When you think of horror in music there is one name that should come to mind first: Midnight Syndicate. Midnight Syndicate has been making dark gothic soundtracks for the imagination since 1997. Their music is the kind of mood music you hear in many haunted houses around Halloween and on movie soundtracks such as The Dead Matter and The Rage. Their latest horror soundtrack is for the film Axe Giant: The Wrath Of Paul Bunyan.
For most movies, the soundtrack is something that adds a little atmosphere to the movie and you don’t think about it much. In the case of Axe Giant, the musical soundtrack overpowers the movie and that’s not a bad thing. The movie is a slasher picture about a group of teenagers in a scared straight type camp in the woods being hunted down by folk legend Paul Bunyan. The movie may have a simple premise but the soundtrack is complex and tells a much more compelling story.
There are 15 songs on this soundtrack and from the first two songs you know your listening to a masterpiece. The first song is Axe Giant’s main title which uses a full orchestra to give the impression of an angry giant walking through a forest and sets up a mood of impending doom. While hearing this song I could see in my head, Paul Bunyan making his way past towering pines on his way to kill unsuspecting campers. I fell in love with this soundtrack from this one song and thought the whole soundtrack would sound like that but then the second track blew me away.
Track two is called “Minnesota 1894”. This one really showed the diversity of this album going from the dark mood of the first song and changing the direction to a more laid back folksy sound. This song is complete with banjo and a sweeping sound that made me think of a group of people around a campfire, telling tall tales without any words being spoken. The music says it all.
The third song is “Babe’s Grave” and once again the mood of the album changes. This song has a Native American feel to it. With the use of drums and wood instruments, it gives the feeling of a quiet graveyard and builds to a scary sounding finish. The fourth song is the “S.T.U.M.P. Medley” which continues what the third song starts, adding horns and sounding like a marching song becoming more powerful as it goes along.
The next song is “Bunyan at Babe’s Grave.” This song reminds you that this is a horror soundtrack and leads you to believe this ride is about to get much scarier. The rest of the songs build on what the first five started and tell a great tale of terror through the use of what must have been hundreds of different musical instruments. The album ends with an acoustic song and the only one with lyrics, called “The Ballad of Paul Bunyan.” I loved the story this song gives and it was a great ending to a masterpiece.
I’ve listened to a lot of Midnight Syndicate’s albums over the years and I think this one may be their best work. When I saw the title I thought it wouldn’t be good, but the opening of the first song proved me wrong. The only bad thing is that it made me want to see the movie. While the movie was fun to watch, the story doesn’t come close to the story that comes through in the music. Without the use of words, this soundtrack tells a scary story that no movie can duplicate. I think it would be interesting if someone made a silent horror movie set to Midnight Syndicate’s music because they know how horror sounds.
To find out more about them, go to: www.midnightsyndicate.com