The Bottom Line: I thought I would be listening to this soundtrack over and over. Sad to say I was wrong.
Hans Zimmer with bite. Thats how I would describe this soundtrack. Tyler Bates, the composer, has a bit of Zimmers style, but throws in some spices, plenty of flair, and a lot of violence. You get 300 out of it. I enjoyed the movie immensely and remembered one specific piece that made me think, This soundtrack could very well rule like a Spartan. Thus, here we are now.
I considered going through each song, but because there are 25 of them and they are all fairly similar in style and tone (though some are more upbeat than others, a few more heartfelt; the necessary movie scene variety), and most are around 3 minutes or less, Ive decided to forgo that little pleasure. The soundtrack doesnt move me enough or have enough fantastic pieces in order to merit a play-by-play.
1.) To Victory 2:34 2.) The Agoge 2:24 3.) The Wolf 2:10 4.) Returns a King 2:24 5.) Submission 2:40 6.) The Ephors 1:59 7.) Cursed by Beauty 1:41 8.) What Must a King Do? 1:05 9.) Goodbye My Love 3:22 10.) No Sleep Tonight 2:33 11.) Tree of the Dead 2:25 12.) The Hot Gates 3:00 13.) Fight in the Shade 3:17 14.) Come and Get Them 2:05 15.) No Mercy 2:23 16.) Immortals Battle 1:53 17.) Fever Dream 2:33 18.) Xerxes Tent 3:20 19.) Tonight We Dine In Hell 1:15 20.) The Council Chamber 2:35 21.) Xerxes Final Offer 2:39 22.) A God King Bleeds 2:16 23.) Glory 1:44 24.) Message for the Queen 2:31 25.) Remember Us 2:56
Bates uses a lot of unique styling here with the deepest male chorus Ive heard since Conan the Barbarian (...holy crap I havent reviewed that yet?!). A lot of instruments you do not usually hear in an orchestra (um, ever) like to appear, plenty of goodies and sounds coming from the mixing computers too, I would surmise. It all works out nicely, and who doesnt love a bit of hard, rollicking guitar when done the right way?
Youll find a lot of percussion, specific bangs and clanks, tiny cymbals and deep strums to help evoke that older feeling, not to mention the lone female singer from time to time, reminiscent of Hans Zimmers Gladiator, which seemed to have set the bar for the Roman/Greek/Persian time period. Slower pieces use less instrumentation, focusing on a few low tones and often the vocalist in order to evoke that lonely or otherwise desperate feeling, such as Goodbye My Love.
The thing I found most surprising was just how forgettable these tracks can be. I honestly cannot figure out how that happens what with the style and how much I loved the movie, but even as fascinating as the music composition is, it fails to grab me in ways less complex songs have done. I cant exactly say that Bates is trying to hard because the music works perfectly for the movie and it doesnt quite reach that threshold of too much or overdone. Its quite possible that much of the CD is based in tension than in the heat of battle, and despite the amount of fighting actually in the movie, a lot of the battle music is similar to each other.
Having said all that, there are a few tracks on this CD that do wake me out of my mellow mood (like when Im absent-mindedly surfing the web) and I think, Ooh, hey, whats this? and it turns out to be something from 300. Goodbye My Love and "Message for the Queen" are good examples of the unsaid things between Leonidas and his wife, The Hot Gates and Fever Dream have that guitar you wanted to hear again after seeing the movie, Come and Get Them is a favorite because of the clanging percussion and all that male chorus, and Remember Us is the one song that always makes me wonder, Hey, whats this? because it never fails to catch my ear.
I give this CD 4 stars because it is indeed well-crafted (Tyler Bates does get a cookie despite failing to inspire me), and I can see a lot of people enjoying this CD much more than myself. For his first soundtrack for a movie that seriously rules, Bates has my full support and I do look forward to seeing what he is asked to do next.
Even if the soundtrack doesn't get you, for God's sake, go see the movie!!
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