4. The Masque of the Read Death

Lyrics © by Henrik ‘Zar’ Larsen
Music © by Peter ‘Syrinx’ Andersen
Originally created in 1985 with later alterations – first perfomed live at Toldkammeret, Elsinore 1988

Another Edgar Allan Poe story. This was my very first stab at an “epic” story for the band, writing the first draft way back in 1985 and taking two more years to complete it. I’m very pleased with the version on the CD, as this is the first time we’ve included the full lyrics, including the Poe quotation right after the main solo.Zar


Prologue: “The Red Death had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal – the redness and the horror of blood.” (E. A. Poe)

Oh, Prince Prospero / He got a great idea
The bolts of iron welded / He slammed the door to Hell
The party can begin now / Who cares of death or doom?
The tripods at the windows / alight the coloured rooms.

– Chorus: –
The pest cannot reach us
So put on your mask
of madness and beauty

From the hall of Velvet / a clock of ebony
brings momentary endings / to all the melodies
The chiming in the silence / will freeze the merry dreams
but as the echo’s dying / the music swells again

– Chorus: –
The black hall is calling
The clock striking twelve:
The hour of midnight…

Narrator: “A new guest seems to have appeared. He’s dressed in a blood-stained shroud, and before his face he bears the mask of The Red Death. Solemnly he proceeds, and a nameless, chilling fear strikes the dancers where he passes by.”


Prospero: “Who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him – that we may know whom we have to hang, at sunrise, from the battlement!” (E. A. Poe)

He’s walking through the chambers / from blue to green to black.
And no-one dares to follow / when Prince Prospero attacks.
A scream! – At last they enter / the prince is lying dead
They tear the mask of paper / revealing emptiness.

– Chorus: –
And now they are falling
In death and decay
Dominion of darkness