Well, this is certainly a lot better than I remember it. I used to own it you see, then I sold it and then bought it back as I missed the good bits. Weird, but what can I say? The aforementioned good bits consist primarily of the main theme which comes to the fore in Roll Tide. Unlike some of his more recent efforts, Zimmer's theme is very tuneful and more interesting and stays away from the rather motif-based themes of things such as the The Rock for example. Also included is the hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save, which is very effective and blends quite well with the score. I suspect its inclusion was 'inspired' by the Hymn to Red October from Poledouris' submarine score for The Hunt for Red October (although that hymn was original for the score, Eternal Father Strong to Save is a standard hymn). It is sung by a male voice choir which at point gets used by Zimmer to provide some low rumblings or to back up the brass and synths when the tune comes along. This is one of those scores that is hard to rate, on the one hand, the music is wonderfully effective at setting the tone for the film and the main themes are excellent, the action is likewise excellent. The thing is that there are portions of the score that seem to just drag on with low synths. Two of the tracks being close to 20 minutes doesn't help much, there are just about enough moments in those to hold the interest, but I usually tend to give up if not doing anything else while listening. Tracks 1, 3 and 5 make up the best of the score as they are more succinct and there is little or no extraneous rumblings included. I don't really know which Zimmer score to recommend to people, all his action scores are quite samey so you will either love or loath all of them if you love or loath one. This is not as cacophonous as many of his other efforts and certainly stands with Backdraft as being one of his finer efforts.
Hans Zimmer explosive score for Crimson Tide is in the same style as Backdraft and The Rock, i.e. very powerful music with a mixture of synths, orchestra and a heavy percussive sound, but much, much better. While Backdraft and The Rock are very good scores, Crimson Tide rocks! As I have already said the music is very percussive, and both electronic and acoustic percussion are being used generously throughout the score.
Zimmer seems to have a talent for good, lyrical themes, and the ones in Crimson Tide are no exception. Often played by brass they sound the best when played loud, and if you have a subwoofer, or just a decent pair of speakers, this score, with it's heavy bass, will rock your house. Maybe this is the reason so many people, not just film music fans, likes this Zimmer score, as well as Backdraft and The Rock? Because it's so powerful, I mean.
The orchestrations are more to the forceful, brassy way, with heavy trombones, horns and trumpets. If you've heard Backdraft and The Rock you know what I'm talking about. Then you should also know how well Zimmer handles the mans choir. Well, it's in here too, to give the music that extra power. The choir is also used in an a capella arrangement of the psalm "Eternal Father Strongs to Save", that is being used in different parts of the score, especially in the track "Roll Tide", where it given it's best rendition. There's also some soft trumpet solos in some cues, most notably in the beginning of "1SQ".
There are only four tracks on the album, but they're all very long (the longest is almost 24 minutes!). Perhaps it would have been better with shorter, but instead more tracks instead?