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Zombies!!! The Official Board Game Soundtrack by Midnight Syndicate

zombies_cover-250x251As you read the next bit of this review I ask that you picture in your mind that voice you often hear in movie trailers. Now please picture that male voice here as you read these opening lines.

In a world where Zombies have become main stream is there a genre they have not yet stumbled and eaten their way through? My answer is no as here they are in a board game called, Zombies!!!.

You may ask why I start a review in such a manner but I felt it was fitting as people check the game out they must be sure to check on Midnight Syndicate’s soundtrack for the game. The title of which is very fitting as it is called, “Zombies!!! The Official Board Game Soundtrack”.

I will be up front with Midnight Syndicate fans as this soundtrack does have a few tracks that have been re-inspired for the game. I got to say that for me there was no problem with this as the songs worked great with the overall pace of the album. There is of course original songs upon this soundtrack as well that fans will truly enjoy.

Those who enjoy the game will also find the music to fit the game. I have myself not played the game but have researched it and from the videos and information I have seen I could see myself at a table playing this game and enjoying the music. The opening track does its best to get you into the mood for the game as I can imagine players hitting play on the album and listening to the song as they start. The style of the opening helps one imagine what they are in for as hordes are about to take over the world.

The album continues in such a way that as each piece plays you could get more into the game. The themes that come across in the tracks fit so well with the theme of the game. Yes you may moving a game piece across a board but when your mind can get it’s imagination fed more thru a piece of music it makes a game come more alive for the players.

I will say that from that opening track, “It Begins”, to the middle track of, “Town Square” this is easily accomplished thru the long mastered music style of Midnight Syndicate. The creators of the game even lumped praise onto the music in a press release that came out back in September 2016.

Quote from Press release….

“The soundtrack is a perfect complement to the game,” added Twilight Creations co-founder, Kerry Breitenstein. “I couldn’t be more excited for the Zombies!! Fans to hear it, let alone the rest of the world.”  End Quote.

Now how does a reviewer like myself able to add much more in the way of praise for this album when the co-founder of the company behind the game states something like those works?  I will say that after I listened to the album I could also see it working with other games, and even turning off the sound of some Android zombie games and letting this soundtrack role as you play the game.

Midnight Syndicate is one of those bands that is able to let a music lover get into the tones and ambience of the music but it stimulates the mind and imagination. The album, Zombies!!! The Official Board Game Soundtrack, is just another accomplishment in this bands ever growing music catalog and worth a listen for game and non-game fans.

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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Midnight Syndicate to Release a Zombie Themed Album

midnightI’ve had the pleasure to review several of Midnight Syndicate’s albums. They are a band that uses music in a way to set a mood and paint images in the mind as you listen. It’s why I felt I needed to share this News Release of their upcoming album.

 

Almost 13 years after releasing the first official roleplaying soundtrack to Dungeons & Dragons® game, Midnight Syndicate has teamed up with premier horror game designer Twilight Creations to produce a soundtrack album for the zombie apocalypse-themed Zombies!!! board game. The dark instrumental album, which will feature new and previously recorded material blended with movie-style sound design, is designed to heighten the game play experience. The musical theme will center around the Zombies!!! board game and its 15 expansion sets that pay homage to classic zombie films, especially those of directors George Romero and Sam Raimi.

“I’m a big fan of Zombies!!!,” said Edward Douglas. “With the game celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to undertake this project. We’re working closely with the Twilight team to create something that really enhances their players’ gaming experience. I think album will also resonate with our fans in the Halloween and haunted house industries.”

“Musically, it will be interesting to work in a modern setting,” added Gavin Goszka. “Most of our albums have been set in the Victorian and early 20th century, so this will definitely be something different and exciting for us and our fans.”

“Words cannot express how excited I am to have Midnight Syndicate doing a soundtrack for Zombies!!!,” said Twilight Creations co-founder Kerry Breitenstein. “For many of our players, Midnight Syndicate’s music has already been the unofficial soundtrack to their gaming sessions over the years. To have them working with us to create something specifically for our universe is incredible.”

The soundtrack is tentatively scheduled for release in September in coordination with the release of the Zombies!!! Ultimate Collector Set and Zombies!!! Ultimate Upgrade Kit. To be among the first to hear preview tracks, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Midnight Syndicate on YouTube!

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Reviews

 

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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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Midnight Syndicate Kickstarter Campaign Oct 7, 2013 – Nov 10, 2013

I’ve been fortunate enough to have done some reviews for Midnight Syndicate over the years. I say over the years as I got to review their film The Dead Matter in the past. Recently you will find their two latest CD’s on the blog having been given the opportunity to review those.  It is why I’m thrilled to be bring to your attention the fact the band has started a Kickstarter Campaign for a brilliant idea for a show.  Below is the press release for the campaign and if you can help out this great band.  Period for the campaign are Oct 7, 2013 – Nov 10, 2013.

MLiveMidnight Syndicate launches Kickstarter campaign in support of MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! multimedia Halloween horror concert.

October 7, 2013 (Cleveland, OH) – After seventeen studio albums, including three horror movie scores and a motion picture of their own,  Gothic Halloween Horror music composers Midnight Syndicate have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a multimedia concert experience.   Entitled MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! the Halloween horror-themed show will feature  a unique blend of live Midnight Syndicate music, original films, music videos, and live theatre.

“We want it to be a feast for the eyes as much as the ears,” said Gavin Goszka, “a unique show that is not only a Midnight Syndicate concert but also something that stands on its own as a great horror multimedia experience.”  In order create the visual elements of the show, the band is teaming up with of veterans from the special FX, film, and haunted house industries.   The initial group includes special FX legend  Robert Kurtzman (Creature Corps, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, KNB EFX), director Gary Jones (XENA, AXE GIANT), David “House” Greathouse (FACEOFF, Mushroomhead), Jason Carter (BABYLON 5, THE DEAD MATTER), Beki Ingram (FACEOFF), and Jason Blaszczak of Screamline Studios (Rob Zombie’s AMERICAN NIGHTMARE).  “Because of the style of our music and our ties to the film, roleplaying game, and haunted house industries we’re in the perfect position to put together a unique show that blends the best of these different worlds,” said Edward Douglas.  “It’s a project almost two decades in the making.   We want to bring your nightmares to life,” added Gavin Goszka.

“We’ve always been our own label and distributor with little commercial radio airplay, so it’s really been the fans’ support over these past seventeen years that has allowed Midnight Syndicate to continue to grow.  They really are the best fans in the world,” said Edward Douglas.   “This live concert is something that our fans have been asking us to do for many years.  The Kickstarter campaign is giving us the opportunity to involve them from the beginning and allowing us to take this exciting next step together.”

MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! Kickstarter Campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/524932304/midnight-syndicate-live-the-ultimate-halloween-con

Midnight Syndicate Official Website:  www.MidnightSyndicate.com

 

MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE

For almost two decades, composers Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka have been known as Midnight Syndicate, creating symphonic soundtracks to imaginary films that facilitate a transcendental and adventurous escape into the secret dimensions of the mind’s eye. To many of their fans, they are Gothic music pioneers brewing a signature blend of orchestral horror music and movie-style sound effects. To others, they remain the first “haunted house band” that forever changed the Halloween music genre and became a staple of the October holiday season. And some know them as the duo that teamed up with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to produce the first official soundtrack to the legendary Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Their critically-acclaimed works are reminiscent of sweeping, complex masterpieces by artists such as James Horner, Danny Elfman, Black Sabbath and King Diamond and have been featured as a part of films, television shows, video games and at haunted attractions, amusement parks, and live performances worldwide.

Midnight Syndicate’s music has become integral to setting a powerful mood at top-rated haunted attractions and amusement parks as well as at costume shops, gaming and Halloween parties and Halloween-themed cruises from Siberia and Hong Kong, to Europe and the United States. The duo has released 15 studio albums since 1997, and Douglas and Goszka’s original, work also been used at Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties, on episodes of The Barbara Walters Special and in the drive-in film THE RAGE, Universal Studio’s Horror Nights XVIII as well as by Monday Night Football and by artists Insane Clown Posse, Three Six Mafia, Twiztid and The Misfits. In 2010, Midnight Syndicate released a full-length horror film called THE DEAD MATTER, directed, scored and co-produced by Douglas alongside special FX legend Robert Kurtzman and director/producer Gary Jones.

Midnight Syndicate continues to pursue its quest to use instrumental music to tell explicit stories full of tension, twists and turns. Most recently, the band completed the score to the grindhouse thriller AXE GIANT: THE WRATH OF PAUL BUNYAN. In summer, 2013, Midnight Syndicate released the soundtrack to that film along with MONSTERS OF LEGEND a tribute to the classic Universal, Hammer and Euro horror films that gave birth to horror cinema.  MONSTERS OF LEGEND has quickly become the band’s most critically-acclaimed album to date.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (Soundtrack – Midnight Syndicate)

AxeGiantSoundtrackLRWhen you think of a giant, a picture of a large hulking beast normally comes to mind. The beast making each step look extremely difficult to take with the foot landing in a manner that it shakes the ground nearby as it crushes the land and knocks over smaller trees. This is what you will get a sense of in the very first track in the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The soundtrack for the Gary Jones film, “Axe Giant the Wrath of Paul Bunyan” produced by Midnight Syndicate.

The film’s plot takes the viewer into a group of first-time offenders at a boot camp who find out, the hard way, that Paul Bunyan is real. The problem they find is the legend is a bit different from what many of us grew up with as a child. This Paul, he isn’t so friendly, in fact he swings a mean axe.

This is about all I will say on the movie as this is more about the music featured in the movie. It is of course composed by Edward Douglas and produced by Midnight Syndicate. The music is something that had it been featured a bit more in the movie may have helped me enjoy the film experience more.

The problem in many of these films is that you either get the brilliant soundtrack to be too loud or under-utilized as it is just small background noise that if louder helps build tension. The piece S.T.U.M.P.S Meet Bunyan is a great example of how a piece of music could really set a scene. The piece uses a combination of low base like tones to show Bunyan’s movement and his ever changing gate as he chases the kids. The kid’s movements are met with a higher pitched sense of quicker musical movements that fit perfectly with a group running for their lives.

The album makes use of several lower toned pieces of music and brass movements to help give the listener a mental image of the giant.  His movements can be understood through the sound of the brass instruments representing steps and other movements Bunyan could be making. The music fitting what must be seen in the film, much like the seventh piece on the album, No Escape.

There are other great pieces on the album such as, The Legend of Paul Bunyan. The piece uses what sounds much like a guitar, or banjo, to give you a musical interlude to the legend. It would fit in perfectly behind the telling of what brought Paul to this place in his life and why he became the giant he is in the movie.

There is one additional track on the soundtrack that was written and performed by one Hickory Hawkins.  Hawkins is the lead guitarist of the band Hickory Hawkins and the Panty Sniffers who have been playing their style of music for years. The band’s music has a rockabilly sound that combines country music with that of the punk music scene.  So it is no surprise that the piece “The Ballad of Paul Bunyan” does a great job of telling the listener of how Bunyan got to be who he is now. It’s a toe tapping piece that makes a great use of a guitar and Hawkins voice.

Sadly in the case of many movie reviews this great soundtrack does not get much mention. Instead you will find many reviews calling the film a mediocre B-horror movie and pointing out some of the poor acting.  This in a way is a shame as they are not pointing out that the music played behind the movie is brilliantly well done by Douglas and Midnight Syndicate. It is just another great entry into the work that they have done and can stand alone from the movie. However, if you are like me, you will find yourself looking for the movie to see how the music is used. Who knows maybe you will also wonder had the music been a tad higher the film could have been even better than I thought it was.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Monsters of Legend (Album) by Midnight Syndicate

monsters_of_legend_cover_loresMusic has the ability to take the mind and make it play tricks on a person. A song can make you think of a happy time in your life and bring a smile to your face. It may also do the opposite and have you rushing to move to a new song so as not to relive a painful memory.

This is why music is used so often in television and films. It helps to create a mood and set a scene from the fantastic to the mundane. Its use is key and important and often can make or break a movie’s success if not used correctly. It is thus important to have those around that can make that music and produce it for people to enjoy.

Midnight Syndicate is one of those bands who have been making music since 1997 and their influence can be felt in many genres. Their music has been used in video games, movies and TV shows like, a Barbara Walters special and Monday Night Football.

This is where their newest album Monsters of Legend comes in. This album is one that any horror fan will fall in love with. The music on the album will is primarily instrumental but there are some small vocals found in a few pieces of the music and this just helps to increase the tone of the track.

Midnight Syndicate makes beautiful work of what can only be said to be an orchestral arrangements to bring their music to life on Monsters of Legend.  As I listened to the album I found myself thinking back to classic Horror movies and picturing their music used in a scene. Moments where Frankenstein’s monster comes to life and starts to wander the country side is just one of the many items that came to mind.

Other songs within the album will bring up film moments when a creature comes into view and people must run to escape the beast. These songs will bring not just some beautifully haunting music to the ears but images to the mind.

I dare say that this album could easily be turned on as a person reads a book and you could pick the appropriate track to help set the mood for the book that you are reading. A few examples of this:

Unwanted Visitor – A title that speaks for itself. It’s the perfect piece to put on as someone, or something, begins to reveal itself with the story.

Black Woods – Can be used to help punctuate that lonely moment when the story calls for travel in an unknown area.  An area that is unfamiliar, a feeling of foreboding awaits and most important one should not take their time getting through.

Twilight – A track that makes use of a haunting vocal that seems perfect for a dark night. A night that has people looking over their shoulders wondering what could be out in the dark. A night that anything could happen and goose bumps climb up the arm.

The simple truth about Midnight Syndicate’s album Monsters of Legend is it’s the perfect soundtrack for the mind. It’s music that can be listened to and enjoyed by Horror fans who like to be scared by that bump in the night. As a person listens to the album, they should get a sense of why this album was named. The creatures of old will certainly come to life in your imagination as you enjoy this great album.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Reviews

 

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