Thursday, 12 September 2013

Midnight Syndicate - Monsters Of Legend (CD Review)

For the past sixteen years, dark music pioneers Midnight Syndicate have been creating Halloween music and gothic, horror, fantasy "soundtracks for the imagination." Formed by composer/director Edward Douglas in 1995, their music has become a staple of the Halloween, gothic music, haunted attraction, and role-playing game industries. With a catalog of CDs that blend dark, orchestral horror and fantasy movie score-style music with sound effects, the band consisting of Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka has had its soundtracks to imaginary films featured in everything from Hugh Hefner's infamous Halloween parties, Barbara Walters specials and Monday Night Football to X-Box games, tracks by horrorcore artists Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, and the Academy Award-winning Three Six Mafia as well as concerts by punk rock and metal pioneers The Misfits and King Diamond. The music has also been featured on countless television shows and documentaries relating to horror films and the supernatural.

Often referred to as the "first Haunted House band," Midnight Syndicate is the industry standard for the world's top haunted attractions and amusement parks. From Siberia and Hong Kong to Europe and the United States, whether it's a costume store, neighborhood celebration, SiriusXM's Halloween Channel, or even a Halloween themed-cruise, Midnight Syndicate's music has become synonymous with the many people's celebration of the holiday.

From 1997 through 2005, Midnight Syndicate built their following through the release of "Midnight Syndicate," "Born of the Night," "Realm of Shadows," "Gates of Delirium," "Vampyre: Symphonies from the Crypt," and "The 13th Hour."
In 2003, Midnight Syndicate made an impact in the gaming industry when it teamed up with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to produce the first official soundtrack to the classic role-playing game, "Dungeons & Dragons." Midnight Syndicate's 2005 release, "The 13th Hour," was the first music CD to ever receive the industry's top two awards: The Origins Award and the ENnie Award for Best Gaming Accessory. 2007 saw the band take on three new projects as they composed music for Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights XVIII, scored Robert Kurtzman's drive-in thriller, "The Rage," and began work on their biggest production to date, "The Dead Matter" movie.

An updated remake of a film that Edward Douglas produced and directed in 1995 for $2000, "The Dead Matter" is a supernatural thriller co-produced by Midnight Syndicate Films, Robert Kurtzman (Producer of "From Dusk Till Dawn," co-founder of KNB FX), and Gary Jones ("Xena," "Boogeyman 3"). The movie stars Andrew Divoff ("Lost," "CSI: Miami," "Wishmaster"), Jason Carter ("Babylon 5," "Angel"), FX-legend Tom Savini ("Friday the 13th," "Dawn of the Dead"), and legendary horror hosts Dick "Count Gore de Vol" Dyszel and "Big Chuck" Schodowski. The movie tells the story of a girl named Gretchen, whose desire to reconnect with her dead brother draws her into the supernatural world of vampirism and the living dead. Drenched in the dark and shadowy music of Midnight Syndicate and inspired by EC Comics, Creepshow, and Hammer Films, this mix of classic horror, modern twists, and 80's camp proved to be a winning formula for fans and critics alike.

In 2008, the band released it's tenth studio album, "The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates." One of their most critically acclaimed releases to date and inspired by the themes from the upcoming movie, the disc draws listeners into the supernaturally-charged world of "The Dead Matter," taking them on a musical journey into a realm of forbidden relics, druids, vampires, and the living dead.

In April of 2010, Midnight Syndicate released their first music video. It was to the song "Dark Legacy" from "The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates" CD. It featured Ed and Gavin performing live together for the first time, as well as scenes from "The Dead Matter" movie. Produced with the help of Robert Kurtzman's Creature Crew and Screamline Studios, the video was shot in the historic and haunted Phantasy Theatre in Lakewood, Ohio. In June, Midnight Syndicate teamed up with Cleveland-based 529 Films ("Hellementary") to release a second music video, this time for the song "Lost" which appeared on both "The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates" and "The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack."

In early July 2010, the band teamed up with vocalist Destini Beard to release "The Dark Masquerade." This six-song EP features existing Midnight Syndicate songs blended with operatic vocals and haunting lyrics written performed by Destini. The success of this EP lead to the production of a full-length followup CD entitled "A Time Forgotten" which was released in August of 2012. In July of 2010, the band released "The Dead Matter" DVD, "The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" and their "Halloween Music Collection" CD, which is a compilation of some of the band's favorite tracks from their first thirteen years.

In August of 2011, the band released their fourteenth studio album, "Carnival Arcane." The narrative of the disc surrounds the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival, a turn-of-the-century traveling circus with more than a few skeletons in its closet. Inspired by historical research into carnivals of that time period and the writings of Ray Bradbury, the disc features the band's most intense sound design to date. "We wanted to push the boundaries on this disc. For a band that's made a career of making "soundtracks to imaginary" films, I think this one feels more like a movie than anything we've done to date," said Edward Douglas. "Definitely the most complete and intricate soundscape we've ever produced. You can practically smell the popcorn and Fairy Floss (cotton candy)," said Gavin Goszka. "There's also a tremendous amount of variety. There are moments where I think the listner will find themselves caught up in this strange sense of wonder and macabre fascination, and others that will leave them shaking in their boots. We were able to expand our instrument roster on that disc in ways that we'd only touched on before." Within months, "Carnival Arcane" became the band's most critically-acclaimed disc to date, garnering rave reviews from press and fans alike. In 2012, it won Best Horror CD / Soundtrack at the horror community's 10th annual Rondo Hatton Awards and was nominated for best RPG-related product in the RPG industry's ENnie Awards.

As Midnight Syndicate enters it's sixteenth year, they show no signs of slowing down. In August of 2012, the band announced that they had completed the score to the upcoming grindhouse thriller, "Bunyan" (starring Joe Estevez and Grizzly Adams' Dan Haggerty). That same month, they released Destini Beard's "A Time Forgotten," Destini Beard's full-length followup CD to "The Dark Masquerade" that takes listeners behind the room walls of a haunted Victorian hotel. Production on the next Midnight Syndicate disc is well underway. Although details have not been released, it was announced that the new disc will classic horror theme inspired by the early Universal and Hammer Films.

This latest offering is a superb trip into the genre, creating the perfect ambience.
Stunning !!!

Rating 9/10
For fans Of : Dario Argento, Axis Of Perdition, Cradle Of Filth, Akira Yamako

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