THE DEAD is a horror movie that has at its subject matter the ever popular scenario of Zombies, but I must say that it is a movie which, although gruesome, frightening and gory in places is also absorbing and at times makes one stop and think. Set in Africa it contains a musical score which is the work of British born Indian composer and producer Imran Ahmad. This is an interesting and most of all original work for this genre. OK, it contains the usual atmospherics and the sharp and short musical stabs which make the listener jump and add impact and depth to the proceedings on screen, but this is a score that is intelligently constructed, and well thought out in its placing within the movie. This sounds as if it is a soundtrack which is mainly synthetic with a scattering of conventional instrumentation, but there is also an effective use of percussion, ethnic sounds and voices throughout, the percussion being urgent, threatening, vibrant and most of the time throbbing. The voices, male and female, are chilling and earthy, adding much to this original score and come courtesy of Eritrean singer Saba Tewelde and Kora from Gambian virtuoso Jally Kebba Susso.
Woodwind instruments augment and support the central musical passages and create subtle melodic phrases that put one at ease but are still edgy in their overall sound and execution. It is the driving percussion combined with eerie voices and effects that become the heart of this work and it is a fusion of these sounds that are so effective within the context of the movie itself, creating an atmosphere not just fearful but harrowing. These are also an interesting and unsettling listen away from the images. I think I am correct when I say that this is the composer’s first full length feature; he has scored shorts and documentaries before but never a full movie. If this is his first effort I can’t wait to hear what he will come up with on future projects. I was particular attracted to the end theme on the disc, an eerie breath effect begins proceedings and then the percussion kicks in with an earthy sounding female voice above it.
The voice is pushed along by the pulsating and rhythmic drums which are supported and punctuated by strings and bolstered by effective use of synthetic sounds and more percussive elements. It is an infectious if not ghostlike and unsettling composition but at the same time an attractive and enticing cue. I recommend this score and look out for more from this composer. He is original in his style and sound and like a breath of fresh air in the arena of film scoring. At first the score was available as only a down load, but has since been released by Howlin Wolf Records Stateside.