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SciFi.com :"300" Soundtrack Review

Category: 300 News
Article Date: February 20, 2007 | Publication: SciFi.com | Author: unknown
Source: http://www.scifi.com/sfw/sound/sfw15035.html

Posted by: maryp


Frank Miller is getting a hell of a lot of good press lately. His properties are being snapped up and flung onto movie screens faster than he can draw them. 300, a retelling of the battle of Thermopylae, is the latest. Composer Tyler Bates (reviewed here most recently for his excellent work on the whack-job horror flick Slither) offers up a most interesting if slightly flawed effort here.

The impressive scale of the score ... blends together well to create a modern yet ethnic sound, well suited for the heroes in the film.


The film is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. It's been adapted for the big screen by director Zack Snyder (and yes, Watchmen seems to be coming along nicely, thank you). 300 is the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., in which 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas, faced the entire Persian army.

Bates' work here will surprise those familiar with his earlier efforts, such as The Devil's Rejects, Dawn of the Dead and Slither. Middle Eastern influences abound. Little of a melodic nature is going on here; Bates relies largely on voice and percussion to build layers of tonal coloring. Too, most of the cues here are on the brief side, none being longer than three and a half minutes. The one criticism one might make is that he doesn't vary his attack to any great extent, although another way to put it is that he has been consistent with his thematic approach to the subject matter. Still, the reliance on percussion and an essential refusal to deal with melody results in a score that is listenable and stirring but not at all hummable.

The disk opens with "To Victory," a driving piece of music with a descending string figure and an eerie semi-vocal background. It hints at discordancies yet to come, and sets the stage for Bates' stylistic approach to composition for this film.

As mentioned above, most of the cues rely strongly on voice to project mood, this being accomplished to a great extent by the Middle Eastern sensibilities of Iranian-born singer Azam Ali. Her voice is a crucial part of Bates' tonal palette.

 


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