Saturday, October 1, 2016

My review of Midnight Syndicate's Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack

Happy October everybody! I have just the album review to get you in the Halloween spirit. Midnight Syndicate sent me a copy of their eerie new album Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack.

The first thing I was struck by was the album art. It was outstanding as usual. Dramatic zombies are positioned in a way that reminds me of an old movie poster. And the shapes that frame the art make me think "filmstrip". As I look closer, I think I see burn marks in the "film". Nice skull in the back too!

The same cool illustration is on the CD itself:

And on the back cover, we have a zombie emerging from his fiery, hell-pit of a grave. Just to make it clear that these are evil zombies.

OK, So I'll start with the "Official board game" part of this. I'm familiar with the Zombies!!! game in name only. I thought it was maybe a role-playing game, but I'm still not sure. So, if you've played Zombies!!!, I'd be really interested in discussing it with you!

From reading the game description, I can tell there's a board and some cards involved. I'm just not sure if there's that role-playing level of inventiveness on top of that? Either way, this album was designed to provide a background of zombie mood music to inspire those playing the game. Since, I haven't played Zombies!!!, this review is going to be more about what I visualized while listening to the music.

Here's the track list:

Pretty self-explanatory song titles.

So, as I usually do, I'm going describe each song, and what I saw in my mind as I listened.

1. It Begins ~ We start with slow, churning sounds, like something is approaching. This song implies a zombie slowly plodding along in pursuit.

2. Where Did Everybody Go? Dark and gloomy, this one feels very Midnight Syndicate with the orchestral background. The title as well as the music makes me imagine looking around the dark, empty streets, wondering what's hiding in the shadows.

3. They're Coming for you... It's hard not to end that sentence with "Barbara". This is an eerie one. I'm hearing what sounds like creaky doors and footsteps in the distance. There's an occasional off/minor piano key.
(The highlight of the movie for me)

4. Slight Miscalculation ~ This is another song in the classic Midnight Syndicate orchestral style. The title makes me think I've taken a wrong turn on a street or maybe down a dark alley, and am now seeing a zombie ambling my way. I think I heard a light gasping sound, like "Aurg..." at the end.

5. Last Day to Live ~ Oh, depressing title there... I feel like the zombies have put an expiration date on me as I read that. Light, angelic chanting is the best way I can describe what I hear on this one. Yet, it's not relaxing.

6. No Escape ~ Oh, the zombies are really closing in now. The title "No Escape" is a clue, but I can hear it too. I'm hearing this whirring, like flies. (Those probably come attached to the zombies) And then there are heavy footsteps approaching me. There's some heavy breathing as well.

7. I Don't Think They're Dead ~ This track makes me think of 80s Horror movie soundtracks. Michael Myers could walk to this. He'd have to pick up the pace, but still. It's that heavy kind of music with eerie little dinky-dink sounds. Then there's this beautiful string music.

8. Town Square ~ From the title, I'd guess I'm approaching a town square where the zombies have congregated. I think I hear a distant car alarm? Breaking glass? Yeah, I think the background noises I'm hearing are zombie destruction.

9. Zombie Master ~ I have no idea who the "zombie master" is, as I'm not familiar with this game. Again, I'm thinking role-playing games. Is this like the Dungeon Master, or maybe the lead zombie? I'm sure someone could help me out here. There are some neat springy noises in this.

10. Raiding Todd's Tool Shop ~ You can guess what's going on here from the sound effects. The ding of a chime as a shop door opens, a jingling of keys, and the staticky radio broadcast warning of the zombie invasion. The sounds of something moving through the store, then "Chomp!" This is by far my favorite track on the album and in my opinion, the scariest. You can really visualize what's happening as you listen.

11. Veiled Hunter ~ There are what I'd call growling noises on this one.  I wonder who the "Veiled Hunter" is? Maybe a zombie bride wearing a veil?

12. Into the Abyss ~ Sounds like we're marching "Into the Abyss" here. There are the sounds of steady moving and chanting.

13. Alternate Food Source ~ I love the title on this one! I hear keys jingling and doors creaking open. And then a lot of feasting! Slobbery sounding feasting. Eww...

14. Fear ~ There's a heart pounding rhythm that dies off. And then a sort of dinging. Then those stomping, stalking sorts of noises. There's that staticky radio again, and this time it gets really creepy. I'm starting to think I have a thing for staticky radio noises, as scares go.

15. Adrenaline Rush ~ There's some piano and some cool percussion noises I can't quite place. I like the sound effects on this. Very Midnight Syndicate. The sounds feel like movement. We're going somewhere here. At this point in the story, I'm pretty sure I've gone zombie, so this must be someone else's adrenaline rush.

16. Dusk ~ This light music fits with the "Dusk" theme. The wind whistles.

17. We're Screwed ~ I hear a light metallic sound. Maybe chains rattling? I've thought on and off while listening to this album that I've heard chains rattling. And then there's the sound of something big approaching.

18. Race to the Helipad ~ From the brief amount I've read about this game, I realize a big point is to escape the zombies by racing to the helipad. And I get the feeling of rushing while listening to this. Running, scratching. There's some triumphant music at the end, as I imagine the helicopter taking off and leaving the zombies behind.

This soundtrack isn't solely for use in playing the Zombies!!! game, although I imagine it would be a great fit for gaming. It would also be a great fit for a zombie themed haunt. This album keeps you on edge. Actually, it could work with any haunt where characters are sneaking up on people. So that would be every haunt.

Or if you're like me, you could play it outside at night as the trick-or-treaters drop by. I play spooky music as I sit out there waiting for them, and I'm sure the Zombies!!! album will be playing this year.

You can get a taste of Zombies!!! from this track. (Sounds yummy, right?) "Slight Miscalculation":

If you'd like to pick up one of these CDs, they're for sale on the Midnight Syndicate web site:

Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack

There are also digital downloads available. Fans of Midnight Syndicate or the old monster movies are going to appreciate this album!


  1. I love this art. It looks like old stuff yet with the more modern zombie concept. Old zombies were more like regular people who were just hypnotized. This is a nice way to start October! Could you have ever dreamed that society would want to celebrate Halloween for months a year? Neat, huh? Good zombie picture of your self, reminds me of the night of the living dead, although much cuter :)

    1. Matt ~ Me too! I think the artist was probably going for a retro zombie movie vibe. That's the way I interpret that cover anyway. Yeah, zombies have gone through some changes over time. Now they look like total monsters and before they just looked like stumbling, recently dead people.

      I've been surprised in recent years that Halloween has gained such popularity. Just because I love something doesn't mean I expect massive amounts of other people to! Yeah, it's very neat. Halloween is the only holiday I don't mind seeing in stores months in advance.

      Thanks! I Photoshopped that several years back. It was handy to have a zombified photo of myself on hand for this review. :)

  2. I have the original Zombies game and a few of the expansions. It's more of what they call a "beer & pretzels" game than an RPG, which just means it's an easy game to pick up without a lot of heavy strategy involved.
    It's pretty fun even though you're playing against everyone else to be the first one to make it to the helicopter to escape.

    1. Dex ~ You know, you were on the list of people I thought might be able to answer that for me! OK, gotcha. Well, that sounds fun and relaxing. As relaxing as it can be, outrunning zombies! Let me know how this soundtrack works with the game, if you end up getting it.

      Oh, and speaking of music, are you putting together your annual Halloween mix CD? I'm working on one and it would be fun to trade again!