“You know when you catch something from the corner of your eye, but when you turn, nothing. So you say it’s shadows, or wildlife darting out of view. It’s the opposite with them. When you first see them, it’s always from the periphery, and when you look...I don’t know. They seem inevitable.”
“It was my brothers day to hang and the whole town had come out. Not long after he stopped kicking it showed up, right there, in the middle of the gathering. Folks couldn’t scatter fast enough. I ain’t never seen one of them hurt anybody, but something about them makes people nervous. It just stood there towering over everyone, watching. Funny thing, it didn’t seem interested in my brother dangling like everyone else. Even after I turned to head home I could still feel it’s gaze burrowing into the back of my head. Folks been treating me different ever since.”
“It wasn’t his fault, Gregor, that is. It did what they always do, appear out of nowhere. As if they have always existed in that very spot even if they wasn’t there five moments before. Anyway, Gregor was deep in his drink and came around with his wits all a mess and this “watcher” is standing right at his shoulder. So Gregor lashes out instinctually and his fist leaves this indent in the fabric it’s wearing, like a foot print in mud. The next thing I knew was my knees hitting the floor and a ringing in my ears. When I came to it looked like everyone in the tavern had suffered a similar experience, with the exception of Gregor who still lay out cold. He was in bed for weeks straight, thrashing and squealing. Inconsolable. He bit through his tongue at some point but he still kept on making just the worst sounds. When he finally succumbed, physicians were hungry to get at the corpse of a “watcher” victim. I heard when they opened him, everything inside was liquefied, just slowly melted away. Hell, what do you imagine that feels like?”
“I’ve been all over and the tales are more varied than you might expect. Some say they stand twice as tall as an average man, others swear they come up to your waist. Two or three arms? Maybe none? Hunched under the dining table, standing knee deep in a lake, looming over the tall grass of the wheat fields—I’ve heard ‘em all. Not one story sounds the same. Except for the headpiece. They all have that helmet with those cursed runes.”
“Observers? That’s what you call them? Maybe it depends on where you hail from. I’ve heard ‘em called watchers and lurkers—shades and haunts. Damn eerie no matter what name you hang around it.
It’s funny, you attach a moniker to something with the intent of making it familiar or common place. I suppose it’s just what we do when we can’t figure a reason for something. We have to live alongside it, might as well give it a cute name.”
“I am the eyes of Father Grimoire.”
“You’ve heard them say it too, right? I can’t gleam any meaning in it, but I’ll be damned if you can get them to say anything else. Not that you would want them to be more vocal. The sound of their words is like rocks tumbling in your mind.”
“I have it here somewhere—
Right, this one here is in poor condition due to its age, so I’ll ask that you do not handle it. The author is unknown but in this parchment they describe a structure of absurd scale that would appear to shift and rearrange itself at random intervals. It’s obsidian walls appeared to have no seams and were unscalable. They also mention that it did not always stand were it stood, but rather seemed to conjure from nothing at some point. They directly call it the “Wandering Archives”, whether this nomenclature was already established or a creation of the writer is unknown.
Most theories about the Observers cite this mysterious structure as their possible origin point, though any historical evidence of this is rare and mostly ancient.”
“You will have to excuse me—recalling memory can be like wading through molasses nowadays.
The Grim Father? Why—that story was old when I was a young girl. I believe some people called him the Archivist or the Head of the Unholy Sermon. My favorite telling involved his exploitation of his followers in order to fund some dark research—‘til one day he finds what he’s looking for and it drives him mad. After that he lived eternally in his dark fortress, performing insidious magics and rituals with said followers—bending and corrupting them. Ridiculous right? Well I’ve been hearing about these phantoms showing up where they have no right to. It gets me wondering about those ancient tales.
The thing about stories is—if they get old enough—it gets real hard to pull apart the truth from the legend. If you don’t mind—I’m not feeling well all a sudden—“
“It’s there! You see? The gap in the wall? I’ve been watching the changes every day since it showed up and I’ve never seen an opening before.
If you want to make it in we must be quick!”
“This is—how is it so big? It looks like the hall stretches on endlessly. My lamp light can’t reach the ceiling—and the books? There isn’t an inch to spare on these shelves and they span the length of the walls. This is absurd.”
“You feel that as well? The subtle vibrations on the foundation? They feel patterned, like footsteps. Something about the air as well. It feels, thick—malleable. Maybe we should turn back. Are the vibrations getting louder?”
“Are these the Observers? How many are there? I can’t—the scale of this place is too much. Those damned footsteps! Why would a structure need to be this large? To house what?”
released July 8, 2022
Foreword to Grim Father’s Observer
Writing music for the better part of the last two decades, Chris Hudson brings his sophomore album under the Grim Father moniker, Observer, to flesh, masterfully blending industrial synth and prog-rocky drums in Classical-like interludes that, with their riveting swells and fairy-delicate arpeggios, would crack smiles even in the seasoned Tchaikovsky—all the while entertaining the goth with moments of hypnotic droning.
Perhaps more sonically desperate than its dungeon synth cousins, likely for Hudson’s rock roots (very much at play here), a certain hopelessness grounds much of the record. Though the initial “The Royal Pyre” delivers—ironically, in following the bitter gravity of an horrendous scream—delivers what feels like a mirthful “wall of sound,” coursing onward with a jocund synthline, a parade of snare-play, and a trombone so bright you can taste the warm brass, the tone of the album largely shifts subterranean for its remaining six-track-stay: “Sorcerer at the Door” thumps maze-like about fuzzy synth and otherworldly reverberations; “Father Grimoire” shrieks and sobs with some kind of reeling regret; and “Bastards at Arms” marches with the franticness of maddened pacing, and stews in the tranquil dizziness of its walker’s inevitable fall. Wrapping the trappings of the dungeon synth genre so, said … bleakness escalates the creepy musicality here to the lofty heights of CONTEMPLATION. Side-by-side, thus, Observer provides us with the rare opportunity to play about the fantasy of our supernatural pleasures whilst we bury ourselves beneath the overwhelming weight of our crumbling dreams.
- Andrew Verdekel
:: :: :: :: :: :: ::
All music composed, written, mixed, and performed by Chris Hudson.
Illustration(s) by Jordon Hudson.
Dedicated to M.A.L.