Reviewing an album before seeing the film it accompanies is somewhat of challenge; however, after listening to Tyler Bates’ exceptionally visceral score for The Devil’s Rejects, I feel 100% connected to the characters and the story itself – all without having seen a single frame of it beyond the trailer. I was only provided with a sampler disc, but even from that abbreviated setlist of eight tracks listed below (the full CD will include 24) it was obvious that the score provides the listener with a rollercoaster ride of pounding percussion and ominous orchestration that promises nothing less than pure evil. Knowing the characters of Spaulding, Otis, and Baby as we do from their introduction in House of 1000 Corpses, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the mayhem they will no doubt be inflicting on their victims in Rejects.
The CD opens with a cacophony of cymbals, heavy drums, and other percussive instruments. I felt like I was running for my life right from the get-go! Track 3 offers what at first seems like a welcome reprieve only to be followed immediately by more unnerving crashing and thrashing sounds with some weird synthesizer noises thrown into the mix. With a name like Mama Pulls the Trigger, what else would you expect? Bates ups the ante in Track 4 with even more discordance and intensity that reminded me at times of a perverse Sousa march.
Something sinister is definitely going on in Staples, which is the most genuinely spooky sounding track on the disc. I don’t even want to know what kind of havoc the Firefly clan is wreaking during this part of the film! Track 6, Another Failed Escape, made me feel like I was in a biohazard zone with bizarre alarm bells ringing, creeping my way through a tunnel toward the exit. It’s definitely not the type of thing you want to listen to all alone at night with the lights out. My poor cats actually ran from the room during that one. By Track 7, all bets are off. To call it “frenzied” doesn’t even begin to do it justice. It portrays rage and desperation of the highest order. Finally, We’ll Come Back for You brings us blessed, sweet relief. Vocals(!) and an actual melody make their first appearance – and not a moment too soon. They soothe our frazzled nerves and bring closure to the wild journey we’ve been on thanks to the wonderfully demented musical mind of Tyler Bates.
Bates first achieved notoriety in the horror community with his excellent score and soundtrack for the Dawn of the Dead remake (which, unfortunately, were never made available to the public). The songs he selected for that film were flat-out brilliant. It’s obvious why Rob Zombie chose to hand over the musical reins of Rejects to him – the guy has originality and a flair for the atmospheric that are unmatched in the genre today. The score for Rejects will be accompanied on its June 28th release date by a two-sided soundtrack CD/DVD (with artists ranging from Three Dog Night to Buck Owens to David Essex) as well as a “Banjo & Sullivan” disc. And now that I’ve read the full track listing for the soundtrack, I can’t wait for the film to open already to see how Bates juxtaposes those eclectic songs with this most impressive score.
The Devil’s Rejects Score by Tyler Bates (2005)
(La-La Land Records)
Run Time: 59 minutes and 28 seconds
Track Listing (sampler disc only):
1. Driving to the Khaki Palms
2. Shit Fuck Shit Fuck!
3. Mama Pulls the Trigger
6. Another Failed Escape
7. The Rejects Were Here
8. We’ll Come Back for You
5 out of 5
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