Midnight Syndicate taps into the origins of the amusement industry with Carnival Arcane

Midnight Syndicate taps into the origins of the amusement industry with Carnival Arcane

If you know Midnight Syndicate, you know that they are masters of the horror soundtrack. If you don’t know Midnight Syndicate and are a fan of events like Halloween Horror Nights, and Howl O Scream, then you still know Midnight Syndicate. They have been creating soundtracks to movies that don’t exist for almost 15 years. Their latest release Carnival Arcane, however takes a look at the origins of the amusement industry like only Midnight Syndicate can.


Back in the 1800’s the traveling carnival popped up on the American landscape. They would offer crude rides, games of chance, fortune tellers animal acts, freak shows and even burlesque shows. The traveling shows were often frowned upon because of the fact that they would offer shows and acts like freak shows and burlesque. The carnivals sometimes were also home to unfair business practices, and very shady characters.

The new Midnight Syndicate release, “Carnival Arcane” taps into the world of organs, big tops and freakshows by taking us on a trip to the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival. Like all Midnight Syndicate albums, Carnival Arcane is a soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist. The albums use music and sound effects to paint pictures in your head. Only this time the pictures are more vivid, and the paintbrushes have flecks of nightmares still on them.

Lancaster-Rigby is a turn of the century traveling circus with a very dark side, and some skeletons hiding way back in the closet. Knowing that is key to this album as composers Gavin Gozka and Edward Douglas take you through a walk straight into a Ray Bradbury inspired carnival. Here you are lured in by the fun, frivolity, and whimsy of a fun filled carnival, but around every corner and through the entrance something darker waits. Right there is where Ed and Gavin stray from their normal dark and sinister soundscape, a carnival is supposed to be fun and whimsical. If we knew the secrets and threats that lay beneath the tents, would we dare to go in?

If you’re worried that the guys have gone soft, and made something suitable for a “family friendly Disney style romp” don’t fret, the creepy is still there. That’s what makes the album so damn unnerving. You are lured in by the happy, and whimsy, and childlike tones…and then hear comes Dr. Atmore right behind you as the audience claps to slit your throat. Musically the album is unlike anything the group has done before, by combining familiar musical styles with styles that the band hasn’t done much with before and truly splattering the canvas with everything they’ve got.

Again, those that are worried that the album gets too far away from the dungeons and haunted mansions only need to listen to tracks like the disturbing “Kiddieland” and “Lights Out”. Sure there are no vampires here, but hearing the maniacal laughter in “Cheval Glass” let’s you know that Midnight Syndicate was most definitely here. And while past albums have relied heavily on sound effects to set the mood, sound effects are used entirely different here. The album is much more musical, with the effects sprinkled like powdered sugar over a funnel cake.

The last release from Midnight Syndicate was the soundtrack to Ed Douglas’s first feature film “The Dead Matter” which he directed. Jason Carter, Brian Van Camp and Dennis Carter Jr. return from “The Dead Matter” and are used heavily as voices in Carnival Arcane. Jason Carter plays the gruff voiced Montgomery Lancaster which you hear in several tracks barking at crowds and giving orders. In other tracks you’ll hear the cackling of Dennis as Laughing Denny, and the vocals of Van Camp sprinkled all over.

By far this is a very ambitious album and hits the mark every single time with every single track by keeping you guessing, and leading you down paths in ways you never thought Midnight Syndicate would take you.

For more information, or to purchase Carnival Arcane, visit the official website!

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Categories: Horror, News

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