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Music / Nox Arcana

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Music from the shadows for Creatures of the Night
Incarnatus iure,
Benedictus ave,
Nox Arcana glorium-
Ad limina tempus,
Vestigia cantus,
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 album after new album, 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!) four Holiday albums.

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, House of Nightmares, the band's second collaboration with Buzz-Works was released. As of 2019, twenty-two albums have been released, with the most recent being The Haunted Symphony.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Nox Arcana'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 the album's concept, often including vocals and sound effects that help to tell the story. Vargo's artwork adorns the album covers and booklets. On the official website, an interactive area known as "The Arcanum" allows listeners to enter the world of the music through solving puzzles hidden in the CDs. The Dark Tower and Darklore Manor have books that tie into their stories, and Monolith Graphics released in 2018 a point-and-click puzzle game that ties into Theater of Illusion called The Cabinets of Dr. Arcana.

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)
  • Winter's Majesty (2012)
  • Legion of Shadows (2013)
  • Gothic (2015)
  • Season of the Witch (2017)
  • Ebonshire (2018)
  • The Haunted Symphony (2019)

Nox Arcana provide examples of the following:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Blackthorn Asylum, which has been abandoned ever since a mysterious tragedy.
  • 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.
  • Another Dimension:
    • Theater of Illusion features the shadow realm, which is a mysterious dimension hidden between space and time.
    • In Blackthorn Asylum, Dr. Aldritch performs his inhumane experiments to gain insight into another dimension.
  • Buried Alive: Happy endings are few and far between with Nox Arcana, but one of the most chilling parts of their whole career is the hidden track of Shadow of the Raven, at the end of "Nevermore." It's Fortunato screaming that he's still alive and begging for help.
  • Circus of Fear: The Carnival of Lost Souls/Circus Diabolique.