Composer Craig Armstrong’s latest work is for the dark and gothic horror tale VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN, the score which is a large scale affair is filled to overflowing with numerous themes and motifs that conjure up perfectly the shady and horrific world that we associate with Mary Shelley’s character and his creation or monster. Armstrong is one of those composers who writes for film that many people without realising it have heard and loved his music, many of his scores have been to films that can be deemed as successful at the box office, movies such as ROMEO AND JULIET with a young Leonardo di Caprio and also LOVE ACTUALLY which is shown at least once a week on TV somewhere in the world. The problem with Armstrong’s scores is that many of them get buried and thus ignored or drowned out by the use of a pop music or vocal track soundtrack as in THE GREAT GATSBY, MOULIN ROUGUE and also the aforementioned ROMEO AND JULIET and LOVE ACTUALLY Armstrong composed beautiful and dramatic soundtracks for all of these but never seems to receive the credit which he so richly deserves from collectors, its like he remains in the shadows as far as many collectors are concerned, but saying this he has been nominated for awards for his work on motion pictures. VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN in my opinion is probably one of the composers more robust and dramatic works since his work on THE INCREDIBLE HULK, the soundtrack being a thundering and powerful addition to the composers C.V. The use of brass and percussion within the score is highly effective Armstrong employing these elements of the orchestra in many of the cues, all the time however they are being supported, elevated and enhanced by the string section which swirls around them, punctuates and drives them on to catapult the proceedings forward at break neck speed, infusing and creating a fearsome and foreboding sound that is darkly rich, windswept and unsettling, in fact listening to tracks such as THE FINALE and PROMETHEUS ASCENDING can be likened to being pounded and thrown around by a storm on a barren moor, but this is not a negative in any way at all, it is my way of describing how the music actually gets to the listener and also what atmosphere it brings forth.
The composer also utilises choir within his score this evokes an even more commanding atmosphere and also adds a somewhat celestial or reverent dimension to the work. This is an action/fantasy score, and the accent is upon action for most of its duration, it is an entertaining score but I have to add it is not an original sounding work, when hearing it for the first time one could easily mistake it for the music of Alan Silvestri or even Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman. It is I have to say an entertaining soundtrack and its good to hear this at times subdued composer flexing his musical muscles. Maybe not highly innovative but still worth adding to your collection.