TV

Soundtrack review: Vikings III (Trevor Morris – 2015)

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I pondered whether to jump in and review the music of Vikings, season 3, as soon as it came out or wait until I’ve caught up on the show to get an even more in depth feeling of what was going on and also to avoid spoilers. Looking over the tracklist for this album I see that they went to great lengths to actually tell us exactly what’s going on in the respective scene, details and spoilers and all. I am halfway through this season and I don’t want to miss the surprises. But… this is Trevor Morris, one of my favorite composers, and this is the music of Vikings. So in the end curiosity got the best of me and I will listen to this score now. I remember how brilliant the music of the second season was and I’m sure I’ll get more of that.

The sound of Vikings is quite unique. I enjoy immersing myself in it again right from the first cue. There’s that unmistakable echo, those sharp and cunning strings and the sounds of water and wood being clunked. The music is misty and in tune with Vikings rowing and sailing. The instrumentation gives me strange sensations and I can almost see the blue that dominates this series. The TV show has a special color and so does Trevor Morris’s music. The horns and the constant pounding give this score a premonitory feeling. The strings sometimes sound as if they were in fact saws cutting away at giant logs.

This score wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the surprises Trevor Morris has in store for us, like the throaty vocal pulses of “Battle for the Hill of Ash”. You haven’t heard anything like this insanely fun and addictive cue. I imagine myself running to the sound of this piece and there would be no better motivation than to not let those voices catch me. I know things will change the more I listen to this score but mark this as my favorite cue so far.

I take comfort in the warmth of “Judith”. I get chills when I hear the incantations in “Sacrifice for the crops”. I suffer whenever a sacrifice cue comes along with its echoes and atmospheric goodness. I try not to think of the titles and the more I listen to the music the more I want to rush and catch up on this wonderful show. The music feels compact and just as gripping as the show. It’s not often that a score keeps me on the edge of my seat like this. I feel all the chants and background vocals, I enjoy the constant drumming and all the ambient music that the composer created. Percussion is dominating the best scores of this period and I am fine with that.

You know what you get when you listen to Vikings. It’s already the third album and the sound scape is clear and unique by now. Don’t expect changes in a sound that works so well, there wouldn’t be any need for them. Do expect some subtle surprises every now and then and as the Vikings grow bolder and set higher goals for themselves, Trevor Morris’ music is right there besides them with an equally constant rise in the quality of the scores. The last few cues which deal with the attack on Paris are magnificent action pieces that make me wish for more and more. May this show and its music live forever.

PS If you don’t want spoilers, don’t look below at the cue titles

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 51 / 82

Album excellence: 62%

Highlights:

The Seer Gives Lagertha A Prophecy

The Vikings Sail For Wessex

Torstein Loses An Arm

Battle For The Hill Of The Ash

Judith

Sacrifice For The Crops

Siggy Sacrifices Herself To Save Ragnar’s Sons

Rollo Learns Of Siggy’s Sacrifice

The Seer Laughs At Rollo’s Misery

Athelstan Is Reborn

Floki Appears To Kill Athelstan

Ragnar Honors Athelstan’s Death

Aethelwulf Meets With Kwenthrith

Vikings Reach Paris

The Attack Begins

The Walls Are Breached; The French Lose Hope

Ragnar Knows Floki Killed Athelstan

Vikings Attempt To Rip Open Gates

Floki Melt Down

Lagertha’s Stealth Assault On The Bridge

The French Counter – Attack

The Vikings Are Told Of Ragnar’s Death

Ragnar Sets Sail For Home

 

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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