  • Biography
  • Performance Credits

Nox Arcana is renowned for creating haunting, gothic-themed soundscapes with classic horror references, strong literary influences, original and captivating storylines, and hidden riddles and elaborate puzzles. The band is the musical manifestation of gothic fantasy artist Joseph Vargo. After successfully producing several gothic, horror-themed concept albums for other bands, Vargo formed Nox Arcana with fellow musician William Piotrowski in 2003. The name Nox Arcana is derived from two Latin words, which roughly translate to "mysteries of the night."
      Nox Arcana's debut album, Darklore Manor, was featured as the musical score for the WB's televised special of the 1922 silent film classic, Nosferatu, and has spawned a book of original horror stories, The Legend of Darklore Manor and Other Tales of Terror. Their haunting Gothic soundtracks have also been used in theatrical productions of Bram Stokers' Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. During the Halloween season the music of Nox Arcana can be heard throughout haunted attractions and theme parks around the world, including Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, and Knott’s Berry Farm.
      In keeping with Vargo's literary interests, several concept albums pay tribute to many of his favorite authors. The darkly seductive album, Transylvania, ventures into the land of vampires, musically expounding upon Bram Stoker's Dracula. The sinister Necronomicon is brought to life in Nox Arcana's homage to H.P. Lovecraft. And the unsettling Blackthorn Asylum explores the horrors of a forsaken 19th century sanitarium with an original storyline that expands upon Lovecraft's "From Beyond." Carnival of Lost Souls takes listeners inside an old-fashioned traveling circus that harbors living nightmares and sinister secrets, in the tradition of Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes." The morbid and melancholy Shadow of the Raven pays tribute to the great Edgar Allan Poe, and the darkly enchanting Grimm Tales album brings the childhood nightmares of the Brothers Grimm to life. Theater of Illusion conjures a realm of mystery and dark magic, set in an old Vaudeville theater, hidden from the outside world, where master magicians gather to display their talents every Halloween night. The Dark Tower is a sinister symphony based on Joseph Vargo's original book series, Tales From The Dark Tower, and its sequel, Beyond The Dark Tower, which follows an epic saga of the vampire Lord Brom and his quest to solve the ancient mysteries of the accursed keep.
      Nox Arcana also delves into the realms of fantasy with the medieval sword and sorcery epic, Blood of the Dragon, which stormed in at #4 on Amazon's New Age chart, and Phantoms of the High Seas, a ghostly adventure steeped in pirate lore that explores mysteries of the deep. The gothic-Christmas release Winter's Knight peaked at #8 on the Billboard Music Chart for Best Holiday Album in 2006. Winter's Eve continued the celebration of the magic and wonder of the winter season. Nox Arcana returned to the wintery realm of Ebonshire forest with Winter's Majesty, marking the third and final installment of winter-holiday albums.
      Since the early stages of Blackthorn Asylum, Nox Arcana has been the solo project of Joseph Vargo, who has been the sole composer and musician on all subsequent albums, including Winter's Eve, Theater of Illusion, The Dark Tower, Winter's Majesty, Legion Of Shadows and Ebonshire. Vargo has also composed the music for two Buzz-Works CDs (Zombie Influx and House of Nightmares), as well as the musical scores for the cable series Eerie America and the upcoming computer game The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana.
      As with all of Nox Arcana’s albums, the concepts and themes are of personal interest to Joseph Vargo, who also creates the lavish artwork, captivating storylines and hidden puzzles that accompany each CD. The section called The Arcanum offers entertaining information about Nox Arcana's favorite authors and arcane subjects.
      Over the past decade, Nox Arcana has released a total of 18 full-length albums, comprising more than 380 compositions, and have never re-released any of their material on other albums. The latest release, Legion of Shadows, marks the band's 10 year anniversary, with 21 all new instrumental tracks dedicated to Nox Arcana's fans and all creatures of the night.

Joseph Vargo, composer, founder and producer of Nox Arcana, has produced 20 albums to date: 15 Nox Arcana albums and 5 albums with other recording artists, including Michelle Belanger and Jeff Hartz of Buzz-Works. Vargo has also contributed music and narrations for various bands including Legion of the Damned and Acid Witch.
      He achieved international acclaim in 1993 as a gothic fantasy artist with the release of a series of visual works entitled "Born of the Night," a title which has become synonymous with his gothic empire. In 1998 and 1999, Joseph Vargo produced, financed, directed and performed on the gothic-themed albums, Born of the Night and Realm of Shadows, creating a unique sound and style of music for the Halloween industry.
      In addition to his music, Vargo has created various artistic and literary projects including Tales From The Dark Tower and The Gothic Tarot. His artbook, Born of the Night: The Gothic Fantasy Artwork of Joseph Vargo, features a collection of over 100 paintings and illustrations from about 1988 to 2005. His artwork has been featured in Spectrum's international collection The Best in Contemporary Fantasy Art, in Dark's Art Parlor Dark Visions collection, and in numerous other horror publications including 32 covers and countless illustrations for Dark Realms Magazine, Vampir, and the UK’s Bite Me. His artwork has been featured in productions by broadcast and film companies such as NBC, Universal, A&E, 20th Century Fox and The Discovery Channel.

Be sure to visit JosephVargo.com to see hundreds of paintings and illustrations, and to read more of his extensive biography including complete publishing credits and in-depth interviews.

William Piotrowski, composer (2003-2008) and engineer for Nox Arcana, began his professional music career at the early age of 15 when he created the musical score for an independent production entitled "Ghosts of Ohio," a video documentary about the original "Ghost Whisperer," which became a popular TV series on CBS. William plays guitar and keyboards, and is well versed in digital recording technology. William's expertise as a studio engineer enables him to bring Nox Arcana's artistic visions to life.
      William is currently in LA pursuing a film music career but continues to act as the studio engineer for Nox Arcana. His premiere solo project is the darkly captivating score for the vampire film Crimson Winter.

Guest Vocalists and Musicians
Over the years, various Nox Arcana projects have enabled Joseph to work with many of his talented friends in the studio.

Jeff Endemann
A multi-talented singer and musician, Jeff has worked with Nox Arcana on several albums. He performed as a guest vocalist on "Coventry Carol" (Winter's Knight), "Treasure of the Four Crowns" (Blood of the Dragon), and "Winter's Eve" (Winter's Eve). Jeff also played lead guitar on the rock version of "Spellbound" on Carnival of Lost Souls.

Michelle Belanger
Occult author and spiritualist Michelle Bellanger is perhaps best known for her numerous books and television appearances, but she is also a gifted singer with an amazing four-octive range. She has worked with Nox Arcana on two studio projects, performing as a guest vocalist on "Past Time with Good Company" (Winter's Knight), as well as collaborating with Joseph and William on her solo album, Blood of Angels.

Jeff "Buzz" Hartz
Founder of Buzz-Works, Jeff Hartz collaborated with Joseph Vargo on two side project CDs, Zombie Influx and House of Nightmares.

Christine Filipak
Artist Christine Filipak is often wrangled into the studio to perform voices and background vocals for various Nox Arcana tracks. Her most prominent performances range from the ghostly child's voice in Darklore Manor's "Nursery Rhyme" and "Music Box," to the Witch Queen on Grimm Tales, to the angelic narrator of "The Messenger" on Winter's Eve.

Jim Hamar
Lead singer of the heavy metal bands Breaker and Nightcrawler, and former bandmate of Joseph Vargo from his earlier rock projects, Jim Hamar lends his dynamic voice to the rock version of "Spellbound" on Carnival of Lost Souls.

Ty Cook
Lead singer of various heavy metal bands including Maiden Voyage and Mind Riot, Ty Cook lends his soulful voice to the pirate ballad "Fate of the Tempest" on Phantoms of the High Seas.

Television
Cole Horibe performs his solo routine to the song "Night of The Wolf" by Nox Arcana for the FOX TV show So You Think You Can Dance (Season 9, Wed. Sept 5th).
Nox Arcana's Darklore Manor album used as the score for a New Year's Eve televised special of the 1922 silent film classic, Nosferatu. Aired on Warner Bros. TV Creature Feature, Nashville, TN.
Theme music for Midnight Massacre Theatre hosted by the Sinister Minister, classic horror movies televised in Las Vegas, NV.Theme music for
America Haunts for the Travel Channel.

Radio
Cast Macabre (episode 15) "Bringing fear to your ears."
GOTHIK! an audio drama inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker, presented by Darker Projects, a theatrical group dedicated to preserving the nostalgia of early radio dramas.
DarklyLit a podcast honoring Poe, Lovecraft and other gothic literati.
The BoneBat Show a fun, freaky and frightening podcast.

Billboard Top 10
Nox Arcana's "Winter's Knight" album hit #8 on the Billboard Music Charts for Top Holiday Album in 2006 and again at #14 in 2007.

Theatrical Performances
Nelson Illusions, professional magician
David Dellman, professional magician
Karl Achilles, professional magician
George Anderson, professional magician
Chad Crews, educational magician
"The Tale of Sleepy Hollow," an adaptaion of Washington Irving's story, directed by Jordan Nickles for the Jax Theater , Wheelersburg, OH.
Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," Center for the Arts, Murfreesboro, TN.
Peter Shaffer's "Equus" performed by Theatre Ventoux, Fresno, CA.
"Fiery Fantasma" by Dreamtime Circus, a troupe of fire-dancers.
"Alice!" a play based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol, but with a horror twist, performed by The Chaotic Theatre Company, Austin, TX.
Bram Stoker's "Dracula," performed by the Midwest Regional Ballet, Pittsburg, KS.
Bram Stoker's "Dracula," performed by the Richmond Community Theater group, Richmond, MI.
"Richard III" performed by Shakespeare Under The Stars, Queensland, Australia.
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" adapted by Richard Ouellette for the Galt Little Theatre, Ontario, Canada
"Edgar Allan Poe: The Masquerade" an original adaptation by David Reyne, performed by the Reedy Point Players, Delaware City.
The Pit Stop Players and the Pendulum, a 14 piece orchestra performing select pieces from Nox Arcana's Shadow of the Raven.

Museum Exhibition
From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe, an exhibition commemorating the bicentennial of Poe's birth, hosted by the Harry Ransom Center and the University of Virginia.

Games & Books
Masters of Belial an online role-playing game by Brain Seal featuring soundtrack by Nox Arcana.
Fall from Heaven mod for Civilization IV, one of the world's most popular online games.
World Arcane fantasy RPG and collaborative sword & sorcery storytelling.
The Ziggurat Games (June 9, 2007) to boost morale for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.
Warsword a mod based on Warhammer fantasy battles game.
The Maladetto Papers an interactive ebook featuring music by Nox Arcana.

Video
La Casa del Terror, a haunted house in Mexico based its 2012 Halloween theme on the Blackthorn Asylum album.
"Belly Dance for Beautiful Freaks" for World Dance New York, NY
Mike Roberge, "Paranormal Investigations" DVD series
YouTube videos created by Nox Arcana fans

Independent Film
Read Me A Story a Lovecraft-inspired film by Unfilmable Films.
It's the End, Beautiful Friend by John Riddlebaugh
I Heart Zombie a student film by Becky Bauer
Lament an animated film by Damian Byrne based on the Celtic legend of Cuchulainn, winner of the ReelshowInt Online Film Competition (March 2011).

Halloween Theme Parks
Universal Studios "Halloween Horror Nights" - music for Carnival of Carnage attraction, theme and music for Scary Tales attraction, and music throughout the park.
Busch Gardens "Howl-O-Scream" - theme and music for the Haunted Chapel and throughout the park
Knott's Scary Farms - music throughout during Halloween