[Hellraiser sleeve]"The Consequences of Raising Hell: The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser" (Album, 1987)

Solar Lodge

Back in 1987 when this record first appeared in specialist shops like Forbidden Planet 2, rather than record shops, it did so with no advance publicity. The unsettling cover art by Trevor Brown immediately caught my eye and along with the fact that it was written and performed by Coil seemed reason enough to buy it. However, the 6:50 price tag for a 10-inch which had no track listing on the cover seemed reason enough not to buy it. A week passed and I made another visit to FB2 and curiosity got the better of me. I parted with my 6:50 and left with a record I had never heard, by a group I had never heard and I had no idea how many tracks there were.

Once opened, I knew it had to be good. Firstly, the cool sleeve design is carried through to the record itself which is in clear vinyl, with blood-red labels featuring more of Brown's art. There is no definition between the two sides. No 'side 1', 'side 2', no 'A' or 'B', just track listings. There isn't even a playing speed which (after a short while!) I found to be 33 RPM. One side features three tracks, the other has eleven. Of the 'first' three tracks, Main Title is by far the best - truly eerie and unnerving music. The music found here was eventually dropped from the finished film because it was apparently thought to be too unusual and disturbing for American audiences.

The other eleven brief tracks are constantly changing. This is because they were recorded for various commercials in the UK. From the wind pipes and wooden percussion of the Peruvian influenced Liquer and Natural Gas, to the crazy fairground 'plinky plonk' of Video Recorder. The longest of the eleven tracks is Accident Insurance and is only just over two minutes. In fact, the average track length of the eleven is barely over one minute. My three personal favourites across both sides are Main Title, Perfume and Accident Insurance.

Even allowing for the fact that one side wasn't even recorded for the Hellraiser project, the first three tracks are still a totally original and off-the-wall soundtrack that would have enhanced Clive Barker's entertaining film no end. 7/10

Alan Strode (April, 2005)

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