Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc. (SE-2023-2)
Release Date: 2006
Conducted by Nic Raine
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
|1.||Welcome To Gallowmere||6:07|
|3.||Home Of The Dead||6:32|
|4.||A Fiery Confrontation||4:15|
|7.||Hall Of Heroes||2:15|
|8.||Village Of Madness||4:09|
|11.||George The Pumpkin||4:15|
|14.||A Hero Returns||3:36|
|Total Album Time:||57:16|
|by Brian McVickar
June 8, 2006
I must admit that I am not a video game devotee in the slightest, but I am aware of some great music composed by competent talents for these endeavors, obviously inspired by the large emotive canvases many of these games provide. Howard Shore's recently released score for Soul of the Ultimate Nation was absolutely astounding. Now, with the help of Nic Raine conducting the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, composers Bob & Barn have contributed to Medievil Resurrection. The story apparently concerns a hero raised from the dead, who had once been a coward, charged with fighting an old nemesis, Zarok, who commands a vast zombie army.
"Welcome to Gallowmere" begins with a mysterious a capella choir in a reverent Latin mass idiom, followed by woodwinds and strings sketching out a five note theme, a worried yet curious tune, which then proceeds through variations in other sections of the orchestra. The choir returns, accompanied this time, to open "The Spell", in a track of darker colors that are not too threatening, somewhat more benign. The pace quickens with snares and a rising, staccato brass and choir mix, leading into a solo violin in Eastern European gestures, and the main theme on piano, augmented by chirping flutes and dark, swirling textures. "Home of the Dead" presents some grand, tragic statements with full choir and orchestra. The chorus carries the melody through the Latin text, paralleled by strings. The last section of the track echoes some of Danny Elfman's work from the late 80's, in its bubbling low end piano and woodwinds bringing a tongue in cheek tone to the mystery.
"A Fiery Confrontation" opens in a flurry, not unlike a bit of Patrick Doyle, and continues into a off-kilter action track of spiraling winds and strings, pounding timpani and rapid brass accents. It gallops along in exciting fashion and yet as in earlier sections, is also imbued with a quirky tone. "Comedy Corpses" lives up to its title in a cartoonish slant, consisting of a quick, syncopated tempo, chirpy flutes and xylophones, all seeming to be barely contained. Pizzicato strings and nodding clarinets open "Gallowmere Waltz", which soon grows much fuller and grander through added choir and orchestra, all in the appropriate ¾ time signature and could certainly be at home in a Harry Potter film.
"Hall of Heroes" returns to a more serious mode, but one full of wonder, with rich, sonorous textures, slightly reminiscent of James Horner's work in animated films. The Elfman-esque quirkiness lurches onto the scene again in "Village of Madness" as if characterizing a waltz slightly out of step, the main theme heard on clarinets, backed by slurring choir, pizzicato strings, horns and piano. The track later picks up the pace further, in an exciting chase mode. "Hilltop Mausoleum" brings the choir to the forefront again, as well as the darker colors, and even a church organ to add an extra dimension of the macabre. The lighter mood is revisited in "Scurvy Docks" and "George the Pumpkin", both full of busy pizzicato strings and woodwinds, the main theme often showing up in trumpets, the latter track developing into racing action similar to "A Fiery Confrontation".
"Zarok's Lair" presents the theme in the choir at a charging pace, while "A Hero Returns" starts unassumingly on winds, chimes and strings before trouble is heralded by snares, brass and choir, all still in a slight tongue in cheek fashion, but no less engaging. It pauses for a wondrous interlude, which carries the track through to its end, the main theme sounding more confident in its range and the choir closing on a satisfied resolution. The "End Titles" initially showcase a gentle, magical flavor with some broader, expansive moments in the strings. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the score, finding it to be almost the parodic flip side to Soul of the Ultimate Nation, a sort of prankster cousin with heroic intentions. It utilizes the orchestra and choir well in an epic tapestry, enjoyable throughout in its melodic quotient, instrumentation and rhythms.
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