The dark and foreboding sound of composer Bernard Herrmann certainly made an impact upon film scoring from the 1940’s up until his death. Herrmann as a composer influenced numerous other composers and artists, Jerry Goldsmith for example and also Christopher Young, it seems however that his influences have now extended to the 21st Century, and are evident within the music that Pantawit Kiangsiri has written for the Chinese film production, THE SECRET OF IMMORTAL CODE which is released on the Movie Score Media label. The score does not only generate nods of acknowledgement to Herrmann with its growling and volatile style but at times we can also hear references to the actual writings of Goldsmith, which first manifest themselves within the second half of the cue UNDERGROUND LAB AND RAID, that evokes memories of Goldsmith’s striking and tense theme for the movie CAPRICORN ONE. I am of the opinion that referencing or paying homage to other composers such as Herrmann and Goldsmith, cannot be a negative thing, but and its just a little but, if we as fans do notice these then maybe the composer has written in this style because either he was asked to by the films producers or it is something that he developed whilst caught up in the project and maybe being a fan himself of their music is indeed paying homage to their talents. There is also another style present throughout, that is not as forthright or dominant, which is obviously the composers own individual style coming through as he shapes and fashions the score. The danger here being that because the Goldsmith/Herrmann influence is so strong, that the original musical fingerprint of Kiangsisri could be swamped or drowned out and to a degree in the first half of the score this does in fact happen. But, cast your mind back to DEF CON 4 which was penned by Christopher Young, there were so many references to the work of Goldsmith within it that it was difficult at times to separate that score from things such as CAPRICON ONE (again), and this style of imitating as in paying homage to another composer, certainly did not do Chris Young any harm. I think the first glimmer of originality within Kiangsiri’s, score makes an appearance in track number six, DIARY AND OLD MEMORIES, which is more of a down tempo and less of an action cue. But even here there are little nuances and quirks of orchestration that could be construed as being Goldsmith influenced as in the poignant piano solo, (A PATCH OF BLUE) and also striking electric guitar chords that are very similar indeed to the type that Goldsmith deployed in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE many years ago.
In fact, the sound that Goldsmith utilised in the KLINGON BATTLE scene, is evident also in the following cue MAN IN THE BOX, albeit a slower tempo and maybe a slightly less animated version. However, saying this this is a score that I would still recommend, because of its use of so many sounds and for the combining of various styles and musical colours etc. Film music after all maybe needs to go back in time a way and start again, so that we can have themes and solid action cues once more without the use of droning non-musical sections and incessant harsh stabs that are effective in heightening tension and drama but have no real direction of substance. THE SECRET OF IMMORTAL CODE, is an entertaining score, filled with symphonic and electronic textures, which the composer combines, fuses and melds to create a work that stands out. I enjoyed listening to the soundtrack as it was relentless, every track containing something to be appreciated, with even full throttle action tracks having to them a thematic base that the composer brings out into the open as the track progresses and grows, developing it and presenting it as a vibrant theme in its own right. If you are a fan of action film music, or the style that we associate with Goldsmith, Young and Herrmann then you will I am sure enjoy this and maybe even become an admirer of the artistry and talent of Pantawit Kiangsiri. Available now on digital platforms.