ALIEN:COVENANT Soundtrack Review

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A sequel to the Aliens Prequel Prometheus, this is the 6th film of the Alien Franchise [hate that word] … well this is what I have gained from my research, which, I am glad to say is ‘tight’. We have had teasers and a Prologue video and the trailer. It’s all been built up slowly to wet our appetites and even now there is scant information on the plot as a whole. This is the way I like it as I want to be surprised rather than spoon fed every morsel so that by the time you are seated in a dark cinema you know what’s coming before it happens.

MTV’s NEWS website says, “[Ridley] Scott has been adamant that while “Prometheus” “carries the DNA” of “Alien,” it is an original piece of science fiction that delves into everything from biotechnology to artificial intelligence to the origins (and possible destruction) of mankind itself.” Whatever Covenant is, I am in! I Being an avid sci-fi fan seeing Alien for the first time changed all future science fiction films, along with Blade Runner, for ever and both had a tremendous impact on me.

The plot is short [again as it should be] ….
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.

Originally the score was to be done by Harry Gregson Williams but it has now been handed to Australian composer Jed Kurzel. For me his score to Macbeth was one of the best soundtracks of 2015 and last year he scored Assassin’s Creed so it’s going to be interesting to hear what he has done for Covenant.

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                                                                    Jed Kurzel

Opening with Incubation and a reworking of Jerry Goldsmith familiar ‘pulse’ from Alien, is very short but you feel you are in familiar territory. The Pulse also opens  The Covenant with the pulse AND the familiar 7 note brass which branches out into an eerie sound palette – we are definitely in Alien territory. Neutrino Burst is a mixture of strings and electronics, it’s a slowness which works, building tension. The piano led A Cabin On The Lake has a feeling of calm and reminiscence as does Sails.

Planet 4/Main Theme is a strong cue which slowly builds but is then controlled again by the pulse, almost as if beauty had been glimpsed but we are then reminded not to feel safe. Spores is dominated by strange electronic sounds filled with dread which run into the next track, The Med Bay, seamlessly. This cue is brimming with terror! Payload Deployment is even more terrifying, almost like a bad dream session complete with a sound which resembles a muted scream, glad it was short!

The next 2 cues have titles which bring much expectation – Face Hugger being the first. A low start it may have but when – after a few seconds silence – the coarse sound of a metal like screech is launched, I jumped out of my skin! On screen this is going to do it’s job. This is followed by Chestburster which is eerily calm and dreamlike. Only Bring It To My Turf and Terraforming Bay could be classed as standard action cues but even these has electronic tones which elevate them above standard.

This soundtrack never goes over the top, there is no reaching where the composer wants to make his score stand out from all others. Kurzel has totally embraced what went before and embellished it with slices of electronic scariness. I applaud his loyalty. Whilst sticking closely to the Aliens ‘sound’ [and I would have been disappointed  if he hadn’t of] there are distinct swathes of his own smoothly intertwined.

I’m glad I don’t rate my reviews with points or stars as in reality the majority of the soundtrack is a re-placing of elements from the original and that would negate marks of originality. I was hoping for the Alien ‘feel’ with a little twist here and there and this is what this compact, clever score does.

Track Listing:

  1. Incubation
  2. The Covenant
  3. Neutrino Burst
  4. A Cabin On The Lake
  5. Sails
  6. Planet 4 / Main Theme
  7. Launcher Landing
  8. Wheat Field
  9. Spores
  10. The Med Bay
  11. Grass Attack
  12. Dead Civilization
  13. Survivors
  14. Payload Deployment
  15. Command Override
  16. Face Hugger
  17. Chest Burster
  18. Lonely Perfection
  19. Cargo Lift
  20. Bring It To My Turf
  21. Terraforming Bay
  22. Alien Covenant Theme

Milan Music

Macbeth by Jed Kurzel – Soundtrack Review

The reviews for director Justin Kurzel’s film Macbeth are as glowing as they are for his brother Jed’s outstanding soundtrack. It’s drapes over the film like a blanket of musical mist, you can almost feel it rolling over the icy hills.
The first track Child Pt 1 has a discordant violin rising through the stringed bleakness, it’s a tired moan of despair which needs to be let out but has no-where to go. It has your attention and you know exactly where you are. Child Pt 2 envelopes you with with it’s nagging pulse at the forefront and certain dread in the back-based drum.This time the discordant notes are more pronounced and they chill.

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It’s not laziness to admit it’s difficult to review each track because the changes in structure of the soundtrack as a whole are very subtle and it’s best heard complete to experience the darkness. There is no melody to follow, you just have to let go and let the whole thing sweep over you.

I will give a mention to Dunsinane – “Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.” A cue with a rhythmic strand in it’s violin which rises to challenging but measured percussion. The strings almost sounding like bagpipes.

This is not a background score, you will not be listening to this for relaxation. I have not yet seen the film but I am sure it fits the film like a glove. It’s inspired and gets my vote for one of the best and innovative soundtracks of this year.

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Jed Kurzel

Tracklisting:
1. The Child, Pt.1
2. The Child, Pt.2
3. The Battle
4. First Apparition
5. Supernatural Soliciting
6. The Letter
7. The Dagger
8. Dunsinane
9. Banquo’s Death
10. Second Apparition
11. Murder
12. Inverness
13. Spot
14. The Yellow Leaf
15. Turn Hell Hound
16. Macbeth
17. Epilogue
18. Landscapes
19. Blood

Decca Music Group Ltd