Composer Michael Wandmacher may have an impressive resume of film credits, including My Bloody Valentine, Freakonomics, and Cry_Wolf (as well as the not-so-impressive From Justin to Kelly) but he’s also a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to composition, composing almost as much for video games (Singularity, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, I Was an Atomic Mutant) and television (Night Stalker, South Beach) as he does for film. But his range doesn’t stop there; the liner notes for the new score album from the Nicolas Cage action flick Drive Angry features the following rather incredible statement: “all guitars, cello, electric cello, dulcimers, banjo, guitarviol, prepared piano, coin, and electronic programming by Michael Wandmacher.” So, love it or hate it, it appears that Wandmacher is almost totally responsible for this collection of music – from writing the notes to playing them to producing the album. And an interesting album it is, sounding less like film composition and more like a rock smashup. With 29 tracks amounting to almost a full hour of music, Wandmacher has pulled out all the stops here, letting his music create a constantly driving (no pun intended) force that hardly ever lets up. He gives a few small concessions towards the end (from about “Say Thank You Or She Dies” on) with some ominously extended sections of near-silence mixed with eerie musical whines and strums. In fact, the final track, “I’ll Have That Beer,” finds Wandmacher almost pensive for the first time after a high-energy, take no prisoners album. It’s a strange fit but wraps up the album nicely after all the go-go-go of the first 3/4 of the album, almost like a cool down after a hard workout. For the most part this score is nonstop action led by powerful guitar riffs and an impressive rhythm section, comparable to Mike Patton’s work on Crank: High Voltage, though Wandmacher maintains more consistency throughout and utilizes much less dissonance. With track titles like “The Iron Godkiller” and “Road Raging” it should come as no surprise that this is a high impact collection of music. Throw it on while you’re working on your car… or driving it.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: What else? Driving fast… and possibly angry
Stay Away if: You’re expecting a balance between driving guitar riffs and emotional depth

To purchase the score for Drive Angry, visit Amazon

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