Oct 2021 31

Album CoverVarious Artists
Album: The Way of Darkness-A Tribute to John Carpenter
Category: Compilations
Label: Rustblade
Release Date: 2021-06-01


Though his name is virtually synonymous with modern horror, what is often overlooked by all but the most astute is John Carpenter’s musical prowess as he has created and/or co-composed the scores for a great number of his cinematic efforts. Over the last few years, Italian label Rustblade has been celebrating the scores of Claudio Simonetti/Goblin, Ennio Morricone, and more, reissuing these compositions and firmly cementing Italy’s aptitude for the horror genre. So, it comes as no surprise that the label would pay similar tribute to Carpenter’s musical legacy with The Way of Darkness, a collection of covers of some of the man’s most widely revered themes. Given the prodigious use of synthesizers during the ‘80s, with relentless bass pulses and swirling drones adorning much of Carpenter’s work, it’s natural that several tracks on The Way of Darkness would lean toward the synthwave aesthetic; tracks like Simulakrum Lab’s take on “Christine,” Mythical Vigilante’s “Night,” Keith McCoy’s “Chariots of Pumpkins,” or Code Elektro’s “Assault on Precinct 13” are all inherently faithful to the melodious themes and darkly menacing atmospheres of the originals, but all driven by enhanced rhythms and that fresh post-modern sheen of nostalgia. Of course, this does also mean that these tracks possess too little of their own personalities, resulting in the least engaging to all but the staunchest devotees of synthwave. On the other hand, Leæther Strip deviates from his usual EBM/industrial predilections to focus on the ambient moods of “Matthew Ghost Story,” Larsen capturing the chiming piano tones, eerie synths, and creeping chittering noises amid a dark thrust of drums, while the booming orchestral swells, chilled piano, and light choirs interspersed with trickling synth arpeggios and light percussive fills on Motion Kapture’s rendition of “The Fog” stands out wonderfully. Also notable is Tibia’s take on “The Thing,” capturing the cold ambience and inexorable terror of Morricone’s original theme, while adding some tonal and rhythmic flourish to the ostinato bass and ominous pads, eventually resulting in an end section that wouldn’t be out of place on a Halloween dancefloor. Speaking of Halloween, Claudio Simonetti begins The Way of Darkness with his faithful cover of that iconic theme, the frigid arpeggios and squeals of guitars evoking strange noises in the night indicative of the man’s own progressive style; the same can be said of his transformation of Escape From New York into a club banger, the song’s odd bassline emphasized by the more upbeat tempo and further proving Carpenter’s understated musicality. To leave such an indelible mark on both cinema and music is no small feat, and The Way of Darkness is overall an excellent testament to John Carpenter’s versatility and influence. With the man concentrating more on his musical output over the past decade, it will be interesting to see in what other ways these skills will manifest to scar the psyches of a new generation of composers.
Track list:

  1. Claudio Simonetti – Halloween
  2. Leæther Strip – Matthew Ghost Story
  3. Simulakrum Lab – Christine
  4. Mythical Vigilante – Night
  5. kETvECTOR – Laurie’s Theme
  6. Code Elektro – Assault on Precinct 13
  7. Motion Kapture – The Fog
  8. Keith McCoy – Chariots of Pumpkins
  9. Tibia – The Thing
  10. Claudio Simonetti – 1997 Escape From New York

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John Carpenter
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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