April 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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John HARRISON
Day of the Dead  
  OST
  NUMENOREAN MUSIC NMCD 001   [72:57]

Day of the Dead

In the grand tradition of John Carpenter or even Goblin, this is a toe-tapping, darkly melodic electronic horror score for George A. Romero's third (and hopefully not last) instalment of his memorable zombie series. And while it might be said that it's not quite as good as Harrison's terrific music for the earlier Romero production Creepshow (1982), it still has a pulsing energy and a subtle sense of pathos that elevates it above so much other synth based genre work.

Comprised of four pieces to represent the score, the opening cue 'The Dead Suite' is almost twenty minutes of electronic action, tension and drama with a Caribbean twist, while the remaining three tracks, 'Breakdown', 'Escape Invasion' and 'The Dead Walk' are all punchy and atmospheric. Two songs are also included but these are less welcome. 'If Tomorrow Comes' has a vague charm but 'The World Inside Your Eyes' just doesn't work very well and personally I would skip over this one. As an added bonus there are a number of music and effects tracks, but there's a noticeable drop in quality as it appears they've been lifted directly from the original film soundtrack. Nonetheless they're still enjoyable and they certainly made me want to see the film again.

It should be noted that there has been some criticism levelled by fans at the quality of the transfer and the guys at Numenorean have responded by stating that this is due to the fact that the original masters have been lost or damaged, so the CD does reuse the original tracks from the initial LP release. Even so, allowing for the fact that this is indeed a disappointment, I'd rather have this CD release than none at all.

There is a great deal to enjoy here and I would imagine most fans of the genre will want to own a copy and I hope that Numenorean will continue to track down long neglected and unreleased horror/fantasy scores (I have a list if they're interested!) and finally make them available. And by the way, the movie itself is very good too (if not quite in the same league as Romero's magnum opus Dawn of the Dead (1979)).

Mark Hockley

****

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