LIVE SHADOWS is available as an audio CD, or as an audaciously delightful, deliciously pinkish-purple, (as opposed to Deep Purple) vinyl.
To quote the Midnight Syndicate website "Live Shadows features new arrangements of classic songs and new tracks performed live. Recorded at Midnight Syndicate Live! concerts from 2014 through 2019, the album marks the first time Midnight Syndicate has released material from their live shows. The band is also releasing several music videos on YouTube. Each video highlights one of the four different shows they’ve performed at Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends event since 2014."
The complete album is available to listen to on YouTube, but note this is audio only and of course you cannot get the full flavour of a live concert/series of live concerts from a clean Youtube or even a CD version, you definitely need the slight pops and crackles of the beloved vinyl for that. Long Live Vinyl!
I first heard the sombre, eerie sounds of Midnight Syndicate echoing through the halls of a major gaming convention. This was many years ago and my memory of that time is both sketchy and clear in parts. I remember hearing the electronic organ (or piano) sounds and following the music like the kids did with the floating aroma in the Bisto gravy adverts of the 1980's. It called to me hypnotically and I bypassed several games companies exhibiting their newest board and role-play products as, trance-like I zombie-walked to the beat of the powerfully potent pitch of the sonorous modulation ensuing from the quality speakers, that along with a CD player and a few scattered CDs, made up the trade stall of Midnight Syndicate.
Come to think of it, I believe it was GenCon in the USA, though whether this was Wisconsin or Indianapolis my failing memory cannot bring to the fore. I do believe it was also the first event that I met the amazing duo of Todd and Kerry Breitenstein from Twilight Creations whose Zombies games have ever since been mentally linked with Midnight Syndicate sounds, in fact I had hoped to introduce Ed Douglas to Todd & Kerry but someone had already beaten me to that idea.
As usual, I diverse. This page is mainly devoted to the latest CD and LP, LIVE SHADOWS, but whenever I think of Midnight Syndicate I think also of Twilight Creations, and for a while they were to be found side by side or back to back at GenCon USA and Spiel Essen. One thing I do remember is obtaining a grey Midnight Syndicate tee-shirt, this was definitely at Spiel, Essen, which had an eerie incandescent glow in the dark, its luminescence lighting up a gloomy room like the beam from a lighthouse cutting through a foggy encumberance. I still have, and still wear that tee-shirt, though it has suffered much wear and sadly now shows some of my lardaceous blubber through its breached cloth.
Unusually, both the CD and the LP have the same number of tracks (15), run for the same amount of time (32 minutes & 14 seconds), and are in the same order on each media.Where possible I have noted the CDs on which the tracks can be located. The other tracks may be on CDs I don't possess or indeed be new specifically for these recordings.
1. The Stage is Set. 59 seconds of timpani and building excitement - the show is about to begin. New.
2. Alchemist's Chamber. 2 minutes 52 seconds from The Dead Matter.
3. Sigil. 59 seconds of sounds new to me
4. Twilight. 2 minutes 07 seconds. Can be found on Realm of Shadows and Monsters of Legend
5. Creatures of Darkness. 3 minutes 59 seconds of sounds new to me
6. Noctem Aeternus. 2 minutes 34 seconds. Realm of Shadows and Out of Darkness.
7. Haunted Nursery. 1 minute 18 seconds. Out of Darkness.
8. Gatekeeper. 1 minute 24 seconds of sounds new to me
9. Into the Valley of Shadows. 2 minutes 37 seconds. Monsters of Legend
10. Kiddieland. 2 minutes 25 seconds. Carnival Arcane
11. Nightstalker. 3 minutes 01 seconds. Out of Darkness and Born of the Night
12. Grisly Reminder. 1 minute 55 seconds from the 13th Hour
13. Twisted Labyrinth. 1 minute from Carnival Arcane.
14. Haverghast Asylum. 3 minutes 01 seconds from the Gates of Delirium
15. Conspiracy of Shadows. 2 minutes 03 seconds of sounds new to me
While writing this page I had the CD playing smoothly through the right side of my PC speakers. I also had the TV series "Name of the Rose" playing softly in the background to my left. I found I was typing while having mental images in the style of medieval Halloween, Witch Hunters and the attrocities of primitive, antediluvian Gothic horror religion. Talk about setting myself up for a game of CHILL, for which, by the way, Midnight Syndicate's music is ideal for background atmosphere.
On Youtube you can find some of Midnight Syndicate in actual concert, but sadly, at least so far as I can ascertain, not a complete concert, such as those from which the LIVE SHADOWS recordings are garnered. I have seen most, if not all, of these YouTube live concerts and have come to the conclusion that going by the size and elaboration of the sets, the number of musicians, singers, engineers etc that are involved in putting such a concert together, the 32 minutes & 14 seconds can only be half, or maybe a third, of an actual live event.
Some people I have spoken to have been under the impression that Midnight Syndicate produce sound effect CDs to be used for when creaking doors open or something heavy falls or goes bump in the night, during a role-play session. This isn't the case. Though there are CDs and LPs of such sounds available, Midnight Syndicate are not one of the providers.
This is a short, compelling, excitingly mysterious, journey, deep into the supernatural intellects of two prodigious composers. These are not songs or instrumental sounds, they are epic modulations drawn from the extreme depths of depravity and history. They're alos good to listen to!