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Soundtrack review: Mayhem (Steve Moore – 2017

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Mayhem (Steve Moore – 2017

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“Mayhem” is a 2017 American action horror comedy film directed by Joe Lynch. The movie wtells the story of a virus that infects a corporate law office on the day attorney Derek Saunders (Yeun) is framed by a co-worker and wrongfully fired. The infection is capable of making people act out their wildest impulses. Trapped in the quarantined building, our hero is forced to savagely fight tooth and nail for not only his job but his life. Poor Steven Yeun just finished 7 years fighting zombies on “The walking dead” and finds himself playing the same kind of role. Steve Moore wrote the score.

Steve Moore impressed me a few years ago with his retro synth score for “Cub” and I couldn’t wait for more music from him. And boy am I glad he is back right from the first cue “Welcome to TSC” which could very well have been called “Welcome back to the music of your favourite decade” as it tickles my every nostalgic bone with a rhythmic electronic piece that in just a couple of minutes places this story both in the virus lab and even survival computer game genres; this is the sound that in my minds fits best for both these setups. “9 o’clock” is even better with the purest retro ambient sound that so many synth wave artists have been keeping alive for the past couple of years. This is it, this right here, this cue is where my softest of musical spots lies, my most nostalgic sound and the one that will never fail.

Sometimes it’s even hard to write a review about an electronic score like this because it’s so simple to synthesise in very few words; there isn’t a lot of variation in the music, just as much as the genre allows and you either like it or you don’t; I love synth music, I love the sounds of synth pads, of keyboards, I love it both when it’s ambient or fast paced so I am enjoying this score from beginning to end. I would listen to Steve Moore’s music regardless of it being written for a film. As a fan of this genre I have listened to countless hours of electronic music and an album like “Mayhem” ranks with the best. Never dull, always enjoyable, with the right balance between dreamy and frantic, “Mayhem” takes me to a place I am always happy to visit. The composer experiments both with romance and violence and there are pieces like the suffocating “ID-7” while at the other end of the spectre I find peaceful gems like “9 o’clock”.

There is something for everyone in “Mayhem” as far as electronic music goes; from pure melodic retro to EDM to industrial there are 35 cues on this album and you can easily make 3,4 tonally different playlists from them. I still think that this score would work even better as companion to a computer game because it was so dark and immersive that it made me want to be part of that world, of the adventure.

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 47 / 69

Album excellence: 61%

Highlights:
Welcome to TSC
9 O’Clock
Drop of Water
Deep S**t
File 45A
Thumbs Turned
The Reaper
Dead Inside
Two Pepperoni Pizzas
Time to Work
Extreme Measures
On The Count Of
Allergies
Make Your Move
Showdown
Can We Talk
F**k This Place
So What Now
Irene Smythe
Bullets Are For Cowards
You Belong Here
Surrender
Mine’s Bigger
The King Falls

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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