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Into the Storm
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2014 / 48m

Into the Storm chronicles a day in the life of Silverton, an unremarkable town – but a remarkable day, as it is beset by an unprecedented assault by tornadoes.  Some people run away, others run towards them – stormchasers seeking (for them) the ultimate high.  Results are, I image, mixed.  As every man and his dog has said, it all sounds a bit like an update of Twister, a film that possibly didn’t really need updating.  It’s directed by Steven Quale and stars a lot of mostly young people who I’m afraid I’ve never heard of.

Quale’s previous film was 2011’s Final Destination 5, which was scored by the incredibly prolific Brian Tyler; the pair renew their acquaintances here.  You pretty much know what you’re going to get from Brian Tyler and there are no surprises as the score begins with its titular opening track, ominous rumblings from the orchestra accompanied by a fairly distant choir; no surprise too that after that, it’s straight into the action in “Atonement”, beginning an orchestral onslaught that lasts through numerous cues over the remainder of the album (which, at 48 minutes, is about 32 minutes shorter than most of Tyler’s).  There’s a main theme of sorts, reaching its apex near the finale of that piece in an enormous brass chorale.

Brian Tyler

Brian Tyler

In “Fate” we get a blood-pumping anthem which seems rather modelled on (but melodically unrelated to) Hans Zimmer’s now-ubiquitous “Time” from Inception.  It’s a well-worn trick now, but when done well (as here) it still has an impact.  Straight back to the action after that in “Titus Versus the Volcano”, brilliantly-orchestrated as Tyler’s music always is, pulse-pounding brass clusters, string runs and energetic percussion.  While it is by now a well-trodden path that he is taking, there’s no denying how effective it is, nor indeed how enjoyable.

“Humanity Arising” is a somewhat anonymous piece which brings a rare lull to proceedings, and while the excitement returns at the start of “Culmination”, the furious action soon gives way to a pretty standard Remote Control issue piece of “dramatic” writing which does little for me.  This is the pattern of the score, really – brilliant action cues interrupted occasionally by less impressive softer moments.  “Prelude to Phenomenon” has some nice instrumental colour but again it’s sounds like a stock “danger approaching” cue; the following “Providence” injects some emotion with its delicate piano solo and is a little more interesting.

Fortunately, with the album having rather ground to a halt for 15 minutes or so, things get back on track in “The Fire Tornado”, marking the return of the action.  “Evacuation and Interception” sees more of an electronic accompaniment join in (though the basis remains firmly orchestral); when the main theme threatens to burst heroically forth one senses a great moment coming, but sadly it just tails off again.  “Last Words” marks a semi-return to the “Time” style, but the piece never swells with emotion as its title rather implies it might; that emotion (rather strained, surprisingly understated) does then appear more overtly in “We Stand Together”.

The best cue is “The Titus”, which seems to come out of nowhere and isn’t particularly like the rest of the score, a gloriously old-fashioned militaristic feel running through the fun march (you could easily imagine it in Iron Man 3).  This leads into “Multiple Vortices”, an eerie calm preceding a grand brassy clarion call and – inevitably – more furiously exciting action.  Inevitable, perhaps, but welcome.  “Remembrance and Regret” is (unsurprisingly) a slow-moving, mournful piece and then comes the impressive “Readying for Incoming Storm”, which seems to be gradually building itself into a frenzy before being reduced right down to a swirling portrait of bleakness and uncertainty.

There’s one more rousing piece, “The Power of Nature”, before the album’s conclusion, which is “Aurora”, the Hans Zimmer model here being perhaps the finale from Man of Steel (though the influence is a little more subtle).  Into the Storm is a thoroughly decent work with some particularly strong action music; it lacks that strong hook, a truly memorable melody, which prevents it being along the top tier of Tyler scores.  His music is always enjoyable and this is no exception, but even though the album is shorter than usual it does feel like there are one or two cues too many that aren’t really doing enough to maintain the interest.  Still, the good parts certainly outweigh the rest and there’s more than enough entertainment on offer to satisfy the composer’s many fans, I’m sure.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. mastadge (Reply) on Sunday 3 August, 2014 at 01:44

    So the Corigliano and Adams influences don’t shine through?

    I find it mildly amusing that every time Tyler talks up the musical influences for one of his scores (I turned to Mahler for inspiration for the Shia LaBeouf golf movie; John Williams was my inspiration for such-and-such scores) it ends up sounding pretty much like you’d expect from a Brian Tyler score.

    I still have the feeling Tyler has some great scores in him waiting to come out, something more than he’s doing in this action niche in which he demonstrates such proficiency, and I really wish a project would inspire him to stretch his wings, break out of his comfort zone, and deliver a home run. Not to mix metaphors or anything.

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 3 August, 2014 at 11:07

    The Corigliano and Adams reference is a bit puzzling when you hear the album – didn’t hear a trace myself.

  3. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Thursday 14 August, 2014 at 00:25

    In fairness, my ears do detect a hint of Adams about half a minute into “Atonement”…the same bit of Adams that snuck its way into TMNT. But to suggest that the score is written in that style…yeah, not so much. :p