Roy Budd

Soldier Blue; Catlow; Zeppelin (Original Soundtrack Recordings)

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With Soldier, Joel McNeely embraces full-on action music, eschewing thematic development and unity in favor of pure, visceral intensity. It works better onscreen than on album, but the sheer physicality of the music merits commendation. Evoking a Jerry Goldsmith score on human growth hormone, McNeely employs a veritable army of musicians to create dense, punishing melodies galvanized by buzzsaw brass, thundering percussion, and shrieking strings. The sheer palpable force of the sound is impressive. McNeely rarely deviates from his basic formula, but his energy and focus elevate Soldier some distance above your run-of-the-mill adventure score.

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