- Composed by Brian Tyler
- Varese Sarabande / 2011 / 78:19
Roger Ebert’s famously dismissive review (Google it) hasn’t done much to dampen enthusiasm for Jonathan Liebesman’s film Battle: Los Angeles, which has attracted decent audience levels and even some reasonable word-of-mouth. The director has worked before with composer Brian Tyler (including on Darkness Falls – one of his breakthrough scores). Given the film’s premise (fierce battle rages between man and alien in LA), no doubt some film music fans would have been salivating at the prospect of a score which might recall David Arnold’s extremely popular Independence Day, whipping things up to a patriotic fervour. The fact is, scores like that are very much the exception rather than the norm even in films like this; 2011’s norm, in films like this and indeed just about every other film, is the Hans Zimmer-inspired sound with which we have all become very well-accustomed.
The album’s opener, “Battle Los Angeles Hymn”, is a gloriously cheesy piece of music which would be suitable for slow motion shots of soldiers attacking each other in any number of films. It’s great fun. First two-and-a-half minutes and one thinks – so far, so good. Of the remaining 76 minutes, I can’t be so enthusiastic. It’s all quite predictable – a lot of action, Zimmerish power anthems, everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. And it’s loud. No, make that loud. Mastered so loud, in fact, that there seems even to be a little distortion in some tracks. Half an hour of the highlights would make for a seriously good album (including the lovely “Elegy” somewhere to break it up). 78 minutes? Not so much. It becomes extremely grating long before the album’s over, increasingly hard to tell any one part from any other, increasingly hard to imagine ever listening to it again. So sad that once again a disastrous album presentation spoils what could have been something terrific. **