Movie score media never fail to surprise and delight me. They are a label that over the years have introduced many collectors to the music of lesser known composers, I am just inspired by the labels unfaltering support of the art of music in film and television and their championing of composers who we probably would not have heard of if it were not for this premier label. One of their latest releases is by composer Stephen McKeon, THE PILGRIMAGE is a 2017 release and the score won best original music at the Irish Film and Television awards. The movie which is set in the turbulent days of 13th Century Ireland boasts a soundtrack that is a mix of both ethnic, symphonic and choral. The composer has created a fine score which is as fearsome and unnerving as the scenarios that are taking place on screen, it is a soundtrack filled with dark and foreboding passages, dramatic and apprehensive interludes and raw and near brutal sounds that create moods and atmospheres that are sinister, dark and malevolent. It purveys wonderfully the shadowy side of religion, but also can be underline and evoke the more inspirational and heartening face of devotion to God. The fusion of symphonic, choral and solo voice performances is stunning, I won’t say that it is an easy listen, it is not, but I will say it is an interesting score and one that enriches the listener. I have never been a great fan of choral scores in fact the last three scores I would say I truly loved with choral work or at least choral work used in this fashion was THE LION IN WINTER, THE LAST VALLEY and to a degree THE OMEN. But, THE PILGRIMAGE has that sound and that quality that makes it almost impossible not to listen, yes this is a score that is a lot darker than two of the titles I mentioned, but that I think is its attraction, it is richly threatening and lusciously alluring, attractive in an unnerving way if you like. The darker it becomes  the better at times, with its booming percussive elements its driving strings and inventive vocalising, THE PILGRIMAGE is one that you should check out.

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