Prior to forming Nox Arcana, Joseph Vargo was internationally renowned for his visual artwork, particularly in the horror and fantasy realms. He contributed music and narration to Midnight Syndicate
's Born of the Night (1998) and Realm of Shadows (2000), co-wrote the vampire-themed book Tales from the Dark Tower, and published Dark Realms magazine. Vargo met William Piotrowski, a guitarist and keyboard player who also worked as an audio engineer, and the duo initiated Nox Arcana, debuting with 2003 full-length Darklore Manor, which was inspired by a haunted house near Salem, Massachusetts. This was followed by the H.P. Lovecraft-influenced Necronomicon in 2004. Nox Arcana's first seasonal album, Winter's Knight, appeared in 2005, and eventually appeared on Billboard's Top Holiday Albums chart. The group also issued the Dracula-themed Transylvania in 2005. Dark cabaret album Carnival of Lost Souls, loosely based on Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, appeared in 2006, followed by Blood of Angels (a collaboration with vocalist/author/psychic vampire Michelle Belanger
) and Blood of the Dragon, which earned praise from the Dungeons & Dragons fan community. With this release, Vargo began incorporating hidden puzzles and interactive quests into the CD artwork of Nox Arcana's albums. The Poe
-inspired Shadow of the Raven appeared in 2007, followed by Grimm Tales, based on the folk tales of the Brothers Grimm, which was released on Walpurgis Night in 2008. Phantoms of the High Seas explored pirate lore, and was issued on Columbus Day of the same year.
Following 2009's Blackthorn Asylum (a second Lovecraft-inspired release), Nox Arcana primarily became a solo project of Vargo, although Piotrowski continued to engineer the recordings. Zombie Influx, produced with Jeff Hartz under the name Buzz-Works
, also appeared in 2009, as did seasonal release Winter's Eve. Magic-themed Theater of Illusion was released in 2010, followed by House of Nightmares, another Buzz-Works
collaboration. In 2011, Nox Arcana released The Dark Tower, the soundtrack for Vargo's book series of the same name. Winter's Majesty, the group's third seasonal release, appeared in 2012. Two Nox Arcana-related albums were released on Halloween of 2013: tenth anniversary album Legion of Shadows and Piotrowski's soundtrack to the vampire film Crimson Winter. Also in 2013, Nox Arcana initiated an annual series of winter holiday-themed digital EPs titled Ebonshire. Gothic, a full-length designed to resemble 19th century gothic novels, was released in 2015, followed by the witchcraft-inspired Season of the Witch in 2017. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi