Devil – Music by Fernando Velázquez
Varèse Sarabande – 2011
From the first pulse pounding note of this score “Devil” roars with authority. I’m guessing Fernando Velázquez has made Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock smile up in cinema heaven. This first cue is engineered and mixed by Steve McLaughlin to absolute perfection. The way the grimacing brass is separated from the driving strings to the booming drums that hit unexpectedly, it’s audio done at its finest.
“Rosary” has swaying suspense music that could be compared to a hungry spider patiently waiting to strike on its web. The low bassoon and percussion keeps the threat of something lethal always near.
I marvel at Velázquez’s grasp of the orchestra. The way he uses silence and softer orchestration in “Broken Glass” is stunning.
The orchestra moans deep counter balancing the brass streaking across “Jesus in a Pancake.”
When Velázquez strikes in “Jelly toast” you feel the power because of the quietness leading up to and after the moment.
The slashing style with the strings in “Firetruck” while the orchestra is at a low rumble is a highly effective way of supercharging suspense. The strings picking is another technique Velázquez chooses to ratchet up the intensity.
“The Mechanic” charges forward with thrilling result. The strings, which at moments tip side to side will scare you. The middle of this cue has some dreamy moments that offer emotional balance.
There is a tug-of-war of momentum in “Blood on the Ceiling.” One second you are dashing forward and then the next being dragged slowly back. Velázquez manipulates these movements expertly.
“Hanging” is a six-minute high-wire act of anticipation. You can feel that something is going to happen, it’s just a matter of time.
Suspicion is high as any character could be dangerous one in “The Person Closest To You.” Doubt, fear and uncertainly are played to the max in this eleventh cue.
Fernando Velázquez doesn’t give anything away, making you work and sweat out “Twist.” His composition takes you in one direction and then doubles back to flip the tables just when you’ve thought you figured out where the track is going.
The orchestra is controlled to tell of the dramatic story of the “The Accident.” The way this is achieved is subtly powerful. Potently somber, Velázquez captures tragedy with vicious soft strokes.
The dark cloud of terror drifts away somewhat as “Rescue” plays.
The last track is an (Alternate Mix) of the title “Devil.” Nasty teeth baring brass and deep orchestral power growls as strings slash and drums pound. This is classic suspense music with completely modern sounds and styling. Fernando Velázquez has certainly learned from the masters and his work shows tremendous command over the language of film composing. What I think is most impressive about this is not the trendy sounds or touches that many composers use today. Rather he helps tell the story of this beautifully dark suspenseful film.
DEVIL score is in no way something you hear often in films. It’s composed with a connection to the movie in ways that make Fernando Velázquez stand out as a composer that could reach the level of the all-time greats. I can’t say enough good things about the score. It’s my favorite score that I’ve reviewed so far this year and DEVIL was my favorite film from last year.