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Soundtrack Review

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Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Hans Zimmer
Label: Sony Classical
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 October 2016

Sony Classical release Hans Zimmer's score for Inferno, the latest movie in Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series. The film finds the famous symbologist on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks, a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s population...

For those that still dig out Hans Zimmer's incredibly scores for The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons no doubt, like me, you were expecting another epic and adrenaline pumping soundtrack. Sadly, and I don't know what happened, but Zimmer turns in something which stylistically is all over the place. It feels like he's just phoned in a b-movie horror score.

First things first. For the previous movies, Zimmer employed hauntingly beautiful themes that were liberally layered with a rich choral backing. This, on occasion, had the ability to send shivers down the listener's spine.

What Zimmer delivers for Inferno is a rather flat score which seems to have no main themes (other than a few echoes of the previous scores set pieces) and no music that makes you sit up and take notice. This is an atmospheric background score that sounds very out of place for the series. Now, I wasn't expecting a carbon copy of the previous scores, but I was expecting - especially considering this is the great Zimmer - something with a bit of passion.

There are some odd stylistic choices too. Over the course of this album we here noises which sound like an ice cream van ('Maybe Pain Can Save Us' - which also has a segment that sounds like the main theme to Channel 4's '90s game show The Crystal Maze); what sounds like the electronic manipulation of the sound of a coin spinning; and a noise that sounds like an electronic version of someone blowing bubbles (both housed in 'The Logic Of Tyrants').

The score only starts to sound like it's going somewhere when there are nods to the previous scores ('Via Dolorosa #12 Apartment 3C'). In fact, the only tracks that are worthy of your time, and don't reference previous scores, are 'Remove Langdon'; and 'Beauty Awakens The Soul To Act'. Okay, at a push 'The Cistern' is also interesting - but would have been an instantly forgettable track on the previous scores. And then, totally out of the blue, we have 'Our Own Hell On Earth' which sounds like something Vangelis would have rejected from his score for Blade Runner.

No doubt Zimmer and the director talked about the musical style that was to be conveyed, and I'm sure it works for the movie. It's just that it sounds so dull in isolation. I had high expectations for this score and can't help feeling disappointed with the end result.


Darren Rea

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