Pre-Cert is the debut full length from Austria’s Videogram for the solid Cineploit Records, after issuing a duo of well received vinyl cuts over the last two years.
The album is a synthesized take on classic cult movie tropes, presented here in the musical motifs closely identified with a wide variety of genres, from slasher and cannibal films to action and even erotica. Videogram’s approach is one of both old school bass and drums, combined with the crisp synthesizer sounds so closely approximated with the heyday of 1970s and 80s cult cinema.
The main failure of Pre-Cert, however, is the fact that the band’s musical influences and inspirations are just a bit too on the nose, mimicking the stylistic choices of the original composers, rather than running with an original approach, and bringing something new to the table. A track such as “Voorhees Stomp,” for example, takes too literal the influence of Harry Manfredini’s disco-funk theme to Friday the 13th Pt. 3, while “Cobretti” follows the 80s action ideal too closely for comfort.
Instead, the shorter, library influenced synth cues labeled here as “Videogram Ident” are much more successful, bringing to mind the 80s VHS video era fondly with their melodic synth cues, while the track “Horror Express’ falls in line with bands such as Umberto and Zombi, tackling the sequenced horror soundtracks of John Carpenter and Goblin to a “T,” while also not falling into the same plagiarist pitfalls as some of the others tracks on the album.
Granted, Pre-Cert does have its musical moments, but Videogram still have a ways to go before truly being ready to play with the big boys.