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Nox Arcana glorium-
Ad limina tempus,
Nox Arcana glorium!
Nox Arcana, a Gothic Classical group creating self-described music from the shadows, formed in 2003 as a collaboration between gothic fantasy artist Joseph Vargo (of ex-Midnight Syndicate fame) and musician William Piotrowski. The group's first album Darklore Manor introduced the music world to what would become Nox Arcana's signature style - a darkly beautiful, but wonderfully eclectic sound that centered around the brilliantly realized backstory of the album's concept.
With the albums being published by Vargo's company Monolith Graphics, the group put out new record after new record, each with an entirely new concept. Concepts ranged from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe to dark carnivals, Transylvania, pirates, fairy tales, and (surprise!) a Holiday album.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Nox's work is that it is not simply music. The music is only one part of the whole - albeit the most important part. The band creates stories that tie in with/tell the backstory of the album's concept. On the official website, an interactive area known as The Arcanum allows listeners to enter the world of the music. Vargo's artwork adorns the album covers and booklets. All of these things come together to create the world that is Nox Arcana.
In 2009, the band put out two more albums (Blackthorn Asylum and a second Holiday album, Winter's Eve), within a few months of each other. In 2010, it was announced that a new album entitled Theater Of Illusion was to be released over the summer. The artwork, story, and sample tracks were revealed as of early July, and CDs are now out.
As of October 1st, House Of Nightmares, the band's second collaboration with Buzz-Works has been released.
The band's discography is as follows:
- Darklore Manor (2003)
- Necronomicon (2004)
- Winter's Knight (2005)
- Transylvania (2005)
- Carnival Of Lost Souls (2006)
- Blood Of Angels (2006) - Collaboration with Michelle Belanger.
- Blood Of The Dragon (2006)
- Shadow Of The Raven (2007)
- Grimm Tales (2008)
- Phantoms Of The High Seas (2008)
- Blackthorn Asylum (2009)
- Zombie Influx (2009) - Collaboration with Buzz-Works.
- Winter's Eve (2009)
- Theater Of Illusion (2010)
- House Of Nightmares (2010) - Another collaboration with Buzz-Works for the Halloween season.
- The Dark Tower (2011)
Nox Arcana provide examples of the following:
- All There in the Manual: An extreme example with the puzzles inside the CDs, and a more mild example with the stories and the contents of The Arcanum.
- Badass Long Hair: Joseph.
- Bald of Awesome: William.
- Bedlam House: Blackthorn Asylum.
- Circus of Fear: The Carnival Of Lost Souls.
- Concept Album: 16 of them.
- Creepy Child: The children's voices narrating Nursery Rhyme.
- Creepy Circus Music: Pretty much every song on Carnival, but especially Ghosts Of The Midway, Calliope, and Shadows Fall.
- Creepy Monotone: Several of the narrations sound like this.
- Curse: Darklore Manor is a classic case - Natives called it "the place where shadows walk", it became a hot spot for black magic, a bunch of deaths and other tragedies happened and...you get the point.
- Dracula: Transylvania is a musical adaptation of the story.
- Dramatic Thunder: A frequent sound effect in their music.
- Mr. Fanservice: Just ask any Joseph Vargo fangirl. William has his fair share of female fans as well.
- Ethereal Choir: All the time. The "Gregorian Shadow Choir".
- Evil Laugh: In Hall Of Mirrors. Might want to not press stop after the end of Storm, either...
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Castle Of Nightmares, anyone?
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Their album Necronomicon is about...the Necronomicon.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Bell noises are used quite a lot in their music. At least a couple times on every album, but especially on Winter's Knight.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: The whole concept behind Grimm Tales.
- Haunted Castle: Again, Castle Of Nightmares. It says it right there in its name.
- Haunted House: Darklore Manor and House of Nightmares. Blackthorn Asylum and The Dark Tower could count as well.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used to great effect in "Darkness Rising".
- Hidden Track: At least once per album. Usually twice. Sometimes three times.
- Idiosyncratic Album Theming: All of Nox Arcana's albums (that weren't assistance to other artists) have 21 tracks. As Joseph put it in the page quote, "We are contractually bound to put 21 tracks on all our CDs. It's part of our pact with the Devil." Every CD also has a hidden track, one or more.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Blackthorn Asylum"? Sounds like your friendly neighborhood hospital! Also, Edmund Darklore should not have named his mansion after himself if he wanted it to sound nice...
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Dragon Riders in Blood.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Joseph first teamed up with William when he (William) was 15 years old.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: Nursery Rhyme is a perfect example.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Diablo & The Devil's Daggers. This being the Circus Diabolique, it doesn't go well...
- Lighter and Softer: Winter's Eve had almost none of the darker elements of the other albums, consisting mostly of pretty piano and guitar pieces. Despite this, it was very well received in the fandom.
- Lonely Piano Piece: 30-50% of their songs are this.
- Mad Doctor: Dr. Neville Aldritch.
- Masquerade Ball: Grande Masquerade.
- Monster Clown: The clowns in the Carnival Of Lost Souls.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dr. Neville Aldritch, whose last name is a play on "Eldritch".
- Necromancer: Well...Necromancer.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Many songs, but Gregorian Hymn stands out as a shining example.
- Ominous Music Box Tune: Music Box and Pandora's Music Box, which kindly have "music box" in the title to alert you. Also, the background music on Hypnos. Also on the hidden track of Carnival Of Lost Souls.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: Several songs, but "Melancholia" takes the cake.
- One-Woman Song: "Belladonna".
- Religion of Evil: The Arcanum (from the Theater story) could be seen this way.
- Sanity Slippage Song: Most of Blackthorn Asylum, but especially, well, Sanity Slipping.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: Actually, the Arcanum fits this trope much better.
- Signature Song: Night Of The Wolf and Music Box/Lullaby.
- Start My Own: Heeey, remember that band Joseph was in before Nox? Oh yeah...MidnightSyndicate.
- Theme Naming: All the winter albums begin with Winter's *Noun*, which is why they are often referred to as the Winter's Trilogy. Why a trilogy? The as-of-yet-unreleased Winter's Majesty, that's why.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: In Necronomicon, some songs center around this.
- The X of Y: So many. Sanctuary Of Shadows, Temple Of The Black Pharaoh, The Haunter Of The Dark, Guardian Of The Gate, Lords Of Darkness, Ritual Of Summoning, Ghosts Of Christmas Past, Reflections Of Long Ago, Spirit Of The Season, Sentinels Of Stone, Night Of The Wolf, Ghosts Of The Midway, Hall Of Mirrors, Theatre Of Sorrows, Citadel Of Secrets, Treasure Of The Four Crowns, Legions Of Darkness, Steeds Of Thunder, Defenders Of The Realm, Chamber Of The Immortals, Blood Of The Dragon, Legacy Of Sorrow, Mysteries Of The Night, Labyrinth Of Dreams, Castle Of Nightmares, Edge Of The World, Lords Of The Deep, Fate Of The Tempest, Legacy Of Darkness, Threshold Of Madness, Tapestry Of Decay, The Rose Of Winter, The Ides Of December, Gifts Of The Magi, Season Of Wonder, Winds Of Change, Edge Of Darkness, The Mask Of Arcana, The Swords Of Kali, Lord Of Illusions, Path of Shadows, King of Fools.
- Who Dares?: "WHO DARES INTRUDE UPON MY DARK DOMAIN?"
- Wicked Witch: Hall Of The Witch Queen.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The plot of Zombie Influx.