If you’re not a fan of Troma or B movies, fear not, this score works just fine on its own. Written by (first time composer and actor in the film) Chris DeMarco, WAR has all of the staples of a classic ‘80s record: rampant drum machines, buzzsaw electric guitars, and lyrical choices that make you shake your head, such as “storm is rising, love is burning.” Still, after giving it a few spins I find myself going back to it; it’s just so damn catchy and fun.
The score to WAR is of its time, evident by the beginning’s programmed drum beats of opener “On The Beach.” It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Clan of Xymox and SURVIVE tracks from the soundtrack to 2014 film The Guest, but with a little less polish and softer production.
Even though some of the synth sounds are very basic, the song structures give each track plenty of stability. “Stolen Baby” and “Search and Destroy” only contain a few synth patches with minimal background sounds, but DeMarco’s use of electric guitar accents and rhythmic arpeggios provide the needed backbone.
And let’s talk about the vocal tracks, “Storm is Rising” and “Alive.” Much like Dokken’s title track to Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, “Storm is Rising” nails the loud, guitar-driven sound of the hair metal ‘80s. It’s a well executed track with some questionable lyrics. Moving on to “Alive,” we get something that’s akin to a reggae-infused Culture Club track. You wouldn’t think it would work, but the proficiency of DeMarco’s playing and lively rhythms make it a real banger and highly recommended.
Ship to Shore never skimp on packaging, and WAR is no exception. The whole package is themed to perfection, right down to the vinyl variant; a gorgeous red/yellow/orange splatter that mimics the flames on the front cover. STS did a great job conveying exactly what kind of score you’re in for before even putting the record on. The single page insert contains still from the film, as well as notes from director Lloyd Kaufman and composer Chris DeMarco.