Joel McNeely


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Like Jerry Goldsmith -- his obvious inspiration -- before him, Joel McNeely consistently delivers his most compelling and imaginative action scores for films with neither of the aforementioned qualities. The 1999 release Virus is another frustrating example -- the movie disappeared from theaters so quickly that McNeely's efforts barely registered, but on closer examination, Virus is his most effective work in the action genre, galvanized by its intense but focused melodies as well as its dynamic arrangements. McNeely's brash orchestrations employ a menacing male choir and dissonant strings to add layers of depth and darkness to his adrenalized approach -- this is big, bold music that works better onscreen than on record, but its craftsmanship and passion resonate regardless of context.

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