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Shooting Guns – WolfCop Original Soundtrack (2014) review

February 9, 2015

Shooting Guns – WolfCop Original Soundtrack (2014) review

Shooting Guns “WolfCop Original Soundtrack Recording” (Cassette Tape, 12” – One Way Static Records/Cinecoup/Sundowning, 2014)
If you were to tell me a few months ago that my choice for
album of the year would be a soundtrack I’d have called you crazy…  Come this winter and the unbelievable
happened, though.  One of my all time
favorite groups Shooting Guns released their soundtrack for the independent
Canadian film WolfCop for One Way Static and its one hell of an album!  I’m just gonna dive in and do my best to
dissect a little of what’s going on here as the WolfCop OST operates not only
as a new stand-alone Shooting Guns album, but also as a wonderful horror
soundtrack piece paying heavy homage to any number of Italian composers;
Morricone and Frizzi I’m looking in your direction, Carpenter and 70s/80s
horror composers like Fiedel and Myrow/Seagrave I’ve got my eyes on you!  The stuttering ominous waves of synthesizer
that open “Lycanthrope” are a perfect example of the albums steadfast placement
in the horror film genre, the absolutely gnarly sounds of explosive guitar and
battering bass and drums that come trundling into the middle of the song
demonstrate that Shooting Guns have come to do their own thing, and that much
like the lycanthropic man character of WolfCop they’re going to be showcasing
the best of both worlds here.  “Barn
Burner” is a decidedly more normal Shooting Guns track, thundering guitars,
waves of distortion and echo melting in with decimating bass and drums, the
electronics taking more of a backseat, hovering in the background, hissing and
bubbling when things get slightly more laid back and then disappearing into the
maw of the frenzied mix when they explode. 
There’s not a single song in the entire film that sounds out of place,
forced or strange in the slightest, and the varied musical tones that are
needed are well represented on the WolfCop soundtrack.  “Buda” is a short, less than two-minute, long
song that has all the punch and balls of a Shooting Guns track but takes a
sudden swerve towards the local honky-tonk on the way to practice; a chugging,
deep-fried southern choogle affair to be sure. 
“Hounds Of God” is simply a trip into the stratosphere, the sounds of
the galaxy exploding funneled into insane distortion loops and splattered atop
the bone-crunching riffage and skull crushing fuzz.  Next “Suda” takes the energy to another
level, again sounding very reminiscent of what you’d hear on any given Shooting
Guns album, but in a much tighter package, clocking in at only two-minutes
again and containing a seriously funky bass break down with a sinister menacing
electronic thunder shimmering above it. 
“Railbender” is a slow-burner, simmering in its own riffy stew, and the
solo on “Railbender” might be one of my all-time favorites that Shooting Guns
has ever delivered.  There’s a tasteful
classic rock sound to it, again stewed in southern fry batter and filtered
through the icy landscape of Canada that lacks none of the killer instinct that
permeates their sound.  The absolutely
menacing sythn that fades out into “The Family of the Vaurdlak” perfectly set
the pace for one of the coolest pieces on WolfCop.  “The Family of the Vaurdlak” is much more
ambient and droning in tone than most things that Shooting Guns usually does,
and it’s not an easy thing to just switch on your heels like that.  The unhinged, slightly frightened sounding
strings fluttering in the back of the song are just amazing, and at about
two-minutes in when the drums really kick-in and things start to get super
trippy, you can feel the tangible tension growing in the air.  “Burchard von Worms” is the first song that
sounds like it has electronic drums I’ve ever heard from the Shooting Guns camp
and while it took me a little bit of time to sell myself on the concept when it
was first presented, “Burchard von Worms” is definitely one of the best songs
on the soundtrack.  It holds its weight
against anything that Rob created for the absolutely mesmerizing Maniac
soundtrack a few years ago, and considering that’s on my top fifty horror
soundtracks of all time, that’s saying quite a bit.  “Wulver” continues to dwell in the same
Carpenter inspired soundscape that “Burchard von Worms” creates but it takes
the manic energy up a notch, sounding like it would be very at home in any
number of classic 80’s slasher films without sounding derivative or contrived
in the slightest.  The seemingly benign
melody that underlies “Wulver” and leads into “Freebander” bleeds classic
horror like very few bands are capable of. 
Because there was more around eighty-plus minutes of music recorded for
WolfCop, Shooting Guns had to be very selective about the music that made it
onto the soundtrack, so it’s nice to hear some of the suite or companion pieces
make an appearance.  The distinct tonal
blend and personality split of “Wulver” and “Freebander” illustrates just how
hard Shooting Guns worked on the music that went into the film, creating
overlying themes, melodies and sounds that tied the film together musically and
thematically, begging for an un-edited release featuring the complete
recordings.  “West Coast Turnaround” is a
perfect combination of the menacing Carpenter influenced horror sounds on the
album, incorporating more atonal strings in the back, and Shooting Gun’s always
massive guitar providing a plucked melody, muted and mixed into oblivion, wave
after wave of feedback and wailing distortion taking it’s place instead.  The amount of atmosphere that Shooting Guns
are capable of summoning are always incredible but it feels like “West Coast
Turnaround” might be their greatest accomplishment yet in that department.  Melting and blending directly into the
chaotic atonal funk of “Spy In The Sky” we’re starting to move into more
recognizable territory for longtime listeners of the band.  Epic, soaring lead guitar splitting the sky
like thunder and striking the rhythm section like lightning, “Spy In The Sky”
degrades into a droning, sinister synth chord that tunnels directly to the
ambient chords that begin “Bait Car” before exploding into utter madness as is
Shooting Guns want.  And while a lot of
songs on WolfCop show how well they were able to blend their own hard hitting
psychedelic style and team it with the harsh blackened sounds of min-synth
horror soundtracks “Delta Bravo” has a dead-ahead rock angle going from the
moment it starts, twisted guitar trundling and crushing the rhythms beneath it.  “Mirandarized” sounds like it seriously could
have been taken from The Prince Of Darkness soundtrack, absolutely haunting and
completely disturbed.  “Concrete Therapy”
takes the electronic edge of “Mirandarized” and charges it with an electric
energy only Shooting Guns could muster, going completely balls out!  The driving rhythms propel “Concrete Therapy”
like a sludge hammer into your head; there will be no keeping these riffs out
of your noggin, that’s for sure!  One of
the higher energy, balls-to-the-walls tracks on the album it’s surprising in
that “Concrete Therapy” only runs about a minute and forty-five seconds.  “Ride Along” lets loose another track from
the Lovecraftian portal that Shooting Guns created to so successfully channel
John Carpenter, the fade and flutter of the despotic synthesizer is just
horrifying in the best possible sense. 
If WolfCop didn’t make it apparent that Shooting Guns were trying
something new from the moment that it starts the album finisher definitely does.  “One More Day” not only contains vocals, but
it’s a straight-up honky-tonkin’ ass country song.  I’m not sure whether it’s a tongue-in-cheek
parody of straight-up country music or Shooting Guns were using the song as a
way to vent some of the oddities that they inevitably birthed during the
sessions for WolfCop, what I wouldn’t give to hear the complete recordings from
this session, but what I do know is that “One More Day” is a fittingly bizarre
way to finish up the soundtrack. 
Channeling the frantic fury and energy that permeates and bleeds from
the film, the songs that were recorded for WolfCop not only capture the feel
and aesthetic of the film perfectly, but also manage to fold in the sounds and
personality of Shooting Guns who after two absolutely jaw dropping full-length
albums, aren’t just busy proving that they’re one of the world’s greatest psych
or prog bands anymore, this time they’re here to prove they’re simply one of
the best – end of sentence.  WolfCop is a
bloody love-letter to the minimalist synth horror soundtracks of the 80’s,
independent music and film, but above all else, to the pioneering spirit and
vision responsible for it, which sprawls far beyond tawdry labels or
boundaries.  Not only is this the best
album of the year for me, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard in
my life; if I had the money I’d release the complete recordings myself, rest
assured I’ll be waiting with baited breath for that announcement should it ever
come!  But in the meantime, with a
WolfCop sequel already announced let’s pray that Shooting Guns is tapped once
more to create the sounds and make sure to pick up a copy of the WolfCop
soundtrack like yesterday, the 12” is limited to only one thousand copies and
going quick and the cassette version limited to only 300 copies is already sold-out!  Don’t worry though you can pick it up
digitally anytime directly from Shooting Guns here
Make sure you also check out
–              September
2013 interview with Shooting Guns here
Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2015
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