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Various Artists: Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight [Original Soundtrack]

Album Reviews:

Entertainment Weekly (1/13/95, p.60) - "...this heavy-metal soundtrack....take[s] trips through dark psyches--fueled by screaming guitars and crashing cymbals..." - Rating: B

Album Notes

Producers: Terry Date, Hypo Luxa, Hermes Pan, Vincent Wojno, Machine Head, Max Norman, Dave Mustaine, Melvins, Theo Van Rock, Biohazard, Andy Wallace, Filter, Brian Liesegang, Prince Paul.

Engineers include: Terry Date, Vincent Wojno, Bruce Jacoby, Tim Mac, Peter Rave, Lord Randall Wine, Ken "Ksix" Villenuve, Andy Wallace, Scott Harding.

Pantera and Megadeth, groups that normally play crushingly dense heavy metal, are the pop bands in the context of this horror-movie soundtrack, which should give you some idea of the aesthetic at work: violence, loudness, brutality, noise, that sort of thing. Over an insistent electronic drum beat, Ministry's singer, his voice distorted, laughs maniacally before rallying the troops with the call, "Tonight We Murder." Gravediggaz, a rap group, offer a literal tale from the crypt, "1-800-SUICIDE," complete with instructions on how to kill yourself.

Extreme? Yes, and at its best, this is as inventive as pop music gets. Pantera's "Cemetery Gates" and Megadeth's "Diadems" sound like pop songs because they are, with ballad-like verses and pretty guitar lines. Which only goes to show, no one can stay on the maniac fringe forever because there will always be a Ministry or a Melvins around to drag the fringe even further away from the center. Among those doing a good job of it on this compilation are Brazilian headbangers Sepultura, whose "Policia" is a blast of hardcore punk broken up by a fantastically fast and short guitar solo that ends up dissolving into echoes of itself, and Ministry, who take a heavily distorted wash of guitar and artfully bury it beneath a drum machine. And the little-known Filter offers a simmering bit of metal with an understated, talking vocal that stands out as a relief from all the screaming done everywhere else.

From the 1930s to the 1970s, directors of horror films used mostly orchestral music to accompany dialogue. But in the 1980s and 1990s, horror movie soundtracks often contained a lot of heavy metal and alternative rock. And in many cases, the soundtracks were better than the film themselves. Even if you were of the opinion that most 1980s and 1990s horror flicks were pointless examples of style over substance -- even if you knew that the latest Jason or Freddy Krueger film wasn't a fraction as well done as the classic Dark Shadows television series of 1966-1971 or the great Dracula movies of the 1930s and 1940s -- you could be impressed with the soundtrack. Whether or not you saw Demon Knight or even cared to see it, there's no question that the soundtrack is generally impressive. From the brutal thrash metal of Megadeth's "Diadems" and Sepultura's "Policia" to the abrasive industrial rock of Ministry's "Tonight We Murder" and the angry post-punk alternative rock of the Rollins Band's "Fall Guy," this CD packs an extremely hard-knuckled punch. The soundtrack's lone rap offering is the Gravediggaz' "1-800-Suicide," which favors an ominous atmosphere instead of brute force, but has enough attitude to fit in nicely. Never mind what you thought of Demon Knight -- those who appreciate heavy rock will appreciate the soundtrack. ~ Alex Henderson


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