CD: Warhammer 40,000 – Spacemarine (2011)

November 28, 2011 | By

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Rating: Excellent

Label: Sumthing Else / Released: September, 2011

Tracks & Album Length: 19 tracks / (51:06)

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Special Notes: 6-page colour foldout booklet.

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Composer: Cris Velasco, Sascha Dikiciyan

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Review:

Within four Pirates of the Caribbean films, composer Hans Zimmer and his colleagues have written a handful of kind-of new themes reworked with material from The Rock and other Big Action Hits from Remote Control Studios, but there’s more originality and clever writing to be found in Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan Spacemarine compact score, illustrating some of the great work that lies within video game soundtracks.

Boasting a big orchestral sound worthy of any major motion picture, the pair’s central theme is unsurprisingly heroic (“Prelude to War”), and works well in sole orchestral or electronic fusion arrangements because of the fine nuances layered into the writing.

The impressive, heavy brass in “Against All Odds” and the melodic strings in the brief “Reunion with Mipa” recall Jerry Goldsmith (particularly The Edge), and in “Battlements” a maritime jig is spun fast & furiously into a fast-spiraling theme. Wholly classical with some amazing syncopated rhythms, the pair’s writing in this cue is clearly drawn from John Williams’ dense action writing (there’s a heavy nod to the Indian Jones series), but with a wonderful flair for period: militaristic brass, sweeping strings, and rumbling kettle drums suggest a constant struggle as oppressors make brutal, incessant attempts to break through protective barriers.

In “Valkypie Pun,” the orchestra is blended with a rock beat, numerous snarling brass, and a 5-note motif that spirals between various instrumental groupings. Other action cues offer a more intense blend of electronics and heavy percussion textures, and the album’s apex, in terms of ballsy experimentalism, is “The Weirdboy,” a brief cue dominated by grinding metal tones, fat percussion, and an evocation of a WWII Stuka airplane roaring downward for an assault.

Cue lengths vary from a hair over a minute to several minutes, but the album maintains a decent continuity, with more thematic-based cues offering some respite from the heavy action cuts. Only qualms: no info on the composers and the score in the CD booklet.

Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan’s score is a really impressive work, and Sumthing Else’s CD is one of the year’s best action albums, filled with mystery, heroism, and gnarly danger. Great fun from end-to-end.

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© 2011 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB: VelascoDikiciyan — Composer Filmography:  Velasco / DikiciyanSoundtrack Release

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