May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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The Crow: Salvation

Enhanced Score Disc KOCH KOC-CD-8075 [51:53]
Purchase from:   Amazon USA

This continuation of "The Crow" comic book ('graphic novel' to the fanatics) story has a pleasantly puzzling underscore by Marco Beltrami, a decidedly modernist composer whose work is relatively unaccustomed to my ears. Beltrami, like Elliot Goldenthal, does attention-getting deeds for these types of projects, including metallic clanking, stinger chords, snarling brass, wordless soprano airs, driving rhythms, and other dark traditions where a smattering of melody may serve as the kindest reprieve. There are the bothersome heartbeats most recently heard in "Rules of Engagement," slightly muted to be just slightly noisome. Beltrami, unlike Goldenthal, is not too innovative about these effects, and so much of "The Crow: Salvation" appears to be temp-track offspring. I hear bits of Graeme Revell, who appropriately scored the first two films, and Danny Elfman, and Goldenthal...

Beltrami is praiseworthy in that he brings to these casual references a feel of his own. The music flows almost seamlessly on the album, and it is customarily involving both musically and dramatically. From the ominous 'Main Title' to the incredibly lush finale there is an obvious current pushing the music forward. Action music in particular is difficult to compose as there are only so many dynamics to work with, but Mr. Beltrami laces together ideas into a coherent, cohesive whole while changing the dynamics frequently, keeping the sound fresh and exciting. The result is at least enjoyable. Also of note is the love theme, which follows conventionality very little insofar as I can tell.

I never heard of flutter tonguing woodwinds quite like this during a love theme, and it sounds magical as the string section skips and glides thorough the braided melody. 'Meet Again,' the end credits pop version with generic lyrics by Lauri Crook, is antithetical to the ardent significance Beltrami provides. Jane Jensen's vocal performance, if one can call it that, sounds like a cat climbing glass, and has all the genuineness of a whited sepulcher.

A lack of track numbers make programming the album a chore, and the track times appear solely inside the booklet. The disc's sound is slightly hollow, from what I assume is too much digital compression. As for the CD-ROM bits, they contain web links, a screensaver, and a tiny gallery of pen & ink artwork by "The Crow" creator, James O'Barr. While the enhanced portion is considerably more than most releases provide, I trust a section devoted to the music, rather than to the publicity, is a reasonable expectation for a soundtrack album. No such animal exists here.

Still, "The Crow: Salvation" soundtrack is above average. It prompts a recommendation. It works:


Jeffrey Wheeler


Jeffrey Wheeler

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