CD: Damned, The (2014)

October 6, 2014 | By


Damned2013Score: Excellent

LabelLakeshore Records

Released:  August 19, 2014


Tracks / Album Length:  22 tracks / (46:00)

Composer: Frederik Wiedmann

Special Notes:  n/a




Perhaps in keeping with the apparent tradition of Spanish horror films being graced with muscular orchestral scores, director Victor Garcia’s The Damned features a very robust score by Frederik Wiedmann, a composer known for combining classical orchestral writing with modernism and an organic use of electronic elements.

With a child’s ghost being the initial tormentor of a stranded family, Wiedmann’s main theme isn’t just a set of warped notes to evoke terror, but a full arc of rising and plummeting meanness. The composer uses just a few notes which, depending on the instrumentation and treatment, range from haunting to aggressively vicious, or in “Alone” appear like a bone-chilling presence whose wisps of misty disharmony tickle and taunt isolated and wary victims. Wiedmann’s integration of processed voices – reversed or layered whispers – are effective in foreshadowing danger, but it’s his emphasis on long, drawn-out notes, bowed to draw out as much vibrato as possible, that are really unsettling.

His use of volume dynamics is equally important in maintaining a state of unease by acclimatizing the listener to the elongated pacing of his theme, having chords drift into silence, and then exploit the safety of silence by strategic bursts of rising strings that gnash and plunge into shrill clusters. The Damned, however, isn’t a full-on symphony of aggression – Wiedmann maintains an even keel, sticking to a state of discomfort and periodically leaning into nightmarish terrain.

Lakeshore’s CD is well-mastered and offers a fairly generous selection of cues which should please fans of horror scores where subtle electronics and digital processing support a meticulously arranged, large orchestral body.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



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