The Book - Reviews

Review from Starburst Magazine - Andrew Marshall

The stand out entries include Beyond the Moor, a poem about a maiden accosted by a bandit who remains unafraid due to having been to the “beyond” of the title and returned. It's a poem whose structure, mood and use of a repetitive refrain echoes Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. Also of note are Children of the Black Meadow, where a bereaved mother resurrects her deceased kids as blackberry bramble homunculi; cyclical damnation tale The Coal Man and the Creature; and the paranoia-inducing sucker punch The Watcher From the Village.

In the back of Robert Rankin’s novel A Dog Called Demolition, there is what he claims to be the first ever soundtrack to a book: a “two-sided” (light and dark) listing of mostly rock, metal and punk songs to listen to while reading the book, with the proviso “play loud; there’s no other way.” Tales From the Black Meadow takes this idea one step further, providing an actual CD of music to accompany the stories. All but one track is named after one of the tales and the music of each complements its narrative counterpart. The slight scratchy crackle of the music effectively dates it, making it sound as though it could have been copied from a vinyl record from the '70s. Such is its atmospheric precision, the CD even manages to glean a positive sleeve quotation from perennially misanthropic comic book author Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan). A second disc contains readings of four of the tales and a fictional Radio 4 documentary named Curse of the Black Meadow, detailing the history of research into the bizarre phenomena occurring within the eldritch mist.

Review from Amazing Stories Magazine - J. Simpson

"In 1972, Professor R. Mullins disappeared from a mysterious area of North Yorkshire Moors known as the Black Meadow. Or did he? Chris Lambert’s layered tales of vanishing villages and sinister mist will have you scratching your head, and not knowing what to believe any more. For those that like a full, immersive reading experience, you can also get the original album that sparked the series, as well as a series of re-interpretations by a diverse array of underground musicians, to transform your drawing room into a medieval magickal madrigal."

Review from Fascination with Fear - Christine Hadden

The CD consists of 12 musical tracks to accompany the tales, beginning with the “Main Theme”. To me, it easily sounds like the opening to a television show from the late 70's. I can see the title card and the credits appearing over gently revolving images—a moonlit meadow here, an old tree, the silhouettes of children playing. I’m certain that at the start of the show we would find a gentleman in front of a blazing fire in some English parlor, closing the dusty tome he was holding to welcome us to the show.

The album was written and performed by a UK band called The Soulless Party, whose EP Exploring Radio Space is also available on their bandcamp. Every track, with the exception of “The Man from the Ministry”, has an accompanying tale in the book. I heard about the music first, and upon enjoying the opening song, found the bandcamp for the record. It was there that I learned about the book behind the music and I fell in love with the idea. Even though I believe most (if not all) of the album was done on a keyboard, great effort was put in to establish atmosphere, and I believe it was accomplished. Even without the existence of the backing stories one could still listen to the record and have a sense of the supernatural and the uncanny; dark foggy nights can be heard in the muted tracks. Little details give the songs on Tales from the Black Meadow their spooky spice, such as the soft crackling on each track, giving it the feel of an old vinyl record. Many tracks are sprinkled with atmospheric sounds, like bird song, church bells, or the tramp of a horse's hooves.

The book reads like a book of scary stories to tell children before bedtime. The writing is simple and purposefully repetitive, but Lambert goes to great lengths to create the eerie world of the Black Meadow. The book contains 25 tales and nearly as many illustrations. One more dimension in the world of the Black Meadow exists in “The Brightwater Archive”. As the story goes Lord Brightwater was the leading scholar on The Black Meadow in the 30’s, and the blog is a collection of his research findings. After reading the book, listening to the CD and the Radio 4 Documentary I am so impressed and inspired by the lengths Lambert went to to bring his mythos to life and spread it out through so many mediums. It is always inspirational to see originality and another’s appreciation for folklore.

Review of Tales from the Black Meadow - Jim Moon - Hypnobobs "A banquet of weirdness" 

  An excellent and on the nose review of "Tales from the Black Meadow" book and CD in Jim Moon's Hypnobob's latest podcast.

Jim Moon reviews a selection of spooky books including works by Jeremy Dyson and M.R. James.

"Tales from the Black Meadow is a wonderful exercise in English strangeness. It taps into not only authentic British folklore but it is also mining the same vein of English eeriness that we find in odd 70's TV shows such as "The Owl Service" and "Children of the Stones"...

"A banquet of weirdness..."

"...marvellously atmospheric collection... a great book to have by the arm chair on the long winter nights..."

"very atmospheric black and white illustrations courtesy of Mr Nigel Wilson"

" you'll discover when you sample all the delights Professor Mullins brought back from the Black Meadow,  different poems stories and songs do interweave in a subtle way giving you a sense of a distinct mythology that while uniting all of the material also remains just tantalisingly out of reach."

Listen here.

Check out Jim Moon's blog - there is much to read and savour here.

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