Scoring mainly second tier horror films, thrillers and science fiction, Brian Tyler has in just a handful of years established himself as one of the most talented new film composers around. Moving from unknown straight to video fare such as Bartender (1997) Six String Samurai (1998) to big star vehicles such as The Hunted (2003), The Godsend (2004) and Sahara (2005).
Terror Tract dates from 2000, a barely heard of made-for-cable B movie horror anthology made on a low budget but with a full scale, full blooded score conceived for and performed by a real symphony orchestra. For happily, where most low budget modern horror films are scored with electronics, the producers of Terror Tract wanted the real deal. And Tyler delivers in spades. As the booklet by directors Clint Hutchison and Lance Dreesen accurately notes, the 'Main Title' launches matters with particular verve in the tradition of "John Williams' midnight-romantic The Fury by way of Ronald Stein's The Haunted Palace with a dash of pomp from Elfman's Batman." Half the battle is won when the directors clearly know and love their film music, and to cite Williams The Fury – one of the very greatest horror scores ever written – as the introductory touchstone can only bode well.
What follows is simply superb, an epic darkly romantic score with a keen melodic sensibility dripping in elegantly crafted nightmares. It's hard to single out highlights, as for the fan of classic horror scoring the entire disc is one long joy – a wonderful homage to the great horror sounds of the past (without ever once degenerating into pastiche or parody) yet with a musical identity clearly its own. Full blooded with thrillingly electric orchestral playing and excellent sound, Terror Tract is a deliriously furious musical maelstrom in the great John Williams / Jerry Goldsmith 1970's and '80's tradition. Quiet simply, horror film doesn't get much better than this, the finest release I have so far heard from the very talented Mr Tyler.