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Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Versión en español

Composer : Harrison, John
Year : 1985
Label : Numenorean Music

  1. The Dead Suite - 19:39
  2. Breakdown - 3:45
  3. Escape Invasion - 3:56
  4. The Dead Walk - 4:51
  5. If Tomorrow Comes (vocal)
  6. The World Insider Your Eyes (vocal)
Bonus tracks
  1. Deadly Beginnings - 7:25
  2. Diner of the Living Dead - 1:39
  3. Dead Calm - 1:53
  4. Bub's 9th - 0:36
  5. Dead End - 21:39

Day of the Dead may as well be regarded as this typical synthetic sound from the eighties, characterized by fast-paced rhythms and outdated sound effects, were it not for the unusualness of the score. In charge of composing the music was our screwdriver zombie from Dawn of the Dead, John Harrison, who's also been a great friend of George A. Romero for many years. A. for Andrew.

The first seven minutes from the filmmaker's third installment in the now Dead Tetralogy, starting off with Sarah's nighmare, depict yet another desperate reconnaissance from our minimized group of survivors, when almost all supplies have been running out and all attempts at reaching unzombified civilization have been vain. This venture into unknown areas, somehow depending on pure haphazard, is emphasized by creepy, bold and nervy music while providing the listener with a dark sense of epic scope. This is where you might actually start to think : 'Wow, hold on a second, I didn't know synthesizers could do that!' Those seven minutes gone by, The Dead Suite quickly develops into a touching piece -- comprising, among other things, Sarah's theme, the heroine, and also that of Bub, the evolved zombie --, showing other sides of the composer's ability to create his own musical universe and combining all the versatility in the world, then going on for more action-orientated music and finally ending with exotic material. A track too big for words.

Breakdown introduces another big dose of exotism and quietness, even allowing itself to become threatening along the way, possibly with what I would consider one of the most beautiful renditions of one of the main themes at 2:17. One thing you'll take notice of, about halfway through your first listen, is the continuous change of mood, be it negative or positive. Yet, it never fails to remain coherent as a whole. Escape Invasion is ostensibly the rock-influenced track of the album, truly exceeding all the others in terms of rhythms, and is no less than 3 minutes and 58 seconds of delightful and sheer guts (pun intended). The Dead Walk, unlike the expectations one has in mind while reading the title name, is a much more delicate and joyful piece of music, at times even pop-like in its approach to the musical style, you would literally move to it! Move to a score track? Is he nuts, you'd think? Well, unquestionably while hearing this.

John Leguizamo would describe the eighth track as 'screaming practice'. Well, look no further, that's it. On CD, it has no other purpose except that of indicating shamblers are nothing to be messed with : even when chained up and supposedly secured, those keep endangering the unbitten. Dead Calm takes place when Sarah and McDermott accidentally bump into the additional atrocities our loony, but yet realistic in his reasoning, Frankenstein has been committing in his lab, portrayed by some enigmatic filler music, doing even the guesswork for you, and crazy enough to fit in with the same Logan's character. Although being somewhat repetitive, it is the perfect mood for this scene. Dead End, namely the longest track of all, is a pot pourri of all ideas previously developed, with SFX taken from the flick itself -- the only difference being that it sounds much more punchier, for it is raw material.

Additionally, there are two songs to be found on the disc, If Tomorrow Comes and The World Inside Your Eyes, with vocals by Sputzy Sparacino & Delilah, both melancholic and sorrowful at best. I often find myself skipping songs when listening to a score including them, but these happen to be worthy of merit and with meaningful lyrics, even more estimable if you're fond of all things eighties. You would think in the first instance that the use of them songs in a Romero dead film is so out of place but, don't be troubled, they cohere well with the rest. And, as a matter of fact, only The World Inside Your Eyes made it to the final cut, playing during the end credits.

In an era where the majority of scores as of now tend to generalize this wholly orchestral trend and sometimes soullessly similar sound, this soundtrack, which I will remind you is entirely based on synths, is a refreshing piece of work, especially symbolic of the period. However, you might think twice before looking over the movie and its utterly depressing tone, as this is not for the faint-hearted. Add to this a beautifully packaged presentation from the no longer existing (and how sadly!) Numenorean Music label, with many interesting details and pictures for the fans to munch on, which makes it an interesting purchase, unless you're allergic to computer-generated music. I shall eventually leave you all with this one quote from the Master himself : Give it a play. Even if you haven't seen the flick, I believe John's literacy in this mysterious, evocative, medium we call "music" will evoke images, emotions, nightmares. It's great stuff. Indeed.

The Best: Almost all of them, actually!

The Worst: Diner of the Living Dead & Dead Calm.


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