PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

DEMONS (1985)

The original recording of the score for Lamberto Bava's gore-soaked splatter-fest, Demons, was pretty fantastic, in terms of sonic dynamics. It has elements of composer Claudio Simonetti's band, Goblin, but with more electronic intensity, as opposed to progressive rock's build to mood. Every piece for the score got right to the point in terms of what it wanted to convey. With the exception of Killing, which went from mellotronic moans influenced by the likes of Fabio Frizzi to screaming rock guitars, Simonetti's work on Demons was a bit more energetic than Goblin.

However, earlier releases of the Demons score featured several things which left it wanting. While all seven cuts from Demons were on previous soundtrack releases, they were mixed among the wide selection of thrash and hair metal also in Bava's film. I like Accept and Mötley Crüe just fine, but paired with Simonetti's music, it's an uncomfortable blend on album. Those earlier releases did a decent job of presenting Simonetti's score because – honestly – having heard it in the film, behind screams and violence, it was hard to determine relative fidelity, despite the soundtrack album being muddy and awful. However, once you've heard this reissue, you'll have no doubt this is the superior version. The clarity is astonishing. It sounds so very good that it's hard to keep praise for this Demons score from verging on the hyperbolic – but it's absolutely true because the crispness of the audio is impossible to overstate.

It's safe to say that this is certainly the definitive version of Demons' score, and not just because of sonic fidelity. With the addition of the various takes on the film's main theme, the listener gets a chance to really discover how the piece began, took form, and continued evolving, even after its inclusion in Demons. The demo version sounds like it was composed on a Casio and is essentially just that main rhythmic piece, lacking all of the drums and samples that make it such a full, rounded, dance-floor ready piece of music. It's rough around the edges, but it lets you hear that the foundation for the piece was there from the start.

Conversely, the demo version played on a piano (although, really, just a keyboard, rather than a synthesiser) shows the melodic portion of the song, and when the two demos are listened to, followed by the full movie version, the development of each half of the theme becomes readily apparent. The Simonetti Horror Project take on the theme, from 1990, adds breakbeats and other samples, but on top of the rest of the song. This creates something so busy and overworked that one wonders what the hell Simonetti was thinking.

However, the final track of the album – despite being the fifth incarnation of the theme – really demonstrates the width and breadth of the Demon theme. Given two demos, a lounge version, and a modern update, this live version by Daemonia really hearkens back to the film itself, but by adding in real drums and what seems to live strings, allows the piece to simultaneously be a straight interpretation of the original composition, while still sounding more grandiose.

If you've been wondering which of the myriad versions of Claudio Simonetti's Demons score to purchase, Rustblade has finally made the decision quite easy – at least in terms from whom to purchase. You're still going to have to decide whether you want the standard compact disc, the vinyl LP or the deluxe package.


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