John Carpenter Vinyl Review from Sacred Bones Records

Assault on Precinct 13/The Fog

Halloween/Escape from New York

Sacred Bones Records

2016

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John Carpenter is easily considered to be one of the greatest directors of all time. It is an earned reputation, as he has shown that he can make amazing horror, action, and sci-fi films. Sure some of his later films were a little off (to put it nicely), but his hits make up for those.

As renown as his films are, his film scores are equally as impressive. I’ll never forget the first time I rented Halloween, and hearing the theme song for the first time. I knew I was watching something great, based on the opening music.

Recently John Carpenter and a live band, have gone on tour performing these classic themes, along with new stuff from the Lost Themes albums. I (and Exorcast CEO The Beard), got to see his stop in Pittsburgh. The performance was great, and getting there was an adventure.

To celebrate John Carpenter performing live, Sacred Bones Records has released two 12 inch singles, Assault on Precinct 13/The Fog and Halloween/Escape from New York.

Both singles are available in three flavors: a picture disc, black vinyl, and colored vinyl. The colored vinyl for Halloween sold out really fast, so I picked up the black vinyl for that release, and got the colored vinyl for Assault on the Fog.

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Both releases are played at 45 rpm, and sound great. Everything sounds clean and crisp. Both Assault and The Fog sound really close to their original score. They both sound more fuller, but it isn’t a drastic change. The same can be said for Escape from New York. Halloween on the other hand, really benefits the strongest from the band.

There has been some terrible renditions of the Halloween theme over the years, like the rock guitar version in the theatrical part 6, or the orchestra version in H20. Neither worked, but with this release, this is the best Halloween has ever sounded. Yeah, even against the original. The theme really benefits from the dual keyboard approach and added drums. I don’t know the extent of Carpenter’s involvement in the new Halloween, but they must use this version of the theme.

Even though the other themes don’t sound that different, that doesn’t mean there isn’t improvements. Escape has always been a bluesy rock track, but now is more dynamic. The Fog is just as creepy as it was in the film. Like Halloween, Assault comes in with a two keyboard attack and drums.

The packaging is also very well done. The front and back show a different image related to one of the films, done in black and shiny silver.

So with these being the best sound versions of the themes, these releases are a must have right? Yes and no.

These were both released on the same day and are a little expensive. Preordering I was able to get them for around $16 each. That comes out to $8 a song. Personally, I didn’t notice anything that really would have hurt these being combined into one release. They were selling different colored editions of these singles at the concert, but were $20 each. I know vinyl isn’t cheap, but I just want to give everyone a heads up what is on these.

So again while these are phenomenal releases, they are pricey, but they are the best sounding versions of the themes. While I don’t regret picking these up, and will get others if they are released, just know you can get the Lost Themes I or II for $19 each on Amazon. Those have more tracks and are longer length releases.

If you do pick these up, you will not be disappointed. Also if you get a chance to see Carpenter in concert, definitely don’t pass that up.

-Dance Commander Matt Hatfield

When not reading Sutter Cane or Exorcast reviews, you should read my Twitter feed @cerial442.

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Horror Section’s Season of The Witch EP Vinyl Review

Horror Section presents Season of the Witch

Eccentric Pop Records

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Outside of the original, Halloween 3 is the most talked about and controversial film of the series. Even more than the Rob Zombie films. Those that hate Halloween 3, really hate Halloween 3. Those that love Halloween 3, really love Halloween 3. Thankfully horror punk band Horror Section loves the film, because they released a great EP based on the film.

Horror Section is a horror punk band hailing from Missouri. They have recorded songs based on such films as A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Prowler. Season of the Witch is their latest EP. It includes four songs each based around a different aspect of the film. Even cooler, the EP came with three different covers, each featuring one of the big Halloween three. That’s right, THREE horrific mask album covers to choose from.

FullSizeRender-2The album opens with the track They’re Coming. It’s an upbeat song about the end of the world, due to the evil Silver Shamrock corporation.The second track is titled Ellie, it’s told from the point of view of Dr. Challis. It’s a love song about meeting the was she or wasn’t she a robot all the time, Ellie

Side B is where the EP really cooks in my opinion. This side kicks off with the track Am I Human. While not as upbeat musically as the songs from side A, it is a great song nonetheless. Finally we close out with the best song of the EP, Behind the Mask. This is a pretty dark track lyrically, and the opening guitar riff really sets the tone. The EP came with a digital download, and this is the track I revisit the most.

I was unable to get the Prowler EP from Horror Section, so I was pleasantly surprised on how great the packaging was for Season of the Witch.

The records comes in three different colors for the three different masks, all part of final processing. Orange for the pumpkin, purple for the witch, and white for the skull. They were picked randomly, and luckily I got the one I really FullSizeRender-3wanted, the pumpkin cover (but any would have been great). The label on the EP features the Silver Shamrock Novelties logo on one side, and the magic pumpkin on the other. Also included is an insert featuring an ad for the Halloween masks on one side, and the lyrics on the reverse side.

Finally one last cool surprise, wear a Silver Shamrock mask and keep looking at the magic pumpkin as the EP plays. You will get a fun little trick. You can tell a lot of love and care went into the presentation of this EP, and that really ads to it. It shows the band really digs the film. Luckily the planets aligned for this EP to come out.  

If you are a punk fan and/or a fan of Halloween 3, you need Horror Section in your life. It’s good enough that you won’t be yelling “turn it off”, you’ll be yelling “turn it up!”

Here is link to a video for They’re Coming. Oh and….Happy Halloween.

Check out Horror Section on band camp: https://horrorsection.bandcamp.com

Eccentric Pop Records: eccentricpop.com and on Twitter @EccentricPop

-Dance Commander Matt Hatfield

@cerial442

I actually use a piece of Stonehenge as a preamp.