REVIEWS

Stevo Wolfson 4:55pm Aug 3 (Nightmare Chronicles)
Stevo In Yr Stereo Radio - Nightmare City Halloween
Listening to the new album now. It grabbed me from the opening track "Enter Dreamland". "Creepers" really stands out as a great ambient horror track, which I plan to play on this year's show, along with "The House On The Hill", at a minimum. Other standout tracks are "Mother", "Nano" and "Nefertiti". There's a lot of epic music here and I salute you for the excellent work. Was well worth the seven year wait since the last album.

 

Reviews of "Midnight Circus", "Clive Manor" and "Demagogue"
at "Gravedigger's Local 16"

Musical Morgue Review: Demagogue by Michael Hedstrom
Friday, September 25th, 2009

Listen up Deadites! Gruesome Joe here with the latest installment of the Musical Morgue right here on Rotting Flesh Radio.

Well—it’s officially here. We’re at the start of the haunt season, and several of you professional haunts out there are opening your doors tonight. I know that all of us here at Rotting Flesh Radio wish each and every haunter out there the absolute best and a very prosperous 2009 season!

And with that said, let’s cut to the chase—if you haven’t quite figured out what music you’re going to be using throughout your haunt, or if you haven’t quite finished the sound work for a particular room in your haunt—then you’re going to want to give a quick listen to what I have in store for you this week. Those familiar with Michael Hedstrom will remember his debut album Midnight Circus, which was a delightfully spooky album of circus and carnival themed haunt music. Well, up on the slab this week is his latest, and possibly darkest album yet, Demagogue.

This spectacularly dark and versatile album easily sets the tone of ominous terror within the very first moments of the album with the track “In the Beginning.” This track blends a great sense of chaos and serenity almost seamlessly…

The next track “Awakenings” pulses with ominous serenity until right up at the end when it concludes with a very loud series of swells and crashes to really accentuate the movement into the next track “Basic Instinct.” This highly thunderous track is highlighted with gothic vocal work, racing pianos and strings, and very well organized percussion.

The album is then taken down a notch with the very ambient track “Sanctuary.” This incredibly dark piece utilizes swelling horns oozing with ancient ambiance. Further along in the track we are graced with a very light flute and piano melody that enhances the spooky vibe you get while listening to the piece. This foreboding ambiance is further sustained into the next track “Isolation” where the delicate piano and swelling horns underscore a very delirious tension.

This tension is brought into full delirium with the next track “Epiphany.” Don’t let the length of this 58-second track fool you—it starts off quietly but ends with an incredibly macabre manifestation of distorted sounds, effects, and tones. I love this track because of it’s unassuming, but incredibly dominating once it picks up the volume!

We’re then launched back into the foreboding world of Demagogue with the next track “Demagogue Emergent.” This track combines several of the different qualities from the previous tracks and uses these to paint a picture in your mind of a ruthless entity of incredibly dark power. Its almost domineering power is alluded to in the next track “The Word” where a pipe organ plays a somber ode to darkness.

The gothic church style continues on throughout the next track “The Order” incorporating a vaster sounding pipe organ composition with several instances of sacred-like vocals. The next track “Sister Mary Katherine” lulls us with a very somber string arrangement to then lead us to a very whimsical arrangement in the next track “Idol Worshippers.” You can tell Sister Mary Katherine did not approve of the Idol Worshippers…

The next track “Victory Prayer” reintroduces us to the pipe organ and sacred vocals with the beautiful orchestration and vocal arrangement. This track is probably my favorite on the entire album because it keeps the creep-factor nice and high, but the incredibly skillful orchestration really makes this beautiful track stand out amongst all the rest for its perfect musicality.

We’re then launched into the next track “Holy War” which is a great blend of epic orchestration with lots of timpani and horns, and also a nice blend of ambient sound effects like horses, wind, bells tolling, etc. It creates a nice all-around audio experience. Followed up by the track “Mourning” you can tell that the battle was vast…

The final track of the album “Afterlife” is a nice blend of somber strings, light piano arpeggios, lofty voices, and select ambient sound effects. These all culminate in a very well composed ending that hints very sinisterly at what’s beyond this life.

So, overall I give this album two stumps enthusiastically up! To be honest, I was surprised at how good this album sounded. The very first record from Hedstrom I ever heard was the Midnight Circus album, and being a bit older, the synths he used on that album sounded a little like calliopes—which was perfect for the clown theme! However, I did not anticipate that Demagogue would sound so crisp and authentic. The whole album sounds much more like a very well composed, very dark film score—there are highs and lows, fast tracks and slow tracks, all lending to an overall audio adventure that really tells a story. I think Michael did an incredible job with this release, and I eagerly anticipate his next album! Demagogue in particular offers us a very nice, very dark and gothic ambiance without being as lofty as some of the other haunt CDs out there. The album is also incredibly versatile—you could use these tracks all over your haunt and create a really dynamic and diverse world.

I highly recommend, if you haven’t done so already, that you check out Hedstorm Productions. You can visit his site at www.Hedstorm.net and purchase his albums directly there. Each album individually is only $13—BUT if you want to buy all three albums, he has them on sale as a package for just $30 plus shipping! I can tell you first hand that all three albums of his are amazing and are definitely worth adding to your collection and to your haunt. If you do want to use them in your haunt, it’s also good to know that you can use his music royalty free! Just shoot him an email and let him know that you’re using it in your haunt and you’re all set!

Well Deadites, that about does it for this week here in the Morgue. Be sure to tune in next time when I’m sure I’ll have more great tunes you’ll want to add to your collection. Also be sure to check out GruesomeJoe.com to catch the written version of my review, as well as all the links you’ll need to get to Hedstorm Productions! Until then, I’m Gruesome Joe and I’ll be chilling out here in the Morgue, waiting for you, until next time…

 

The Iron Kingdom Ralph Mitchell on "Demagogue" I think this is your darkest cd so far.

 

Nightmare City Halloween Stevo in yr Stereo on "Demagogue"

I am quite impressed with your new album and find it to be your strongest recording to date. Great production and well crafted. It was easy to imagine I was listening to a film score! Very dramatic and I particularly love the organ work.

 

RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE July/Aug 2002-Greg Chant

Subtitled "Music and Sound Effects for a Gothic Halloween," CLIVE MANOR lives up to the promise to actually frighten listeners. The album was recorded specifically for the haunted attraction industry, which means they couldn't afford not to have pure horror oozing from every one of these twelve tracks. Points of influence include DARK SHADOWS, CASTLEVANIA and RESIDENT EVIL, with results that are mostly slow and apprehensive in a classical style. Mainly realized on keyboards and recorded noises, CLIVE MANOR manages to frighten by insinuating more than simply stating the obvious. In other words, they let your imagination fill in the dark spots and, believe it, there are plenty here. We'll put our name on it, if your flesh isn't goosed by the second track, you're already dead. Rating-5 of 5 Skulls.

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN MAGAZINE 13th issue-Rochelle Santopoalo

A refreshing new addition to the Halloween music scene, Midnight Circus and Clive Manor offer fans a whimsical yet macabre soundtrack to accompany their festivities. Each CD entrenches the listener into a fantasy soundscape. If gothic is your preference, Clive Manor takes you on an auditory tour of a haunting residence guaranteed to elicit and heighten a variety of emotions. Should the merriment of a circus tickle your fancy, Midnight Circus will introduce you to the hypnotic underside that lures many an innocent creature into its' arena.

 

HAUNTED ATTRACTION MAGAZINE Issue #28-DJ. DK

Staying with the circus theme, let's move on to the Michael Hedstrom CD Midnight Circus. This one is more consistently devoted to the "dark carnival" setting than our previous "clown'de hauntue." Most of these tracks are devotedly injected into the circus vein, and their more restrained use of extraneous sound FX and vocals will make this CD much easier for most Haunts to use. The first track, Clown Alley, sounds so much like the theme from the movie 'Beetlejuice' that it could easily be mistaken for that soundtrack (or a number of others by Danny Elfman for that matter). That said, if your Haunt has a "funny bone," there are numerous musical (de)compositions here that will perfectly capture a wacky, off-kilter mood without the use of specific movie scores. Arrangement and production of the music is quite accomplished, offering some of the most professional sounding and complex melodies you're likely to find on a Halloween CD. If you plan on doing scenes that involve clowns, freaks, humorous ghosts or other tongue-in-cheek terrors, you'll find that the thoughtfully designed and impressively recorded Midnight Circus is a useful collection of tunes with a morbidly funny edge. The 11th and final track of the CD is a teaser for Hedstroms' next album: Clive Manor.

 

UNDERGROUND ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE Issue 16-Jim O'Rear

Midnight Circus and Clive Manor are two haunted attraction CDs from Michael Hedstrom (Hedstorm Productions) that really grabbed my attention. They are very different in their individual approach but equally effective in the medium and style are directed.
Midnight Circus is based on, as you can probably guess, carnival and circus themes, using all of the classic sounds and instruments you'd expect from Ringling Brothers and dementing them. What I love about this CD are the apparent and obvious influences of composer Danny Elfman. I'm a fan of Elfman soundtracks and Midnight Circus could fit right in with the best of them. The first track, titled Clown Alley, could have been taken directly out of the film BEETLEJUICE. You'll also hear a lot of musical phrasing throughout the album that could fit in with several episodes of TALES FROM THE CRYPT.
Other track titles include The Dancing Firebeasts, Museum of Oddities, The Tunnel of Fun (a track of music and a seperate track of sound effects), Midnight Midway, and more. This CD is a lot of fun and it is very entertaining. Anyone who plans on using clowns, circus themes, 3-D, etceteras in their attraction needs to pick up a copy of Midnight Circus.
Clive Manor hits the other end of the soundscape spectrum. This CD combines music and sound effects to support and promote a gothic atmosphere. Tracks on this album include Forest, Hidden Passage, Dungeon, Big Game Trophies (very adventuristic), Hall of Portraits and more. To give you an idea of the sounds on this disc I'd have to refer back to Elfman, again. Some of the tracks on this CD could be compared to those found on Elfman's original BATMAN soundtrack. This is another very entertaining product from Hedstorm Productions.
Michael Hedstrom has done an excellent job putting these albums together. They are very slick, professional productions from the quality of the recordings to the first rate packaging. Make sure you add these to your Halloween collection!

 

Customer Reviews


Mouse (Nightmare Chronicles)"I've been using Michael's music for my home haunt as well as other haunts for years! This newest batch of tunes are outstandingly creepy. Just the right amount of whimsical macabre to stand out over other hauntscapes. Favorite track: Creepers."


A pleasant trip to the macabre, February 2, 2002 (Clive Manor)
By Dana Paull "teagal" Reno, NV USA
When I first heard this cd, I was blown away at the professional quality of the sound. This cd is an atmospheric experience that you will not quickly forget. Being a fan of Midnight Syndicate, a friend recommended I try this album, and I actually like it better as an overall piece of work. With each track, you walk through the different rooms of the manor, and each piece has its own unique chill to it. If you are a fan of the macabre, even if just for a temporary escape, this cd is for you. I will add any new cd this artist puts out into my collection without even an advance listen.

Reminds me of Castlevania., December 26, 2005 (Clive Manor)
By Jonathon Taylor
Brings back memories of walking through the cursed passages of Count Dracula's castle with the legendary whip of the Belmont clan.

author: Adam (Clive Manor)
This is just what I was looking for! The songs set the perfect atmosphere for any kind of halloween party or set up.

Webmistress:
WAH HOO!!! I just received my CDs of Clive Manor and Midnight Circus.
BRAVO!!! I instantly put them in the stereo at work ... now all my co-workers
and a few customers think I'm demented :)
I HIGHLY recommend!!!

In Reply to: Gore Galor CD's posted by Larry Kirchner on March 19, 2001 at
04:03:36:
One of the few CD's where the contents lives up to the covers. The covers
are great and so are the CD's. Part Danny Elfman part Midnight Syndicate.
Clive Manor and Midnight Circus are well worth adding to your ambient
orchestration collection.

Just dropping you a line to let you know that your Horror Music is fantastic and we appreciate finding music of this quality to use at our theme park. We will be ordering the Midnight Circus to add to our collection.
Thanks!
Barry Zelickson
Spooky World, MN

Make sure you have a copy of Michael Hedstrom's Midnight Circus CD.
I just bought a copy and it is a wonderful Halloween album. Great to
decorate by too. It is Circus related, but sounds good for many haunt
purposes. It is up there with OingoBoingo and Midnight Syndicate in
my book. -Chuck-

I was talent in the "Carnival of Carniverous Clowns" maze at Knott's Halloween Haunt this year.
Often times it's difficult to listen to the same selection of songs for eight hours every night, but I never got tired of your music (Midnight Circus) as it was played in our maze.
Just walking into work every night, as I got near the carnival and had a chance to hear the music, I was ready to "get my scare on" and frighten thousands of guests a night!
I want to thank you for writing such awesome music and for making my first year working the haunt so much fun. Your music was the icing on the cake, and gave a lot of us clowns the mood and atmosphere we needed to keep in character, even after eight hours of abuse and sweat.
Keep up the good work!
Eyrick Pagenkoff
a.k.a. "Uncle Ernie"

Dave Bell (Midnight Circus)
Folks, I just have to plug the newly-released CD by Mike Hedstrom, our own
Mr. Keeba! This is a great collection of twisted or eerie carnival, circus
and midway themes. "Clown Alley" and "Midnight Midway" are *definately*
gonna feature at my house this year! There are aa tracks of original, and
very cool, music - check out some MP3 samples, or just order one; you
won't regret it!

This CD is exactly what I need. (Midnight Circus)
author: Li'l Bentley's Carnival of Horrors
The theme for my family's Halloween Party this year is "circus sideshow" with evil clowns and human oddities. I was concerned about finding the appropriate music, but, alas, my worries are over. This CD is exactly what I need for an atmosphere of madness in the midway.

This Cd captures the dark mood of the after hours circus
author: Merlin
Midnight circus is definitly in my top 3 evil circus music collection! Dance of the firebeasts has a unique dark organ sound.This cd should be in any serious haunters circus music collection.Michael Hedstrom definitly hit the perverbial nail-on-the-head with this collection of after hours circus music.Would love to see more of this in an even more evil twisteder version....Thanx

Creepalicious! (Midnight Circus)
author: Ellen
Brilliant - perfect for our evil circus haunted house this year - songs are dark and moody, with the ever-present but not too overdone carnival theme. Love it!

author: Nick (Midnight Circus)
Sounds like he took the best parts out of Danny Elfman's Big Top Peewee and Beetlejuice soundtracks and made them even more goofy and spooky. If you like weird melodies and minor chords you should check this out. The packaging looks good too.

Perfectly creepy!
author: Ericka
We needed creepy circus music for our haunted carnival this year, and Hedstrom's "Midnight Circus" fit the bill perfectly.

Hats Off to Midnight Circus! I can't wait to try other CDs from Michael Hedstrom
author: Linda@mlhauntedforest.com
Hats Off to Michael Hedstrom & Midnight Circus! It was the perfect addition to our clown house this year. I am very much looking forward to other CDs from Mr. Hedstrom!

Halloween junkies need this one (Midnight Circus)
author: Stephanie
I have a neighborhood Halloween Party every year. This years theme is Carnevil. The music from this album will be playing during my party. I think it has that great kreepy Karnival sound that puts the chill in the Halloween air.been looking for great creepy music and I like this one a lot.

Circusy goodness! (Midnight Circus)
author: Lord Tici Taci
The music is all good and the songs aren't too simaler.My favourites are Clown Alley for tune,Tunnel of Fun for creepiness and Midnight Midway for the classic Circus sound.

Midnight Circus - Perfect for Halloween or Performing!, October 6, 2004
By D. Meyer "Sword Swallower" (Nashville, TN USA)
After searching through dozens of CDs to find just the right music for my act, I finally came across Michael Hedstrom's "Midnight Circus" and have fallen in love with it. Hedstrom's music is the perfect blend of circus/carnival with an eerie haunted house and quirky "Munsters" or "Addams Family" feel to it. As a sideshow performer, I find that it works great as background music for acts like fire-eating, the human blockhead and sword swallowing. If you are a performer or are looking for some great music for your haunted house this Halloween, I would highly recommend giving this one a spin!

Gaming Music?, June 13, 2005
By TammyJo Eckhart "TammyJo Eckhart" (Bloomington, Indiana United States)
I'll be running a World of Darkness game in the "Midnight Circus" setting and needed some good music to help me out. I think several of these pieces will work well for the game, very moody and creepy but still the standard circus themes can be found adding to the creepiness. The Midway selection is the most genericly useful I think while the others conjure more specific images in my mind when I listen.

 

Copyright 2014 Hedstorm Productions