Track 01 Transylvania Overture is the first piece of music from the album “Transylvania,” by Nox Arcana and published through Monolith Graphics. Just under two megabytes in size, the sound file is 2:01 long and downloads as an MP3 file.
The Transylvania Overture opens with some very gothic organ music, to which violins act as a softer accompaniment. Roughly the first half of the piece contains an ominous message from a sepulchral-voiced narrator talking about how the dead are restless and those who heed the dark call of the night are damned. After that, the second half of the track is then filled with a choir of people with similarly-deep voices echoing, like a gothic Gregorian chant.
My major problem with this track is that, while the music is done well, the tone of the whole thing feels too overt in nature. I was expecting this to take a more background flavor, in that this would be mood music to set a creepy atmosphere – the sort of thing you wouldn’t consciously pay attention to, but rather let it set a spooky air.
However, the speaking narrator demands your attention, which undercuts using this as atmospheric music. Moreover, his message is fairly nonspecific in nature – yes, the dead are rising and those with dark hearts might be swayed, but presented by itself the lack of context makes the message lose a lot of its impact. This is mitigated somewhat if you take the title (and the theme of the album) more literally – that this is a night in Transylvania – but even that only helps a little.
The chanting in the second half of the track suffers from the same problem, though not quite as bad. Rather than being a soft, wicked humming that makes the hairs on the back of your neck rise, the visceral nature of the chanting is so in-your-face that it makes you want to look around for where the monks in black robes are. Once again, it’s so overt that it bypasses the understated nature of being merely spooky, forcing closer examination that doesn’t lend itself well to an eerie atmosphere.
Ultimately, I can’t help but wonder if this track is meant to act as a prelude; that its short nature and opening narration are meant to introduce the rest of the CD to us. If so, then this would be forgivable in the context of the CD itself – but standing on its own, this single track fails to impress very much. This is what you’d play for someone when you want it to be made as plain as possible that “this is a haunted house” or “here come the supernatural monsters” with no chance of misunderstanding. It gets the job done, but there’s no finesse to it, and that’s a shame since the potential is quite clearly here.