Product Review – Official Dungeons & Dragons Soundtrack

Okay, so. No con wrapup, as I decided against it. If I ever do another gaming con, I probably will. I mean, Ubercon’s near where I live, maybe I can hit that? Anyway, I figure I owe you all a post, so here we go: Something that’s been on my mind (and my iPod) for months now…

No, I figured I’d cover one of my acquisitions at Gencon last year: Midnight Syndicate’s Official Dungeons & Dragons Soundtrack.

Now, I’ll tell you flat out: I’m not really qualified to review music. What I know about music, you could probably fit on a postcard. But, as the old saying goes, I know what I like.

And I like this album a lot.

Released in 2003- So long ago that the liner actually makes reference to the iconic characters!- This “soundtrack” is a collection of orchestral music, intended for use as mood music for Dungeons & Dragons games. This, in turn, is because Midnight Syndicate is a group whose bread and butter is soundtracks, though mostly for Gothic horror settings. Indeed, this is really their only fantasy-styled album. So, you might be asking yourself, “How does a group that gets saddled with the unique honor of being the word’s first “Halloween Band” take to doing music for a non-horror setting?”

The answer? Pretty damn well, actually. Their Gothic roots show in their instrument choices, favoring tense string instruments, opressive-sounding percussions, and choral stylings that, really, remind me a lot of Out of the Darkness, another album by Midnight Syndicate.

Overall, the album has a very mysterious and weird feel to it, the tones and arrangements used almost telling a story on their own, and definitely evoking images as you listen. “Descent into the Darkness” is a deeply toned and gloomy theme, calling forth the impression of entering a deep cave or mine, “”Skirmish” has an almost chaotic and unpredictable feel as it builds, and “Lair of the Great Wyrm,” “Army of the Dead” and “Final Confrontation” all evoke the feelings of dread and trepidation you might expect from facing down foes of epic caliber. “Soundtracks for the imagination,” indeed.

I’ve yet to play this for my group, but I really ought. I imagine it would make for good background music.

And the main reason I bring it up is, well… It’s a licenced album, and it was made some seven years ago now. Sooner or later, the rights are probably going to revert to Wizards of the Coast, and unless they opt to renew, this album will eventually become harder and harder to find. Now, I know that other means exist, but since I’ve made it my mission at this blog to promote mostly legitimate means of procurement, I will simply say that if you want a physical copy of this- and if you’re a D&D player, you probably do- You should act soon.

As I said, I may not know music, but I know what I like. And I definitely like this.

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