King Arthur: Legend of the Sword - Daniel Pemberton
What You Will Hear: Old world bagpipes, guitar, fiddle, cello and percussion mixed with new world synth and horn of doom. Oh, and breathing.
Standout Tracks: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Jackseye’s Tale, The Story of Mordred, The Legend of Excalibur, Seasoned Oak, The Vikings & The Barons, Tower & Power, The Born King, The Lady In The Lake, King Arthur: Destiny of the Sword, The Power of Excalibur
Will You Be Humming: There is no main theme that I could identify.
The album this makes me want to dust off: Outlander, Vol. 2 – Bear McCreary and Hell on Wheels - Kevin Kiner
Will I come back to it? Yes. When I want something that doesn’t require higher listening skills, this will be on my list. That’s not an insult. I like my Transformers and other Zimmer-clones as much as the next guy. Daniel Pemberton has made use of a lot of common modern film music tricks (horn of dooooooom!), but his instrumentation is unique enough to keep things interesting. I enjoyed the mix of modern “hipness” with a spattering of medieval(ish) instruments. The score is quite out of the era it represents, but it all evens out to be one of the coolest middle ages score around.
My only dislike comes with the percussive breathing used on a few middle tracks. I appreciate trying something new, and maybe it has something to do with the story/characters, but it was distracting. At times, it even sounds like the performer had difficulty keeping up. It just doesn’t fit naturally.
The first half of this release is the strongest group of tracks. The second was a little less inventive and started to drag on. But, if you like Zimmer or Two Steps From Hell, this will most likely be a worth a listen. And even if you don’t, I recommend checking it out. It isn’t a standard powerhouse adventure score. In fact, much of King Arthur carries a heavy weight with it. You might even call it a feeling of mourning. Whatever is happening, Pemberton has taken what many have done before and made it his own unique experience.