Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2021 October 04 • Monday

Halloween is coming soon! We'll start getting in the mood with the 694th Soundtrack of the Week, the music from Le Frisson des Vampires, performed by rock band Acanthus.

It's on blood red vinyl!

The record kicks off with "Funérailles des Vampires", a great instrumental rock number that starts with some tolling bells and then gets into a jangle-doom groove.

Then there's the main title theme, a strange piece with a repeating sinuous figure and some various feels, blues, rock, whatever.

Next is "La Chateau", kind of a loungey shake number with flute joining the lead guitar part.

Things get into a heavier, more hard rock mood for the short "Wedding Party (Angoisse Temporelle)", one of several short cues in rapid succession. It's followed by "Ominous Tower" and "Occupied Clock" (bells and creaking door) and then by "'Who Are You?'", a snippet of dialogue from the movie.

Then the band gets into spacy, almost Grateful Dead-like territory with "Isolde" but it unexpectedly goes in a different direction, changing both energy and form into a more recognizable rock song sort of thing.

"Curious Antoine" has the band playing a suspenseful figure over and over. At one point it's interrupted by one of the characters from the movie screaming.

Gently jangling guitar notes and airy flute make a beautiful environment for "Sleeping Beauty (Samba Des Vampires)".

Then another bit of dialogue from the movie: "'I Thought I Had a Hallucination'". You can hear the band playing underneath the actor talking about seeing a human sacrifice.

Then there's "Violent Library", which starts with an insistent drum tattoo to which is added some cool guitar noises, enhanced by what sounds like tape echo.

"Night Excursion" is a mysterious sounding piece with propulsive strumming and sporadic guitar freakouts, which continues into "The Memory of Eternal Darkness" before switching to the wails and screams of "Isolde Rising".

Flip the record and the B side starts with "'Drunk with Carnage'", more dialogue from the movie with some guitar and flute playing uner it.

Then "Isabelle's Demise", which features organ as an effective accompaniment to solemnly pounded drums and electric guitar statements.

The groove and chord changes for "Doux-Reveil" are familiar from other psych rock songs but instead of a singer there's some flute playing, occasionally with intentional overblowing, as well as electric guitar soloing.

"Isa's Ceremony" is an impressive blend of drumming with electric guitar tape delay noise improv as well as some unenhanced lines and chords.

A pastoral folksy sort of sound from guitar and flute make up the short "Love-Blood", which is followed by some dialogue from the movie in "Flightless Bird".

A very effective mood of tension and suspense is created by the band in "La Cité Rouge", a monomaniacal presentation of a few repeated interesting musical phrases. It segues into a more straightforward chord-heavy instrumental track "Blood Cups".

Then there are some single lines and monster riffs for "Isa's Ceremony 2 / Runaway Train", which also features some, uh, suggestive sounds from the movie. It really takes off at the end.

Then we're back in a somewhat sunnier and definitely strummier zone with "Free from the Curse", which actually does sound like a track in celebration of something. But Acantus's sound is definitely different from most bands I've heard and there's always something kind of eerie and unsettling about each track.

"The Shiver of the Vampires" starts out with what sounds like a train and also has more, uh, suggestive sounds from the movie before getting into its acid rock freak-out with the electric guitarist really going for it.

Finally we wrap things up with "Envol Vers la Folle", a satisfyingly layered track with engaging descending lines from the guitar, as well as the organ and even a chorus of wordless vocals thickening out the sound. Lots of minor keys and a haunting quality throughout.