The seventeen-track score composed by the Saskatoon band The Garrys is hauntingly befitting for the spooky season.
Last year, the local band was asked to compose and perform an original score for the 1922 silent film Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages. The score debuted and was performed by the band at the Roxy Theatre on Oct. 25, 2019. The artists decided to record the soundtrack with Grey Records this year, which released on Oct. 2.
The album, Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, is 76 minutes long and full of character. With creative track titles such as “The Dance of St. Vitus” and “Djävulen,” no detail is forgotten. Their surf-rock sound is hair-raising enough to fit perfectly with the film, and interesting enough to be a fascinating listen on its own.
The Garrys consists of three sisters from Saskatoon, all of which are experienced musicians. Bassist Julie Maier brings the groove and guitarist Erica adds the colour while Lenore holds the band down on the drums.
The band has made quite a name for themselves in Saskatchewan, performing at many festivals and events such as the after party for the 2019 Saskatchewan Music Awards. The soundtrack for Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages is their most recent released project.
This album is outside the band’s usual comfort zone. The sisters experiment with vocals and incorporate new instruments, brewing together a masterpiece. Using their voices and breathing to create chant-like sounds, it’s as if they put themselves in the shoes of the witches found in the film. In the track “Apelone’s Dream,” they chant lyrics as if they are reciting a witch’s spell.
Not only do they venture out with their vocals, they transform their sound by using an accordion and trombone in the soundtrack, which is unique to their usual guitar, bass and drums setup.
Both are great additions and add a layer of eeriness only these instruments can create. The trombone makes an appearance in “Maria the Weaver” and does not hold back. Playing full, sustained notes, the trombone gives a dark and heavy personality to the character of Maria, providing her with a death march.
The Garrys did an excellent job of knowing how much juice to put in each song. The simplicity in the instrumentals does not distract from the screen, adding the right dose of mystery to accompany the film. The percussion especially features a slower and march-like beat in many songs, creating feelings of eagerness — alerting the audience that the end is nigh.
The added elements of the accordion and spell-like chanting makes one of the more supernatural songs, “Apelone’s Dream” really enjoyable. These additions make it stand out as one of the highlights on the album.
Beginning with a magnificent build up, the song launches into an accordion playing four looping chords. As the song progresses, The Garrys haunt you with a chant and masterfully transition into a creepy waltz tailor-made for a nightmare. “Apelone’s Dream” is a marvelous concoction of musical perfection for a film about witchcraft.
This is the ideal film and soundtrack for Halloween, and fits so well in the Roxy Theatre. Upon hearing what The Garrys created, the upcoming movie screening is sure to entertain.Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, soundtrack included, is playing again at the Roxy Theatre on Oct. 30. In addition to this screening, The Garrys are having a Halloween Facebook watch party for the film on Oct. 31.
Photo: File | Thomas Garchinski