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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.

Van Helsing’s Curse – Oculus Infernum [Review]

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Van Helsing’s Curse – Oculus Infernum: A Halloween Tale
2003, Koch Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. Patience (Introduction)
2. Tubular Hell
3. All Fall Down
4. Let Me Prey
5. The Child
6. The Tortured Soul
7. Revenge
8. War
9. Let the Pain Begin
10. The Curse

Producer:Joe Franco

Van Helsing’s Curse was a side project put together by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. The idea was Trans-Siberian Orchestra meets Halloween. On that front, Dee has succeeded. Oculus Infernum is a great collection of symphonic metal with just enough of a dark, spooky vibe that you can throw it on as background music to get yourself in the Halloween mood.

The project was meant to be so much more than that though. Snider envisioned the group touring every October. I know they’ve did a few live shows but I’m not sure whether they ever toured annually. The year that this album was released, the music was licensed out to a Six Flags theme park in New Jersey as the soundtrack to that year’s “Fright Fest”.

Though TSO occasionally features lead vocalists, there is none of that here. Dee Snider narrates a few tracks and there might be some choir chantings going on here or there, but the music is mostly all instrumental. What’s surprising is that the music is well put together. If I went into this blind, I would’ve thought it was Trans-Siberian Orchestra had started writing darker music.

I suppose that’s because TSO guitarist Al Pitrelli is involved with this project. One Amazon.com review states he co-wrote the album with Dee. I can’t find any confirmation he played on this album but I’m leaning towards ‘yes’ (he did play the live shows at least).

If you like TSO and you like Halloween, you will like Oculus Infernum. I hope some day we’ll get new music from this group because it’s a really cool idea.

www.vanhelsingscurse.com

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