I GUERRIERI DELL'ANNO 2072 (1984) OST / COMPOSER: RIZ ORTOLANI / LABEL: DEATH WALTZ RECORDING CO. / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
For those used to the more mellifluous strains of composer Riz Ortolani, his score for 1984’s Lucio Fulci sci-fi actioner, I Guerrieri dell'anno 2072 (aka Warriors of the Year 2072) might come as something as a surprise. Ortolani’s definitely best known for his lush themes to the likes of Mondo Cane and Cannibal Holocaust, so this score – replete with pounding drums and guitar riffs – is certainly outside the expected.
However, given that I Guerrieri came hot on the heels of director Enzo G. Castellari’s trilogy of Mad Max / Escape from New York knock-offs, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, The New Barbarians, and Escape from the Bronx, a listener probably wouldn’t be surprised to discover that Fulci’s movie is also known by the alternate English title, The New Warriors. That portmanteau title definitely nods to Castellari’s movies, and so does Ortolani’s score.
Walter Rizzati and Claudio Simonetti’s respective scores for the first two Castellari films set the template for what Ortolani does on I Guerrieri dell'anno 2072 – an emphasis on rock ‘n’ roll meets synthesizer work that’s developed into one or two themes, which are alternated, repeated and changed up to suit the particular scene in which it’s featured. In the case of this score, there are “Roma Imperial Rock” and “The Fighter Centurions”.
These two songs feature quite a lot of screaming guitar, and some excellent synthesised fanfare in the case of “The Fighter Centurions”, and they’re quite entertaining, which is good because they both appear on each side of this pressing. These are the two tracks which were released as a 12-inch vinyl single by Italy’s CAM Records in 1986, but the rest of the various cues – including the love theme and rock fanfare – have heretofore been unavailable.
Ortolani’s score is such that the listener will find themselves repeatedly spinning the LP, listening to the music and revelling in the imperial majesty of these tracks. It’s rocking, it’s cinematic, and overall, it’s imperial as anything. It's repetitive, sure, but the brassy elements lend the proceedings a Romanesque flair and the guitars set everything solidly in the retro-futuristic ‘80s. I Guerrieri dell'anno 2072 is a flashback in so many ways, but they’re all ridiculously fun.
The 180-gram vinyl pressing comes as a red, blue and purple swirl, which looks appropriately imposing and dangerous when paired with Luke Insect’s impressive cover and gatefold artwork. There’s also an obi strip with a brief commentary on the music. The sound of the LP is punchy and strong, with an emphasis on the low end, making everything far more robust than what was previously only available in tinny YouTube rips.