Midnight Syndicate

Dungeons & Dragons (Entity Productions)

Ed Douglas and Gavin Goszka have worked hard to make Midnight Syndicate notable among goths, horror-movie junkies, and haunted-house aficionados. By logical extension, the duo has moved into soundtracks, putting one together for the venerable Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. It's even earned a stamp of approval from Wizards of the Coast, owners of the D&D franchise.

Over the course of 23 tracks, Douglas and Goszka show off their knack for fantasy. The Syndicate's cinematic influences can be heard in the epic-sounding "Final Confrontation": Cues from John Williams and John Carpenter's Halloween are present, but not to the point of sounding hackneyed. The most interesting moments take place in "Behind Door #1" and "The Fens of Sargath" -- tense, creepy items that could easily have been part of Dario Argento's Suspiria. The album's a solid effort: serious-sounding, but not trapped in heavy-handed clichés or new-age tripe. It'd be well suited as background music to the next weekend dragon-slaying campaign fueled by Mountain Dew, cheese puffs, and 20-sided dice. Or as the soundtrack to the epic campaign of cleaning your apartment.