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

Friday, March 02, 2007


Music by Tyler Bates
Warner Bros. Records 101479
25 Tracks 59:58 mins

Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel detailing the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, in which 300 Spartan warriors went up against the might of the massive Persian Army opens in the UK on March 23rd, and very impressive it looks from the trailers I have seen, brought to the screen in the manner that Sin City was, with computer generated backgrounds to the action in the forefront.
Having collaborated with composer Tyler Bates on his previous film, the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, Snyder turned to the composer to create the unique soundscape for the picture.
This not being a straight remake of The 300 Spartans film from many decades ago, and in view of the manner in which this film has been brought to the screen, a traditional orchestral score was obviously not the way to go, and Bates has created an impressive and pretty distinctive soundscape, utilisng full orchestra and choir, recorded at London's famed Abbey Road Studios, together with electronics and the haunting vocals of Iranian-born Azam Ali, who was last heard so effectively in Mychael Danna's score for The Nativity Story.
The score is short on melody, I'm afraid, but instead weaves an atmospheric web over the proceedings, with Azam Ali's exotic, ethnic-styled vocals, sometimes supported by choir, combining with said orchestra and electronics, including electric guitars. I know the use of the latter may not sit well with purists, but it is a valid approach for this project and quite effective. In fact the 'bad ass' sound of "Fever Dream" is quite comparable to Christopher Young's writing for the recent Ghost Rider film.
Of course, Bates acknowledges the film's more epic and fateful moments with some powerful crescendos and elegiac moments, sometimes featuring trumpet in time-honoured fashion.
Battle scenes often feature pulse-pounding action writing, with drums and guitars driving things on but, as in "A God King Bleeds," he is not averse to suddenly dropping the odd ethereal moment in here and there.
My favourite track on the album has to be "Returns a King," which starts with a proud a capella choral, before the choir unite with the rest of Bates' forces for a tremendously powerful processional, a feel continued later in "Come and Get Them." But "Goodbye My Love" also comes close, commencing as it does with a mournful trumpet, with Azim Ali taking over, as the track builds in power and intensity to its conclusion.
"Remember Us," concludes the album in fine style - very elegiac, again with trumpet, before building to its impressive finale.
In conclusion, this may not be the most easy listening soundtrack album you will come across, but it is certainly an interesting and affecting experience, and I cannot wait to see how it fares in the film, where I am sure it will combine perfectly with the amazing visual style on display.
The 300 album is released on March 6th, and is also available in a special edition deluxe-version Digipak, which includes a 16-page booklet as well as three two-side trading cards. Visit the following websites for more on the film and its score:- and


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