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Rick Wakeman - The Burning (OST) CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars With all the Halloween's that have passed, I cannot believe that this album by the legendary keyboard virtuoso "Rick Wakeman", hadn't been released on to CD. True, the movie was as low budget and unappealing as a movie can get, but sometimes artists may have to use a "movie" to set a stage for a sound that the want to explore. Keyboard's work for "Terror" just as Electric guitar works for "Angst". I like Rick Wakeman when he wants to evoke "terror". Let's consider some of his other dark passages. Remember "Jane Seymour" from "Six Wives...", and "Hell" from "Lisztomania", and what about his orchestrated masterpiece "Judas Iscariot" from "Criminal Record"? When Rick shows some of his dark side, he is at his best. Maybe someone has to go up to him, once in a while, and give him a big "smack" in the face and make him angry enough to start writing darker instrumentals again. Keyboards with "angst", that's what we want to hear. Rick got into this religious kick which has really reduced his sinister side. To know God is to also know the Devil. Rick needs to sneak out and spend some time with the Devil. In fact, if the Devil slapped Rick and knocked him down, that would be the best time to send Rick into the studio. What do you think? Rick, perhaps you could talk with some guys from the group "Cradle of Filth", and get some of those dark instrumental themes going again. "Cradle of Filth" have some great instrumentals (but their vocals are undecypheringly horrible). In fact, you know what Rick? Check out "Midnight Syndicate." They have a sound that could easily be the side of you that's missing. In fact, I encouge all of you fans are dark terrifying instrumentation, to check out "Midnight Syndicate". Begin with the CD of "Born of the Night".
Report this review (#27572)
Posted Sunday, April 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Wakeman playing like he has never done before!!! Evoking fear for the soundtrack of a horror movie!

While this album is highly interesting coming from Wakeman, the album is flawed astronomically, and some moments are not enjoyable at all.

Variations on the Fire sets the tone of the album, and it is a SCARY and paranoid sounding track. Same goes for the rest of the album. The big highlight for me is the main theme of The Burning. It begins with delicate, and highly beautiful piano work which crashes into a powerful synth driven section. The rest of the tracks in Side B are not very good, and some are horrible! (like Devil's Creek Breakdown)

My Grade : D

Report this review (#43141)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Horror of horrors, it's them Duke boys!

A film soundtrack by Wakeman (for someone as prolific as Wakeman, he's done surprisingly few). "The burning" is a low budget horror movie which receives a "BOMB" rating in Leonard Maltin's film guide. It's only real significance was that it represented the screen debut of Holly Hunter. Much to Wakeman's astonishment the film was hugely successful in Japan. Rick had reportedly turned down a share of the film's profits, and opted instead for a fixed fee such was his lack of faith in it.

It appears Wakeman's experiences in composing for the film were similar to Mike Oldfield's when he worked on "The killing fields", in that he found it impossible to please everyone.

The title is in fact slightly misleading, as only one side of the album has music actually used in the film. The four tracks on the first side are covered by the banner "The Wakeman variations". As implied, these are interpretations of the film music, where Rick has effectively taken themes written to reflect different parts of the film, and adapted them to become bona-fide album tracks. As such, they represent much the stronger part of the album from a listening perspective. Here he is joined by a guitarist, bassist and drummer, whereas on the soundtrack side, he performs alone. The four track are all instrumentals along the lines of those which appeared on the preceding "Rhapsodies", although the atmosphere here is understandably far more dramatic. Indeed, here again we have more "Wives" for Henry the Eighth!

Even Rick himself has little time for the soundtrack side of the album, although he is nostalgic about his use of a " Prophet 10 keyboard" on it for the first and only time (for him). The side oddly starts with the "End title theme" a suitably reflective piece, with a strong melody. "Campfire story" has some creepy narration by Brian Mathews which is rather wasted in an audio environment. Wakeman's keyboards here, and on the soundtrack side as a whole, are rather clumsy and phonetic. Two of the seven tracks do not feature Wakeman at all. "Doin' it" and "Devil's creek breakdown" are "Dukes of Hazzard" like country workouts, performed by five or six hired musicians. All that is missing is the yeee-ha's! For anyone, including myself, who has not seen the film, it is hard to imagine how these two tracks fit in to it.

As incidental and soundtrack music goes, this is not a bad album. Bearing in mind that it also contains a complete side of original Wakeman improvisations, perhaps better described as compositions which extract themes from the soundtrack, there is enough here to make this album worthy of investigation.

By the way, the rear sleeve of the album has a wonderful picture of a young short haired Wakeman from the early 1980's.

Report this review (#103448)
Posted Monday, December 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars For most people, buying a soundtrack album must be related withe the film that have watched before. In my case, I don't think have ever watched the movie called "The Burning" and my chief reason to buy this album was the Rick Wakeman factor. In fact that is the "only" reason. For sure, when time and mood are right, I enjoy listening this album. Musically, this is definitely not Rick's best at all but I can get the styles of his playing throughout segments in this album. For sure, I do like "Theme From The Burning" because it does show the unique style of Rick Wakeman with his keyboard. The next track "The Chase Continues" is also an excellent track where it has multi-style structure - that's why it's a prog music, I believe. The opening track "Variations on the Fire" is also an interesting one even though it's presented in mellower style. But, the keyboard solo is very Rick Wakeman. Well, I love his pulsating keyboard sounds. He also injects the jazz components in this composition.

I presume that most readers of this site have not watched the movie, the same case with me, that's why I tend to review this album from musical point of view and it is completely disconnected from the storyline. The composition is quite good even though, I know, that Rock could make a much better composition. I could have imagined if I watch the movie later, I would be able to connect the music with its story line. That's why, I'm sure that for those of you have watched the movie, this soundtrack would become very valuable as you could connect with the story. Musically, this is a good album for collectors. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#127577)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2007 | Review Permalink

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