This unique tribute album is dedicated not to a musician, but to a filmmaker. Its focus is Lucio Fulci, the auteur behind a series of outrageously gruesome horror films that have become cult favorites with horror fans around the world. Although critics continue to debate the artistic merit of Fulci's work, no one can deny that his films artfully used music to enhance their creepy atmosphere.

For Lucio Fulci: A Symphony of Fear finds a series of musicians, mainly from the gothic and metal genres, paying tribute to these film scores with their own frequently impressive cover versions. Since the music to Fulci's films mixed creepy orchestral elements with rock instrumentation, a lot of the material presented here has a hard-rocking edge to it.

Sorry! does a guitar-heavy arrangement of "Theme From Manhattan Baby" that ably wraps fretwork around its creepy melody, while Gwar tones down their usual schlocky antics to create a straight-faced, surprisingly spooky techno-metal version of "Zombie." A lot of the original scores for these films made heavy use of synthesizers, so many of the cues are covered by synth-oriented performers. Al Festa's rendition of the lovely "Quei Giorni Insieme a Te" layers some gorgeous piano solos over a bed of gently pulsating programmed synthesizers and Still Sad's version of "Sette Note in Nero" ably blends spooky keyboard atmospherics with techno-inspired drum machine rhythms. Sprinkled in between the covers is a series of tribute tracks, which tend to be hit and miss: "Galloping Cadavers" is an effective and clever techno track from Body Hammer that laces its stomping programmed beats with a well-orchestrated series of dialogue and music clips from The Gates of Hell, but Necrophagia's "And You Will Live in Terror" is a rather silly death metal track whose lyrical tribute to The Beyond gets buried in a sea of overheated metal riffs and goofy bellowed vocals.

Despite the occasional clinker, For Lucio Fulci: A Symphony of Fear manages to succeed because of its intriguing diversity of styles, generous running time (this two-CD set offers well over two and a half hours of music), and its sheer love for its subject. Casual listeners may find themselves baffled by this outpouring of music, but anyone with an interest in the soundtracks of Lucio Fulci's films will find plenty to enjoy on this one-of-a-kind compilation.

-Donald A. Guarisco, All Music Guide

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