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DOOMSDAY – Tyler Bates

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Doomsday is a very peculiar, genre-bending British action movie – part Mad Max, part Night of the Living Dead, part Escape from New York – directed by Neil Marshall, who previously made the hugely entertaining Dog Soldiers and The Descent. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic Britain, some years after Scotland has been quarantined due to the onset of a deadly virus. When the virus emerges in London, the corrupt political leaders send Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) to Scotland to find a cure, only to find that the country has become a lawless wasteland overrun by vicious punk rock marauders and armor-clad medieval warriors. The film also stars Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowall, and I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it on a mindless, purely visceral level.

For the music, Marshall turned to Tyler Bates, who has become something of a film music pariah since the debacle surrounding his score for 300. Bates’ music here is actually pretty decent – a fairly standard orchestra and synth combo – but there is a sense of nostalgia and a decent orchestral flair which makes it more than just another middling action score. There are a few clever throwbacks to John Carpenter’s style of groovy electronic minimalism, in cues such as “Boat” and “Block 41”, and there are also moments of beauty – the solo voices in “Exodus”, “Strung Up” and “Prime Beauty”, for example.

The action music also stands out, with cues like “Hospital Battle”, “Train Escape”, “Captured” and “Bentley Escape” cranking up the orchestral element, and often infusing it with a rock music sensibility which is at times quite thrilling.

However, possibly the most effective musical moment in the film comes by way of the use of a remixed version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s thunderous 1984 hit “Two Tribes” in the elaborate, conclusive car chase; this is one of the few examples where both the music of the song, and the subtext of the song’s lyrics, actually outstrips the use of score elsewhere.

It’s an enjoyable album, and one which may go a little way to repairing his damaged reputation amongst film score aficionados.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Dog Eat Dog (performed by Adam and The Ants) (3:11)
  • Two Tribes – Carnage Mix (performed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood) (7:56)
  • Prologue (1:22)
  • Exodus (4:59)
  • Boat (3:06)
  • Piss & Vinegar (1:25)
  • Block 41 (3:26)
  • It’s Medieval Out There (3:20)
  • Hospital Battle (2:30)
  • Strung Up (4:43)
  • Sinclair Slips Free (1:19)
  • Sword Fight (1:26)
  • Train Escape (2:36)
  • Train to Kane (3:14)
  • Tolamon (1:29)
  • Captured (1:19)
  • Prime Suicide (1:59)
  • Same Shit Different Era (3:52)
  • Slayer (2:39)
  • Finish Her Off! (1:29)
  • Bentley Escape (3:32)
  • Headless Love (2:38)
  • The Can Can (performed by Ariel Rechtshaid) (0:41)

Running Time: 64 minutes 09 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-33991 (2008)

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