Musings About Music In Film

31 Days: Damien - Omen II

bfi-00n-2dv Few musical trilogies are as perfect as the trifecta of The Omen, Damien - Omen II, and The Final Conflict, all composed by Jerry Goldsmith over a five-year period. All three have fairly individual styles; The Omen is a very stately score even with the ferocious interludes of 'Ave Satani', Damien is vicious as hell, and The Final Conflict has a the feel of a biblical epic, and they all still feel like belonging to the main body of work. But Damien has always got the short straw, maybe because that, out of the three, it is the most dissonant, the most downright violent and visceral, and because it features Goldsmith's trademark blend of electronic elements.

And it really is an intense piece of work. Famously described on the cover of its soundtrack album as "A Black Mass", Damien is a truly hair-raising experience. Take for example the springy synthesiser stabs that accompany the raven that is the harbinger of doom in the film (and which also pecks a pesky journalist's eyes out), or the even more intense choral work than the first movie used when Damien gives off his death stare. The more propulsive modification of 'Ave Satani' gives the film its own unique theme, and adds to the picture's urgency. There's nothing to contrast the darkness here, no sweet music for a young child or hopeful score for a second coming, here there is only clear winner and that is the antichrist. Damien ends with that thought, with himself walking down the steps of the burning museum, now fully aware of his powers, as the original 'Ave Satani' comes to a portentous and powerful chorus before launching into a reprise of the new version. The cue is called 'All The Power', and that is exactly what it contains.


Damien - Omen II was originally released on vinyl in a re-recorded version, as was the norm with many soundtracks of that time. The original tracks were finally issued in 2001 by Varese Sarabande, although to many the album configuration is the stronger presentation. -CB