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 Robert Kurtzman (From Dusk Till Dawn, co-founder, KNB FX) and Gary Jones (Xena, Boogeyman 3).
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 will release 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, which will include officially-licensed images from the Universal Studios vaults.
Now, allow me to tell you about my experience.
It is no secret that music plays a vital role in how we feel about things. The greatest example is, of course, film. It’s certainly not limited to it, but where would we be without a solid score to accompany our favorites? “Halloween” is a prime example when talking about horror movies and the music that’s important to them. They offer you so many feelings that even the actors, scripts and sets
simply cannot. They direct our emotions towards where a director wants us to be. The score is truly the heartbeat of film, it brings to life how thick a moment should feel or how truly downtrodden things are in a given shot.
With that said, have you ever wondered where that music comes from? I think it’s just expected sometimes as if it magically just is. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down and separating film from score recently (which admittedly is one of the very few times I’ve ever done that) and I have to say, it is far more powerful and involved than I ever imagined. I hate to sound as if I’m not observant but I guess I just never took the time to really stop and smell the roses.
I’m actually quite lucky, I got to jump in to this thing that’s new to me via an extremely professional disc, hot off the stove. And even luckier that the entire soundtrack is based on what I love most; classic horror! It’s refreshing to me that other people, like myself, just won’t let these old monsters die! And why would we? The monster’s we deal with on a daily basis aren’t nearly as classy, have no true motives and the soundtrack of city function and traffic rising just aren’t very flattering.
“Those classic horror films are at the core of what we do in Midnight Syndicate, so to do an entire disc based on them was a lot fun,” added Douglas. “Musically it required us to use more traditional orchestral instruments, and use them in more ways than we have in the past. The result is a fuller orchestral sound with a heavy classical music influence. There are plenty of nods to James Bernard, Bernard Herrmann, and other early film composers.” Although the band promises the new disc will deliver the dark atmosphere haunted house designers, roleplaying gamers, and Halloween music enthusiasts expect from them, they feel they’ve crafted a disc that transcends their favorite time of the year. “Like CARNIVAL ARCANE, we feel we’ve taken things up a notch both musically and with the sound design on this release,” said GAVIN GOSZKA. “There’s a lot there to listen to and lose yourself in.”
Midnight Syndicate Halloween Music MaestrosThankfully for fellow horror fanatics, and even just the casual fan I should mention, there are a couple of guys out there (Edward Douglas, Gavin Goszka) who still want to submerge you in to an underground tomb of terror as each note blissfully hits your eardrums. I want to point out that “Monsters of Legend” is a beautiful set of truly thought-provoking melodies but it runs far deeper and darker than that. You will literally feel the intentions of each track of the disc. Another guy who works here at the Spookhouse told me that if you listen to it in headphones while playing certain games, it dynamically changes your experience and makes it more decisive and exciting. I have yet to try it but he’s supreme at talking about soundtracks, he’s very keen on the music.
So let me drop you a tracklist here and tell you that when you read the title of each track, the music perfectly identifies with it’s title.
Return to Arcacia
Into the Valley of Shadows
A Watchful Gathering
Inn of the Weeping Sparrow
Building the Monster
Lord of the Realm
A Terror Unleashed
Beyond the Veil of Time
My favorite track on the disc was number 2, “Into the Valley of Shadows”. It’s thrilling and makes you feel chased.
Because this disc can speak so clearly for itself, you need to head over to their site right now and get a taste of what you’ve been missing. Coming up soon, I’ll be spinning then reviewing their newest disc, “Axe Giant: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”.