October 13, 2017

HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #13: Demonic Soundscapes


Title: Demonic Soundscapes
Manufacturer: Orchard Lane Music
Year: 1995
Total Runtime: side one 18 min, side two is 23:30
Repeats on both sides: No
Stories: No
Music: Incidental music throughout
Narration: A demon provides an introduction.
Distinct Audio: “If I should die before I wake” x 20
Review: Released in 1995, Demonic Soundscapes is the most recent recording in this series of reviews. Admittedly, I have a strong ‘80s bias, but the timing of this one is intriguing. The album channeled 1970s and ‘80s fright flicks, and a Heavy Metal aesthetic during a time when both were considered passe. In 1995 Metal had long been ousted by "Alternative" rock, but it had yet to evolve into "Nu Metal." In ‘95 Horror was facing an identity crisis. The top horror films that year include the arguably less-than-classics: "The Curse of Michael Myers," a "Candyman" sequel, and "Demon Knight." (For the record, I think "Tales From the Crypt" was the best in early 90s horror.) The genre had yet to experience the "Scream"-inspired sea change in ‘96.  

Demonic Soundscapes didn’t care. It’s headstrong commitment to extremes is the most interesting thing about it. (I suppose they were right on trend when you figure that the X Games debuted the year this came out.) A record so radi-cool demanded more than the standard parental advisory sticker. Instead it proclaims, "WARNING: This album will drive you absolutely insane.” It’s not marketed as a Halloween release because clearly, it’s target audience are not people who need an annual excuse to get evil.

Demonic Soundscapes is a collection of seven tracks (and an intro) that follow a progression through horror movie inspired scenes. Early in the album the listener travels through a werewolf infested forest before taking shelter in a vampire’s castle. Other features include an Exorcist-style possession, some slasher film murders, and a torture chamber. The latter is the weakest track due to heavy repetition and a break in tone. Dr. T. Orcher is a bit of a goof, and, to be honest, I find little entertainment value in the subject of human torture. (Grisly murders are fine though.)

Perhaps their most unorthodox decision was to include a full list of credits. No Halloween albums share more info than this one. Demonic Soundscapes is more calculated, artful, and professional than the rest. It may not be the quintessential Halloween experience, but as the demon says, “You will encounter death at the end of your journey, but not before you encounter pain and horror at it’s finest.”
Rating: 5 of 5

Here's the first track...

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