2012-07-18

The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack – Powerful, Emotional, Epic

by Yo Snyder

Looking over my notes for The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack I see a few key phrases repeated
over and over again; powerful, emotional, intense, dark, ominous, and epic. I
guess that’s a good thing, because that’s pretty much the same kind of words
people are using to describe the movie (I haven’t seen it yet, so can I neither
confirm nor deny how accurate such descriptions are). Whereas the music for The Dark Knight, with that screeching,
unsettling Joker theme had an almost unnerving quality to it (again, much like
the movie), the soundtrack for The Dark
Knight Rises
features a lot of driving drums, deep bass and electronic
elements, giving it a much more powerful, dangerous edge. This is certainly
fitting as Bane is a villain that’s much more about brute strength and brawn
than just being straight-up crazy, so once again Hans Zimmer has captured in
music the tone and feel of the film he’s scoring with a deft touch and subtle
insight. He’s also accomplished that rare feat of making a recognizable theme without
truly making a theme song, like for example the John William’s Superman score.
In short, this is just a great soundtrack. Here’s a quick tour:

The whole thing gets off to a strong start with intensity
and emotion, but also with an edge with the first two tracks “A Strom is Coming”
and “On Thin Ice”. From there we move to the deep bass, powerful drums, and the
background chants that make up the theme for Bane in “Gotham’s Reckoning”. This
theme has an intense energy, and the drums give it an almost militaristic feel,
which perfectly suits the nature of Bane and his plans for Gotham. That segues
into a soft piece with piano as the lead instrument, which I’m guessing by the
title “Mind if I Cut In?” is the introductory scene with Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
It’s playful, soft, seductive but with an edge. The first hint of familiar
themes comes on “Born in Darkness”, where we get a brief call-back to Batman Begins. Then, it’s on to one of
the first big pieces of the album, “The Fire Rises”, which interestingly enough
has some similarities to Zimmer’s Pirates
of the Caribbean
. We get another call-back to Batman Begins’ piano theme, but with some very dark and ominous
undertones in “Nothing Out There”, and those familiar themes continue on “Despair”
where again there’s some Begins and
some themes of The Dark Knight, both
with a heavier edge to them. The next couple tracks help build to track 12, “Imagine
the Fire”, which is where the epicness really spills forth. Once again we get
hints of that edgier Dark Knight
theme, but this track also features a great mix of some electronic and synth
elements that help add to the epic feel as it builds to a mighty crescendo. The Dark Knight themes returns briefly
in “Necessary Evil”, but it’s a theme that’s broken and haunted, heavy and
dark. The intensity gets ratcheted up again on “Rise”, but then falls into a
softer, sadder, more emotional tone that’s haunting and thoroughly epic. This
is followed by the oddest track on the album, the “Bombers Over Ibiza (Junkie
XL remix)”; it sounds like a lost track from Tron, with all kinds of electronic and synth mixed with a dance
club beat. However, things return to form with “The Shadows Betray You”, a
driving track with undercurrents of synth elements that feels very dark and
dangerous. The final track, appropriately named “The End”, is hopeful and light
with a hint of sadness. Again, there are more electronic elements here, and at
times it almost sounds like a track from Bladerunner.

The soundtrack to The
Dark Knight Rises
sounds powerful with its deep bass, driving drums, and
intense energy; all a good reflection of the main villain Bane. There are also
moments of quiet reflection, powerful emotion, and hope mixed with sadness,
again all of which feel appropriate for a film that’s bringing a much loved
trilogy to a close. Having not seen the movie yet, I don’t know if it truly is
a satisfying conclusion, but should the soundtrack be any indication, it most likely
will. The subtle call-backs to familiar themes mixed with moments of power,
danger, darkness and emotion all add up to one thoroughly enjoyable album, and
a great way to get ready for the film’s release later this week.

Score: 6 of 7