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Piranha 3D by Michael Wandmacher

Piranha 3D

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Piranha 3D (Soundtrack)  by Michael Wandmacher
Piranha 3D (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

Piranha 3D (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piranha 3D (Soundtrack) by Michael Wandmacher

Piranha 3D
Composed by Michael Wandmacher
Lakeshore Records (2010)

Rating: 7/10

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“...[Piranha 3D] is a profoundly stupid masterpiece, eschewing the sophisticated terror of a Christopher Young score in favour of sheer raucous noise and gleeful blasts of dissonant shocks.”

No Safe Shores
Review by Marius Masalar

Pulp horror fans have been delivered a treasure trove of B-movie goodness in the form of PIRANHA 3D. It’s the perfect recipe for the genre: gratuitous violence and gore dressed up in gimmicky 3D. Oh, and it’s a remake. However, considering that’s precisely what director Alexandre Aja promised to deliver, the film is a resounding success. But beyond the blood and boobs (plenty of both), there lies another element that deserves mention and, yes, even praise: MICHAEL WANDMACHER’s musical score. The score is just as gratuitous, loud, and angry as the rest of the film, so you’re in for a treat (if that kind of thing floats your boat, so to speak).

“Whirlpool” (1) starts us off with a bang: screaming orchestra swirls over a bed of deep bass beats and large percussive hits before dissolving into a flurry of buzzing strings. “Pirahna” (2) introduces the deliciously old-fashioned X-Files-like main theme on a creepy piano, hovering over some seriously distorted string elements, before things calm down briefly for the ambient “Empty Boat” (3). “Cold Feet” (4) is an unassuming solo guitar line that broods and hints at peace while maintaining a sense of uneasiness, one which “The Cave” (5) expands upon — there are no safe shores in these waters.

“Pack Attack” (6) marks the entry into the score’s main body, which covers a lot of very similar ground. The track is violent, and obscene synth elements fry the mix as the orchestra tortures itself. It’s actually a spectacular piece of scoring. “Mutiny” (7), “Swimming for Blood” (8), and “The Bucket” (9) offer a brief ambient respite, leading up to the two-part gore-fest that is “Marina Attack Part 1” (10) and “Marina Attack Part 2” (11). As expected, these two variations on the theme of oh shit are brutal and uncompromisingly loud. Rock elements emerge sporadically through the mix, fighting with the instruments and synth distortions for dominance.

“Bits and Pieces” (12), the aftermath, is hardly noticed on the way to “Trapped” (13), where the creepy theme of the film is finally reprised more clearly. “Seasick” (14) is an unexpectedly tender and dramatic cue that propels us into “Massacred” (15). This is a challenging scene and WANDMACHER’s music unleashes an extra layer of psychosis with the thick distorted guitar sound and deep bass rhythms that tear into some unbelievable brass rips and truly evil choral dissonances in the latter half. This is the sound of an orchestra self-destructing.

“Rescued” (16) is one of the only fully tonal and clearly listenable tracks on the album (which could have ended here), with a gentle guitar reprise of the main theme. Clearly we’re not getting off the hook that easily though, as “Prey” (17) and “Sunbathers” (18) dutifully remind us with their slow build back to anger. Having already reached the pinnacle of evil, “Army of Teeth” (19) sounds more like a formulaic continuation. The brutality is desensitizing us by now. “Connect the Boats” (20) is an exercise in tension, building into “Blood Red Sand” (21) with its fairly terrifying guitar solo ending.

As we approach the final stretch, “Tightrope” (22) continues the tense atmosphere with increasing force, adding in the main theme for good measure. “Bait” (23) is the final offering of action, a final spasm. Both “Pressure Wave” (24) and “Breathe” (25) are beautiful reconciliations and offer a surprisingly satisfying denouement to the CD. The “End Titles” (26) track is, of course, a heavy rock reprisal of the main theme with the orchestra playing a bit more sanely along. It’s very effective and the perfect send-off for this kind of album.

PIRANHA 3D is a tricky customer. As a study in musical violence it is, like Jason Graves’ DEAD SPACE before it, a masterpiece. But it is a profoundly stupid masterpiece, eschewing the sophisticated terror of a Christopher Young score in favour of sheer raucous noise and gleeful blasts of dissonant shocks. Of course, to provoke such basic reactions, one requires a solid grasp of the craft of film scoring, and MICHAEL WANDMACHER is certainly a crafty one.

For horror music fans, it will be an instant delight and a guilty pleasure, offering liberal doses of visceral grinding. For the rest, it will remain, along with the rest of its genre, ignored for being too noisy.

 

Rating: 7/10

 

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Whirlpool 1:54  ****
2 Piranha 1:09  ****
3 Empty Boat 2:17  **
4 Cold Feet 1:01  ****
5 The Cave 3:44  ***
6 Pack Attack 2:42  ****
7 Mutiny 1:09  **
8 Swimming for Blood 2:01  ***
9 The Bucket 3:49  ***
10 Mrian Attack Part 1 2:10  ****
11 Marina Attack Part 2 2:10  ****
12 Bits and Pieces 0:59  **
13 Trapped 1:13  ***
14 Seasick 1:38  ****
15 Massacred 2:36  *****
16 Rescued 1:11  ****
17 Prey 1:08  **
18 Sunbathers 1:03  **
19 Army of Teeth 2:45  ***
20 Connect the Boats 4:05  ***
21 Blood Red Sand 2:26  **
22 Tighrope 4:13  ***
23 Bait 1:17  **
24 Pressure Wave 3:55  *****
25 Breathe 2:30  *****
26 End Titles 3:19  *****
  Total Running Time (approx) 58 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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