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Damien: Omen II
The weakest in the series, but still good. -Isaac Engelhorn (12/19/2001)
Track List:
    The Album

  1. Main Title 5:03
  2. Runaway Train 2:38
  3. Claws 3:14
  4. Thoughtful Night 3:05
  5. Broken Ice 2:19
  6. Fallen Temple 2:55
  7. I Love You, Mark 4:37
  8. Shafted 3:00
  9. The Knife 3:21
  10. End Title (All the Power) 3:24

    The Film Soundtrack

  11. Main Title 2:03
  12. Face of the Antichrist 2:20
  13. Fallen Temple 1:33
  14. Aunt Marion's Visitor :36
  15. Another Thorn 1:18
  16. A Ravenous Killing 3:07
  17. Snowmobiles 1:11
  18. Broken Ice 2:21
  19. Number of the Beast 1:33
  20. Shafted 3:00
  21. The Daggers 1:56
  22. Thoughtful Night 2:36
  23. I Love You, Mark 4:12
  24. Runaway Train 1:10
  25. The Boy Has to Die 1:24
  26. All the Power and End Title 3:14

Total Time: (68:00)

Composed by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Conducted by:
Lionel Newman

Performed by:
The National Philharmonic Orchestra (the first 10 tracks only)

I'm not entirely sure how I should judge this score. Should it be judged on its own merits entirely, or should it be definitively placed alongside its brothers in the series? Maybe I can do a little of both. Damien: Omen II is what I consider to be, by far, the weakest link in Goldsmith's Omen Trilogy, yet despite this, I also think that it is far more superficially entertaining than the original Omen score, and it is hardly comparable to its successor, the great and mature The Final Conflict.

What I'm actually stuck on judging well here is the "noise" factor of the score. Your love of any of the Omen scores really depends on how well you are at accepting such dissonant music. We know that there are about half a million people who at least claim to be huge fans of Goldsmith's Omen score, despite its chaotic, cacophanous nature. Personally, I love that type of music, but even I have a point at which I feel it gets to be too much, and actually lacking even the maturity found in the original Omen score, part II is the loudest, shrillest, and most obnoxious of the series. At some points, the music simply goes so overboard that it's nearly impossible not to skip forward.

It also seems to me that the Damien score relies a little too heavily on its predecessor. Not that I would normally have anything against that, it's just that it's more of a James Horner type of thing to use a previous score in a series as a crutch while building the sequel (no offense, Jerry). Fortunately this didn't carry over to The Final Conflict, which was entirely different. This score however, takes too many bits and pieces of The Omen, rearranging them into itself. We have many little pieces and bits of cues redone to fit the second picture, like the use of "The Death of Mrs. Baylock" from The Omen used in the "crow" tracks when a woman is being pecked to death (hehe). Add this to the fact that the "Ave Satani" theme from the original is back in large quantities, and you have a product that you might wish was a little more original.

Another failing of this score is its use of odd synth effects. Goldsmith's electronics have always been fairly hit-and-miss, and I believe that Damien can easily be qualified as a "miss". Of course Jerry did have some fine, even downright incredible uses of synth in his scores of the time; just listen to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Even some synthy scores that sounded corny were perfectly suitable and enjoyable for the films that they were written for, like Logan's Run. While more prevalent on the tracks from the film as opposed to the album rerecording (both of which are represented on the disc), these "twangs" that supplement the orchestral music get grating very quickly.

Now that I've done so much complaining, you probably think that I hate the score. Not so. I think that it's actually one of Jerry's better scores overall, and it basically blows anything that the man writes nowadays out of the water. While the force of the chorus may get intolerable in places, its actual use in the score is more refined and the arrangements sound better than in the original score, which Jerry admittedly gives choral arrangement credit to his friend Arthur Morton, since Jerry was out of practice with chorus at the time. By the time the second film had rolled around, Goldsmith was better equipped to work with the choir, and it shows.

The most unfortunate aspect of the expanded CD release from Varese is the fact that the actual film score was performed by a Los Angeles group and not the usual suspects, The National Philharmonic Orchestra, like the music from the original album rerecording. It is told in Robert Townson's excellent (as usual) liner notes, that the astronomically high price of releasing the music directly from the film would have cost more than simply rerecording a suite of the music with an orchestra in England. The natural choice was to do the recording with the National Philharmonic for the original album release. While all of the sound quality is good, it is noticeable far weaker in the music directly from the film.

Really thinking about it, this is most definitely the weakest score in the series, and I would suggest that you pick up the other two first. It's no wonder that Townson held out on releasing this until after the others, as this probably has the least going for it. Still, it's nice to now be able to obtain the entire set of music from the trilogy, and completists should not be dissapointed with this disc. I actually think that if you are a true film score fan, you are almost obligated to purchase all three of these scores; just put this one last on your priority sheet.

Damien: Omen II is Copyright 1978/2001 Varese Sarabande. Produced by Jerry Goldsmith. Deluxe edition produced by Nick Redman and Robert Townson. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.

Just in case you didn't know, this was the 100th review on Yay!