Video Premiere: Defiatory Bow to the “King in Yellow”


Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Although Lovecraft, unfortunately, reigns as the preeminent weird fiction influence on the modern metal landscape, the importance of Robert W. Chambers’s landmark collection of short, interconnected stories, The King in Yellow, cannot be overstated. So important is that work and its titular antagonist, in fact, that Lovecraft himself adopted Chambers’s vague allegorical style, and August Derleth wrote Hastur and the Yellow King into the expansive Cthulhu Mythos. Countless other authors, musicians, and filmmakers have since drawn inspiration from Chambers’s opus, and today I’m pleased to invite you to the shores of Carcosa for an exclusive video premiere.

You can (and should!) read The King in Yellow yourself; it’s in the public domain and available online through Project Gutenberg. In short, though, The King in Yellow is a meta-narrative work of horror wherein various characters in America and Europe encounter a seemingly cursed tome called “The King in Yellow” that inspires madness through the depths of inhuman beauty and knowledge held within it. “The King in Yellow,” then, is an idea, a meme in the classic sense, a work of creation so potent that it reshapes reality as it, bafflingly, wills. Within its pages are glories and ruin, and Chambers traces the endless dance between these two extremes, and the pitiful role mortals play therein, through his series of seemingly disconnected tales.

Swedish thrash band Defiatory explore this endless dance with their own dose of madness on “King in Yellow” from Hades Rising, released earlier this year, and they do so with the sort of self-serious silliness due a book about a cursed book of the same name. The song itself is a bruiser, a mid-paced thrash groove with mighty riffs. I especially like the clanging bells, the gang vocals chanting “HAIL!” and the lush solos calling out to you through jaundiced light. It’s a scorcher of a track, but a straight video in allegiance to the tattered monarch would feel a little too on the nose. Thankfully for us, we get to check out some honestly, earnestly corny visuals that just sell the whole package as a fun, self-aware take on the kind of fiction other metal bands take far too seriously.

Check out the video below and the selection of gifs I’ve culled that capture the essence of “The King in Yellow.”

Oooh, creepy, the Yellow Sign…BAM! Screaming metal man face.

You can tell this guy is evil on account of the cloak.

Today I learned that early pressings of The King in Yellow came with free bleu cheese!


Now this is podracing!

All I have to say is:

Honestly, this is where I started to lose the plot.

You can tell this guy’s bad because he looks like Yuri from Command & Conquer: Red Alert.

It’s nice to see workplace solidarity.

Nuclear War for Dummies

Maybe the real King in Yellow is the friends we made along the way.

Hades Rising is out now via Black Lion Records. It’s got 10 pounds of riffs in a 5 pound bag and enough scorching guitarmonies to make your skin turn yellow! Check it out on Bandcamp. Many thanks to Defiatory for the silly bit of levity and thrashing tunes. Follow them on Facebook.

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