Drew’s Famous presents Haunted Horrors: Classical Halloween Music
2014, Drew’s Entertainment/TUTM Entertainment
1. Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odssey)
2. Ride of the Valkyries
3. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
4. Night On Bald Mountain
8. Fur Elise
9. Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# Minor)
10. Danse Macabre
11. Funeral March of a Marionette (from Alfred Hitchcock Presents)
12. Bolero (Short Version)
13. Funeral (From “Barry Lyndon”)
14. Fantasia In E Flat
15. Funeral Mach
17. The Monsters Are Here
18. The Cryptkeeper
19. Don’t Move
20. Final Steps
21. Scary Movie
22. Virtual Insanity
24. Close Your Eyes
25. The End
Figured I would mention this one just because I’m in such a fervor over Halloween and I picked this one up at a Walmart for $3. I’m a big fan of listening to dark classical music around Halloween and having been using Spotify to listen to some of these classical numbers already, I figured it would be nice to own them on a CD as well.
Drew’s Famous is a surprisingly popular line of soundtracks designed to be used at parties. Seriously, there are a number of Drew’s Famous albums that have gone gold or platinum. The Drew’s line doesn’t only focus on Halloween or holidays but I think this is their third or fourth Halloween-themed album. All of the tracks are credited to “The Hit Crew” (I think this is the same for all other Drew’s Famous releases). This album features the some of the quintessential dark classical pieces like “Night on Bald Mountain”, “Ride of the Valkyries”, “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”, “Fur Elise” and “Moonlight Sonata”. Those songs alone easily make it worth the $3 to finally have them on CD and the last two are probably my favorite classical pieces of all time. I’ve never considered “Also Sprach Zarathustra” to be something that should be used around Halloween though.
Filling up the second half of the album are original sound effects tracks (usually around a minute in length) featuring evil laughing, women screaming, clanging gates, dogs barking and other kinds of creepy noises.
This is a fun album to listen to around Halloween but would be best enjoyed if you put it on a shuffle so you get a mix of the classical music and creepy sound effects.
Midnight Syndicate – Halloween Music Collection
2010, Linfaldia Records
Buy the album
Dark ambient, neoclassical, dark wave, Gothic, orchestral, symphonic, “soundtracks for the imagination”… It doesn’t matter how you want to categorize or describe Midnight Syndicate’s music. What matters is whether you’re a fan of fantasy & horror because if you can’t check off those boxes then the music of Midnight Syndicate is not for you.
Based out of Ohio and founded in 1996 by composer/filmmaker Edward Douglas, Midnight Syndicate basically creates what I would describe as soundtracks or scores for horror/thriller/mystery movies that don’t exist (and some that do). They’ve also done an officially licensed soundtrack for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The group’s music is mostly instrumental with the rare occurrence of a voice or sound effects being used. Some songs are big and bombastic while others a low-key and haunting.
Halloween Music Collection is exactly what the title implies — a collection of music for use during the Halloween season. Specifically, this a compilation album that pulls songs from the group’s past efforts. Those songs were specially remixed by the group for this compilation. As a starting point and introduction to the group, you can’t find a better album than this. This album sets the exact tone I want during the Halloween season. Even though I live in the Florida heat, this eerie collection of music whisks me away to a place that actually gets cool autumn weather where I imagine a cool breeze on a dreary day and having a nice seasonal-scented candle (pumpkin!) lit. Each song here conjures up an image whether it be some psycho-killer stalking through a forest, a creaky old dark house, the Phantom of the Opera, some cult about to offer a sacrifice, Hammer horror or a graveyard filled with fog.
Halloween Music Collection is the perfect Halloween soundtrack to play while having a Halloween get-together or on an evening when you feel like you need an injection of the Halloween spirit. For added spookiness, try listening to this album when you’re alone! This album is definitely a new standard for me when it comes to the Halloween season.
Scorpions – MTV Unplugged
2013, Sony Music
Buy the album
1. Sting In The Tail
2. Can’t Live Without You
3. Pictured Life
4. Speedy’s Coming
5. Born To Touch Your Feelings
6. The Best Is Yet To Come
7. Dancing With The Moonlight
8. In Trance
9. When You Came Into My Life
10. Delicate Dance
11. Love Is The Answer
12. Follow Your Heart
1. Send Me An Angel
2. Where The River Flows
3. Passion Rules The Game
4. Rock You Like A Hurricane
5. Hit Between The Eyes
6. Rock ‘N’ Roll Band
8. Still Loving You
9. Big City Nights
10. Wind Of Change
11. No One Like You
12. When The Smoke Is Going Down
Klaus Meine – Vocals, Guitar
Rudolf Schenker – Guitar, Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Guitar
Pawel Maciwoda – Bass
James Kottak – Drums
Sometimes referred to as MTV Unplugged: Live in Athens or MTV Unplugged in Athens, the band’s own website refers to this album simply as MTV Unplugged, so that’s what I’m going with. The concert has been released on DVD/Blu-ray as well.
For a band that was retiring the Scorpions have been very active. They’ve been touring for the past 4 years on a “farewell” tour and MTV Unplugged is the band’s second release since 2010’s Sting in the Tail (which was intended to be the “last” Scorpions album) with 2011’s Comeblack being the other release. And like I figured, just a week or two before writing this review, the band announced they were canceling their retirement plans and going to release a new studio album (of re-worked unreleased “classic” era material à la Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth) in 2015.
A lot of older metal-heads and classic hard rock fans often cite the band’s early years with Uli Jon Roth as their best. I’ve never felt that was the case. It’s undeniable that the band delivered some classic material with Uli but I prefer the more commercial hard rock approach the band took starting with 1979’s Lovedrive. No matter. Whichever era you feel is best, they are all represented on this album. Okay, maybe they ignored their techno pop/rock Eye II Eye era, but that’s a good thing!
While they can’t pull songs from every album, Scorpions did a solid job of bringing out the typical big hits for this acoustic occasion as well as mixing in numbers from In Trance, Virgin Killer, Fly to the Rainbow and even Pure Instinct (which is represented by two tracks, if you can believe that)! They also found room to slip in two songs from 2010’s Sting in the Tail. What’s criminal is that Lovedrive, Animal Magnetism and Humanity: Hour I are not represented here. I would’ve loved to have heard acoustic versions of “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, “Holiday” or “Always Somewhere”. “Steamrock Fever” would’ve also excelled in this acoustic setting.
Five new songs were written for the occasion: “Dancing with the Moonlight” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Band” are full songs. These songs are okay, but not highlights from the album and may possibly get full electric studio recordings for the new album. Then there is “Delicate Dance” (solo for Matthias Jabs), “Love Is the Answer” (Rudolf Schenker solo) and “Follow Your Heart” (Klaus Meine solo). The last three are mostly instrumentals and could’ve easily been left off the album, if not the concert.
The tracks that stand out most for me are the ones where the audience participates in singing along. Those songs would be “When Passion Rules the Game”, “Send Me an Angel” and “Wind of Change”. Powerful stuff.
The new stuff isn’t all that impressive but the rest of this show is good mix of the band’s output from the 1970s up to today.
Highlights: “Born to Touch Your Feelings”, “The Best Is Yet to Come”, “Send Me An Angel, “Where the River Flows”, “Passion Rules the Game”, “Still Loving You”, “Wind of Change”, “When the Smoke Is Going Down”