Album Review: Ghost Stories (2014) – Sam Haynes/Horror Haunt Music

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Mid-spring may seem a bit late for Halloween-oriented music for most “normal” folks, but early Ministry put it best; “Every Day is Halloween.”  Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a healthy dose of horror every now and then!?

Today, the Doc looks into the dark electronica and eerie soundscapes of Ghost Stories by Sam Haynes.  More musings on morbid musics ahead!

This album sets out to evoke countless moods of the horror cinema, especially through the art of horror movie soundtrack!  Most of the tracks pay homage to the electronic heavy sounds from the 1960s through 1990s.  Some have a rougher and grittier sound, while others carry a dark melody to them.

Many of the tracks didn’t even try to hide that wanted to pay tribute to classic horror movies and possible artists within the genre itself!  For example, Midnight Gets Closer sounds like it would belong in a current (or at least recent) production of Dracula, right down to the creepy organ undertones that played throughout the track.  13‘s melody juxtaposed by a dark electronic sound kind of felt like a cross between Dark Ambient legends, “Midnight Syndicate” and Industrial mastermind, “Nine Inch Nails” to me.  The cosmic feeling of The Other Side felt equal parts Giallo (Italian Grindhouse Horror) and equal parts Phantasm (or any Lovecraftian film for that matter.)  I could picture Italian prog-band, “Goblin” playing this one.  And when you hear both Fear of Clowns and Carnival, you can’t help but be reminded of Gothic classic, “Carnival of Lost Souls.”

The album doesn’t set out to convey a single theme or mood, but a wide variety.  Tracks jump around from slow tension building tracks to adrenaline pumping stress releases, true to classic horror formula!  For example, tracks like Lost Hearts and Fear of Clowns make way for high energy electronica tracks like The Midnight Show and Carnival.  Certainly, this adds more variety to this eclectic mix.  Personally, I wish we saw the two sides of the album split apart a little more; a dark ambient intro leading into a dark electro outro!  But, that’s just me.

Now, what tracks worked the most for me?  For me; the macabre melodies of Lost Hearts and Grave Secrets, the soothing yet ominous sounds of The Chills, the hellish distorted Circus nightmares of Fear of Clowns and Carnival, and the atmospheric variety of 13 and The Other Side were what did it the most.  I’ll admit, I’m more so biased towards the dark ambient genre, as compared to more rave oriented music.  Although, another reason I loved both 13 and Carnival was it balanced both aspects into a twisted symphony of electric horrors and symphonic delights!  That said, I’m huge into the morbid soundscapes of groups of Nox Arcana and more, so one can’t blame my bias too much.  That doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the album as a whole.  The infectious more rave oriented tracks kept me energized and awaiting more!

So, what’s my final verdict?  Awesome!  While I have my preferences, this was an album I loved while it lasted.  And trust me, with Halloween so far away, it’s good to have a delicious dose of spooky music throughout the rest of the year!  If you can track this album down, give it a try for yourself!

Ghost Stories gets 8 ghoulish beats out of 10.

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