Tracksounds Rating = 7/10
by Christopher Coleman
This promo release of a surprisingly good score by Don
Davis’ contains some moments of sheer inspiration through use of
vocals and likewise moments of uneasy and dark suspense.
While this score pre-dates The Matrix by a couple of years,
it does share some stylistic elements with the hit score. It is the choir that really sets this score a part.
Many of the suspense cues sound as though they came right out of The
Matrix and shows that Davis’ talent for the sinister side of film
music has been around for a number of years.
After the disappointing release of Universal Soldier 2 in
October of 1999, this score certainly cheers one back up, albeit in a
frightening sort of way. Some of the more intense or foreboding moments
take on a bit of the same feeling as Williams’ Close Encounters of
the Third Kind…mostly do to the low rumbling voices that seem to
lurk menacingly in the background. There is little denying the skill of Davis demonstrated here,
but this isn’t the sort of score you’d pop in to relax you.
If fear and aggression are what you’re hankering for then this
music just might do the trick... or treat.
The stirring strings, at times, the brass accents, at
other,s the swelling brass, and finally, the pounding piano are all
elements that help make The Matrix one of the most intriguing
scores of 1999. These same characteristics are found in House of
conclusion of track 12 contains an eerie bit of effect that was also used
at the onset of The Matrix. Tracks
like She’s Not Hungary for Food (track 6), Club Spook
(club 7), and Cruising with Grimes (track14), could certainly be
used as temp tracks for the upcoming Matrix sequels (prequels?).
The haunting choir makes its presence felt in the majority
of tracks. Some of the best
being: Track 2, Frank-N-Danish,
Frank Restrained (track 8) Coyle and Cha Cha Break In (track
12) with the solemn force of a Patrick Doyle piece. The final track,
The Vampire Lawyer – Finale is also one of the best and
introduces the only positive, heroic moments on the CD.
In Paradisum (track 5) is simply beautiful…except for the
loud vocal interjections that occur a number of times.
The choir is predominantly female for the first few moments, but is
later complimented as the men bring in the low end.
The music of this track evokes heavenly images- an
interesting bit of irony. Unfortunately,
the vocal blasts really disrupt an otherwise stellar piece of music.
There are only a few moments that let one exhale on this
disc. One of the softer
moments of this score appears in the painfully brief track, Vile and
Contemptible. Yet another
I Busted Lip Lock (track 4) starts off quite mellow as well, but it
doesn’t lose the dark sinister components completely.
Track 13, Armando Takes a Hit is a very sad selection as the
cello plays a mournful melody, but, once again, this track morphs into the
matrix-like suspense variety. At
the conclusion of track 17, A Stake for Woody, we hear some very
ethereal stuff. Nice.
Davis seems to be garnering more and more attention these
days…and deservedly so. His
talents have been hidden in obscurity somewhat, but with the success of The
Matrix his previous works are having the spotlight placed on them.
House of Frankenstein is further hard evidence that Don
Davis is no one-hit wonder in the film music world.
This being a promo release might make it a little difficult but
this is a must have for fans of Davis and especially his score for The
|3||Vienna Hot Dog||3:49||***|
|4||Busted Lip Lock||1:20||****|
|6||She's Not Hungry for Food||3:18||***|
|11||Vile and Contemptible||0:57||****|
|12||Coyle and Cha Cha Break In||2:47||***|
|13||Armando Takes a Hit||2:09||***|
|14||Cruising with Grimes||1:31||***|
|15||Let's Shoot Grace||3:18||***|
|17||Stake for Woody||1:38||****|
|20||Trouble in Transylvania||2:32||***|
|21||Beauty Kills the Beast||6:33||***|
|22||The Vampire Lawyer - Finale||1:44||****|
|Total Playing Time||60:48|
Track Order and Selection
the obvious horror aspects of this score are several moments of
enchantment, which is something I have not heard from Davis with a large
ensemble since Warriors of Virtue. With more emphasis on the
orchestra and choir, and less on the rhythms and sound effect qualities of
the synthesizers, the music for this score will likely satisfy those who
enjoyed The Matrix, but were aggravated by their perception of an
excess of electronics in that work. For House of Frankenstein,
Davis balances them very well, providing moments in the lengthy score that
will appeal to both the orchestral/choral and electronic music
|Track 5 - In Paradisum||
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