"The Omen" was a hugely successful film, though the extent of its success was perhaps a surprise to the film studios. Naturally a sequel was called for and "Damien: Omen II" was the result. Though some sequels fail to live up to the standards of the original on which they are based, this second Omen keeps the essential elements of the formula and heightens them into a very effective movie. There is a new director and a completely new principal cast, including a now adolescent Damien. However the linchpin of the formula, which establishes the family bond with the original movie, remains in the form of a new but familiar soundtrack from composer Jerry Goldsmith who had received an oscar for the first movie.
Unlike "The Omen" which was recorded once to be used on both the film soundtrack and the album release, "Damien" was actually recorded twice for financial reasons as explained in the CD sleeve notes. When this happens, it offers the composer the opportunity to re-cut, re-combine and re-arrange the film music to make something more satisfying for a listening-only experience, but it also means that some film material may be left out because it can't quite be made to fit into the required album format. On this Deluxe Edition, both recorded versions are fully preserved giving us the opportunity to compare and contrast those differences, the track listings very helpfully being split into two sections "The Album" and "The Film Soundtrack". We have Fallen Temple composed for and unused in the film, but present on the album. On the film soundtrack we also have previously unrelease music which did not make it onto the album version, including Aunt Marion's Visitor and Snowmobiles. This latter track is one of the brief happy moments in the film, just like the initial statement of the "Love Theme" in the first movie.
So what is the music like? As previously stated there is clear family resemblance to its predecessor, including the use of lyrics and thematic material (in particular the "Ave Satani" Black Mass chant). This is certainly not a rehash, but a distinct musical experience in its own right. There is an even greater use of voices and a much more vigorous tempo generally. Livening up this tempo is a funky even playful feel with a few electronic effects thrown in for good measure. Overall the effect is that this movie positively relishes in its dark evil world, which seemed to be more a source of horror for the original "Omen". Following some events which restate the boy's origins and set the tone for the movie to come, the continuing story moves on a few year to a Damien who is now looked after by relatives (played by William Holden and Lee Grant) of his Thorn step-parents who were killed in the previous film. Damien attends a military academy, and learns there who he really is. At first the is terrified by the revelation, but he soon comes to accept and welcome his destiny. Alongs the way the movie treats us to a number of grisly death scenes, which become the major set pieces for the soundtrack. These include Broken Ice" (with its wonderful downward slide at the end), Shafted and A Ravenous Killing (these latter two also displaying a certain wit in the track titles themselves - remember the lift-shaft scene and the ravens?).
This Deluxe Edition is the sister album of The Omen Deluxe Edition and has the same excellent production values, produced by Robert Townson for Varese Sarabande, with Lionel Newman conducting The National Philharmonic Orchestra. It sits very nicely alongside "The Omen" with its Green cover contrasting with the original's red. The album can also be found at the same online stores using the following links: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, or Amazon.com in the US.