AVAILABLE SOON ON KRONOS RECORDS.
The world and ways of The Viking have it seems been well documented by the likes of movie makers all over the world. Years ago, Hollywood took a hand in creating an image of these fearsome Norseman who seemed to always be drunk and do nothing but pillage, Rape and take what they wanted by the sword. Films such as THE VIKINGS, THE LONG SHIPS and more recently THE 13TH WARRIOR, showed the Vikings as a war like race, which of course they were as history also tells us, they also showed them as fearless explorers, not afraid to cross tempestuous seas to unknown lands. But, the Hollywood productions did tend to glam things up somewhat. VIKING which was released in 2017, is a Russian production, that pulls no punches and does not in any way glamourize the lives and ways of The Vikings. This is a gritty and more down to earth telling of a story, that is filled with adventure, violence and romance. The movie is loosely based on true events which were told in historical accounts such as The Icelandic Kings Sagas and The Primary Chronicle of the 10th Century. After the death of his Father Svyatoslav who was the ruler of, Keiv Rus, Prince Vladimir the rightful Heir to the throne is forced to retreat into exile to escape his treacherous half Brother Yaropolk, who has already killed his other Brother Oleg. Vladimir crosses the hazardous and icy seas to Sweden, where an old warrior faithful to his Father convinces the Prince to assemble a fighting force to take back his Kingdom, this force is made up of Viking Mercenaries who are led by a fearsome Swedish Chieftain. The picture is a times savage and brutal, but also is filled with stylish cinematography and stunning battle scenes. The musical score for the film was originally written by Russian composer Igor Matvienko who took two years to prepare his score, carrying out exhaustive studies on music and instruments that would have been used in the 9th and 10th Century, this extensive research added authenticity and depth to the motion picture. The trailers for the movie were scored by Irish composer Dean Valentine, who also provided music for parts of the movie itself. Valentine has become a respected and sought-after composer via his work on trailers for blockbuster’s such as CAPTAIN AMERICA-CIVIL WAR, INTERSTELLAR and AMERICAN SNIPER. But he has also worked on films and documentaries such as TIGER RAID and CLOSE TO EVIL. The soundtrack for VIKING by Matvienko received a release in Russia, but Valentines score did not appear on that release. Therefore, this is the first time the composer’s themes have been made available to collectors on the Compact Disc format.
The score is brooding and somewhat low key in places, the composer fusing the symphonic with the synthetic to achieve a wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack, that has to it a commanding and formidable musical heart. Many of the cues are what you might refer to as slow burners, the composer gradually building the tension and employing a style that is not dissimilar to that of Hans Zimmer at times, utilising underlying strings and powerful percussive elements. The CD also contains the music from all three of the trailers that were used to publicise the movie as well as music for the trailer of Ridley Scott’s, THE MARTIAN. VIKING the score is I have to say a million miles away from the themes from Hollywood movies, but this is not in anyway a disparaging or critical observation, as the movie too, has a very different style and appearance to the Viking romps that were filmed by Hollywood many years ago. Valentines score is highly charged and dramatic, and is a mix of both music and soundscape, that are affecting and supportive within the context of the movie, underlining and punctuating the many action scenes and stunning photography. Away from the images it remains just as interesting, entertaining, potent and powerful.
John Mansell. © 2018. Movie Music International.