Carnival of Lost Souls is The Greatest Show on Earth. An absolutely enchanting opus; besides the brilliant orchestrations, this album manages to conjure the underlying sensation of a Magical world you will never want to leave.
Draconis Blackthorne, Fangoria
Carnival of Lost Souls is one of the boldest moves Nox Arcana has made to date. Overall, this CD shows off Nox Arcana's skill and musicianship with a large breadth of composition set within a very challenging setting. This isn't a CD about scary clowns with bad makeup and evil flamethrowers; this is music that tells the story of the frightened child within all of us, swept away by the Carnival of Lost Souls.
Nox Arcana give us that great gothic atmosphere that just seeps out from the speakers. It's almost like you're actually traveling with this carnival throughout the country. Each musical piece gives us images of this dark and brooding carnival, one that you wouldn't want to be at alone at night.
By the pricking of my thumbs... I am fondly reminded of the Ray Bradbury classic "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Carnival of Lost Souls is by far Nox Arcana's sexiest cd to date—a celebration of the seduction and allure of the carnival.
The mystique of drifters traveling from town to town with their strange collection of secrets. This brethren of the macabre, from the midway carnies to the freakshow performers; for a brief time they cast their spell, enchant and seduce us, and then they're gone.
The unrelenting drums of "Soul Stealer" puts to music hidden desires and unbridled passion. "Harlequin's Lament"
is hypnotically hot, as is the exotic and provocative "Snake Charmer."
With "Haunted Carousel" I was reminded of a ballroom, of figures in black lace and crimson velvet. "Nightmare Parade" captures the beauty of the dark side. making you desire to dance with the shadows and be part of their ghostly entourage. "Spellbound"
is a little treat for any of you who love the crackling of old records played on an old Victrola.
And speaking of SPELLBOUND!! What a treat at the end of the album to hear a REAL metal song for us Old Schoolers! I admit, I did shed a tear. I think Nox Arcana should do this at the end of all their albums, but I am just being very biased to my decade of choice. Each song is as perfect as the last, from start to finish.
Let's talk about Vargo's art. We all know what a genius he is. I was seriously considering getting the evil jester image on the back cover as a tattoo. The green motif is superb and I still pray at night that in my next life I will be the lady riding the haunted carousel on the insert.
Alexandra Nakelski, Fangoria
A quality soundtrack that no one with any love of Halloween or dark fantasy whatsoever should be without. I can imagine wandering through an amusement park maze, a carnival after hours, or haunted house. Think Tim Burton meets Dario Argento. I think it's rather challenging to create a theme album and not sound cheesy but somehow these two professional music composers, Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski, managed it.
Deeply mesmerizing, very entertaining, and technically brilliant. Nox Arcana knows how to make the Dark Side fun.
JEFarrow, Parallel Perspectives
As always Nox Arcana delivers the best.
Music Extreme (Argentina)
In every Nox Arcana release we're taken to a new place and another dark world. In Carnival of Lost Souls we visit a spooky, "Something Wicked This Way Comes" style fairgrounds.
I highly recommend Nox Arcana's Carnival of Lost Souls to fans of dark orchestral music. It's one of my top favorites of 2006!
Ron Fuchs, Prognaut
Another first rate collection of creepy symphonic music from Nox Arcana as I suspect best exemplified by "Storm"
an 11:28 epic of nasty proportions. Most of the rest of the tracks are under 3 minutes; ie perfect for incidental music in any soundtrack.
The common theme throughout the CD's 21 tracks is the Circus Diabolique, a carnival which only returns once every century. Needless to say if you are already a fan, this is essential. If you consider yourself a fan of symphonic soundtrack music of the creepy kind, then this is a good place to start with the band.
Marty Dodge, BlogCritics
Carnival of the Lost Souls is the ultimate soundtrack for all nightmarish visions. When you are listening this material you will imagine the most wicked parade of skeletons dancing in the circles, diabolical masquerades, evil witches on the pale horses and other creepy and most unlikely creatures around.
Metal Sound Magazine
10/10 Editor's #1 pick
Be careful when the Circus Diabolique gives a guest performance in your town. As nightfalls the once-festive midway exudes an eerie sense of menace. Pale green lights eminate from somewhere in the distance, and the murmor of voices mixed up with ghostly music drifts over the site. As well as other more unsettling sounds. Dark rumours of missing children and drifters have followed the carnival from town to town and though they are well aware of the dangers of trespassing there, they cannot resist the temptation to explore the circus grounds after dark. With their new work, Carnival Of Lost Souls, Nox Arcana know yet again how to summon another creepy concept. It's always a surprise how they translate the topic into music. As they used gothic choirs and vampiresque sounds on their previous release Transylvania, they're now using midway melodies on "Carnival Of Lost Souls." Barrel-organ, tambourine, chimes, piano, spinet but also diabolical laughter or childish tittering mix to a dark, malicious, very beautiful poem. On the whole the music captures you, your thoughts drift to that old-time, creepy midway, with attractions like the fortune-teller Madame Endora, the hall of mirrors, the haunted carousel, the living dolls, the snake charmer, the freaks and the more bizarre and odd things. Standout tracks are "Harlequin's Lament," which enchanted me with very beautiful, melancholic, dreamy piano, reminded me a bit of Dimmu Borgirs "Sorgens Kammer" from the Stormblast album, "Madame Endora,"
my flesh began to creep 'coz of the evil voice, "Nightmare Parade," the chimes, the organ and the fantastic choir mix to a great atmosphere. But also "Cries In The Night," which is very tender but is atmospherically very fitting, "Soul Stealer," which is exceedingly dramatic, "Lost In The Darkness," where you can hear a spinet, but especially the whispered choir I like a lot and "Circus Diabolique," which brings the concept of this work to the point.
Ringmasters Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski have yet again released an excellent piece of work with Carnival Of Lost Souls, that grips you by the throat and doesn't let you go, with nightmarish, diabolical, sinister, chilling sounds and haunting melodies. Are you willing to overcome your fear to go and pay a visit to the Circus Diabolique?
Arising Realm (Austria), Pascal Zuger
For those familiar with atmospheric horror music, the name Joseph Vargo might ring a bell, after all he was the mastermind behind the Midnight Syndicate album Born Of The Night. For the last few years, however, he has been working alongside William Piotrowski as Nox Arcana, and creating beautiful soundscapes to haunt your mind and home. They have released five albums over the past three years, a feat lots of bands could never pull off, and have truly created a niche for themselves with their brand of conceptual horror soundtrack featuring everything from deep orchestral pieces to hair-raising sound effects, effortlessly blended together to draw the listener into whichever world they wish, be it a haunted Victorian mansion, a Gothic Winter wonderland, Bram Stoker's Dracula, or HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. This time around though we are given a ticket, paid in full, that allows us entrance into the Carnival of Lost Souls.
We begin or journey with the opening track "Ghosts Of The Midway," which ushers us into the scariest carnival this side of the afterlife, the Circus Diabolique. All of the attractions are here, the "Haunted Carousel," "Hall Of Mirrors," "Freaks,"
and even "Madame Endora" the fortune-teller. The album deftly leads us through each part of the midway, offering glimpses of what lies in store for you inside of each tent. Some contain magic, "Spellbound," some contain terror, "Nightmare Parade," but all of the songs are masterful arrangements that drag you deeper into the mythology Nox Arcana has created. You are so engulfed in your excursion through the Circus Diabolique that time will fly by, leaving you no choice but to cash in your ticket once more and begin your trip down the grounds of the circus again.
This is a fantastic album, creating a nightmare world, which this reviewer didn't want to leave. I highly recommend all of Nox Arcana's aural horrors, and Carnival of Lost Souls is no exception. As fans of fright will quickly see these ghouls know how to create unearthly terror deep in the minds eye. So, what are you waiting for, enter the realm of Circus Diabolique, that is if you dare!
Josh Haney, Hacker's Source
Nox Arcana with their cd Carnival of Lost Souls evokes the carnival as a place of wickedness and danger. Released appropriately on 6-6-6, the album is mostly instrumental music of the horror goth variety with sound effects and a chorus of voices to create a haunting, ghostly journey perfect for haunted houses or Halloween parties.
The album opens with a collage of sounds on "Ghosts of the Midway," with the crowds shuffling, the calliope in the distance, and underneath it all, a deep drone like something dark pervading the fun-seeking crowds. The ringmaster begins shouting a welcome but gives warning as well of dark wonders that may threaten. In "After Hours," the crowds have gone home and the listener is left alone to see what goes on in the carnival after dark. Spectral laughter cackles from here and there, and a creepy voice implores the listener to "follow me." Then on "Harlequin’s Lament" a sad piano refrain is joined by the "Gregorian Shadow Choir" that sings on many of the album’s tunes. This is the central style of Nox Arcana’s music: a mournful piano and a funerary chorale. This gives the album a uniform quality ideal for background music, but each song also adds individual sound effects and other variations to keep things interesting.
The piece "Calliope" of course features that instrument, a particularly wheezy version like the old steam-powered style. This calliope then comes and goes throughout the album like a theme revisited. The thundering tympani on "Nightmare Parade" also reappear in other pieces like "Circus Diabolique" and "The Devil’s Daggers" to create a sound like apocalyptic horses charging, such as Basil Poledouris achieved in his Conan soundtrack. Quite different are the several pieces that use a delicate and slightly warped music box sound as on "Living Dolls" which gives a feeling more like Goblin’s work on Suspiria. The piece "Snake Charmer" uses a melody and beat evocative of Middle Eastern music. And on several pieces, the chorus rises to epic heights giving a feeling like Carl Orff’s O Fortuna.
A still more unique piece is "Spellbound" which begins with a sound as though it is being played through a crackling old Victrola. Mournful strings play and a voice begins to sing. The song is very brief, almost a fragment. But on the last track of the album, the song returns after a long pause as a hidden extra. In this version, the song is a full-blown goth rock number with Jim Hamar singing like a glam-era Bowie and guitarist Jeff Endemann providing solid metal riffs. On the last listed track, "Storm," the ringmaster bids us farewell and the fortune teller lets us know that we only got away this time and that we are still doomed by fate. It’s a classic Hollywood touch that serves well as the end of this cinematic night trip through this diabolical carnival.
Nemo Swift, Big Ole Face Full of Monster
Think back to a time when effort and pride were put into the everyday items around your home. Think back to a time when class and elegance were much more then pretty words. Think back to an arcane time when the occult was feared and revered, and the paranormal was much more then just a silly late night TV show. To those who see the picture I am painting I have the perfect sound track to weave your life into an endless spook show. Nox Arcana have graced us with a new work of devilishly dark atmosphere. The name of the album is called "Carnival of Lost Souls" and if you are me and think highly of Carnival's in the late 1800's as a bit magical and spooky then this will be a treat.
A bit of back story behind Nox Arcana first of all. Joseph Vargo has had his little hands in about all of the major spook art on TV over the past 10 years or so. He was also part of Midnight Syndicate, doing production and the occasional vocal track. In 2002, he formed Nox Arcana with fellow musician William Piotrowski. Needless to say the work of Nox Arcana is as good, if not better, then Midnight Syndicate. Now back to the new album.
Carnival of Lost Souls is definitely a bit of old hat for Nox Arcana, but adds in that bizarrely twisted carnival feel. A bit of organ and a dash of harpsichord flair each movement into an (non)living entity. Parts of this album take me to a haunted carousel and other parts take me to the freak show. Others remind me of the house of mirrors to which you will find more then your own reflection. Still other parts of this album make one think they are being followed by a very unhappy specter. The main thing one must keep in mind about a Nox Arcana album is that the songs or movements are not done justice by themselves. The music is a must to listen to all the way through. This particular album flows hauntingly from entering the Carnival and hearing the gate speaker, to the eventual running for ones life from the otherworldly powers.
I will personally be listening to this and awaiting the next masterful work from Joseph Vargo. I suggest you go and get this then turn off all your lights and have a glass of wine.
Black Angel Productions
Carnival of Lost Souls is a great album that offers multiple uses beyond the theme suggested by its title and a fine tribute to Ray Bradbury’s classic novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes." As always, the liner notes feature some great artwork and hidden puzzle. No matter what type of haunt setup you have planned, picking up this album will give you plenty of material to use over the years.
Gravedigger's Local 16