Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Saturday, October 14, 2006

SOUNDTRACK REVIEW - Left Behind: Eternal Forces

Left Behind: Eternal Forces
Music by Chance Thomas
Left Behind Games
12 Tracks 38:16 mins

Chance Thomas is celebrated for his music to the Lord of the Rings games and also for Peter Jackson's King Kong: the Game, which I had the great pleasure of reviewing on this site. His latest effort is for this first title for Left Behind Games, which is based on the Left Behind novel series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, which have sold more than 65,000,000 books. The game is of the real-time strategy kind, and is described as "set in post-apocalyptic New York City. Players control the Tribulation Force as they attempt to save New Yorkers from the Global Peacekeepers controlled by the Antichrist."
Chance's music is very different from his approach for the King Kong game. Here he uses a much more contemporary palette, mixing orchestra and electronics, Media Ventures style, achieving a similarly exciting and propulsive sound, complete with electric guitars, courtesy of Rich Dixon.
But it's not all bombast and in fact starts off with a very soulful version of "Amazing Grace," vocalised by Tata Vega. Thomas then introduces his main thematic material in the following "Of Earth and Heaven, which is all very muscular, save for a surprising acoustic guitar interlude. The following and title track is a poignant affair, piano-lead and with a hint of sampled choir. Next up is "Street Fight," which powers along, before receiving an heroic lift when strings and choir again enter. "Tribulation Forces" continues very much in the same vein, though takes a much darker, menacing turn, before becoming almost spiritual with subtle wordless vocal, then ending determinedly. "Foreshadowing" is a fateful affair, with an ethnic feel, but again sports a determined ending. The synths-dominated "Left behind Reprise" presents a much lighter take on the main thematic material, soaring at first, broad later, then piano-lead to close.
"Ground Zero" plods along menacingly, before the ethnic approach from before gives it a lift. "Dawn Patrol" starts out as a tense and expectant mover, then receives quite an elegiac treatment of the main theme on woodwinds, courtesy of Daron Bradford, and strings. The brief "Heroes Tribute" is sounded by Tony DiLorenzo, lead trumpet of the Utah Orchestra, with brief strings bolstering it at the end. Another version of "Of Heaven and Earth" follows, for acoustic guitar and strings. "End Credits" concludes the score with variations on the main themes, before Ms Vega returns to again provide a soulful conclusion to affairs.
This is another impressive and exciting score from a composer who is a master of his art, and it doesn't seem possible really that he hasn't yet progressed to big screen assignments, but then maybe that is a good thing for game score enthusiasts, as increasingly I'm hearing better scores for the medium than I am for film.
The Left behind: Eternal Forces soundtrack is available for preview and download at Check it out!

From Costa Communications


(Los Angeles, CA) Musician/composer Andrew Gross scores "Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny" for New Line Cinema and director Liam Lynch. Starring Jack Black, Kyle Gass and Will Ferrell, "Pick of Destiny" tells the story of how "The D" became the self proclaimed greatest band on Earth. Gross and Black have a long history together - the two were Crossroads High School classmates in his native Los Angeles-- and Gross had done strings for several songs on Tenacious D's platinum selling debut album. The film opens November 17.
It is no surprise that Gross would work with former classmate Jack Black. The two had been discussing a collaboration for a long while. After shows or whenever I saw him - in fact, I think even left messages on his voice mail - I'd say, "Dude, if you ever need any strings or orchestra I'd love to do it," says Gross. When the movie came along, the promised call came from Black.
Though he and collaborator John King were first brought aboard to provide orchestral and choral arrangements to the songs used in the film, it quickly became evident that the film needed dramatic underscore of an orchestral nature. The score enhances the film's comedic moments by playing them big. "The approach to the score was really fun," Gross says, "It changes from cue to cue depending on where we are in the film and what tone we're going after." For instance, in a scene where Jack Black's "JB" is getting beat up by "Clockwork Orange"-looking characters, the composers rode the line between making it regal and classical like Stanley Kubrick would, but still scoring to the picture. Also, the duo used a choir and orchestra when the JB and KG talk about their destiny to be together, making fun of the ridiculousness of the conversation.
"One thing I like about Tenacious D is that they're two guys who just want to play the best rock 'n' roll music," Gross says. "The movie is about how can they rock harder than anyone else. What do Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Angus Young have that they don't?"
Gross has scored and written music for dozens of feature films and television shows, including the upcoming feature "Forfeit," a thriller with religious overtones for which Gross created an atmospheric, textural and dark score. Seizing the opportunity to explore a different genre, he employed fresh elements including a young boy soprano and a percussive instrument called a Mazdaphone, a 1970s Mazda hubcap with a spring strung across it.


Post a Comment

<< Home