REVIEW: Midnight Syndicate - "Vampyre: Symphonies From The Crypt"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

VampyreOne of the most pervasive things about Midnight Syndicate is the fact that they tend to appeal to the mentally astute and highly imaginative. This may largely be due to the fact that their work is crafted to incur visions that stir visionary illusions. Those who tend to enmesh themselves in literature and highbrow forms of entertainment have often found that the band is like an oasis in the dark music world of mediocrity. This reviewer must confess to lighting candles, turning off the lights and playing Midnight Syndicate in order to transform the environment to one that is conducive with allowing the freeform flow of words. For some uncanny reason, this ritual of utilizing their work as a precursor to writing anything somehow unlocks the channels between the worlds of day and night.

Many in the goth underground often eschew anything vampire related, which seems a bit absurd because had we not had the wonderful lore of Bram Stoker and many other horror writers over the last century, goth might not have ever become the musical underground force that it has. The vampire as a metaphor is rather profound as it can be utilized on so many levels. It is rather remarkable that so many simply still don't comprehend the full essence and majesty of the allegorical crux.

As with other Midnight Syndicate CD's, Vampyre is also crafted to elicit mental imagery to allow the listeners to envision their own mental film. The fact that their work is perfect for movies was not lost on underground horror movie director Danny Draven, who utilized Midnight Syndicate's work in Witchhouse 3, which is available for rental at Blockbuster video or sale on the director's site ( Their music is also featured in other Full Moon Pictures horror features, as well as included in a short horror film starring Alice Cooper and won an award for Best Music at New York's 2001 Spotlight On Theatre Awards.

Halloween is their natural habitat, as their music has become an integral part of the holiday, frequently featured in Paramount Parks, Busch Gardens and several Six Flags parks' haunted attractions. Additionally, the music has also been featured on the Today Show and Monday Night Football, thereby bridging the chasm between "underground" music that veers its head to the populace at large. In 2000, King Diamond used the CDs as exclusive pre-show music for his tour and they have also been voted as Best Gothic Act for two consecutive years by the Cleveland Free Times. Naturally, the word is getting around that Midnight Syndicate has the CDs that dark music fans simply must own.

Certainly there are other vampire themed compositions out on the market. Some with snippets of poetry between the macabre feelings, others with cheesy haunted house sound effects. Midnight Syndicate didn't resort to cheese; instead they crafted this CD with the same astute attention as the makers of the score to Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was released some years back. It is this dedication and diligence to formulate nightmarish music that has brought them much acclaim through their last 3 releases as well.

Vampyre brings the listener through many layers of a storyline. We are not prompted by any spoken prose, but instead are given inflections and nuances of sound to create the wordless script, full of lushly macabre imagery. Interestingly enough, Midnight Syndicate didn't seem to resort to making a one-dimensional antagonist. The various sounds and layers that weave in between the morose feelings seems to belie a sentimental and sorrowful side that is interspersed with the decadence and depravity. Additionally, we also can envision the surrounding terrain and other characters with vivid realism. More importantly is the way these images can change with each listening.

Word has it that Midnight Syndicate also created dance versions of some of their work, thereby bringing a well-needed dose of the morbid back into the Goth underground. There is one unreleased dance track floating around that was leaked out to select DJ's, however that is merely a taste of what is forthcoming and barely scratches the surface of what is to come.

Granted, times have changed and the newer goth fans seem less inclined with "old school" goth and horror and more inclined to vapid and mindless noise masquerading as art. However, once their hormones have simmered and they find themselves longing for something of a bit more substance, Midnight Syndicate will be right there, urging them to take that imaginary leap through the chasm of the night. Whether you attend a haunted attraction this season or simply want some really haunted music for your dark abode, Midnight Syndicate bids you "welcome."

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Buy "Vampyre: Symphonies From the Crypt"

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