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  • Composed by Christopher Young
  • Madison Gate Records / 2011 / 55:09

I always carefully start reviews of Christopher Young horror movie scores the same way – talking about how, while he is most famous for his music in this genre, he’s actually got many more strings to his bow, does plenty of other stuff, blah blah.  I was about to begin typing that same old stuff yet again, but then I realised that, actually, there are more Christopher Young horror movie scores in the world than there are teenage single mothers in Manchester’s Arndale Shopping Centre.  And that is a lot.  I feel duty-bound, though, to report that he does plenty of other stuff too, blah blah.  

Young has scored horror movies in so many different ways – and he’s damn good at them, whichever way he does it.  He has done the almost clinical chills of The Grudge, the elaborate terror of The Exorcism of Emily Rose – and he has done them so well, providing sophisticated psychological music.  What most fans love is the all-out, gothic extravagance of scores like Hellraiser 2, Bless the Child and Drag Me To Hell.  Priest, much to my delight, falls into that category.  The film is about a priest (surprisingly enough) who chases the vampires who kidnapped his niece – not a plot which inspires me to particularly want to see the film, but fortunately one that certainly inspired Young to pull out all the stops.

Christopher Young meets one of his heroes

The opening cue is a real blast.  The massive orchestra and choir are there, doing their thing fabulously; then the organ joins in and it becomes about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.  There’s terrific action music all over the place in the score, with Young at times becoming the latest composer to use the ostinato-based action sound popularised by Hans Zimmer, particularly in Inception (though there’s no mistaking this for anyone other than Christopher Young).  It is just so incredibly enjoyable, with all the little touches – like the organ in the opening cue, some throat singing later on, some wonderful choral effects – just adding to it.

It’s not action all the way – that would be too much for the listener – and it’s broken up with other music, which may be less portentous, but is no less impressive.  There is a beautiful piano theme in “Never One for Love”; some stunning spiritual music in “Faith, Work, Security”.  This is blended magnificently into the “Journey to the Line”-style piece later in the score, “Cathedral City Blue”.  The Zimmer influence is at its most pronounced here – and I’m sure anyone who loves that previously-mentioned piece, or “Chevaliers de Sangreal”, will love this too.  There are occasional vocals provided by Lisa Gerrard, which are very beautiful.  (She reportedly wrote some additional music for the film, though none is on the album.)

There are several lengthy, well-developed pieces on this album which would make it worth getting just for them (“Sancrosanct Delerium” and “The Vampire Train” both run longer than seven minutes, both are great pieces of action) even if it were’s for all the rest of the great material here; but absolutely the best is saved for last, in the epic finale, “A World Without End” (a piece of music called “A World Without End” had damn well better be epic!)  The score’s main ideas are summarised brilliantly.  This is probably Young’s most entertaining horror score since Bless The Child (and frankly there have been numerous excellent ones along the way) –  a fabulously enjoyable album which will delight his fans.  **** 1/2

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  1. Anthony Aguilar (Reply) on Thursday 12 May, 2011 at 18:54

    I simply cannot wait to get this score. Thank you for a great and humorous review. that “with your clothes on” comment really cracked me up.

  2. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Thursday 12 May, 2011 at 19:10

    Damn, but this is an incredible score and by far the best of the year. Young’s Priest has effectively converted me (har de har har).

  3. KK (Reply) on Thursday 12 May, 2011 at 20:42

    Great review! Everyone keeps mentioning how great this score is…if only the Amazon could get the CD to me faster 🙁

    – KK

  4. D (Reply) on Monday 23 May, 2011 at 17:45

    Enjoyed the film. What were the Mozart pieces listed in the credits?