Soundtrack review: Admiral (Michiel de Ruyter) (Trevor Morris – 2015)
“Admiral” (original title “Michiel de Ruyter”) is a Dutch film about the respective admiral. He lived in the 17th century and is one of the most famous and skilled admirals in Dutch history. That’s saying something considering the rich past the Dutch have in the seas. He won some great battles against the English and the French and was much loved by his sailors and soldiers because of his good and pious nature. Now we have adventures at seas from centuries ago… Who should write the score… Oh yeah, who other than Trevor Morris who gives such a distinctive and great sound to the “Vikings” TV show. Also, 90 minutes of score this can only be a good thing in this case. I’m ready for the adventure! The last massive score from Trevor Morris ended up among the best of 2014 (Dragon age: Inquisition”) so bring it on!
The massive opening “Michiel is out there / The battle of Scheveningen” is a cannon ball that lands right in my musical comfort zone. This is the classic Remote Control Production sound that never gets old. I’ve been here many times before and I loved it. This cue is bold, epic and massive and with the electronic pulses towards the end and the paradoxally warm military choirs it instantly brings to mind Steve Jablonski’s “Transformers” sound. Judging by this first cue I almost expect one of the ships to transform into an autobot. I always welcome this sound with joy and anticipation. Long live the Zimmer camp and its band of brothers. 9 minutes pass in a heartbeat and I scramble to already add this cue to my “Transformers running playlist”.
If you could see me while listening to the score you would find a permanent smile on my face. “Admiral” has that blend of heroic epic, emotionally melodic (first heard in “Was it a boy or a girl (Anna’s theme)” and pirate music. Trevor Morris wrote this score as a wonderful journey with all its perils and moments of triumph and doubt. The music never lags; it flows just like those waters Michiel was sailing hundreds of years ago.
The big trial of this journey comes in the form of a monster 14 minutes long cue “Battling the Royal Charles”. I clear the room around me before listening to this one because I anticipate a lot of moving and gesturing. Pounding RCP style percussion? Check. Raw and awesome sounds coming together and crushing everything in their path? Check. Electronic pulses? Of course. A dash of choral work? Can’t hurt. Epic overall? Absolutely. Something I’ve never heard before? Far from it, but who cares. I could listen to hours of this. I have listened to hours of this, and I will listen to countless more. This sound is one of my closest friends and I’ve missed it. Welcome back, old friend!
In “Anna and Michiel losing sleep” I recognize Trevor Morris. This is not just that sound I love; it has the personal touch each composer brings to his music. The emotional shadow, the vocal insert, this is Trevor Morris at his best. Of course, same can be said for the insane string rhythm of “Burn his house down”. You can feel the wrath in this cue coming from the relentless pace and I can almost smell the ashes at the end of it with that heroic choral part that never fails.
It’s rare and precious to me to listen to a score which can give me the nostalgia factor from the first listen, even if I have no connection with the movie. It’s all in the sound and atmosphere and I missed them and I embrace them once again. I’ve known this sound for 20 years and every new score in this vein is a winner. The legions of RCP fans will adore this score. It blends the old sound with the new because “Death of a legend” ticked the same way as “The bible” did last year.
It’s not easy for a composer to keep the pace and energy going for 90 minutes. Trevor Morris does it with ease in “Admiral” and each track on this score has something to offer. There are no fillers and it’s even hard to highlight separate tracks because you need to make this journey in full. You’ll appreciate it better and take more from it. As from every fruitful journey, you’ll remember emotions, adventure, doubts, beautiful soundscapes and the moments where this journey reminded you of countless others taken before.
Do yourselves a favor and grab this one.
Cue rating: 95 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 76 / 93
Album excellence: 82%
Michiel Is out There / The Battle of Scheveningen
It’s Our Blood
Was It a Boy or a Girl (Anna’s Theme)
Off You Go
Battling the Royal Charles
Michiel’s Happy Family
St. James Day Battle
Anna & Michiel Losing Sleep
Burn His House Down
Setting the Trap
Death of the De Witts / Michiel Escapes the Mob
Back to Sea – Strategy
The Battle of Kijkduin / Bestevaer
The Powers Convene
One Final Mission
Death of a Legend
The End of an Age