VINYL REVIEW: The Return Of the Living Dead Soundtrack

The Return of the Living Dead has had, over the years, a problematic soundtrack to say the least. Problematic in that is was damn near impossible to track down in actual soundtrack form, and problematic in that every home video incarnation seemed to tinker with the music so inherent to the structure of the film, that some copies became unwatchable and unenjoyable to hardcore fans (yours truly included).

Flash forward, and both issues seem to have been resolved. Corrected blu-rays now grace store shelves (or, more accurately, Amazon pages) on both sides of the pond, courtesy of Scream Factory and Second Sight, and the restored original soundtrack is back in print, on gloriously marbled “Tarman” brown and black swirl vinyl. Gothy punk was the name of the game in 1985, and both sides of this gem are jam-packed with classic cuts every horror fan should know by heart. Standouts include “Surfin’ Dead” by the Cramps, “Nothing for You” by TSOL and of course, “Dead Beat Dance” by The Damned. But I don’t have to tell you that, do I?

Sound quality on the new Real Gone Music re-issue is top-shelf. The colored vinyl is pretty darn quiet, even on a revealing micro-line Audio-Technica AT440mlb cartridge, which can sometimes highlight more poorly sourced material than, say, a cheap conical stylus. But all’s good here — virtually no surface noise with tight, punchy drums and crystal clear (well, as clear as ’80s zombie punk can be) vocals. Vinyl mastering was done at Capitol, so this all comes as no surprise. And the actual pressing was handled by Rhino, who’s been consistently putting out the best-sounding “normal” priced catalog titles for the past 15 years or so.

All in all, for fans of the film, punk enthusiasts or soundtrack collectors who don’t want to pay through the nose for original pressings, the new re-issue of ROTLD is a blessing. Just be sure to get yours before the zombie apocalypse, as this edition is limited to 1,000 units.

Now, time for more braaaaiins….

For more info and to buy now, visit realgonemusic.com

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