Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • Sony Classical / 47m

We all remember where we were when the first Hellboy movie came out. The main reason for that is because it was only about a week ago last Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped the powers that be deciding that it’s time for a new one, so here we are, with director Neil Marshall taking the helm and David Harbour taking over from Ron Perlman in the title role. Everyone thinks it’s rubbish, but I don’t suppose anyone will be too concerned because I’m sure the next reboot will come round before the dishwasher finishes its cycle. Marco Beltrami’s score for the first film was one of his finest (and it was a fine film, too); this time round musical duties have fallen to the prolific Benjamin Wallfisch, whose very intense score might fit the film like a glove but certainly isn’t easy listening away from it.

It’s interesting (well, I think it is) that even though there is a big orchestra here and some real, proper writing for it – it’s really a heavy metal score. The emphasis is on the heavy, from the word go – the opening “Big Red” has really intense guitars and drums alongside a brass-dominated orchestra and for an old wimp like me is far too much to take. As things progress, the orchestra is a lot more dominant (along with choir and electronic effects) but you’re never far away from that metal sound. I prefer it when it is a bit further away because it’s not my cup of tea at all – when the orchestra is the more dominant force, there’s some extremely complex writing going on – make no mistake, this is not a dumbed-down piece from Wallfisch at all. It’s all-out action throughout – there’s not a moment of calm, not the briefest pause throughout. What might be termed the main theme is a very brief device for guitar which is certainly distinctive but really, the star of the show here is the complex orchestration (I don’t want to be sacrilegious but it strikes me as the sort of think Elliot Goldenthal might have written for this film had his career continued as we all thought it would when he was in his prime). It’s challenging at times, to say the least – Wallfisch puts his foot to the floor and never lets it up – and while I don’t like metal music at all, those who do will be in for a treat – and I can at least sit back and admire the effort that’s been put into it.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. Jake (Reply) on Monday 3 June, 2019 at 13:26

    James! Good to see you’re back after over a month! Love your reviews and I hope all the scores from Shazam to Dark Phoenix are still going to get your expert opinion here! Can’t wait to read them all, especially Godzilla King of the Monsters!

    • James Southall (Reply) on Monday 3 June, 2019 at 20:31

      Thanks Jake! Yes I hope to catch up with all the big ones but I’ve got quite a stockpile and I’m struggling to find time for writing after starting a new job recently.

      • Rory (Reply) on Thursday 6 June, 2019 at 17:45

        Sorry to hear that! Hope all is well (and that if the new place doesn’t already play “The Mission” soundtrack when putting people on hold, that they’re easily swayed).

  2. Lucas (Reply) on Monday 3 June, 2019 at 20:22

    Nice review!
    What about a review about fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, such a great score!

  3. dominique (Reply) on Wednesday 5 June, 2019 at 09:33

    nice having you back, john and good luck to you for your new job!