The Rage: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2008)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Mar 12 2008
I'll be the first to profess that nobody I know comes to me for information about music. Frankly, it just ain't my expertise and most of my reviews of CD's have this disclaimer up front. I repeat it over and over for two reasons. One: it's so rare that we actually review music on this site that most people either have no clue or have forgotten my lack of musical knowledge. Two: It's important for people to know where I'm coming from when I write a review of a band or score. In other words, I can count on my hands the number of bands I listen to. It's not that I don't like music, it's just that I don't particularly like listening to 99% of everything. It's just not my thing.
With that said, I'm gonna try and review the original motion picture soundtrack to a new horror flick called The Rage (currently in my Netflix queue). The score is written and performed by Midnight Syndicate. I'd never heard of them, and they sent along a couple of their CD's, one of which has the title "Retrospective: 1994-1999", meaning they've been around for awhile. I purposely didn't listen to their non movie score stuff because I wanted to hit up this soundtrack with unbiased ears. Movie scores are very different from "regular" music you just pop in you CD player (did I mention I don't own an iPod? Technology is passing me by). With a film score, you've got to write music that moves with the scene; that emphasizes and imbues a sense of cohesion to the events happening on screen that allow the image to have its desired effect. Frankly, movie scores are often the most important part of a film. They can make a shitty film decent, or a great film disappointing.
Again, I haven't seen The Rage yet, so I don't know how well the music achieves its effect in combination with the image. But listening through the disc a couple times, I came away impressed. The disc is 19 tracks that span close to an hour's worth of music, so there is plenty to listen to here. The tracks yo-yo between up tempo, drum thumping adrenaline filled tunes to quiet, piano driven ambient sounds. Essentially, it's got what you'd expect from a horror soundtrack. While listening, you really get the images in your mind of when the monsters are attacking, or when a character would be walking around by themselves. A lot of the tracks pull off the suspense and excitement one would expect a horror score to do. Another thing in its favor is the high quality of the recordings. All the tracks sound super professional. In other words, this ain't the work of some low-rent amateur on a Casio keyboard in his mother's living room. It's good quality stuff.
On the downside, as with most soundtracks having to do with horror films, it gets a bit repetitive after awhile. Some of the same motifs are used over and over. You'll recognize many of the same sounds and instruments over and over again which lends a "Didn't I just hear this song?". I had to actually go back and replay "Uncle Ben Under the Winnebago" and "Surrounded" to see if they were indeed two separate songs. Not saying these are bad by any means, just that 19 songs is a difficult number to overcome to ensure that there is nothing that sounds similar. But that happens with most horror soundtracks, so it's to be expected.
All in all, I liked the stuff found here. It's easy on the ears and I caught a hint of Ennio Moricone in stuff like "Dr. V's Lab" and "Kiss the Monkey" which has a hint of The Thing to it with its bassline. There's even a bit of "Something I Can Never Have" by Nine Inch Nails in the piano line of "In the Forest of the Deep". All in all, it's solid stuff that is performed well and has a lot of high production value to it that gets a bit too repetitive in spots. Solid all around, though.