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Midnight Syndicate – Halloween Music Collection [Review]

halloween

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.

SENTENCED – The Cold White Light

Sentenced – The Cold White Light (2002, Century Media Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Konevitsan Kirkonkellot” … 1:40
2. “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die” … 4:04
3. “Brief Is the Light” … 4:23
4. “Neverlasting” … 3:35
5. “Aika Multaa Muistot (Everything Is Nothing)” … 4:33
6. “Excuse Me While I Kill Myself” … 3:48
7. “Blood and Tears” … 4:15
8. “You Are the One” … 4:29
9. “Guilt and Regret” … 3:44
10. “The Luxury of a Grave” … 4:44
11. “No One There” … 6:14

Band:
Ville Laihiala – Vocals
Miika Tenkula – Guitar
Sami Lopakka – Guitar
Sami Kukkohovi – Bass
Vesa Ranta – Drums

Produced by: Hiili Hiilesmaa

Sentenced was a death/black metal, but then came The Cold White Light, their supposed “sell out” album where they lightened up and became more melodic. I’m not a death metal fan, so I haven’t even attempted their earliest material. I was only drawn to this one because many metalheads claimed it was a “pop metal sellout” album. I say what’s wrong with pop metal? The answer, according to this album, is absolutely nothing.

This isn’t pop metal in the 80s hairband sense, but the tunes are definitely catchy and have been stuck in my head for years since first hearing this album, and that’s a good thing. I don’t think they’ve changed their subject matter though, the songs are still about suicide, death, and death by suicide, to the ludicrous extreme as in “Excuse Me While I Kill Myself” where Laihiala sings “I kill myself, I blow my brains onto the wall, see you in hell”.

I can’t imagine anything being sung like that in a matter other than tongue-in-cheek though given that it’s actually a catchy chorus. Still, this definitely isn’t a “fun” album, these guys are from Finland after all, where the suicide rate is extremely high, so though it definitely rocks, you can’t help but let the lyrics seep into your brain, so this isn’t something I like to crank during the summer while I’m crusin’ down the road. “You Are the One” is actually a positive love song (not a ballad), though.

A fine album when I’m ready to be angry and all depressed and stuff.

Highlights: “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die”, “Brief Is the Light”, “Neverlasting”, “Aika Multaa Muistot (Everything Is Nothing)”, “Excuse Me While I Kill Myself”, “Blood and Tears”, “You Are the One”, “Guilt and Regret”

www.sentenced.org
www.myspace.com/sentencedband

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