Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of. This week we look at soundtrack pros Two Steps From Hell and their newest collection of action-adventure music, 'Battlecry.'
Week of 05/08/2015
WHO: Two Steps From Hell
If you looked at the name of the act Two Steps From Hell and then at album title Battlecry and assumed this was another entry from a power metal group that barely made it onto the Billboard 200, you wouldn't be too far off base. Indeed, the music contained within the collection seems ready for music video featuring dragons, wizards and epic battles. Not just any music video however...try a full-length feature film.
The Two Steps From Hell collective was founded by Nick Phoenix and Thomas Bergeron with the express purpose of creating music for films and movie trailers...action movies at that. The pairs works has appeared in the Harry Potter films, Pirates of The Caribbean and X-Men.
The outtakes, if you will, appear on collections such as Battlecry, a collection of 26 compositions by both producers, which themselves seem to the soundtrack to some film or video game yet to be developed. Indeed, "Stormkeeper" seems to be a cut from Hans Zimmer's Pirates scores, while the instrumental version of "Battleborne" marches like Howard Shore's more imposing Lord of The Rings moments. The vast majority of Battlecry lends itself to the Gaelic style found in fantasy productions, epic arrangements with a soft spot for ambient, wordless female vocals.
Granted, most film soundtracks aren't necessarily meant to be listened to as a standalone recording. This applies even more so to Battlecry, a score without film to accompany it. Therefore listening to the 90-plus minutes of music held within can become tiresome. Orchestral music buffs won't be too keen either, but perhaps fans of Nightwish and other symphonic metal might be able to appreciate the album as a whole.