Ooh, I was very excited to get the greenlight on this one. Horror fans, especially old-school gut-munchers like myself, have fond memories of Lucio Fulci’s classic undead flick Zombie. A valued part of my VHS collection as a horror-obsessed teen, Zombie tells the now-familiar “zombie plague” story, but with less rubber science and more awesome gore and FX.
Emmet Kiernan, aka SurgeryHead, made this tribute to the original soundtrack to coincide with Rough House Publishing’s comic book version of the film. The comic itself features art by Derek Rook, and is incredibly hard to get ahold of now, as I found out to my dismay. The album art, however, is by the same artist, so you get a teasing taste of what you’d expect waiting within the pages. Hopefully some of you will be able to succeed where I have failed and get a look at the comic, but the soundtrack is LUSH. It is incredibly atmospheric, and even seems to tell the story itself. The titles all reference aspects or even scenes of the movie, but for the most part this is a loose interpretation; you couldn’t definitely glue a track to a scene. That’s fine though… most of it’d fit anywhere. This is Hollywood quality score work, and I don’t just say that as hyperbole. It is crisp, clean, and precisely effective. There is no overuse of anything, and while parts of it seem minimalist, that’s actually for the best. Music for horror isn’t supposed to be overpowering; it’s like putting ketchup on a hamburger… you don’t want to drown in it.
As far as highlighting individual tracks, “Underwater Hell” is an excellent example. It builds slowly, using just enough drum-sound while keeping a steady climb in volume. “The Bloody Dawn of Maldye” has a bit of grungy nastiness to it; it grinds, burns slow, and evokes the heartbeat of a frightened victim. “I Buried You, But I See You Walking” is perhaps the most insidious of Kiernan’s works on the album; between light drums and low thrumming tones, you hear sounds that might even make you think of a dentist’s drills. Shudder-worthy. “Zombies, Everywhere!” is another one that steadily climbs to new heights of terror; there are even some tastefully-placed church bells!
My personal (admittedly biased) favorite is GosT’s remix of the original title music for the film. Everything GosT does makes me imagine purposefully hitting someone with a semi tractor-trailer. And I love it. The original pumping beat is present, but GosT’s signature chainsaw distortion and cutting high notes lend a modern and grisly taste to the recipe.
Lastly, I’d encourage our readers to spend the 4 euros to buy the album because not only is it great, but its profits go to Doctors Without Borders, helping people who’ve survived real catastrophes. And if zombie films taught me anything, it’s that without humanity’s capacity to work together and heal its wounds, we are doomed.
I give this album eight out of ten, and it earned it. SurgeryHead and GosT are two of my favorite artists in our scene, and they’ve acquitted themselves well in this homage to Fulci’s work. Eat up!