Rupert Lally gifted us an amazing ode to the haunted places of Stephen King’s literary worlds back in October with Where The Dark Speaks. Each track was a sonic imprint of places like The Marsten House, The Overlook Hotel, and of course Derry. Lally wove sonic worlds that brought you into King’s Gothic realm, one song, town, and place at a time.
Not to waste any time Rupert Lally returns to offer up more musical mayhem with label Spun Out Of Control. This time he’s weaved 12 compositions, each representing a month of the year. A musical calendar of terror and dread, inspired by slasher films of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, weaved together with his deft synth arrangements. As each month goes by, your blood will run cold and chills will run down your spine. You can mark that on your calendar.
Maniac’s Almanac is a sort of concept record that follows terrors in each month of the year. My first thought was “Brilliant! Rupert Lally has made a concept album about the year 2020!’, but that’s not the case. Lally has made something far more interesting. He’s made an album that’s an ode to the films that molded my brain in my youth. 80s horror and slasher films were my late night friend when I was all alone on a Friday or Saturday night, looking for something to disturb me and rewire my brain. Films like New Year’s Evil, My Bloody Valentine, Fear No Evil, Sleepaway Camp, Friday The 13th, and Halloween gave me worlds to get lost in when the one I was in was lonely. Rupert Lally locks into the sounds of those scores and the vibes of those films to give us a musical year of terror.
Rupert Lally runs the sonic gamut on this album, from the piercing dread of album opener “January – New Year, Old Grudges” to the almost early 80s street groove rhythm and hazy synth of “February – Love You To Death”, each month carries with it its own unique vibe. It’s not all piercing dread and stabbing synths. “June – A Midsummer’s Night Scream” starts out with almost ambient tones before locking into a dance track tempo. “September – Summer’s End, Murderous Beginnings” is all mid-80s mood and vibe, bringing to mind autumnal mystery and the brisk touch of fall air on the cheeks.
Each month carries with it its own distinct music imprint. From the humid touch of “August – Hot Bodies, Cold Steel” to the winding, hypnotic synths of “November – Black Friday” to the cold, icy bell-like “December – Silent Night, Deadly Knife”, Lally fills our calendar with musical montages of gauzy dread and steely synth workouts. This is truly a year you will never forget, if you live through it.
Maniac’s Almanac is an advent calendar for slashers, monsters, rippers, and creepers. An ode to horror of the seedy and late night variety, and the minimalist scores that made them so indelible.
8.2 out of 10
Rupert Lally’s ‘Maniac’s Almanac’ is available now via Spun Out Of Control. Buy it here.