Lair

John Debney and Kevin Kaska

 
" A sheer mammoth example of what John Debney is still capable of doing "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Composer John Debney hasn't been enlightening us enough with his really spectacular music. Surely the moments in Zathura and Evan Almighty were powerful pieces! But we wanted more from him in the end. What if he could return to that Cutthroat Island bombastic force and enthral us again with filmmusic that demands nothing but powerful epic quality? Well your prayers have been answered with Lair, a totally flopped epic game that had one thing that was above par. Namely the score by composer John Debney.

Assisted by composer Kevin Kaska, John Debney has given Lair a feeling it didn't deserve. This is filmmusic with the capital letter F. It is fully orchestral, rousing, packed with various themes and having solo vocals alongside big choir. It shows that Debney can still hack it all right. For those who are looking for something grand, you will not be disappointed with Lair. Prepare to embrace one of the best scores to come out in 2007.

Things start of with a rousing start in "Main Title". Its strings, thick Cutthroat Island brass and full choir in avant-garde force introduce us to the main theme. In the middle the eastern motif is only noticed for a full fanfare ending. But surely what a great start of the album. But the thing is, it just starts from there. The mysterious like "Main Menu" is only stating a new theme before things cook up hectic in "Diviner Battle". This is a brilliant yet sadly inspired piece of John Williams' music for the Revenge of the Sith. Yet the rollicking writing is enough to get the blood pumping for sure. Why? Because it feels just like John Williams.

What's good is the occasional mix to softer, more subdued or dramatic scoring. "Funeral Pyre" is a nice breeze while "Civilization Theme" is a brilliant ode to more Golden Age (Miklos Rozsa) music, with a stirring theme that continues to grow to its biggest version. A noticed surprise comes however from the use of the famous evil 4 note motif of James Horner.

Further along, "Rohn's Theme" is a wonderful surprise where flute and the solo vocal of Tanya Tsarouska elevates the piece to another emotional level. She returns to give a more mysterious edge to the "Darkness Theme". And in "Elegy" the strings are never any sadder than here. Again here that Golden Age feeling returns stating the civilization theme.

But the real treat is still coming of the monumental adventure music. In "Blood River" we return to Revenge of the Sith alike music while "Serpent Trait" goes more to a Zathura path with aggressive trumpet and choral back up. The main theme turns up in "Firestorm" and surely this piece is a dream for orchestral lovers. Full choir, the assisting solo vocal and power reigns over the 4 minute crowd pleaser which states more than once the Rohn theme. Only one track will surpass this brilliance.

The brassy "Diviner's Theme" surely comes closest to a theme that would appear in Cutthroat Island and is another wonderful cue for sure. Yet respite is always around the corner making Lair surely a well structured and not totally bombastic soundtrack. In "The Last Straw" and "Lost" more solemn material makes the action music following even more gigantic. And we add to that list "Breaking the Ice" (the Star Wars music), which makes the eastern theme of "Main Titles" sound like a whole other story.

However not everything is as good as the next. Not that they are weak, yet several do not carry that extra spark. The solo violin and vocal theme for "Mokai Theme" will surely be remembered in another track (despite functioning nicely on its own). It returns in "Return to Mokai City Part 1" with wonderful supportive choir while "Part 2" is a whole other party. Namely a suspension builder on Scorpion King like force. In "Loden" and the extended "Battle for Asylia" things explode for sure. For "Battle for Asylia" think of a full assault of the themes of Rohn, Diviner and Mokai, all placed in a choral finale that will ensure you that you remember this track as the ultimate pinnacle of your listening experience. Sadly the last action tracks don't reach that peak. And "Bridge Attack" has the misfortune to carry too much influence of Total Recall's big jump track. In "Epilogue" the vocal outbursts are however on par again with everything we heard before.

People that deny this score will surely be questioned about their motifs because I can't honestly think about something bad to this kind of music. Okay there are influences and some more clear than others but you can't deny the power, the brilliance and the emotion behind it. The wonderful supportive use of vocalist Tanya Tsarouska and the London Voices choir are only some parts that make Lair simply staggering. A sheer mammoth example of what John Debney is still capable of doing.

Tracklisting

1. Main Title (2.13) Excellent track
2. Main Menu * (2.23)
3. Diviner Battle (4.15) Excellent track
4. Funeral Pyre (0.51)
5. Civilization Theme (3.58)
6. Blood River * (3.32) Excellent track
7. Rohn's Theme (2.04) Excellent track
8. Serpent Strait (2.22)
9. Darkness Theme (4.01)
10. Firestorm (3.54) Excellent track
11. Elegy (3.25)
12. Diviner's Theme (2.06) Excellent track
13. The Last Straw (2.38)
14. Lost (2.10)
15. Breaking the Ice * (1.30)
16. Deadman's Basin (2.56)
17. Mokai Theme (2.14)
18. Return to Mokai City Part 1 (1.49) Excellent track
19. Return to Mokai City Part 2 (3.34)
20. Ruins of Mokai (1.01)
21. Bridge of the Ancients * (1.30)
22. Loden (1.50) Excellent track
23. Battle for Asylia (4.08) Excellent track
24. Epilogue (3.19) Excellent track
25. Bridge Battle (3.32)
26. Bridge Attack (2.06)

* Composed by Kevin Kaska

Total Length: 69.21
(click to rate this score)  
 
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(total of 38 votes - average 4.54/5)

Released by

Sony Computer Entertainment America ITunes (download only release 2007)

Performed by

The London Voices Choir

Vocal

Tanya Tsarouska