Not to let the year wither and die on the vine peacefully, Pentagram Home Video felt the need to conjure up some Christmas evil and lay on us some serious dark vibes just in time for Krampus’ visit. Look Into The Darkness is the kind of album you hit play on when you’re home alone staring into the snow-covered blackness. It makes its way to your ears like an ancient mist emanating from a tomb lost to time and memory. With The Satanic Path released early in 2017, followed by both Library Studies and Walpurgisnacht shortly after, Look Into The Darkness is the fourth PHM album of 2017. Each one is a gateway to some other, distorted dimension. Where those first three seemed to reach into the dark reaches of the occult, Look Into The Darkness is a walk through a dusty, historied castle. Candelabras lit, stained glass mildewed and cracked, the music takes us on a spectral guide through stone-lined halls, cobweb-covered cathedral ceilings, and the stench of time rotting within this cobblestoned tomb we find ourselves in.
I think one of the most affecting things about Pentagram Home Video’s music palate is his use of minimalism. He doesn’t overload his songs with big beats, walls of electronic noise, or melodrama to carry you up into an imaginary world. He slowly works into your brain, muscles, and bone marrow with ease by being subtle in his work. Opening track “Look Into The Darkness” sounds like Angelo Badalamenti on an absinthe high. There’s a swing in the track we haven’t heard before from PHM, and it’s quite addictive. There’s a ghostly melody that hangs over the proceedings which begs you to step a little further into the shadows. “An Exporations of Black Magic” continues that ghostly vibe. You really do get the feeling of an eerie, snowy night somewhere in the wilderness. Moon shining through snow-covered trees as a stillness comes over you so potent, you think for a moment you’ve lost your sense of hearing. Every hair stands on end as you feel the unmistakable burn of eyes on you.
This collection of songs is inspired by the BBC’s ‘A Ghost Story For Christmas‘ which ran originally from 1971 to 1978. It was brought back again in 2005. From the sound of Look Into The Darkness, I’d say these BBC ghost stories were quite affecting. Pentagram Home Video’s Gothic musical world seems to be the perfect place to conjure ghosts, ghouls, and enact some kind of psychic trauma, as did this show on an entire generation of young, British boys and girls. Take a listen to “The Guest At The Window” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Or “Lost On The Red Hill”, or “Strange Days”. “A Malevolent Shadow Presence” goes into some kind of spectral, techno spell.
Despite its origins coming from old BBC ghost stories, this album has an air of melancholy to it as well. For the most part ghosts that haunt us, both figuratively and literally, tend to be something or someone we know. Regrets that we carry throughout our life that are never dealt with. Things said or not said that we carry like Marley’s chains around out mortal necks. Pentagram Home Video’s Look Into The Darkness is a soundtrack for dark reflection. A score for spiritual and psychic anxiety. It’s a musical companion to turn to on those cold, winter nights when there’s nothing left to do but look at that ghoul in the mirror and decide if you’re gonna do something about it. More than likely you’ll just put it away with the Christmas stockings and tree ornaments for another year.
Either way, Pentagram Home Video have an album for you.
8. 3 out of 10