This is the latest offering from the young and very talented composer Ilan Eshkeri, who first caused a stir in the world of film music via his tremendous soundtrack for STARDUST. Since this foray into the film music arena the composer has been involved with many well know motion pictures that have grabbed the cinema going public’s attention and done moderately well at the box office. CENTURION contains a fully symphonic score and is one of those works that grows upon you after a few listens, there is no doubt it is a powerful and exciting creation that not only contains driving and ominous sounding themes but also treats us to quieter more melodic and haunting tone poems that sit alongside the more dramatic compositions with relevant ease, all of which combine to generate not only a rewarding listening experience but a score that fits the actions and events unfolding upon the screen and enhance perfectly the films storyline. The first handful of cues seem to charge headlong at the listener, these being attention grabbing and above all commanding and exhilarating, sending the blood rushing and the adrenaline rising. They demand that you sit up and listen and pave the way for the potent music that is to follow. Brass and percussion take the upper hand and supported by dark, energetic and driving strings form the foundations of the score. Eshkeri manages to balance the elements of light and dark and dramatic and calm flawlessly, his inclusion of female voice momentarily in quieter interludes works very well and generates an air that is almost serene. Track number 11, SHE WOLF is particularly attractive, it commences with an up tempo and highly gripping and lashing theme taken on by strings and percussion, this powerful start to the proceedings melts away slightly and gives way to brief utilisation of wordless vocal which is embellished by swelling strings and booming percussion, the voice melts away and the strings take on the central role rising in volume and pitch to reach a crescendo that fades bringing the cue to its conclusion. The effect created by the combination of voice and strings is striking, the composer also makes effective use of voices throughout the work at times half heard words can be heard in the background of the music, but the most effective use of voice in combination with full orchestra is demonstrated in tracks number 13, A SACRED RITE and track 14, WATERFALL again driving strings take the lead setting the stage for a drama filled composition, brass, choir and percussion add their musical weight to proceedings and both cues manage to take the listeners breath away. Track 15 NECROMANCER, is one of the scores more subdued and melodic moments, the composer utilising Celtic harp and strings to bring forth a theme that is tender and haunting. The work also includes performances on some unusual instruments, which brings not only originality to the soundtrack but makes the listening experience more interesting and fulfilling, giving the work a richness and energy that is rare in film music these days.
I will admit to having to listen to this score a few times before fully digesting it and appreciating the composers efforts but I would now would without hesitation recommend it to fellow collectors.