Tropical Sun by FULCI
FULCI LIVES!!! Or though apparently now, his gore-soaked spirit lives on while being channeled through the most appropriate medium possible…you guessed it, DEATH METAL. Nonetheless appropriate as it is death metal from The Godfather of Gore’s homeland of Italy; home of the original ultimate conning, bloodthirsty, & murderous criminals with no regard for humanity’s well-being, The Vatican… and yeah, the mafia & the Roman Empire as well, I supposed are a close second. EITHER WAY, the stunning landscape of Italy’s shores are also home of a vibrant slice of cinema history that is ever so near and dear to my (and countless other horror film lovers and freaks alike) heart, the giallo horror film. If you are unfamiliar with the giallo or the work of Lucio Fulci in general, be good to yourself, scroll to the bottom of this page, and take note of the list of essential giallo films I have provided for the enhancement your soul. You are welcome in advance. Although, I also assume most of you actually taking the time to be reading this site are forever down with the sickness of giallo & the work of the founding fathers pioneering the genre’s blood-splattered and mysterious craft, so in your case I apologize in advance; because we are recapping its gorey glory anyway GODDAMNIT. The giallo began as a classic crime/pulp/mystery/killer favor of film, and eventually burst into full-blown horror & sex-crazed gore insanity with the best soundtracks ever committed to film and/or vinyl, thanks to directors such as Argento, Brava, Lenzi, and of course… Lucio Fulci. Fulci specifically, whom of which this album by this band of the same name are obviously worshipping (and rightfully so), is the true rebellious hero of the 70’s/80’s Italian horror genre. A film director by trait by a boundary-pushing visionary mastermind by definition, his use over-the-top graphic violence to advance the often times better than they had any right to be, plot, of his films may of earned him notoriety at the time, but has firmly immortalized him in legendary cult status today. So much so as 40 years after the release of his iconic masterwork and international smash hit, Zombie (or Zombi 2, depending on your geographical location), a disgustingly awesome death metal band has made an entire record about it. Don’t you just love getting that warm, fuzzy feeling when things come full circle like that? Me too, especially when the circle is used in an an ancient voodoo ceremony to extract the dead from their graves in order to feast on the living. Which reminds me…
Voodoo Gore Ritual. If there’s ANY way to get my attention other than an actual fight scene between a zombie and a real-live shark, it’s an 80’s Italian synth horror inspired hook of an opening track with a title like that. Suddenly, 30 seconds into a record by a band that was literally constructed to worship the best horror films ever and I’m as helplessly locked in as any poor, short-lived victim of flesh-eating and/or eyeball gauging as depicted in Fulci’s Zombie. And there’s plenty of them. Just like there’s plenty of quality pieces death metal to serve as a soundtrack to any sort of cannibal holocaust on FULCI’s Tropical Sun album. Going into this record with nothing but excitement and admiration for the glorious organ-exploding craft of Italian horror, my ONLY concern was.. will the actual music hold up the almighty subject matter it is written about or will it simply get lost in it’s menacing & untouchable shadow? Well, my short answer is… fucking RIGHT it holds up. And the only shadow it gets lost in is the spider-web, blood, & bat infested corner of my psyche as I sing their tunes to myself just a little too loudly in a public setting. FULCI deliver every bit of flesh-dangling and slam-worthy death metal you could ever ask and more; with an endless amount of riffs, gruesome bass bellows, eerie synth & cemetery soundtrack vibes, and even the drum machine they employ sounds pretty fucking solid. I would just like to be clear that I am definitely not a huge supporter of drum machines (especially in death metal) but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and in this case FULCI do it right. The sound of the percussion is thankfully not as overproduced and fake as the low-budget bloody fatality special effects that it is helping to orchestrate. Thankfully though, the rest of the band is definitely boundary-pushing, bone-breaking, and gruesome as the mentioned matter of splatter. As what they lack in the form of human (or is it ??) drummer, they make up for tenfold with the brilliant display of the synth and/or keyboard. Playing like an obscure horror soundtrack interspersed with (phenomenally selected) samples from the film running alongside FULCI’s flavor of guttural & explosive death metal makes it a perfect record experience for any self-loving horror film aficionado.
“Legion of the Resurrected” is a masterfully constructed piece of high energy galloping slam metal bookended by incantation-spewing tribal bongo patterns and the echoes of a slow and bleeding old school death metal riff; perfecting encapsulating what this band has to offer. As my fellow gore-hounds are salivating at the mouth, I am still headbanging to all the monstrous riffs and straight to the point and the jugular, nothing fancy, death metal song structure these songs are built upon. None of their tunes are here to infect your brain matter for too long, as none of them reach even the 4-minute mark; they’d simply rather kill you quickly, summon your corpse back into existence, and do it again. Repeatedly. So… Where do I sign up? Weaponizing this album structure, FULCI lend themselves to play out much like a more “core”, guttural, and slamming version of Mortician; combining elements of the (always beloved here) old school death metal with chugging and squealing aspects of the aforementioned “core” side of death metal. Not that I am the most frequent visitor of the core/slam realm, but I do appreciate it much when it is treated with respect and doesn’t cheapen the value, and it doesn’t get much more respectful than in a song such as “Eye Full Of Maggots.” Infectious as a zombie rage virus itself, the catchiness and insane ferociousness of this song in particular makes it a point where the Tropical Sun is beaming down at its highest and most menacing.
FULCI’s also prove to be a band not to blow your mind with any sort of grand technical display of instrumentation, just simple ferocity and leave your brains (and what ever other orange you like) at the door, pit-opening fun. Having fun in death metal is what I live for and what I’d most likely like to do for, so, what better way than Under The Tropical Sun by FULCI? It is certainly an honorable piece to serve the work of one the greatest ever, Godfather of Gore himself, and at this time I cannot think of a better compliment than that. Going back to the opening, Fulci DOES live… and is currently rolling over in his grave to allow adequate room for headbanging to Tropical Sun. He’d be proud. Dig it up. LITERALLY!!!
Gym Rating: 5/5
Check em out!!
GREAT LIST OF ESSENTIAL GIALLO FILMS: