Plague of Carcosa Credit: Ted Nubel

Carcosa is a mysterious fictional city first named by author Ambrose Bierce in 1886 and later alluded to in Robert W. Chambers’s influential and evocative King in Yellow stories. As the ancient and possibly cursed capital of an alien place that’s impossible to pinpoint on earthly maps, it’s been incorporated into the works of H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and other writers of weird fiction—the name even appeared in season one of True Detective. This cosmic-horror tradition is a rich vein to mine, and Chicago band Plague of Carcosa cling to it loyally. Currently an instrumental duo of drummer Alexander Adams and guitarist and bassist Eric Zann (a pseudonym from a Lovecraft story), the band debuted in 2016 with The Color Out of Space, two long tracks of harrowingly dense drone-doom plus (because why not?) a gnarly “bonus track” that disembowels “The Rains of Castamere” from Game of Thrones. They followed it up later that year with Ritual I, consisting of one live-recorded track nearly an hour long, and then with two singles, 2017’s “Hastur” and 2018’s “Rats in the Walls.” Plague of Carcosa’s latest release, Ocean Is More Ancient Than the Mountains (Sludgelord), is divided into two long cuts, “The Crawling Chaos” and “Madness at Sea,” that recall the overboiling heaviness of Sunn O))), Khanate, and Chicago’s Bongripper (whose guitarist Dennis Pleckham mastered the two latest Plague outings). It has to be acknowledged that Lovecraft’s racism was a horror in its own right, but thankfully Plague of Carcosa don’t share his views on that front. In October the band were added to an up-and-coming website of “Hatred-Free Music Lists” called FashFree—and they posted to Facebook that they’re pleased to be included.   v