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Thread: Alchemy/Esoterics within album covers/songs

  1. #1

    Alchemy/Esoterics within album covers/songs

    I am a big fan of the 60s-70s progressive and psychedelic movements in music, and it seems many of them were pretty enlightened regarding these topics. Here are some examples that I found.

    This is the album cover for leftover by Kansas. I feel this is an image of a philosopher hard at work, possibly trying to find the philosophers stone with the usual alchemy symbol of the fireplace behind him, however he is writing it in music form. Also the last song on the album is "magnum opus", which was another title for the great work.

    The Moody Blues had an interesting album called "in search of the lost chord". This is an obvious reference to what the masons and other esoteric groups call "the lost word" or the masters word. The bible is filled with this "word" but never actually reveals what it is, supposedly God has a name that is unpronounceable to man since the languages were "confused" at babel. The last 2 songs on the album are "the word" and "om", which implies the frequency associated with the mantra is the lost chord.

    The band earth wind and fire had an obsession with these topics as you can see by the following. Their name is a reference to 3 of the elements, wind being the same as air. This album is titled "I AM" which is a reference to the translation of the Hebrew name of God in the Torah. And you can see the Egyptian symbolism on it. The first song is "In The Stone", which is a reference to the philoshoper's stone. Here is a bit of lyrics from the song

    "Deep inside, our hearts for us, To keep-lies a spark of light that never sleeps, The greatest you've ever known, Yea is written in the stone. In the stone, you'll find the meaning why you're not standing tall, in the stone the light is shining, forever touching all-"

    This is another one of their albums with the Egyptian theme again, the first song on the album is called "serpentine fire" which is a reference to the serpent of the Kundalini within the body. The writer himself said it had to do with sexual energy, so I imagine he studied Tantra deeply.

    Do you guys know of any more like these?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I don't really listen to prog rock and 70's psychedelic bands a lot (with a few notable exception that I love, which were a bit more underground and experimental).

    You will find something similar in the album covers of the psychedelic band Ya Ho Wha 13.
    You may also like the album covers by the artist Abdul Mati Klarwein, who designed covers both for psychedelic and jazz bands. I like a lot his cover for the "Live Evil" album of Miles Davis:

    (The triplicity of Sophia, of course)

    The Free Jazz music of John Zorn has countless examples of explicit references to alchemy and qabalah (though not really in the album covers, but the music itself).

    ... and if you move to the post-punk & Industrial music, then the examples are almost infinite.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    There was Dire Straits' Alchemy live album, though the cover is not very "alchemical":

    Frank Zappa had a song called "But who was Fulcanelli?" in this album:

    The Thrash Metal band Forced Entry had an album called As Above, So Below, which also had a song in it called "Macrocosm, Microcosm", which sounds suspiciously like someone in the band has read alchemical or at the very least hermetic texts:

    Heavy metal guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen had an album titled Magnum Opus which might or might not be alchemically inspired ("magnum opus" simply means "great work" and it can be applied to works that have nothing to do with alchemy):

    But then again one of his albums is plainly called Alchemy, so the previous title seems like it was alchemically inspired:

    Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson had a solo album called The Chemical Wedding (obviously in reference to a famous 17th century book) and features a song called "The Alchemist":

  4. #4
    JDP, its obvious the as above so below album cover has the masonic handshake of a master mason known as the "lions paw", used to resurrect Hiram Abiff the builder of Solomon's Temple. Whoever made the cover must have been a mason or studied masonry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Stairway to Heaven from Led Zeppelin has alchemical undertones in lyrics.
    Formerly known as True Puffer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    The song "Ultra Twist" by the veteran punk band The Cramps mentions "the alchemists":

    I actually saw these guys live when they were promoting the album where that song was published:

    Great show, total mayhem!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Acherontas - "Hermeticism"
    1. Hermeticism 5:36
    2. Meum Nomen Deus 4:48
    3. Conjuration Of The Five Negatives 5:41

    Acrimonious - "Purulence"
    1. Call To Disorder 12:21
    2. Dissolving Spirals 5:54
    3. Spirit's Eclipse 5:52
    4. Angel Withdrawn 6:12
    5. At The Portals Of Daat' (As Above, So Below) 6:07
    6. Purulence 4:58
    7. A Star Within A Star 7:58

    Black Earth - "A Cryptic Howl of Morbid Truth"
    A1 A Cryptic Howl of Morbid Truth
    A2 Unconscious Realities beyond the Pillars of the Unborn Empire
    A3 The Severed Head of the Crow
    A4 Nisi Solis Nobis Scripsimus
    B1 Riding the Tiger along Kali Yuga
    B2 Masks of Their Own Facelessness
    B3 A Monarch Spawned in Chaos Wanders among the Ruins

    TPTCTA - "Elixer"
    1. Magus 5:50
    2. Vitriol 5:21
    3. Ouroborus 11:56

  8. #8
    I believe Kimbra may have been referring to the stone when she wrote her song "goldmine". And the album cover I believe represents her conquering time and not aging possibly. There is not a single grain falling in the hourglass, and the album is called the Golden Echo..great album btw

    Cause I got a gold mine, it's all mine
    Nobody can touch this gold of mine
    I got a gold mine, it's all mine
    Nobody can touch this gold of mine
    I got a gold mine, it's all mine
    Nobody can touch this gold of mine
    It's been through the brimstone, been through the fire
    Nobody can touch this gold of mine

    And it's burning in the furnace
    And refined in the third eye
    No you won't find it on the surface
    It rises out of the war cry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    In the moment...
    Blog Entries
    Check out the band: Secret Chiefs 3

    Don’t let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Says it all


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