The 13th Hour by the Midnight Syndicate
When you love Halloween the way I do, you end up collecting just about anything you can that’s horror-related. Books, comics, art (well, not much art — that’s expensive), movies, and even music — I’ve got a pretty phenomenally great collection of spooky-themed music, everything from movie soundtracks, old country songs, and experimental classical music to Rob Zombie, Oingo Boingo, and the Darkest of the Hillside Thickets to Tom Waits, Roky Erickson, and Jonathan Coulton. But I think I’ve got the most complete albums by a group called the Midnight Syndicate.
The Syndicate specializes in horror movie soundtracks, usually for movies that don’t actually exist. They’re classified as goth instrumental, or dark ambient, or ethereal wave — it all breaks down to horror movies soundtracks, usually for movies that don’t actually exist. How’s that work? They basically pick a theme — vampires, insane asylums, evil carnivals, what have you — and then they put together some symphonic music scores, combined with a nice dose of sound effects, to come up with something plenty creepy.
They tend to get the most play right around Halloween. Partly because of the horror movie soundtrack stuff — partly because they let haunted attractions use their music without licensing fees. So if you’ve got a haunted house, haunted hayride, or haunted theme park in your area, there’s a decent chance that they’re playing Midnight Syndicate’s music while they’re scaring the pants off you.
My personal favorite of their albums is “The 13th Hour” which is about a trip through the haunted mansion of the evil Haverghast family. You start out with a short walk in the woods in the middle of the night when you come upon the old deserted house, open the door, and walk inside. From there, you get a musical tour through the mansion’s glories and horrors, through the lushly outfitted drawing room to the grimy basement to the family mausoleum. The ghosts you meet range from unnerving heavy breathers and moaners to more traditional ghosts all the way up to something that tries to tear the house down around your ears. Are you going to be able to escape? Or will you be spending the rest of eternity wandering these dark hallways?
Samples? I’m not giving you many — but “Fallen Grandeur” is a really good one. “Living Walls” is wonderfully creepy. “Grisly Reminder” is quiet and spooky. And “Hand in Hand Again” does great things with just an old record player and a few rumbling sound effects.
Verdict: A very enthusiastic thumbs up. This is almost perfect Halloween mood music. Pop this in the player while you’re doing housework, reading a book, surfing the web, driving to work, writing scary stories, waiting for trick-or-treaters, or anything else, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to start feeling the Halloween spirit.
It’s a wonderful, dark, ominous, ghost-filled album. I like almost all of Midnight Syndicate’s stuff, but this is definitely my fave. Go pick it up.