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Album running time

1: Evil Rises (2:25)
2: Darkness Falls (2:33)
3: Eye Contact (1:50)
4: Interrogatorio (2:12)
5: A Bit Crispy (1:20)
6: 25 Words or Less (1:40)
7: Stay in the Light (1:21)
8: Lose a Tooth (1:31)
9: Der Zylinder (2:58)
10: One Kiss (1:56)
11: Let There Be Light Sort Of (1:06)
12: We Are Safe in Here (:38)
13: We Are Not Safe in Here (:41)
14: Aftermath (1:28)
15: Overhead (:56)
16: Consultation (2:10)
17: Utter Darkness (1:28)
18: That Has Got to Hurt (1:24)
19: Kyle and Michael (2:28)
20: Perception Tank (1:38)
21: Blood Red Herring (:43)
22: Meet the Tooth Fairy (2:47)
23: Reading the Legend (:42)
24: Is This Kyle Walsh? (1:51)
25: The Mask (1:02)
26: End Titles (7:07)

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Artwork copyright (c) 2003 Revolution Studios Distribution Company LLC; review copyright (c) 2003 James Southall

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Tyler Rises

March 2003 very much seems to be Brian Tyler month, with three new scores of his being released by Varèse Sarabande in three consecutive weeks. The first is Darkness Falls, the score to an already-forgotten slasher pic directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Even the most high-profile slasher pics tend to get dreadful scores these days, and the dozens of others that get released each year (most of which seem to get score albums on Varèse!) don't come with the best of scores. Darkness Falls is a glorious exception. Tyler is not really a film music newcomer, he's been scoring films for a few years, but only just recently has his name really begun to emerge. I must admit that Darkness Falls is my first experience of his music, but others have been quick to extol the virtues of Frailty and The 4th Floor, released the previous year. Hopefully I will be able to find those scores sooner rather than later, because I'm instantly hooked on the guy's music.

There are various roads film composers can go down when scoring films like Darkness Falls, but by far the most satisfying is when they go all-out and lay on the horror as thick as can be. Which is exactly what Tyler has done. There's a strong main theme, present in several tracks, which reminds me of Jerry Goldsmith's from Hollow Man. Indeed, the score as a whole could be seen as a distant cousin of that score, only without the synths; mixed perhaps with elements of Goldsmith's The Haunting (especially the crystal clear, larger-than-life horn outbursts) and the orchestration style of Elliot Goldenthal. None of this is to say that Tyler's music is derivative, just to give you a point of reference.

Horror movies have produced some of the finest film music ever written, but when you take The Omen series, Poltergeist and Alien out of the equation, you wonder whether anyone other than Goldsmith has ever done it all that well. Of course some have, from time to time, but by and large horror scores tend to fall down because in between the thrills and chills there tends to be a lot of spooky musical atmosphere that doesn't really do much. Tyler has managed somehow to avoid this - you keep waiting for the moment when the album will start to flag and interest go away, but it never arrives. Part of this is due to the sheer quality of the music, and part is due to the excellent sequencing - at just under 50 minutes the album isn't short, but cues are arranged so as to always keep things fresh and interesting. It is certainly not continuous bombast; it's just that the material in between the bombast is excellent too. Take the mournful "Consultation", featuring a solo female voice, to see what I mean.

I can't remember the last time I was so excited by a "new" film composer. Darkness Falls is an auspicious effort by Tyler and I'm sure we'll be hearing an awful lot more from him in the years ahead. Now I think it's time to fill my collection with as much of his back catalogue as possible!

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