The phrase “what’s old is new again”, gets kicked around a lot, but it’s pretty true. We are currently living in an age of throwbacks. You have throwback soda, video games, horror films, and soundtracks. Depending on your perspective that can be a good or bad thing.
Me personally I have a soft spot for the films of the 80s, but more specifically I love the synth sounding scores that dominated that decade. However, with a lot of great throwbacks, they usually don’t come across as genuine as the real thing. Not saying they are bad (actually most are pretty great), but it is hard to get it exactly right. That’s where the score to the 2016 film THE BARN succeeds. It actually sounds and feels like something that really came out of 1989, the year the film supposedly takes place.
THE BARN’s soundtrack caught my eye in two different ways. The first was the company that released the LP, Lunaris Records. Based out of Pittsburgh, PA they are a small company that as put out some great releases such as NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (CEMETERY MAN), and STREET TRASH. I’ve been impressed with their quality of releases and expected no different than the release of THE BARN.
Second, is the composer himself Rocky Gray, whom I am familiar with as the guitarist of the metalcore band Living Sacrifice. After checking out some samples, I picked this album up right away. The actual score is a mix of synthesizer and rock guitar. This is what adds to the genuine 80’s feel. While not every track features the guitar, the ones that don’t sound like the love child between the HALLOWEEN and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET scores. The track “Meat Grinder” really sounds like a tribute to John Carpenter, and there is even a semi-power balled song called “Seduction”. If I played this for you and told you it was the soundtrack to a long lost 80s film, I’m pretty sure you would believe me. Having not seen the film, I’m not sure where all of the songs fit, but it is really enjoyable on it’s own.
Lunaris Records released this album on 150g orange marble colored vinyl or standard black vinyl. There was also a test pressing released, but has long sold out. The copy I purchased was the orange marble. The record itself sounds really good, I didn’t pick up any surface noise, and everything sounded really crisp. While I prefer 180g vinyl, but didn’t notice any limitations from this being 150g. I did get a little alarmed at the fourth track, that was producing a lot of crackling, but it is actually supposed to sound like that. I was able to confirm this by listening to the included digital download.
The LP comes with pretty standard packaging. It comes in a standard record sleeve and features a paper insert. The insert looks like barn doors opening, so that is a nice touch.
While I have yet to see the film, the soundtrack to THE BARN gets a recommendation from me. If you are a fan of the 80s scores, or the ELM STREET and HALLOWEEN soundtracks, I think you’ll really dig this release. It is a great album to listen to in the fall, or even on Halloween. If you would like to hear some samples, Lunaris set up a soundcloud page here, https://soundcloud.com/lunarisrecords/sets/the-barn-original-score-by-rocky-gray
-Dance Commander Matt Hatfield
You can also find me twice a month hosting the CinemaVillainy podcast, where we ramble about all kinds of films and drink weird coffee.