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  • angels_demonsComposed by Hans Zimmer
  • Sony Classical 88697-52096-2 / 2009 / 54:17

Hans Zimmer takes us back in time in Angels and Demons, the film follow-up to The Da Vinci Code.  1973 to be precise – the year of Tubular Bells.  Listening to this album’s opening track, one can’t help but think of Mike Oldfield’s popular old work.  It’s quite well-done synth pop, but sounds ludicrously cheap.  This quickly becomes the pattern for the whole album, and – given that the only memorable melodic feature is the theme carried over from the previous score – it sounds like the whole thing could have been written and recorded over an afternoon with a couple of pints of Löwenbräu.  But as long as you go into the experience with that in mind – there is no serious dramatic film score here, so don’t expect one – you can, as is often the case with Zimmer, find an enjoyable album of instrumental pop music.

Joining in the party is Joshua Bell, whose prominently-credited violin solos are mostly limited to playing the “Chevaliers de Sangreal” theme from The Da Vinci Code in decent new arrangements.  But there’s nothing as striking here as that score’s grand finale – Zimmer has replaced the opulent grandstanding that dominated the previous score with more “guttural” grandstanding here (it has a dirtier, more raw sound).  It’s all pretty enjoyable to hear – there’s something curiously attractive about Zimmer’s music when he’s in this sort of mood.  The dramatic instincts may be infantile – and it can take a while to get over how cheap it sounds – but for sheer fun factor, it provides a lot of entertainment. ***

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  1. JNH (Reply) on Friday 13 November, 2009 at 13:31

    Personally, I find A&D to be far superior to The Da Vinci Code. Da Vinci was boring (much like the film). It lasted for an hour, in which only the last ten minutes or so were interesting (plus, the aftermentioned “Chevaliers de Sangreal” theme was not composed by Zimmer in the first place). At least here Zimmer took a different approach. This score is much more dynamic, more enthusiastic, and it contains some excellent action music. So of course the music tends to be flat and a bit simplistic, but you do not listen to a Zimmer score for the intellectual challenge in it. If I want that, I’ll grab a Mychael Danna score. Here I’m looking for pure entertainment, and in that sense A&G makes a much more enjoyable listening experience than Da Vince.

  2. bmiami (Reply) on Saturday 14 November, 2009 at 00:14

    More so than “Tubular Bells,” the opening cue is nearly identical (melodically and in terms of arrangement) to Goblin’s theme for Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA!

  3. Vincent (Reply) on Saturday 26 August, 2017 at 21:22

    I also disagree with this review. Granted, I listened to it in a time when I wasn’t as critical of Zimmer as I am now, but I still enjoy this score. Infenro, now THAT’S a bad one.

  4. Moirae (Reply) on Tuesday 20 February, 2018 at 07:56

    Agree that parts sound like a rip off of Italian rock band Goblin in Argento’s films,

  5. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Saturday 24 February, 2018 at 00:31

    Oh sure, there’s Tubular Bells and Suspiria in 160 BPM, but first and foremost Zimmer is ripping off himself…

    Incidentally I think you dismissed Angels & Demons a bit too quickly, James. Not necessarily saying the review is too harsh, just that this score deserved a bit of a closer look. I think it’s one of Zimmer’s best more recent efforts (if it still counts as recent). I don’t even think it sounds particularly cheap by Zimmer’s standards. At his worst the samples and orchestra blend together into a sort of indistinct mush but this score has a much “cleaner” sound and production value that I quite enjoy (I love the conceptual hook of choir “battling” electronics to mirror the conflict between religion and science). As for “infantile dramatic instincts”…I’m surprised you’d say that about a score that contains a lengthy, well-developed cue like “Science and Religion”, which is one of Zimmer’s finer “Journey to the Line” descendants for my money. Maybe worth giving this one another spin sometime.:)