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Soundtrack review: Furious (Serj Tankian – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Furious (Serj Tankian – 2017)

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“Furious—The Legend Of Kolovrat” is a Russian historical fantasy film set in the 13th Century directed by Ivan Shurkhovetskly about the Ryazan knight Evpaty Kolovrat—the leader of a seventeen-man squad who defend against thousands of Mongol warrior hordes and their leader Batu Khan. Serj Tankian wrote the score and I am very happy to see him getting to write more and more film music since what I’ve heard so far from one of my favourite voices in rock has been excellent.

It’s funny how almost all the historical fantasy films set somewhere before the 1500s have an Asian component to them; it’s become like a Pavlov effect for me when I hear “epic historical fantasy from the 1200s” or so to get ready to hear some Asian inserts. It doesn’t take more than two cues to get me in the right mood for an epic score as “Ambush” has that trailer music sound that is always inspirational and adrenaline raising. It’s not all explosive though as Tankian uses warm and tender ethnic instruments, usually wood based, to create an emotional texture for this score. I just love beautiful cues like “Nastya” or “The family” and I welcome the powerful female voice in “The hoard is here”. The composer finds the right balance between quiet and loud in this score and he has time to do it as well since the album is 77 minutes long.

The Mongolian influence is present in the music through throat singing and ethnic instruments. These inserts are subtle, just enough to remind the listener and the viewer of the setting of the story. That’s the only subtle thing about this score as Serj Tankian delivers exactly the type of composition a fantasy historical movie needs: bold, loud and spectacular with enough emotional impact to make it also inspirational. The music is loud and epic, with choirs and storms of instruments and I just want to dial the volume high and enjoy the rush. Any movie like this should also have a romantic element and the cues where Nastya appears are usually the tenderest and most beautiful.

I can help but smile as I hear a cue like “Confusion” because it’s exactly the type of action music, relentless and dense, that I wanted to hear. Tankian even goes electronic ambient in it and I almost feel like this cue should play over a scene with supernatural elements. Then comes “Uragasha” which gives me goosebumps with the emotional motif and this shows exactly why “Furious” works so well as a standalone listen: the balance between loud and quiet, between melodic and frantic is very well done and there is great music to be found in this score no matter what kind of sound you prefer. I think “Uragahsa” is my favourite theme from the album and one of the best epic fantasy cues of 2017.

In one of my favourite rock musicians and vocalists, Serj Tankian, I am also discovering a versatile and crafty film music composer who writes rich and dense scores that are quite rewarding as standalone listens; I’ve heard from him this year two scores from very different genres and they were just as good. “Furious” is a fantasy score that you will remember, and ode to heroism and I invite you to experience it. Can’t wait for more from Serj.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 51 / 77

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:
02 Ambush
05 The Family
06 Nastya
07 The Horde Is Here
08 Into The Wilderness
10 Warn Our People
11 To Arms!
13 You Should Pray
14 Ryazan Is Gone
15 Nastya’s Whistle
18 Holy Mother
21 Confusion
22 Uragsha
24 The Children
25 Are They Really Ours-
26 Prepare For Battle
29 Come Kill Us
30 Sail
31 Death of Kolovrat

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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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