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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Justice League: The New Frontier
Music by Kevin Manthei
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1066 (US)
21 Tracks 57:26 mins

The recent straight-to-DVD release of animated film Justice League: The New Frontier, based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cook, which tells of the formation of the League, was scored by Kevin Manthei, who is probably best known for his music for many video games. However, this is certainly not his first foray into the animation world, with his score for Invader Zim a popular favourite. His recent work includes games like Marvel Universe Online and Kung Fu Panda, as well as films like the anime-inspired Batman: Gotham Knight and The 24th Day.
Manthei's score for Justice league is largely achieved by synths and samples, though live trumpet and woodwinds do feature. The result however is a very epic orchestral sound, unlike many contemporary animation scores, inspired by the likes of Bernard Herrmann and Aaron Copland.
The album opens with a questing, mysterious theme over the "Main Titles," which is followed by some very dark, ominous sounds in "The Centre/Hal Shot Down," before a poignant ending.
Manthei's score is filled with leitmotifs, in the old tradition, with themes for The Centre, Flash, Hal, Green Lantern and J'onn J'onzz and these are woven into the score that follows which, as one would expect from an animated film, closely follows the action. There is much dark, mysterious and downright menacing music for the villains, and of course plenty of exciting action material, at its most powerful featuring choir, with some fine heroic writing, and the film noir elements largely surrounding the J'onn J'onzz character, all sax, piano and muted trumpet, add interesting contrast. The noble, trumpet-lead "Victory" brings a fine conclusion to the score, with the "End Credits" suite splendidly reprising many of the score's principle themes.
The accompanying booklet features plenty of artwork from the film, together with detailed notes on the score by both the composer and also Michael Goguen, Supervising Producer of the film.
Go to for further details, samples and of course to order your copy of this fine album.


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