The Wax Cylinder #3 / by Charlie Brigden

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Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines

In case you've never heard of it, Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines is a direct to DVD war film starring the actor formerly known as Tom Sizemore and the awesomely named Lex Shrapnel. Scoring the film is South African Mark Kilian, who has scored films such as Tsotsi and John Carpenter's The Ward.

Kilian's score is probably what you'd expect. I'll say this for the composer, he has good control of mixing orchestral and electronic elements, and what he's written probably fits with the film. However, I am not a fan. It's not a terrible listen but it moves between headachey and soft, and the latter often feels like it's been said better in other scores. It has ethnic elements that again probably serve the film, but here feel like Black Hawk Down reheated.

Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines is out now from Lakeshore Records

 

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Jacob

Jacob is a revenge horror. The title character is a little disturbed, and when his little sister that he loves dearly is murdered, he will stop at nothing to avenge her. Scored by Iain Kelso, it's a tale of brutality, sadness, and vengeance.

Jacob is a fine score, and remarkably raw. It's full of intensity, but not just in the way you might imagine a horror score to be (although there's plenty of that). Much of it has a real sense of beauty - the opening cue is amazing - but there's also a big sense of not only melancholy but tragedy and sympathy, with wonderful work on the cello especially. But it does get very gruelling towards the end, and a little generic. But for much of the album it's a good listen.

Jacob is out now from Howlin' Wolf Records

 

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Batman: Assault On Arkham

The latest DC animated feature, Batman: Assault On Arkham, follows the very popular (and fun to play) video games Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, etc. Therefore, it's a fairly darkish tale that has a bunch of villains sent to Arkham on a black ops mission to kill the Riddler and features Harley Quinn (herself prominent in the games) and the excellently named King Shark.

Composer Robert J. Kral mentioned before release that the score would have a "contemporary" feel, and he's not wrong. If you have a serious case of synthophobia, you might want to steer clear. It feels like Batman probably takes a back seat here, so the usual elements that score the character are generally not engaged. What remains is really a bit too dry and tonally odd. There are weird bits where some funk or something humourous in context is placed in, and it's really jarring. Really, I just found myself not caring about any of it. That's all I can really say.

Batman: Assault On Arkham is out now from La-La Land Records

 

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The Damned

The Damned sees composer Frederik Wiedmann going in a new direction from what he's previously known for, with his big melodic scores for Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox. The Damned is a horror film about a family travelling in South America who find a dark secret hidden in the basement of an inn, which gives Wiedmann plenty of motivation for scary music.

And he pulls it off pretty well. It's a creepy score, well realised with great use of low piano as well as the standard piercing strings you'd expect from this kind of score. But that's the thing, in the film I imagine it works well, if maybe a little too foreboding. But as a solo listening experience, it's not too enjoyable, even considering the craft on show. However, film scores have one primary purpose, all others are secondary. And the resulting question is one that many labels and composers should probably ask themselves.

The Damned is out now from Lakeshore Records