It’s been a stellar year for Dream Division’s Tom McDowell. Not only has he released two new Dream Division albums, he started his own record label this past July called Library of the Occult. Releasing The Devil Rides Out on his own label, followed by Beyond The Mirror’s Image on Burning Witches Records, he also put out new music from Ogre, Timothy Fife, and The Psychic Circle on LOTO.
We now have Death Walks On Nitrate, a soundtrack for the short film of the same name directed by Kevin Fermini. Here’s what the film is about, according to the filmmakers, “As so many films before it, Death Walks on Nitrate is inspired. Not only by its giallo roots and vibrant setting, nor by the provocative low-budget innovators in the history of cinema, but also by the strength of the stories read and lived by the creators today. This is, above all, a story of a woman not allowing herself to be made a victim any longer. Told through a fever dream dripping in color-drenched sweat, this technicolor psychedelic nightmare hopes to be the next genre bender since the dawn of Vamp-Fu (Vampire Kung-Fu).”
The score by Dream Division is a fever dream of Giallo melodrama, late 60s psychedelia, and a huge tip of the hat to Argento favorites Goblin. Through Dream Division, these songs rattle with paranoia, Gothic undertones, and a kind of acid-fried doom that only Dream Division can create. I haven’t seen Fermini’s film, but if it hits even remotely close to the psychedelic vibes that are on its score then I’m all in.
Sort of imagine a walk through an Italian village in the late 60s, but having reality around you shifting and spinning in an acid-drenched euphoria. “Red Room” is like Morricone or Ortolani dropping acid with Goblin and Tony Iommi and seeing where it leads. McDowell locks into some serious jazz psych vibes here, creating this well-manicured aural nightmare.
“Strange Developments” slides along on a silky groove with Gothic undertones, bringing to mind classic library music with a touch of the macabre. “Death Suite” sounds like a descent into madness with touches of Iron Butterfly, oddly enough. “Nitrate” summons the spirit of Goblin, locking into some serious Suspiria vibes.
Overall, what Tom McDowell has created for this modern day Giallo is a perfect aural backdrop of suspense, madness, and a far out musical canvas to accentuate the psych freakout that’s happening onscreen. Dream Division has given Death Walks On Nitrate a score to match its madness, note for maddening note.
7.9 out of 10
‘Death Walks On Nitrate’ will be available 12/4 from Library of the Occult.