Top positive review
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A orchestral/choral powerhouse - the CD is more epic than the score within the film, and perhaps the best action score of 2013
on 11 November 2013
Thor: The Dark World is the latest instalment in the Marvel franchise. Composer Brian Tyler has taken over the reins from Patrick Doyle who composed what I thought was a really fantastic score for the first film Thor. Many people were disappointed when it was revealed Doyle would not be scoring TTDW, but I have to say at the outset that Tyler has exceeded my expectations and surpassed Doyle's score in terms of quality. The score to TTWD is huge and epic, with the sort of orchestral and choral power that you don't hear often in Hollywood these days.
The opening track "Thor: The Dark World" tells you all you need to know about the album. You are treated to one of the best variations of the main Thor theme just before the 30 second mark. I love a good theme, and this is one of the best I have heard in a long time. It's only 9 notes long, but it's epic, memorable. Underpinned by choral chanting, your neighbours will think the apocalypse has arrived. If you aren't hooked after this, you really need your ears testing. Reprises of the theme are common across the album, but my favourites were in `Escaping the Realm" (Track 8), where a choir joins the brass for the most epic rendition of the theme on the album. There are also slower versions of this in the second track "Lokasenna" with a solo female vocalist performing the main theme and in Journey To Asgard (Track 16).
The second main theme is that of Loki, introduced in "The Trial of Loki" (Track 6), which is more brooding and sinister. Whilst it isn't as memorable or as bombastic as Thor's theme, it is nonetheless highly effective. There's also another theme for Asgard (Track 3), which I have to confess I didn't notice in the film until the end credits. Nonetheless this theme is performed by the brass section, with choir and a great string ostinato dancing underneath the main melody line. This theme isn't reprised anywhere else though which is a shame.
The recording quality is sublime. The orchestral, choral and percussive parts of the score are perfectly mixed, and sounds huge in a way that's difficult to describe. Having seen the film, I should say that the score as heard on album is significantly better. The main reason being that the epic choir, which is highly prominent on the album is strangely lacking in the film. Like all of Tyler's albums, the running time is lengthy, running in at over 70 minutes and I consider to be good value for money. I would have said most of the strongest material is present within the first third of the album, however the quality is consistently high throughout. The tracks are also not in chronological order within the film, but that didn't bother me.
Overall, this is my favourite superhero score for as long as I can remember. The main reason being the main theme for Thor is extremely catchy and memorable. That 9 note theme just oozes style and power and despite appearing regularly across the album, never gets tired. The orchestration is epic, with a large emphasis on the brass and choir meaning your neighbours are going to be in for a treat. This is music to blast out loud. For fans of Brian Tyler, this is probably his best score since he first appeared on the scene for his stunning score to Children of Dune. After his work on Iron Man 3, and now this epic score for TTDW, I can only hope that Marvel decide that it's time for some musical continuity for their films and get Tyler onside for the other films and for The Avengers sequels. In some ways I dislike writing reviews like this because it's almost too positive, no album can be that good. But after several listens, I really can't find anything to criticise. If you find yourself on this page and managed to navigate to the end of this somewhat lengthy ramble, don't hesitate to buy this score. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed, and if you liked the score within the film, the version on CD/MP3 is substantially better. Enjoy what is probably the best action album of 2013!