| Artist: Midnight Syndicate|
CD Title: The 13th Hour
Label: Linfaldia Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Over the last 8 years, Midnight Syndicate have gained quite a bit of well-deserved notoriety in the Halloween and haunted house soundtrack market for their blend of atmospheric, theatrical, well-orchestrated horror music and sound effects. Now Midnight Syndicate are back with another slice of Halloween horror fun on The 13th Hour, a spooky journey into the depths of the haunted Haverghast Mansion. Taking on something of a sequential, narrative style sans spoken narration, the story unfolds as you travel from outside the Victorian mansion's walls, through its yard, and into its dark hallways. Combining eerie music and well-used sound effects, the album is an immersive horror journey…sometimes a bit creepy, but often not so much terrifying as fun and theatrical in a Tim Burton sort of way.
Overall, the disc blends a number of elements to create its narrative. Some tracks, including "Forgotten Path" and "Last Breaths" are sound effects pieces that serve to move the story along. Other pieces range from melancholy, haunting piano outings like the slightly out of tune "Grisly Reminder" to grandiose dark ethereal orchestral pieces like "Time Outside of Time" to steady, suspenseful numbers like "The Lost Room" and the disc's title track. Still others draw from 80s horror film fare, like the somewhat John Carpenter-esque flair of "Family Secrets" or hints of Friday the 13th found in "Veiled Hunter". Granted, the album rarely strays from the standard haunted house archetype and cliches, from creaky floorboards to the old phonograph playing a record from 1920 to ghostly voices (some, notably, courtesy of members of Lazy Lane). That familiarity, however, may be its most endearing quality, proving conducive to children and certainly spurring a bit of nostalgia in Halloween/horror-loving adults.
While sonically and stylistically similar to the band's previous work, The 13th Hour's somewhat more narrative, thematic delivery is, perhaps, even more engrossing. Anyone looking for a bit of Halloween fun, something to set the mood for a party or haunted house, or merely an out-of-season, nostalgic fantasy horror romp through the haunted halls of an old Victorian mansion should certainly give Midnight Syndicate's The 13th Hour a try.
Midnight Syndicate website: www.midnightsyndicate.com
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