Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Soundtrack For Hallowe’en …

Dee Snider (of Twisted Sister fame) has developed the first official (self proclaimed) Soundtrack for Hallowe’en. In an interview on the official Van Helsing’s Curse website he said that he saw a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show and really liked it. TSO have done 3 Christmas concept albums using new material and transposing traditional Christmas carols into a theatrical masterpiece of rock opera. Dee Snider decided that Hallowe’en needed that kind of treatment and so was born Van Helsing’s Curse. The style is very much like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but darker and more sinister. The theatrics and majestic sound is there as well as some TSO musicians (Al Pitrelli and Mark Wood to name a couple).

Van Helsing’s Curse is a concept album about the war of good verses evil, if I were to simplify it. My interpretation is that at the core of the story, evil will always be around and will always be combated by good, an eternal war. The story is narrated by Dee Snider himself who brings a very menacing tone and a darkness that I found unrecognizable from the Dee I remember who fronted Twisted Sister. Who knew he had a great voice for evil … or how ignorant am I not to realize that. There are no lyrics except for the story, but there is some fine choral chanting and soprano solos that enhance the brooding sinister ness of the album. “Oculus Infernum” borderlines cheesy, but it doesn’t quite breach it. The music is quite dark and heavy and well … just plain good.

The album begins with “Patience (Intro)” which sets the mood with Dee’s evil narrative and spooky underscore. Then we are welcomed into “Tubular Hell” which is freakin’ heavy and dark. We get haunting orchestrations and eerie chanting and the deep bells chiming, I love those deep bells. There is also a solo piece of Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall Of The Mountain King”.

“All Fall Down” continues the evil heaviness with a sweetly sinister violin solo by Mark Wood and his electric violin. Mark continues to shine on “Let Me Prey” which is melodic leading into the heaviest cover of Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” I heard since TSO began playing it live at their concerts. Incredible.

“The Child” is a heavy bass-pounding piece with brooding chants and touches of Holst’s “Mars, Bringer Of War”. It features a nice sax solo and I think Kenny G’s darker side…?

“The Tortured Soul” is doom laden metal with more ambient touches and dark orchestral version of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. This is clearly the sweetest piece on the album. “Revenge” is very soundtrack-like and the most like Tran-Siberian Orchestra, and “War” essentially is Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War” … very dark.

One stand out track is “Let The Pain Begin” which does some fine work with Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath”. They do a heavy instrumental that would make Sabbath proud as well as a dark orchestral version with Mark Wood’s signature violin and soprano vocals singing the melody line. It’s really well done. “Oculus Infernum” ends with Dee Snider’s narrative wrap up and evil ambient underscore on “The Curse”. A fine package of Halloween spookiness. If I had to choose, I’d pick “Let Me Prey” as my favourite…I just love “O Fortuna”, but “Let The Pain Begin” is a very close second. Coming up, I’ll be transitioning from Halloween into metal that’s just as dark, but further from the cheese line.


Anonymous SkeptiC said...

This sounds great! Love listening to Dees 'House of Hair' radio show. And im not even really a fan of that kind of 'glam' rock. Loved Twisted Sister though.

I would like to hear this album.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

i think i'm at the end of today's free energy and comfort seating up..how wonderful to end here then visiting you once again. how i miss you too.

hope you have been well. i hope to be back soon, soon to fill you with words that have very little to do with your post topic, lol.

how your words comforted me, thank you honey. i will be back asap, getting better every min.

4:20 PM  
Blogger anonymous jones said...

Very good! Nice seque from the passing transvestite comment to Dee Snider and his twisted sisterliness! His makeup has improved, don't you think? Wish I had hair like that!

5:48 PM  

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