CD: Devil’s Double (2011)

August 1, 2011 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: Lakeshore Records / Released: July 25, 2011

Tracks & Album Length: 28 tracks / (75:25)


Special Notes: n/a


Composer: Christian Henson




To capture the terrifying saga of Latif Yahia, the one-time bodyguard of Saddam Hussein’s sadistic son Uday, composer Christian Henson (The Secret of Moonacre) heavily restricted his instrumental palette to a handful acoustic and synth sounds to create a narrow sonic spectrum that perfectly suits the hellish world in which everything one sees, hears, tastes, and touches is under someone else’s firm control.

Using strings, keyboards, ethnic strings and percussion, and digital effects, Henson captures the sense of being in a world that’s enshrouded in secrecy, yet prone to fits of spontaneous rage & brutal violence. Clusters of percussion or distortion often erupt from neutral chords and during theme quotations, and Henson’s main theme is deliberately abrupt – symbolizing Uday’s dim existence in a world of debauchery and cruelty, and Yahia’s own stunted growth as he was forced to mimic his subject, and be his bodyguard simultaneously.

Perhaps the most powerful theme statement comes in the guise of “Metamorphosis,” where the addition of strings adds desperation to the moment where Yahia underwent physical changes to further resemble Hussein. Henson thickens the strings in the cue’s finale, hammering home Yahia’s permanent position in never being able to reclaim his original body.

Henson’s score goes through specific mood changes, of which the midsection is the more interesting for the often limited sonic palette that’s treated with distortion and coarse sound effects. Once in a while a cue is softened with a fragmented theme appearance, but there’s an unrelenting dread from the first cue – source instrumental “Liberation” excepted – that never lets up.

Strings are kept to a minimum in the score until the finale, where in “The Market” they’re given more urgency to underscore Yahia’s desperate desire to escape his monstrous oppressor. Henson’s managed to craft a tense representation of pure evil exacting its might on innocents, and Lakeshore’s CD features a generous selection of cleanly mastered cues.



© 2011 Mark R. Hasan


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