CD Review: Serenade for the Dead

Serenade for the Dead is a 1994 instrumental work by industrial/darkwave one-man-band Leaetherstrip represents the fruition of Danish artist Claus Larsen‘s desire to create a horror movie soundtrack. Lacking a composition offer from a filmmaker, he wrote and performed the ten tracks on this CD and offered it up as the “soundtrack for the movie in your mind”. He also did all the artwork for the CD’s cover and liner; the main image is that of a nearly-skeletal dead bird.

For those used to Leaetherstrip’s usual brutal, hard-driving sound, the moody, melodic work on Serenade is quite a departure (and, based upon some of the reviews I’ve read around the Web, for some rivetheads it was an unwelcome departure). Larsen mainly uses synthesizers and drum machines on the album, and while it would have benefitted from full orchestration (i.e., real brass and strings) I think it’s quite a wonderful album, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys industrial music along with works such as Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War” and the “Hellraiser” soundtrack.

Upon listening to this album, I detected a variety of influences ranging from Christopher Young to Coil to Mike Oldfield to Prokofiev and Stravinsky. My favorite tracks are the title cut, “Black Widow’s Kiss”, the harsh “The Return of the Evil One”, the hypnotic “The Awakening” and the dramatic “The Corridors of Sleep”.

Track list:

  1. Serenade for the Dead
  2. Black Widow’s Kiss
  3. Stillborn
  4. The return of the evil one
  5. Black Death
  6. New Dark Ages
  7. The corridors of sleep
  8. The Awakening
  9. Blood Lust
  10. Corpus

Interestingly enough, since the album was released, several of the tracks on this album have been picked up for use in various horror movie soundtracks (sadly, though I’ve wracked my brain, I can’t remember the titles of said movies).

Serenade for the Dead is offered by Zoth Ommog records in Europe and by Cleopatra Records in North America.

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