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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Rest Stop: Don't Look Back
Music by Bear McCreary
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1079 (US)
20 Tracks 64:38 mins

La-La Land Records continues its support of composer Bear MCreary with the release of his music for director Shawn Papazian's Rest Stop: Don't Look Back, sequel to Rest Stop, which Papazian produced. The disc also includes 6 bonus tracks from the original film.
The sequel takes up the action a year after the first story, with the missing Jesse's brother Tom and his friends finding themselves in the same frightening predicament when their search for him leads them to the mysterious Rest Stop.
Of course, one pretty much knows that when a project has Bear McCreary attached, the music is not going to be your usual run-of-the mill score. For these films, he adopted a kind of country rock/blues/gospel approach, utilising the likes of "distorted banjos, wailing electric bass and detuned country fiddle," describing his music for the sequel as "Lynyrd Skynard Trapped in Hell." Also running through the scores are a number of vocals, for which the composer provided both music and lyrics; with vocals by Brendan McCreary, Raya Yarbrough, and the Rev. Buford "Buck" Davis and his Minstrel Singers.
Of course much of the music for Rest Stop: Don't Look Back is suitably threatening, a mix of harsh guitars and quite menacing walls of sound; and even the more melodic moments like the rock instrumentals"Tom and Marilyn," and "Tom to the Rescue;" the touching "Nicole's Ghost;" and the inspirational choral "Cleansing The Sinnner" have their unsettling moments. The guitars-driven action of "The Last Stand," eventually gives way to a laid-back ending with a reprise of the "Nicole's Ghost" music mixing with an easy-going rock instrumental. The score however finishes on a typically unsettling note with "The Driver Gets Marilyn."
Three of the tracks from the original Rest Stop are vocals, with the score tracks including some powerful, guitars-lead action in "Gravely Mistaken Identity" and "Nicole Fights Back;" the former also featuring the aforementioned theme for "Nicole's Ghost."
The disc is accompanied by an eight-page booklet, featuring numerous colour stills from the film, together with notes by director Papazian, writer/producer John Shiban and of course the composer himself.
No news of a UK release for the film as yet, but it is already out on DVD in the States, and you can order a copy of this album by going to the label's website at

Music by Elia Cmiral
BSX Records BSXCD 8844 (US)
17 Tracks 37:17 mins

Award-winning director Toby Wilkins' first full-length feature Splinter premiered at ScreamFestLA, winning many awards, including "Best Picture," "Best Direction" and "Best Musical Score." The latter was provided by Czech-born Elia Cmiral, who is of course no stranger to the horror/thriller genres, and Splinter features both, with a convict and his girlfriend carjacking a couple, only to find themselves on the run from a deadly parasite.
I am afraid I have yet to be impressed by the music of Elia Cmiral. Ronin brought him early acclaim, and its score was pretty effective, I suppose; but since then he's been trapped in a succession of largely low-budget horrors and thrillers, where again his music has I'm sure been effective enough (though I have seen few of the films in question), but seldom has yielded anything memorable, making for a succession of pretty uninteresting soundtrack albums. This album is no exception. True, there are some pretty menacing moments, featuring powerful dissonance and nervy action, together with some truly eerie sounds, courtesy of a combination of orchestra and electronics; but there's also a good deal of tension and suspense along the way, where sometimes the music plays so low it is barely audible. At the end of the day, there's just nothing to latch on to, melodically.
Perseverance Records have promised a more melodic offering from the composer in their forthcoming release of his music for "Journey to the End of the Night ( a review of which you will also hopefully be able to read here) and this I greatly look forward to. Hopefully, more opportunities of this nature will come his way, but I fear, whilst scores like "Splinter" win him awards, Elia Cmiral will remain largely typecast in the genre.
If Splinter is the kind of score that floats your boat, you can order your copy from


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