7 Apr 2016

Zoltan - Phantasm / Tanz der Vampire

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

Everytime prolific London horror-synth trio Zoltan release something new I think to myself "I've spent much too much time covering these guys in these pages, I should really be breaking someone new that I haven't shared with you before - it's someone else's turn". But then, inevitably, I have a quick listen and my willpower dissolves.

Here then, is another Zoltan release (previously covered titles can be found here, here, here and here). I've been a fan from the very first time I heard them, but they still manage to progress with every single release - no mean feat for a band that, when you get down to it, have a formula that they adhere pretty strictly too. It's a pretty great formula though - a trio of synthesizers with a robust rhythm section either covering classic horror scores, or creating new music inspired by them - all in a style that deliberately evokes the likes of John Carpenter, Fabio Frizzi, and particularly the progressive musicianship of Goblin.

Their latest is a limited edition 10" vinyl release on the always on point Cineploit label, with one side each dedicated to music from the films "Phantasm" and "Tanz der Vampire". Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave's "Phantasm" score is legendary in its own right, and the recent passing of the Tall Man Angus Scrimm gives this added poignancy. Given how difficult it is to track down a non-digital copy of the original score, this is a very welcome release, full of sinister synth arpeggios and doom-laden mellotron heaviness, with great use of their prog inclined rhythm section - it's a relentless trio of tracks.

The music on side two - from Roman Polanski's "Tanz der Vampire (Dance of the Vampires)" - is a bit of a change of pace after the oppressive onslaught on the previous side. The original music by Krysztof Komeda is much more varied, and this gives the trio the opportunity to stretch out and demonstrate their range a little more. There's an excellent interpretation of the title piece which sounds like a lost Frizzi theme from Lucio Fulci's "The Beyond", which fits in perfectly with the "Phantasm" material, but then a lighter touch is shown with "Krolock", a delicate waltz that sounds like a Soulless Party / Broadcast collaboration. Finally "Vampires to Crypt" is all mounting tension and atmosphere, which, rather than ending with an obvious bang, leaves the listener perched on the edge of their seat, breath held, waiting for a resolution that's not forthcoming.

Recommended - as are their other releases.

Only 350 vinyl copies - get one here, or stream through the link below.

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