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Draconis Blackthorne's Shadowmantium

Malefik Musick Review by Draconis Blackthorne

"A foreboding castle, perched upon the cliffs, looms over the mysterious village of Arcacia where monsters of legend roam its hillsides. Inspired by classic horror cinema created by film companies like Universal Studios and Hammer Films, this album promises to send a chill up your spine as it transports you back to the Golden Age of horror."
Midnight Syndicate: Monsters Of Legend
XLVIII A.S. Genre: Classical, Choral, Orchestral, Symphonic, Gothic, Atmospheric.

Based primarily upon the legendary Universal creatures like Count Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Creature From The Black Lagoon {"The Four Crown Kings of Halloween"} The Mummy, and Hammer characters, it is a musical tribute to the 'Golden Age' of Horror.

At times, one detects certain recognizable pieces that have been included in previous releases, renamed, and heard in Requiem, Dark Tower, Unwanted Visitor, Witching Hour, along with a plethora of familiar, realistic atmospheric sound effects added throughout {howling wolves, squawking ravens, a yowling cat, scattering bats, bell tolls, rushing wind, slamming doors, creaking gates, whispers, thunder, a bubbling laboratory, electrodes, rattling chains, crashing glass, footsteps} which is actually quite enjoyable, enhancing the theme of the opus nicely, making one feel at home.

The insert displays photographic scenes of The Wolfman haunting/hunting through a foggy graveyard, and a moonlit Castle Dracula on a cliff's edge, while Bela leers from behind a doorway on the back.

Overall, I must say that Monsters of Legend, Carnival Arcane, and The 13th Hour are so far Midnight Syndicate's best efforts since sans Maestro Vargo, although the influence can still be heard. While the others between are more like soundtracks underlying a movie, rather than full works themselves.

Not just for Halloween, these would actually go quite well while one goes about appreciating several collections, creating art, or even reading, and otherwise while going about various other pleasurable nocturnal dractivities.

To those unfamiliar with the likes of Nox Arcana and Midnight Syndicate, these are composers of Gothic Classical masterpieces which I have had the pleasure of listening to since discovering Born of The Night once upon a Halloween time {with Vargo}, which these were initially released for, but have since become enchanting opuses for year 'round enjoyment, and are perfectly applicable for ritual music as well.

~ Dr. Dracenstein. ∞

Track List {notables highlighted}

1. Return to Arcacia 2. Into the Valley of Shadows 3. A Watchful Gathering 4. Inn of the Weeping Sparrow 5. Unwanted Visitor 6. Requiem 7. Witching Hour 8. Unexpected Cargo 9. Black Woods 10. Twilight 11. Carriage Ride 12. Stone Guardians 13. Ancient Portal 14. Dark Tower 15. Building the Monster 16. Lord of the Realm 17. Forgotten Alcoves 18. A Terror Unleashed 19. Cloistered Cemetery 20. It Lives! 21. Beyond the Veil of Time

Carnival Arcane
"The train smoke drifting through the pale moon light signals the arrival of the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival. In a forest clearing, these mesonoxian visitors await your arrival. Stroll along the midway and behold wonders both fantastic and macabre from every corner of the globe. And be sure to ride their one of a kind carousel for an experience you'll never, ever forget."

Always having had an interest in carnival culture accented by Dr. LaVey's interest, I once acquired the book Very Special People by Frederick Drimmer, filled with the most wonderful relations and displays of human oddities in the world. From the bearded woman, the strong man, the Siamese twins, the two-headed boy and girl, to giants, the hirsuit, midgets, living skeletons, pinheads, albinos, the mule-faced woman, and the elephant man.

Carnival Arcane brings to mind all these delightful "freaks" of the sideshow, including prestidigitators, fortunate tellers, magic potion salesmen, clowns, and the rest. The incomparable Nox Arcana* also has a release with a similar theme entitled "Carnival of Lost Souls", which is highly recommended.

From the entrance of the Hell Train, while autumn leaves scurry along the pathways and dance in the sweet smoke-scented air, you definitely feel as if you are there, where each segment opens up to another dream or nightmare, always obscuring the lines between fantasy and reality - where all the elements have come together so thoroughly that a created reality takes precedence, holding the magic of illusion and wonder so dynamically. One can definitely perceive a dark energy underlying the compositions illustrating the lambent world of the carnival nicely.

The insert contains a menagerie of archival sepia photographs of various freaks, including clowns, the bearded woman, the snake lady, a fortune teller, the magician, acrobats, and strongmen.

Along with the instrumentations, sound effects accentuate the adventure creating a dimension which is both penetrating and enriching. As you submerge yourself in this shadowy wonderworld, you may find yourself a permanent part of the show. ∞

Track List {personal favorites highlighted}

1. Mesonoxian Visitors 2. Midway 3. Welcome to the Carnival 4. Canvas Wonderland 5. Midway Reprise 6. A Strange Menagerie 7. Madame Zora 8. Agent of Fortune 9. Dr. Atmore's Elixirs of Good Humour and Fortification 10. Alura the Snake Lady 11. Arcane Wonders 12. Under the Big Top 13. Freakshow 14. Pulling the Strings 15. Carousel Ride 16. Revelation 17. Goons and Greasepaint 18. Kiddieland 19. Krellsig's Kastle of Fun 20. Diversions in the Dark 21. Twisted Labyrinth 22. Cheval Glass 23. Sea of Laughter 24. Lights Out 25. Epilogue 26. Crum Car (BONUS)
* Quite honestly, between the two, Nox Arcana seems to have more "soul", as it were - an even deeper gothic sensibility, while MS sounds almost rudimentary at times. In several instances, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Vargo should be well complimented. It gives the impression that MS produces film soundtracks, while Nox Arcana's creations are an opus unto themselves, with original artistry, mind game puzzles & riddles, and storylines from the darkly erotic, gothically romantic, to the abyssal and horrific. Even so, because of Vargo's undeniable influence, it is pleasing that this is a particular genre that should be nourished.

Midnight Syndicate: Cemetery Gates
2008 c.e. Entity productions. Genre: Instrumental, Gothic, orchestral, atmospheric.

A cool chill brushes upon the skin as fog rolls in at dusk. The Magic of the night reveals an ornate black iron gate appearing from out of the gloom... what exquisite terrors await within? The gate slowly creeks open to bid your company. Enter for your multi-sensory indulgence!

Cemetery Gates marks the first release by Midnight Syndicate since The 13th Hour, and is actually a very pleasing addition. Particularly notable tracks include The Revenants (grants the listener a Tubular Bells experience), Dark Legacy (a melancholy piano joined with an organ punctuated by the sound of a crashing gong), Alchemist's Chamber (interchanging harpsichord and organ expresses an aristocratic ambiance), Cathedral Ruins (a very phantomesque piece one may expect to hear drifting up from the labyrinthine grotto deep below the Theater), & title track Cemetery Gates (ghostly bells echo across the landscape reminiscent of Moonlight Sonata to call up those who may heed). These selections really capture the essence of the genre to compliment any discerning Haunted House nicely.

The darkly erotic Goth rock selections can be heard on this CD in the recently added bonus tracks Not Your Savior (sounds like what one might hear as background at a goth club, with a mild industrial influence), & Lost (this one has a rather Goosebumps refrain to it, inclusive of an entrancing siren's song). The third offering is a remix of the theme to the movie The Dead Matter, featuring a stimulating combination of the two genres.

Seems the theme here in part was the inspiration for the plot of the film The Dead Matter (also the secondary title), which expounded upon same. Not to be confused with the soundtrack. These are two distinct releases.

Overall, Cemetery Gates is beautifully graceful, haunting, gloriously morbid, and excellently eerie ~ surely a perfect compliment to a haunted noctuary the year through.


A brief history: Before MS endeavored exclusive instrumental orchestrations, they were essentially a Goth Rock band, until one composer Joseph Vargo entered the frame, at which point a concentration on orchestral creations began to permeate, and to wonderful materializations, from compositions, artistry, to narrations, successfully introducing a Classical & Goth combination, enriching both in kind. After leaving MS, Vargo created Nox Arcana with William Piotrowski & Christine Filipak, & operate under Monolith Graphics.

The Dead Matter
XLV A.S. 3-disc deluxe edition. Directed by Edward Douglas. Starring Andrew Divoff {Vellich}, Tom Savini {Sebed}, Jason Carter {McCallister}, Sean Serino {Gretchen}, Tom Nagel {Mike}, C.B. Spencer {Jill}, Christopher Robichaud {Frank}, Brian Van Camp {Mark Pym}, Donna Williams {Rebecca}. Genre: Horror.

An unexpected arrival just recently, is this triple feature compendium of the film 'The Dead Matter' with soundtrack, and the Halloween music collection, which is essentially a "best of Midnight Syndicate" release, intended for Halloween spookshows and even personal celebrations. Having appreciated the compositions of Midnight Syndicate since discovering them at a Halloween shoppe circa Realm of Shadows, and then on through The 13th Hour, it is actually a pleasing surprise.

The Dead Matter {film & soundtrack}

Plotline 1: Two Vampire Warlords argue about the so-called "new way" and the "old ways". Tom Savini plays a mafia-like character named Sebed, to Andrew Divoff's more traditional vampire role as Vellich, although both register as "evil" personalities. Sebed prefers plasma injections versus the cinematically common blood ingestion of Vellich, who has a trick or two up his sleeve, granting him the advantage after all.

Plotline 2: A group of friends find an Egyptian scarab medallion in the woods, so predictably, just like with Ouija boards, one of the girls named Gretchen {reminiscent of Queen of The Damned} decides to play around with The Occult and have a seance to call forth her recently deceased brother. They take on more than they can handle*, and end up with a zombie, rotting away, but following her every instruction. She familiarizes herself with the relic's basic possibilities a bit, but it is not until the end when she becomes 'possessed' by a Necromantic entity that its full potential is unleashed.

Plotline 3: Besides the vampire vs. vampire scenario, there is also a "Van Helsing"-like vampire hunter named McCallister, who actually 'crosses' the line between battling the nosferatu, quelling the zombie, and providing ritualistic advice to the obsessed / possessed Gretchen.

Apparently made on a condensed budget, this film has a rather 'made for TV' vibe to it, probably due to the fact that this was obviously recorded on videotape instead of film grade, but the production value really makes up for it in the above average acting, special effects, soundtrack, and intriguing dual plot, where it really counts. A fun little movie one may encounter during a late-night Halloween season broadcast.

Special features include a blooper reel, a making of featurette with interviews, film commentary, behind the scenes footage, and music videos by Midnight Syndicate {one of which gives the impression of the 'Goosebumps' theme}, as well as three rather impressive fan-made creations.

The soundtrack is appreciated for what it is, with dramatic action-adventure / horror / thriller orchestrations to accentuate scenes, characters, and activity, but can very well stand on its own, though not quite comparable to an individual opus.

Film: 3.5/5 | Soundtrack: 4/5.

Halloween Music collection

Contains 22 selections from Gates of Delirium, Realm of Shadows, Vampyre: Symphonies From The Crypt, The 13th Hour, "Out of The Darkness", & "Cemetery Gates", the latter which is the first recording since The 13th Hour; although in My estimation, that and the previous releases are the absolute best from Midnight Syndicate, and along with Nox Arcana (personal favorite), are ideal for Halloween festivities.

* The warning on the back cover of Necronomicon comes to mind: "...these rites may expose you to psychological forces of which you may not be able to cope!"

Midnight Syndicate
The 13th Hour

"The Legend of Haverghast Mansion..."

Midnight Syndicate: The 13th HourTwenty-five splendid orchestrations from malefik meistros Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka - they are our musickal guides through Haverghast Mansion, setting the mood for unearthing the terrible ghostly secrets lain hidden within the walls of this gloomy house...

Among these phantasmic pieces, contained herein is a cantible entitled "Hand In Hand Again", harking back to 1920 c.e. written by R. Egan and R. Whiting, as well as guest voices from Lily Lane {Madeline Haverghast}, David Jacobs Greg Ballato, and Mary Kate Douglas as Anastasia Haverghast.

Cover work is masterfully manifest by Keith Parkinson to create a most welcoming Manor amidst the full moon, with a familiar blackredlight glow exuding from within, and inside the booklet, a delightfully arcane photo of the musicians, clad in period attire.

Pounding hearts, echoing voices from the past, strings, organ, piano, sound effects, creeking doors, even the sounds of the night, graces The 13th Hour... another monsterpiece which compliments one's own Haunted House.

Again, Midnight Syndicate produces remarkable atmospheric musick suitable for one's Lair and Ritual Chambre for 'Halloween' all year 'round.

Rating: 5/5.

Midnight Syndicate
Dungeons & Dragons

"The Heroes of Dungeons & Dragons never shrink from any challenge, be it man, monster, or magic. From the depths of The Abyss to the cloud-covered peaks of Barrier Peaks, these lush orchestral arrangements provide the perfect soundtrack for any quest. Adventure beckons you with every noteÖwill you heed its call?"

These orchestral compositions echo up from the depths of the lambent Abyss of the dark imagination.

Inspired by this classic and original game which improved vocabularies, hones competitive skills, and exercises the almighty mind to manifest likewise archetypes of fantasy and adventure from the occult subconcious.

A worthy "soundtrack" to accompany a session of practiced ritualization and war play. And if there ever were composers to accomplish this, it is Midnight Syndicate.

Long touted by evangelical blindlighter fundies as a tool of The Devil, Dungeons & Dragons, as well as similar role=playing games, have been the bane of xianity. since their creation. But whether or not you engage is this activity, the musick proves to be a mighty addition to one’s discographic collection to accentuate rituals and/or just for atmospheric accentuation of one’s Total Environment.

5/5 Goat Skulls.

Dungeons & Dragons

Midnight Syndicate
Vampyre: Symphonies From The Crypt

"Unleash your darkest nightmares as you enter the world of the Vampyre. Echoing from ancient crypts, those haunting symphonies call forth the horror, mystery, and passion of the night that awaits youÖ"

Vampyre: Symphonies From The Crypt Romantic and inspirational sonic necromancy by which to feed by the light of the moon, fireplace, or candlelight. This opus gives honor to the vampire legend, marvellously illustrated by the cover art enchantingly conjured by Keith Parkinson, which actually looks painted, for a change. Depicts a vampiric spechtre peering through the tombstones awakening at dusk.

This is this Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszga’s, the gruesome twosome’s latest unleashing, but be sure to possess the previous three opuses to keep the night gaunts floating

Again, this musick is ideal for your rituals, ceremonies, meditations, and haunted Halloween interests, or just to play for whatever occasion, but it certainly will give the herd a fright. Much more than ‘un-holiday musick, ‘Vampyre’ will liven up the atmosphere with undead cantibles worthy of any Satanic Chambre.

Symphonies From The Crypt

Midnight Syndicate
Born of The Night

"Enter The Dark Tower where creatures of the night lurk in shadows, and ghostly sounds echo through the halls. This Gothic soundtrack contains chilling sound effects, haunting melodies and pulse-pounding orchestrations to set the mood for your darkest nightmare. Venture forth...if you dare..."

Born of The Night By far, the darkest and most morbid opus yet by these malefik minstrels. Every song is an incantation, summoning up dire wraiths from the black void of the dark side of the mind. I found it somewhat amusing that these CD's are available at the commoner's outlets, as these conjurations will invoke something far more profound than the Halloween frivolities they would expect. I Am reminded of a display I once erected - I overheard someone say "...this is too much!" as they hurried down the hill to the street. And with that, I was pleased.

Again, this musick is a sonic key to The Gate of The Abyss, and will manifest the shadowmancy. Therefore, play it loud on The Night of The Ghoul, to give the herd a true fright as is the spirit of the season, and in thine secret chambres the year through.

Midnight Syndicate
Gates of Delirium

"A lone scream pierces the nightÖdark shadows envelop unwilling guests of a wretched stronghold that harbors an unspeakable terrorÖWelcome to Haverghast Asylum."

Midnight Syndicate: Gates of Delirium If you are searching for music to compliment your Satanic rituals & ceremonies, this is a marvellous addition to your sinister collection. Also magnificently useful for your Halloween festivities. It will send Trick or Treaters screaming in terror!

XXI Hellish tunes that will send chills up the spines of any ghoul. These are eerie instrumental soundscapes of nightmares & dreams which shall bestow a sense of Power & bliss in the Satanist. Compliment your own haunted abode with these tracks year ‘round to set that ambiance for a myriad of diabolical purposes.

Titles include "Phantom Sentinels" {reminds Me of ‘Dementors’ from the Harry Potter series}, "Procession of The Damned", "Dark Discovery", "Morbid Fascination", & "Ebony Shroud".

Gates of Delerium

Midnight Syndicate: Realm of Shadows
Midnight Syndicate
Realm of Shadows

"Venture to The Realm of Shadows where restless spirits arise from unknown depths to wander the shores of night."

More instrumentations from the minstrels of the Macabre. XXI songs array this manifestation, which incorperates sound effects such as gongs, sqwaking crows, howling wind, violins, growling hounds, church bells, & nefarious narrations.

With titles such as "Into The Abyss", "Realm of Shadows", "Serpent’s Lair", "Black Woods", "The Night Beckons", & "Witching Hour" {not the Venom song}, there is no doubt to the darkened quality of this opus.

Midnight Syndicate

Return To The Devil's Web
Return To The Devil's Web