John Carpenter – Lost Themes III: Alive After Death

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Sacred Bones Records
Released: 2021
Buy Album: https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/products/sbr265-john-carpenter-lost-themes-iii-alive-after-death
Band Website: https://johncarpentermusic.bandcamp.com/

Band line-up:

John Carpenter – Synthesizer
Cody Carpenter – Synthesizer
Daniel Davies – Synthesizer

Tracklisting:

1. Alive After Death
2. Weeping Ghost
3. Dripping Blood
4. Dead Eyes
5. Vampire’s Touch
6. Cemetery
7. Skeleton
8. Turning the Bones
9. The Dead Walk
10. Carpathian Darkness

Review

John Carpenter is one of the world’s most renowned film directors of the horror, science fiction and speculative genres, having gained much notoriety for his best-known works including Halloween, The Thing and They Live. However, Carpenter is also a talented musician and composed all the soundtracks to his films, and with the popularity of Synthwave and other retro-infused genres over the last ten years, it is inevitable Carpenter took up his synthesizer once again and started making some new tunes.

“Lost Themes III: Alive After Death”, follows on from the remastering and rerelease of his old soundtracks, but this album is made entirely of new material. For me, this was more than enough to say that Carpenter’s mind had not mellowed a single iota in terms of dark and ghoulish creativity.

Composing alongside his son Cody and godson Daniel Davies, Carpenter begins the album with a tune that will pique the nerves of anyone who grew up playing the Nintendo Entertainment System or has a keen love for retro horror flicks. On one level you would expect Michael Myers to come up behind you and slit your throat but as the tracks progress, you find that this is more than just a trip down memory lane.

As someone who digs all things synthpop and electronic, I was right at home the moment I got to “Weeping Ghost”, which relaxed my transgressive fiction loving mind in all the ways a raconteur like Carpenter can do so. For those who aren’t big fans of long songs, this album has you covered for nothing that lasts longer than five minutes, which is great as anyone who was alive in Carpenter’s heyday will remember that shorter songs were a symbol of the alternative genres and gave tunes replay value – as displayed here.

I wouldn’t say all of this album shines bright for horror fans exclusively, there are a fair number of pleasant tunes like “The Dead Walk” and “Carpathian Darkness,” which are uplifting and would relax anyone who likes pleasant electronic music to calm themselves to after a busy day.

Overall, I would give this album a shot even if you are not familiar with Carpenter’s work, and it will have you appreciating the darker side of life and have you breathing a sigh of nostalgia and bopping about to some very impressive synth music that tells all that synthpop has not faded into obscurity.

A definite must-have for all the Dance With The Dead, Carpenter Brut, Perturbator, and Cold Cave fans among countless others. Keep up the good work, John.

Review by Demitri Levantis
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