When it comes to horror soundtracks, few are as iconic as Goblin's 1978 masterwork for George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. So it's a no-brainer that Waxwork Records would dust off the classic for its 40th anniversary, which sadly comes in the wake of the director's passing late last year.
Honouring both Goblin and the late Romero, Waxwork's expanded reissue marks the first time the Italian horror-prog titans' complete score for Dawn of the Dead (a.k.a. Zombi) has been released on vinyl. But despite the two-LP set throwing in a series of bonus cuts, it's still the ten tracks of the '78 Cinevox original that hold up.
In many ways, the soundtrack to Romero's socio-political zombie classic presents a mind-bogglingly complex smorgasbord of sounds, capturing not only a snapshot of what made prime-era Goblin so great, but classic Italian film music as well.
Muscle-bound prog-rock ("Zombi"), synth-twisted experimentalism ("L'alba Dei Morti Viventi"), tension-building poliziotteschi ("Ai Margini Della Follia"), tropical exotica ("Safari") and even some taproom-appropriate spaghetti western ("Tirassegno") — it's all there, being blurred, ripped apart and put back together again on an album that somehow makes a surprising amount of sense. Even 40 years on, it's a creatively charged onslaught that's as intellectually stimulating as it is one that simply rips.
But for the Goblin fans who already know all this, Waxwork throws in a series of bonus cuts that have yet to arrive on vinyl (though previously on CD and digitally). It amounts to seven added tracks and roughly 20 minutes of music not included on the original release.
And while there are a few tracks that are painfully brief — not to mention one that's literally just the voices of the living dead — there are some total stunners, such as the lovelorn jazz piece "Zombi (Sexy)," the shopping mall-appropriate cheese funk number "Zombi (Supermarket)" and synth mind-melter "Ai Margini Della Follia (Alternate Take)."
As a total package, Waxwork's reissue is a win-win. For newbies, Dawn of the Dead is the perfect entry point into the world of Goblin. And for the already familiar, the added bonus material is well worth the price of admission.
Roger Ebert once famously called Dawn of the Dead "one of the best horror films ever made," but it's also one of the best horror soundtracks ever made as well. (Waxwork Records)