The opening track, “Chasing the Storm,” begins with ethereal ambiance that transmits otherworldly grandeur and mystery. Delicate staccato notes in the low strings are introduced at the 0:50 mark. This element progressively, yet subtly, intensifies, fueling slight momentum. At the same time, unassertive and slowly-building whole notes from the high strings provide a celestial and enchanting transcendence. These individual components build synchronously to the 2:22 mark, at which point an energetically up-tempo theme reminiscent to the melodic ether of The Dark Knight universe emerges. Ironically, the first track in The Dark Knight Rises is titled, “A Storm is Coming.” The Thor opener concludes brusquely, but it boldly sets the mood for the rest of the score.
The main theme is first introduced in the second track, “Prologue.” This piece begins with quick and bright bowing in the strings while a valorous and grand melody steadily intensifies. Evolving instrumentation, highlighted by clockwork percussion, powerful brass and distant choral vocals, help this song exude power, strength and heroism. After a satiating resolution to the preamble, a brief but beautiful string quartet passage opens the next track, “Sons of Odin.” At the 0:30 mark, brass and percussion abruptly intervene and initiate the return of the main theme. The bravado from the prologue is not lost. Its upbeat cadence and decorative staccato violin provide for a truly awesome and feel-good melody.
The seventh song, “Laufey,” is perhaps the most unnerving track in the score. Eerie ambiance, dark sounds and ear-curdling dissidence capture feelings of malevolence, conflict, and betrayal. This refrain leads into the frenetic, percussion-fueled “Frost Giant Battle.” Again, Doyle conjures the driving intensity of Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight score. The fast-paced and nonstop power of this song heightens sensations of mayhem, struggle and action at every turn. To me, the crowning moment comes at the 2:15 mark when the trombones and baritones deliver a short-lived but immensely grandiose chorus that misleads listeners to a false conclusion. Rather than reaching resolution, a sluggish violin glissando throws the orchestra right back into the action for an additional two heart-pounding minutes. At the very minimum, I recommend downloading this song to your iPod for high-energy workouts and epic larping.
The Thor original score is truly an amazing compilation of captivating music. There is no doubt this music was composed for an action movie, but there are so many gentle and warm moments that elevate this score above many others that I’ve listened to. Super hero scores aren’t typically recognized at the big award shows. John Williams’ 1978 Superman score is the only Academy Award-nominated super hero score that I can think of. Patrick Doyle’s Thor is/was worthy (of at least a nomination). I highly recommend buying this score if you enjoy original movie soundtrack music. I have not listened to the score for Thor: The Dark World, but intend to very soon. It was composed by Bryan Tyler, who is no stranger to the Marvel universe (Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron). It will be interesting to listen to Tyler’s musical interpretation of the hammer-wielding demigod and to also hear if he expands upon any of Doyle’s groundwork.
by Brian George