Capitalizing on the immense popularity of Peter Jackson's revival of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, comes producer Volker Engel's DARK KINGDOM: THE DRAGON KING. Originally released in Germany as RING OF THE NIBELUNGS, the English version was finally broadcast on the Sci-Fi channel. The film finds a quick release to DVD as does the official soundtrack in March 2005.
While this tale may have influenced Mr. Tolkien and eventually the three Peter Jackson films, ably scored by Howard Shore, this soundtrack release of DARK KINGDOM, unfortunately, has nary a hint of the power and majesty of Shore's music. For those of us not given to traditional European pieces or Euro-pop either for that matter, much of this soundtrack will be a painful listen. The two bright spots; however, are the two tracks (14, 16) which feature actual score from the film.
Composer Ilan Eshkeri may not be a household name (even in film music fans' houses) yet, but has been involved with films such as: LAYER CAKE, and BLACK HAWK DOWN. As Eshkeri pens the score for Dark Kingdom, it is produced by growing-household-name, Klaus Badelt and Christopher Brooks. Listening to the meager score sampling, The London Metropolitan Orchestra does an adequate job, but the recording of the two score tracks is noticeably lower in volume and not nearly as crisp as the tracks that surround them.
According to the LMO's official website, the LMO was conducted by Andrew Brown and scoring took place over two days, with 4 sessions of 24 strings, an oboe overdub and a seperate session for 8 brass - 1 trumpet, 3 horns, 3 trombones and tuba.
This release from Dancing Ferret Records features music from both the English and German versions of the film. To the dismay of some film music fans, this release simply does not feature enough of Eshkeri's atmospheric score. So, for now, why don't cha be raisin' yer fav'rite mug-o-ale and say wit me, "Here's to Ilan Eshkeri...may his music know the bounty of a proper release."
Tracksounds Rating: 2/10