Vampyre – Symphonies From the Crypt, Entity Productions 2002
Midnight Syndicate is currently performing in their live “Conspiracy of Shadows” show at Cedar Point’s “HalloWeekends” event. Not only will they be performing several shows every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 28th, but you can meet them afterward to take pictures and get merchandise signed! It wouldn’t surprise me if many fans bring copies of the band’s early album Vampyre – Symphonies From the Crypt, the artwork for which was created by famed Dungeons & Dragons artist Keith Parkinson.
The uneasy opening of “Awakening” uses soft wordless vocals and tapping to slowly build up to crashing gongs. Said gongs bring in a sweeping, regal feel and the pipe organ work brings classic Hammer horror movies to mind. The use of bells and horror movie stings further enhanced the mood. This could easily be used in a haunted throne room, vampire’s lair or even the opening room of a haunted house with a vampire theme. “Graveyard” can be used in a graveyard or funeral parlor scene thanks to its moody low opening and soft light touches which lead to mournful string work. The touches of wordless female vocals are greatly appreciated. Its great ending build leads to “Unhallowed Ground,” where the loud crash of a gong snaps listener out of mood from the previous track. More gongs, wordless unisex vocals and piano work soon follow. Amazing organ work takes over for a spell, but the other touches soon find their way back in. It’s spooky and epic, with plenty of great piano variations. A pipe organ solo gets more variations and is joined by new wordless unisex vocals which react to musical changes. The overall effect is simply breathtaking. “Crypt of the Forsaken” begins with a low creepy tone and gongs. Wordless unisex vocals and string work joins in, although I should note how the wordless female vocals are easier to make out than their male counterparts. The overall feel is pounding and steady. If you have a vampire’s crypt in your haunt, why not use a variation of the “girl to gorilla” illusion? Guests hear a vampire hunter yell for someone not to do something just before they enter and see a vampire’s lackey pull a stake out of a decayed vampire’s chest. As the lackey struggles with the vampire hunter, the prop corpse (or skeleton) suddenly changes into a fully restored vampire! Naturally the guests will be chased into the next room. It turns out that “Winged Fury” is one Gavin Goska’s favorite tracks and is “broken into different movements revealing different sides to this creature of the night.” The clashing cymbals and driving violins get the listener hooked before it occasionally adds in soft gongs, an interesting harpsichord effect and other musical tones I can’t quite place. Wordless male vocals can be heard in the distance add to the feeling of something stalking and flying about in pursuit. Wordless female vocals join in for a nice contrast with the variations in the wordless male vocals. I loved the focus on violins at one point and how it added creepy musical strikes later on (which were enhanced by more wordless vocals). You simply have to experience this for yourself. Haunts with a vampire theme could use this in a bat cave, but haunters using other themes might want to consider pairing this track with zombie birds.