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CD Review: The Ring/The Ring Two

The Ring/The Ring Two ** 1/2


Decca B0004405-02

12 tracks - 63:11

Horror movie audiences confound me. They want new thrills and chills, but also seem content to watch the same old ones wrapped up in new packaging. I guess it's the same for horror movie soundtracks.

Hans Zimmer and Company have released a compilation album that covers both The Ring and its sequel, The Ring Two. More than a dozen different people contribute to the music production for this album, from "Ambient Music Design" credits to the many members of the "Score Re-Mix Team." Unfortunately, it's unclear who did what, or even what tracks came from which movie. Despite the vague nature of the credits, it's obvious that a lot of work went into the making of this album. Each track has been edited and mixed into a mini-suite, each incorporating many of the basic elements of the film score.

"The Well" starts out the album with an eleven- and-a-half-minute introduction to all the major themes. Solo piano (drenched in reverb, of course) plays the main theme and is soon joined by strings. Harp and celeste take over and add their voices, but it all seems so familiar. An aggressive solo cello begins its series of short arpeggios introducing the next theme and is soon accompanied again by the strings. Once again the celeste returns and adds a "Tubular Bells"-style motif to the brew.

"You See the Ring" is one of the shorter tracks on the CD and begins with another furious cello solo that abruptly drops out. Fierce strings then pound out a relentless rhythm while percussion adds a ticking clock effect. They continue to build until the score is swamped out with what sounds like processed traffic noise and it's all instantly cut off. It's an unexpected end to a rousing cut.

The final four tracks seem to be the work of the aforementioned "Re-mix Team." They range from slow tempo electro-grind to the incredibly cheesy "Seven Days," (a how-to guide for those interested in remix clichés), which eventually ends with the bass, strings, and synths all playing the exact same line -- just the kind of writing that used to get you kicked out of music school!

However, the winner of this last bunch has to be the hysterical "Television," with its heavy metal take on the themes. Lots of distorted guitars, banging bass and horribly programmed drums are sure to bring a smile to your face -- if you aren't wildly swinging your long hair in circles.

A few good tracks, a few weak ones. Overall, it's much like the horror movies of today -- the same formula dressed in a different outfit.     -- Ian D. Thomas

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