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Soundtrack review: The Shannara Chronicles (Felix Erskine & Orphan – 2016)


Soundtrack review: The Shannara Chronicles (Felix Erskine & Orphan – 2016)


“The Shannara Chronicles” is an American fantasy drama television series created by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar. It is an adaptation of the Shannara series of fantasy novels by Terry Brooks, primarily The Sword of Shannara Trilogy. It’s a series of adventures, war, and evil that occur throughout the history of the Four Lands. Of course the series airs on MTV, formerly Music TV. I don’t think they show music anymore. Anyway, the score is written by Felix Erskine and Orphan and a story like this is a fertile ground for a great score.

Who wrote the score now? Are these names alter egos of other composers I love? The opening cue “Running blind” sounds as if it was taken from the recording sessions of none other than Oblivion, which is only one of my favorite scores of the past 15 years. The sound falls in that very rare category that I know will stay with me forever. When I say “Oblivion” I instantly go to “Tron: Legacy” and “Inception” as well for comparison. Can this score keep up?

I don’t want you to understand that mentioning those other scores means this one isn’t original. Oh no; I am merely expressing my disbelief and admiration that I am able to find a new score that makes me think of those I’ve worn the imaginary discs and tapes off. There’s always place for some new cues in that magical, perfect playlist. So yes guys, please, get in the front row, I saved you a few seats.

This right here is the sound that hypnotizes me and makes me an addict. This gorgeous ambient sound that makes me think of a vast emptiness that I fill with my emotions is my sweetest spot. The haunting electronic melodies, the space sounds, the feeling of weightlessness and the dream state the score induces are the ingredients for my favorite pass time. The robotic buildups, the cold but poignant echoes, everything in this score is precious to me and part of me.

As the score progresses I feel desperate because it’s only 43 minutes long. This is wrong. A score like this should be worth at least 90 minutes. I revel in every cue; nostalgia is high with this one because there is no other sound than can make me feel so at home; this is the descendant of the magic 80s synth sound and the evolution is spectacular. I adore this score. I want to hear the recording sessions for this score. I want the TV show to last forever so I can hear more music from it. This to me is Oblivion 2.0 and I wasn’t even hoping to find something like it.

Cue rating: 96 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 36 / 43

Album excellence: 83%


Running Blind

Allanon Rocks Up

Furies Descend

You Passed the Test

The Ellcrys Has Spoken

Talk to the Tree

Lost Hound

Found the Fortress

Druid Vision

Gun Shootout

Safehold Found

Discussing Kael

We Fall Together

Wil at the Ellcrys

Dagda Druid Fight

The Shannara Chronicles End Credits

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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