Those who enjoyed last year's first volume in Demon Music Group's Vault of Horror: The Italian Connection series might be a little surprised by the swerve taken with the second installment. Whereas the first double LP was chockablock with funky, upbeat tunes, which slowly descended into madness as the compilation went along, this collection is distinctly more laid-back.
Part of it may be due to the fact that while Volume One was focused almost entirely on horror, with a smidgen of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic pictures. The music's certainly good, but the lack of those Mad Max knock-offs certainly brings the tempo down .Volume Two leans much harder into giallo and devil pictures, making it an altogether more moody set of film
Robert Donati's score for the 1981 Umberto Lenzi film, Cannibal Ferox, as well as Fabio Frizzi's work on City of the Living Dead, are the only music to appear on both instalments. However, while the "NYC Main Title" which appeared on Volume One is a funky jam, "Cannibal Ferox" is akin to Fabio Frizzi's themes for the likes of The Beyond and Zombie Flesh Eaters. Given that both of those appeared on the first compilation, it probably would've been a bit too much of a plodding pace.
Thus, there's Fabio Frizzi's "You Are Not the Same" from Lucio Fulci's 1980 poliziotteschi, Contraband, which is disco par excellence, on Volume Two. It's a fun flip of expectations, and the rare upbeat number between the records' four sides. As an example of just how relaxed these cuts are, "Il Paese Del Sesso Selvaggio" from Sergio Patucchi's score to Man From Deep River, has a flute, and the track off Ennio Morricone's The Antichrist, "La Luce," is performed on pipe organ. There is also a preponderance of ethereal choirs.
Volume Two of Vault of Horror: The Italian Connection demonstrates that Demon Music Group has a solid plan in place, and knows how to compile a vast swathe of music. The liner notes by Alan Jones and the artwork by Graham Humphreys are once again excellent, as well, but the slow pace of Volume Two may leave listeners wanting a bit more excitement and variety. Here's to hoping Volume Three goes full crime drama and gives us two discs of funky action.
VINYL REVIEW: VAULT OF HORROR: THE ITALIAN CONNECTION VOL.2 / RELEASED BY DEMON MUSIC GROUP / AVAILABLE NOW