It’s been that time of the year for a while and it’s safe to say that many of us are sick of it. We see Mall Santas chugging whiskey outside the local shopping center, spoiled brats screaming about how getting the newest toy is a sign of love, the same holiday pop covered by a flavor of the year music group, sickeningly cheery decorations mass produced by Hallmark-esque megacorporations, you get the general idea. For many a bitter cynic, the yuletide season simply sucks. In a sense, rewatching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, there’s a lot to relate to. Perhaps something about the plot makes us all the more bitter. But, why is that?
Tired of the saccharine crap that floods radio waves from early November to early January? It’s the same old derivative playlists only lightly spiced up by flavor of the year bubblegum pop. After a while, it’s grating to the mind and soul. Now, for gloomy souls like myself, there’s a genre of music that appeals as a proper alternative. I speak of dark ambient/atmospheric music. Combining this with the motifs and inspirations of the early winter holidays and you have the recipe for a fantastically freaky but festive experience. Groups such as Nox Arcana have created their own contributions to yuletide terror, with their own excellent releases.
This time around, it’s Midnight Syndicate’s turn to show their musical mastery for a truly magical christmas time. When I speak of “christmas magic”, I’m not talking about holly jolly merriment, I’m speaking of the twisted and bizarre folklore that extends several centuries at the very least; strange shadowy beings, seemingly alive winter winds, strange monstrosities, wandering ghostly spirits and tons more. These are the myths crafted in small villages and written by just as crafty poets. Whether it be St. Nick’s demonic helper from the Alps or the ghosts that haunt Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the weird and supernatural is just as much a part of Christmas as it is Halloween. With that, there’s plenty of reason behind a horror-oriented Christmas album. I’m referring to the latest release by atmospheric gothic music group, Midnight Syndicate. Their newest release, “Christmas A Ghostly Gathering” has a mix of original pieces and dark takes on traditional hymns and holiday essentials. In a sense, it’s like Midnight Syndicate heard the soundtrack to “A Nightmare before Christmas” and wanted to make their own take on Horror for the Holidays. Read on for more.
Our ever surreal holly jolly season has returned and is soon also coming to close once more. As such, it’s always good time to check out the many pieces of popular culture that make us think about the holidays. They can encourage what we love about them, hate about them, or other something else entirely. These seasonal bits of popular culture can help to enhance our many opinions in many ways; each with their own styles and flavors. Since I tend to enjoy the more absurd, heavily imaginative or cynical among them, let’s dive deep into some movies and specials that I enjoyed the most.