John Carpenter – Lost Themes III: Alive After Death (Album Review)

John Carpenter – Lost Themes III: Alive After Death (Album Review)

A virtuoso extraordinaire of Horror cinema, John Carpenter is often remembered for his epically haunting melodic soundtrack in the cult classic Halloween. A very well-rounded filmmaker, as well as music composer, he has crafted many other ear-tingling soundscapes for film, as well as other projects through the decades. In more recent years he has opted to flex his musical muscle with the surprising 2015’s Lost Themes, 2016’s Lost Themes II, before returning in 2021 with Lost Themes III :Alive After Death

Tendrils of suspense swirl around like a billowing fog, the macabre offering of Lost Themes III :Alive After Death was released on February 5, 2021 thanks to Sacred Bones Records. Consisting of 10 original tracks that add up just over 40 minutes, it is a bloodline collaborative foray into the realm of the soulless undead. In unison, John Carpenter, his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies sink their super sharp canines into the forbidden enchanted red apple as a flawless musical trio. 

Bold from the start, you have brooding dark melody of “Alive After Death” where you can easily envision the predatory eyes of an undead as it hovers over its prey waiting for the opportune moment to swoop down and feast. The beginning hypnotic melody brings a sense of uneasiness that escalates to unbidden terror when the music shifts into something more sinister- -a nonverbal clue that something malevolent is underfoot. Then underlying melody reminds you of a racing heartbeat and of a mind that is surely unraveling the gauze layers of sanity. 

Moving on, “Dripping Blood” has a death knell quality to it which makes it a lively piece and dire in tone. The rhythmic motion laps at the edges of the mind making things seem surreal. This is while a red haze seems to envelop the horizon and the stench of a venomousness soulless being is inescapable. Then there is “Vampire’s Touch” starting off soft and slow like the brush of velvety lips on warm flesh. The melody then gathers up steam with a sinister booming tone that sends a vibratory alarm through the cerebral cortex that something is amiss. It soon tapers to soft tones once again as if it were hurled forth speeding down a roller coaster ride. 

Full of ups and downs, the musical escapade comes to a close with “Carpathian Mountains” manifesting itself as the psychic footprints that lead directly to the ancestral home of a glacial darkness. A fitting finale, the surge of malevolent power is palpable and those who are psychically manipulated to cross over the threshold are surely doomed. 

In such an enthralled state John Carpenter lends his talents to the joint task of creating a pungent potpourri of toothsome nightmarish spine- chilling melodies. A great companion to the previous Lost Themes albums, Carpenter ups the ante of hair rising fear by experimenting with different melodies and combinations of creepy sounds to maximize the adrenaline rush. He then links them together with some unexpected sound effects that heighten the moment of suspense like the buildup of a wave which ultimately crashes down onto the shoreline like a thunder clap. For all these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Lost Themes III: Alive After Death 5 out of 5 stars. 

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Jackie Knightowl
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