Pick Of The Week

[Pick Of The Week - Armageddon (Promo) - by Trevor Rabin]
With all the hoopla surrounding the film ARMAGEDDON earlier this summer, and the box office success it has had, it is surprising that there is still no CD release for Trevor Rabin's score. Sure a release is planned for this fall, but word through the grapevine has been that it might not happen after all. Until I see it in my hands, I won't assume it's going to happen.

With that said, I had the opportunity to get my hands on the promo - yes, there is a promo - of the score to ARMAGEDDON, by Trevor Rabin. The film contained well over 110 minutes of music, and this promo CD is rather short in comparison - only 30 minutes long, with 8 tracks. The reason this is so short is a mystery - part of which can be explained by the fact that the CD contains music solely written by Trevor Rabin, and none of the music by Harry Gregson-Williams. (After all, it's a promo for Rabin, so it should be just his work.)

As is expected with Trevor Rabin, there is some great guitar work - no doubt performed by the man himself - but part of the time it seemed improvised, and without much form. But there is a main theme, and it's a powerful one - evoking images of patriotism, heroism, etc. The music for the oil drillers is a country rock riff, with a guitar and harmonica - definitely providing the appropriate blue-collar worker feel to the scenes. A nice romantic theme for AJ and Grace is interesting because of the slight Irish edge to it. I had been told that the reason for this was due to the success of TITANIC - people would hear this Irish theme and "relive" the emotions they had with TITANIC - except it would be on ARMAGEDDON. I wasn't the only one who noticed this - many people seemed to note it as well.

Some of the orchestrations are not as full as they could have been, and this is a weakness. I'm sure that as Rabin becomes more and more adept at scoring for film (remember, this is really his fourth film), things will flesh out. Technically, the CD is pretty bad - it seems to be recorded very low - even worse than the MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING Academy promo which was released last year. (Those that remember than one will have a lot to complain about!) There are no liner notes, but the CD has a nice silkscreen. The inclusion of a track listing is also a nice touch (it's not uncommon for official promos to be lacking covers or track listings).

Overall ARMAGEDDON contains a pretty good score with a great theme, but it falls into the Media Ventures cliche more times than not. While I enjoy their "percussionistic" style, I think it might be better for new composers to branch out into their own styles. But since it's hard to come up with a theme nowadays, it's always refreshing when the theme is so good that you can leave the theater humming it. It seems to be a rare occurrence when that happens, which is a shame, but ARMAGEDDON at least succeeds on that point.