Judge Dredd

Epic Soundtrax (074646722022)
Movie | Released: 1995 | Film release: 1995 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.Dredd SongThe Cure4:16
2.Darkness FallsThe The3:43
3.Super-Charger HeavenWhite Zombie3:36
4.Need-FireCocteau Twins4:19
5.Release the PressureLeftfield7:39
6.Judge Dredd Main Theme4:56
7.Judgement Day5:53
8.Block War4:39
9.We Created You3:46
10.Council Chaos5:43
11.Angel Family5:36
12.New World9:13
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Judge Dredd - 09/10 - Review of Edmund Meinerts, submitted at
Never was there a role more perfect for Sylvester Stallone than the lockjawed Judge Dredd, a sort of futuristic police force, army and firing squad all rolled up into one (with quite a lot of assorted gadgets to help things along, of course). Kind of like Rocky, except on even more steroids than usual. Unfortunately, the film he starred in flew under the radar, bashed by both critics and fans of the original comic strip. Personally, I found it to be a surprisingly decent effort, with several clever political and class-related undertones. And the visuals were nothing short of spectacular.

Alan Silvestri was only third choice to provide the music to accompany those visuals, after both David Arnold and Jerry Goldsmith had dropped out of the project. But the composer was hot off his recent, Oscar-nomination-crowned success with Bob Zemeckis' Forrest Gump, and he provided a very strong, if not outstanding, score for Judge Dredd.

The first minute and a half of soft, choral suspense and drama material aside, the first thing that grips a listener about this album is the main theme, and holy hell, what a theme it is. Not since Back to the Future had Silvestri provided bombast and energy on this scale, and the blistering way in which this idea is screamed out on massed brass is film music at its best. I found myself making comparisons with the running music from Forrest Gump, and also with his later work for The Mummy Returns.

'Judgement Day' is where Silvestri lets loose with the adjective that best describes this score as a whole: MELODRAMA. A full adult chorus lets rip a few times throughout this excellent cue, and its sparing use gives it all the more impact, especially at the end of this cue, which soars all the way to the ceiling, attaining an almost Lord of the Rings-like level of choral and orchestral majesty.

But my favorite track on this album has to be 'Block War'. His score for Predator showed us that Silvestri is a master of pounding percussive rhythms, and almost the entirety of this track consists of one of those, accompanied by the main theme performed on brass (of course) over the top. It takes the very best of Predator and, by adding the wonderful main theme over the top, makes it a real blow-out of a track. Make sure your neighbors appreciate it too while you're listening to it.

'Council Chaos' continues pretty much where 'Block War' let off, a very strong action piece with statements aplenty of the main theme, a roller coaster, switching rapidly from dark to heroic. 'We Created You' is a bit of a respite; lightweight, romantic and dramatic, rather than action-oriented (despite the really great choral statement of the main theme at the end). Both these latter tracks, while solid, are not quite as brilliant as the first three.

'Angel Family' is a bit of an unfortunate track, because it is so out of tune with the rest of the score. The first four tracks can be said to take the best parts of Predator and, by deepening the orchestral, choral and thematic input, make them more consistently enjoyable. This track, on the other hand, reiterates the worst of Predator, the horror side. Lots of shrieking effects and nervous percussion beats dominate this suspense track, and it isn't really listenable on any level. Thankfully, it's quite easy to skip!

'A New World' is the lengthy finale track. In a way, it represents the entire score - it contains some suspense, some drama, a bit of action, nothing really memorable. But the last two minutes or so - a subdued, horn-solo statement of the main theme that swells and builds into a glorious, pounding march, a worthy end to this score.

Once one removes the 'Angel Family' cue, Judge Dredd becomes an epic, glorious ride, a worthy contributor to the immensely satisfying level of bombast emanating from Hollywood in the mid-90s (along with things like Stargate, First Knight, Cutthroat Island and Independence Day ). Not since the finale of The Abyss, or until The Mummy Returns in 2001, would Silvestri return to such a massive orchestral and choral scope. It's hard to listen to the end of 'Judgement Day' and not imagine that this is the sort of material he would have produced had he been hired to score The Lord of the Rings...now there's a prospect! (no offense, Mr. Shore) It is, by a long mile, Silvestri's best score of the 90s.
Judge Dredd - 10/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Often, Alan Silvestri can be one of the most infuriating composers around. He has written the most fantastic main themes, but then some of the least interesting scores ever. Once in a while, he strikes gold and for Judge Dredd he did just that. Like Demolition Man previously, this was a futuristic cop thriller thingy with lots of shooting and stuff. It was originally to have been scored by Jerry Goldsmith (who wrote the infamous trailer music - you can find it on Hollywood 95 or The John Beal Trailer Project, OK?!), however due to scheduling conflicts etc etc, Alan Silvestri was hired to ultimately score it. It turned out to be one of his best action efforts. Curiously, it doesn't contain one of his greatest main themes. It is suitable to the hilt though, blaring brass, dramatic, heroic turning into a sharply constructed march, introduced after a slow and rumbling build up in, surprisingly enough, Judge Dredd Main Theme. The style is used as a basis for a lot of the rest of the score, the splendid brass section of the Sinfonia of London being used to best effect, with the choir giving it a wonderfully epic quality. It remarkably mirrors these hugely dynamic sections with some very atmospheric and marvellously orchestrated quieter sections such as the opening of Judgement Day. Some of the slower, portentous sections seemed to echo the high drama of the final Cloud City music from John Williams' classic score to The Empire Strikes Back; no bad place to start, even though this music is shot through with Silvestri's own harmonic and melodic language.

The action cues are some of Silvestri's best serious efforts, and while they do rely on very strong rhythmic devices, one never gets the feeling that he's just hitting the repeat key on the synth machine. The strident Dredd March makes a few appearances and the music is all the better since being so single mindedly serious makes it seem incredibly dramatic and thoroughly epic in scope. Block War is one of the best examples of this, which thunders on like a war machine, which is essentially Mr Dredd's (can I call him Mr?) only purpose. Council Chaos features some more intricate string and brass writing, which really is chaotic as well as being utterly riveting. One of the most disturbing tracks I've heard Silvestri compose is Angel Family which uses what sounds like twisted whale song, along with skittering percussion. It is really very creepy indeed, but finally breaks out into a percussive action cue a la Predator.

Unless you are a metal/heavy rock/grunge/whatever fan, I would skip the opening songs. I frankly loathed them (even worse than the one's from Lost in Space), but at least Silvestri's score is given a decent 41 or so minutes. Can't really complain too much; the sound quality is notably sharp along with the fantastic performance of the Sinfonia (who also gave a great performance for Danny Elfman's Batman). Overall this is a very intense score, lighter moments are mainly left for the end and unlike Goldenthal's Demolition Man, it takes itself a lot more seriously. This makes it neither better nor worse, but perhaps makes it a more grown up effort for what was essentially a silly film. If attached to a really classy futuristic thriller, then great, but sadly it's attached to a pretty lame, comic book futuristic thriller. As with Demolition Man, skip the movie and just enjoy the score. PS. Rating ignores the presence of the songs.

Other releases of Judge Dredd (1995):

Judge Dredd (1995)
Judge Dredd (1995)
Judge Dredd (2011)
Judge Dredd (2015)
Film Music by Alan Silvestri (2006)

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