Thursday, September 2, 2021

Midnight Syndicate ~ What Lurks in the Bloodlines?

I'm back with another Midnight Syndicate album review. Yes, already! They've been busy. This new album is titled Bloodlines and it is an enjoyable listen, especially for those of us who are into that eerie haunted mansion vibe. Bloodlines was introduced as a mini-album, although you are getting nine songs and near a half hour of music here. So it didn't seem all that mini to me.

So as you can guess from the album title, some of the song titles, and the line on the back of the CD pamphlet, "Another chilling chapter in the Haverghast Legacy", this album is part of a family and haunted house story. In fact, it is a prequel. I'll paste a part of the album press release here, to explain further:

Midnight Syndicate has just released a mini-album entitled Bloodlines. Their 14th studio album, Bloodlines is a prequel to the duo’s best-selling, haunted mansion-themed, The 13th Hour. The new release draws listeners deeper into the world of the Haverghast family, a sinister clan whose dark secrets were first introduced on the 2001 asylum-themed album, Gates of Delirium.
“The events that occur in Bloodlines happen before The 13th Hour, although how long before is left up to the listener,” said Edward Douglas. Gavin Goszka added, “The selections on this album expand the story of the Haverghast family. We wanted this album to flow as seamlessly as possible into The 13th Hour, while still maintaining its own distinct stylistic identity.”

As usual, it was easy to visualize each part of the story, and even some of the characters while listening to this. I'll take you through each track as I have in the past and give you my interpretation. 

So starting off with track number one...

1. "Bloodlines" We start off with some dramatic piano playing, occasional church bells, and a spectral ghostly choir singing. This is foreboding music, but at the same time I can imagine people dancing. I might be influenced by the dress on the CD cover, but this one makes me think of a ghost bride theme. There are definitely some haunted church vibes going on.

2. "Servitor" Here we have more bells, the feel of marching or stalking the halls. A male voice chants in a way that reminds me of those monk chants, but more sinister. I feel like there's some threatening character stalking the halls of an old house, searching for someone. 

3. "Ancestral Decree" This one has a very heavy, menacing stomping vibe, which I think Midnight Syndicate does very well! If the last track was silent stalking and searching, this one is a heavier chase. There's a little whispering in the background and creepy voices where you're not quite sure what you're hearing. I was on edge with this one.

4. "I Won't Tell" Well, this is the creepiest title by far! A music box plays with some chilling effects in the background. I actually think this track is really pretty and delicate sounding. I'm thinking of the CD cover again while listening to this (The part with the dolls). It sounds like a haunted little girl's room or nursery. 

5. "Assembly" This is, dare I say, a fun one. The fun lasts for 35 seconds, but still. :) It sounds like a party (one would assume a ghost party because of the album this is on). There's what sounds like some light harpsichord playing, laughing, and talking.

6. "Wedding March" Phantom of the Opera level organ playing starts us off, then there's the most ominous version of Wedding March I've ever heard, and in minor keys. This ties in with the first track for me, because we're back in the church. This is seriously unnerving for me. Do these people want to get married? Yikes. There's a falling/reeling feeling at the end. For me, this track was the most uncomfortable to listen to! 

7. "Grand Waltz" I liked this track from the start. It has that Disney's Haunted Mansion vibe! It sounds like its title. If you've been on the Haunted Mansion ride, just imagine that part at the end when the ghosts are dancing. Then you have this. So of course I really liked "Grand Waltz". I was even dancing around to it. This one will be an enjoyable track in the background of this year's Halloween.

8. "A Light in the Attic" And we're back to the creep fest! Starting with the title. This track sounds dangerous. It has a good beat, though. It's like you're having a dangerous night at a Goth Club and then you're being chased through a tunnel. But I guess given the title you're being chased around an attic. The track ends with a clap of thunder and the sounds of rain. 

9. "Sands of Time" This one starts with a rush of wind, followed by some haunting, melancholy music. Then there is a little light piano playing. I've probably said this in the past, but Midnight Syndicate does a great job of creating the image of a piano being played by itself. Like, if you hear a piano being played, you go into a room expecting to see someone playing it, and then there's no one there. The ghostly chorus is back and I'm thinking how this album was threaded together nicely. I mean as far as some recurring elements that tie it all together. 

I really liked Bloodlines! I know this album will make great background music. And I don't mean just for Halloween! I enjoyed it in a general listening to music way. I am left wondering about the family this album is based around. It sounds like there might be some sinister secrets in "the bloodlines" but it also sounds like they might have had some good dance parties. :) 

If you'd like to listen to Bloodlines yourself, here's a Youtube playlist of it:

Midnight Syndicate ~ Bloodlines Playlist

P.S. ~ As you probably gathered, the images in this post were from the Bloodlines CD booklet. The type behind the booklet pages is from the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. 

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