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Midnight Syndicate – Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering

ChristmasThe group Midnight Syndicate is known primarily to those who have a taste for gothic or darker themed music. In truth if one is to look at their catalog they will find quite a bit of their music features around periods, such as Halloween, like their album Monsters of Legend.  The group has also been involved in movie soundtracks as well doing work on “Axe Giant the Wrath of Paul Bunyan” and “The Dead Matter”.

It is thus a bit of a surprise to see that Midnight Syndicate has come out with a Christmas Album.  They aptly titled the album, Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering.

The songs will bring back a lyric from, It’s the Most Beautiful Time of the Year which states, “There’ll be scary ghost stories”.  I write those words as these are not the cheerful songs that flood music systems from a mall to the radio. These songs will leave the listener wanting to curl up in a blanket by a roaring fire place. They will help harken the listener back to a period before there was Television and radio.  This being a time where people where unplugged with no radio, no television and horror of horror no internet. A time in the world where people entertained each other by telling stories, and all one must do is look at Charles Dickens’ book A Christmas Carol for inspiration.

The album has many tracks with names Christmas music lovers will surely recognize. The titles may be familiar but the group does their own theme on the songs. The music is at times joyful and upbeat but as well there is enough of a gothic overtone underneath that one will look for that blanket to curl into.

The best thing I can say about Midnight Syndicates Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering is how it isn’t your normal offering for this time of year. It may have a dark feel to the music but that is one of the best aspects to the music. A listener will not fall into a diabetic coma from the “sugary” upbeat substance of the music.   The same music you will often hear friends, or family, complaining about as to often it starts before Thanksgiving arrives. In truth, I held onto this review for after the holiday just for that reason as I feel Christmas music should wait till the start of December. I am however kicking myself a bit as this album can be enjoyed at any time due to the way the group worked their musical magic.

I will be putting a track list below but I must pay respect for what I think is one of my favorite songs from the album. It is the piece title “Little Helpers”.  I want to say this title wraps up what I take out of the entire album. There are little bits of childish, but devilish laughter within the song. The bells used are at first upbeat and the whistles used make one picture a sugar plum type of setting. A place where you see people and laughing in a forest of giant candy canes and other upbeat images that comes to mind. It is then that the darker laughter is heard from off to the right, or is it left. Laughter that makes one imagine small little creatures running through the forest causing mayhem behind them in this beautiful landscape. I realize that seems dark but it fits the mold of the album in my humble opinion. As in each well-known title there is just that bit of dark undertone that keeps the listeners imagination wondering what may be next as the listen to the music.

Track Listing:

  1. Christmas Overture
  2. Dance of the Sugary Plum Fairy
  3. Carol of the Bells
  4. Night of the Krampus
  5. Angels We Heard on High
  6. Greensleeves
  7. Up on the Housetop
  8. God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen
  9. Coventry Carol
  10. Little Helpers
  11. Sing We Now of Christmas
  12. Winter Storm
  13. Into the Stillness
  14. The Parade of Tin Soldiers
  15. Everywhere, Everywhere, Christmas Tonight
  16. Christmas at Midnight
 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin

Blade of the DestroyerThere are those that work on the fridges of society that want cash up front for a job they will do. They may not ask many questions but will do the job and see it through the end no matter the cost involved. There are also those that you may see as the scum of the Earth due to their brutality, yet they use some of their payment to help others.  The kindness may not out weight the darkness but at least they are “trying” to help others less fortunate.

Blade of the Destroyer will introduce the reader to just such a character, the Hunter. The city of Voramis knows his name to well and those with enough sense fear the hunter. Those with enough coin can hire the man and know that he will complete his assignment.  They know not to try and trick the man as he will come for them next if they fail to pay. At the same time this dark and deadly man cares for those he calls friends much like a dark Robin Hood.

The Hunter tracks his targets through the help of a magical blade. The blade feeds thoughts to the Hunter and seems to have an unending thirst for blood. If a person is killed with that blade their soul is taken to a place far worse than any hell. The Hunter uses a specific method to get the blade onto the scent of the target and travels across Voramis to find and kill the target on how the contract may wish. In any case the worst thing any man, or woman, can do is become the target of the Hunter.

There are those that live within some of his safe houses that do benefit from the coin he earns. He will help the wretches of society by putting a roof over there home, and even provide bandages. They do not live like kings, but at least better than those on the streets through his bit of kindness. They may not know who he truly is but he does call them friends and his coin helps protect them. –

There however is one major flaw in how the man takes on an assignment. He does not ask questions and one such very rich assignment will lead him to the point of a deep despair. He will find that he has stepped into a well built trap that will lead to danger for himself, his friends and potentially all of Voramis.

Blade of the Destroyer is written by author Andy Peloquin and takes the reader into a well built world.  Peloquin builds a world with a great mythology that will come apparent within the pages of the book. The Hunter will even find out more about who he is within the book and will face even more choices before the book ends. There is darkness and death within the pages but the well developed characters shine through.

Blade of the Destroyer is one of those books that when you start reading you may struggle to put down. The way in which the book is written takes the anti-hero, the Hunter, to a point that you will hope for him to win. You will shudder at first at his lethality but by the end of the book you want him to win. This is something that many authors do struggle with and Peloquin does masterfully.  The book is certainly a great read of those who enjoy a fantasy world, but at the same time just those who love a great story.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Reviews

 

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