A few months back I grabbed the soundtrack to a Belgian horror film called Cub. Not because I was particularly interested in the film(though I do plan on seeing it at some point), but because it was another film soundtrack by Zombi keyboardist/bassist Steve Moore. Moore has been making horror/progressive/futurist music with drummer Anthony Paterra for well over ten years now, melting minds with albums like Surface To Air, Escape Velocity, and most recently 2015s Shape Shift. I’d been listening to Zombi here and there over the years but took the plunge back in 2013 with their album Escape Velocity. This was amid one of my “heavy synth” phases(I’ve had several more since then), so that album hit all the right notes for me. It was like every song was this cool variation of Rush’ “YYZ” or any number of that Canadian trios plethora of instrumental moments over the years. But there was a darker element brought to Zombi’s sound that most other progressive bands never reach. These guys were influenced by the macabre and gothic and it came through in their music.
So last year I’d heard about a movie called The Guest. It was a thriller about a man that shows up at the front door of a grieving family saying he was a good friend of their sons who’d died overseas in the war. The stranger integrates himself into the family’s lives, and of course he’s not what he seems. I wrote about it here. The score was written and performed by none other than Steve Moore, and when I saw it come up for sale through those cool folks at Mondo/Death Waltz I snagged it up. Enter the Belgian flick Cub. It’s about a group of cub scouts that go out into the woods to camp. One of the scouts is a boy that is sort of the odd man out. Picked on and a bit of a loner he finds out the troop is in imminent danger and warns the bunch who mock him and think he’s just got an overactive imagination. Turns out he’s right, as the boys are being hunted by a young feral boy and his poacher father. This film was scored by Steve Moore as well, and if the flick is anything like the soundtrack it’s gotta be pretty good.
So how does it sound? Well it’s filled with all the building cues, ominous swells, and tribal drums that make for an engaging listen. There’s some Carpenter-esque moments, as well as harsher soundscapes like “The Truck” and the 11-minute “The Hunt”. “The Treehouse” feels like a loop of melancholy and oncoming dread. Moore’s hallmark synth wisps and tribal rhythms are present and accounted for here, but done so in a very meticulous narrative. Just like with his The Guest score, Cub does feel like it’s telling a story but it also feels very natural as a standalone record. You can put it on and let it fill the background as you’re cooking dinner, reading a book, or contemplating world domination without it getting in the way of your thought process. Bonus!
I’ve talked about many(many, many) soundtracks on these pages before, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed them all. Steve Moore seems to have tapped into a great thing here: scoring. He’s pretty much built for this kind of musical outlet. With Zombi, Moore and Paterra have been making songs inspired by films(and their subsequent scores) all along. Their love of the darker side of things as well as bands like Rush, Goblin, and horror films have permeated their music and creative process. It only seems natural for Steve Moore to delve into the world of film scoring.
With The Guest and now Cub he seems to only be getting better each time out.