Indie Music, Reviews

Like E.S. Posthumus, But Not: Immediate’s Trailerhead: Saga (Review)

August 18, 2010 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook Like E.S. Posthumus, But Not: Immediate’s Trailerhead: Saga (Review)on Twitter

I know that artists generally don’t appreciate it when people constantly compare them to another artist, but I can’t help it in this case. We were recently turned on to the epic orchestral sounds of Immediate, a single alias for a conglomerate of composers headed by composer and producer Yoav Goren, and were ‘immediately’ reminded of the powerful cinematic stylings of E.S. Posthumus. Given the long gaps that usually fall between E.S. Posthumus albums, I was eager to find more artists who explored this unique style of music.

Enter Trailerhead: Saga. This is actually a follow-up to Immediate’s debut album, Trailerhead, featuring tracks that were written to be included in a trailer music library. You may have heard some of these tracks in various worldwide trailers and commercials for Pirates of the Caribbean 3, X-Men 3, Hellboy 2, and “Astro Boy,” among others, but this album is meant to appeal to listeners as a standalone experience, and I think you’ll find the music here appropriately epic, working in live orchestra, choir, and a host of live performers to bring the compositions to life.

Find out what Trailerhead: Saga has to offer in our review after the jump.

After all that talk of epic music, Trailerhead: Saga actually opens on a rather subdued note with “Hymnus Orbis,” which features an angelic choir and a beautiful woodwind melody. You’ll notice that a lot of the track titles here are in Latin, which I guess makes everything sound just a little more epic, right?

It’s quickly into more heart-pounding territory with the majority of tracks that follow, however, including the “Glory Seeker” with its doubled-up string and brass stabs that leave quite an impact, “Libertas” with its addition of chugging electric guitar to its sweeping string sections, and the initially unassuming “Invictus” that explodes into a flurry of brass, strings, and heavy percussion out of nowhere. While I’m not really feeling the track title, “In League With Cerberus” stands out with its twisted and agonized string progressions that sound like something straight out of hell.

My favorite track on the album, however, gets its own paragraph. “Darkness on the Edge of Power” may sound like a needlessly long title, but the words “darkness” and “power” are really fitting of this track. The melody is admittedly simple, ascending upwards with repetitive brass notes and choir, but about midway through, rock percussion explodes onto the scene and a melodic motif is repeated with increasing intensity as layers of percussion, strings, brass and choir are added. This is easily my favorite track on the album, reminding me most of E.S. Posthumus’s work, and also coming with a live version tucked away at the end of the album, showing that Immediate also knows this is a key track on the album.

“Oratio Sanctus” takes us into more contemplative territory with its emphasis on gentle piano and long, drawn out string and brass notes that lend the piece an almost melancholy feel. “Ashes of War” is equally quiet, combining strings and choir to portray the terrible realities of war, while “Salvation for a Proud Nation” works in nationalistic motifs voiced by strings and a lovely acoustic guitar. It builds up with pounding orchestral percussion and more sweeping strings, and actually manages to make national pride sound cool. The final track, “Surrender to Hope,” sounds like it would be right at home as an ending credits piece, wrapping things up nicely, although doing so without much of a memorable melody.

And therein lies my main gripe with Trailerhead: Saga. Yes, it’s epic, and it combines live orchestra and rock elements into a unique style that we’ve come to love with groups like E.S. Posthumus, but it’s missing that hook. I’ve listened to the album several times through, and both Brandon Robison (who recently reviewed ESP’s Makara album) and I agree that there simply isn’t much here to keep you coming back. This album needs more tracks like “Darkness of the Edge of Despair,” which, while incredibly simple, quickly gets you riled up with a melody that you’ll have in your head for weeks. I would have liked to have heard more like it on the album.

With that said, you can fortunately purchase the tracks individually if you just want to select your favorites, as it’s available on both iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 services. It’s also available in a physical format from Immediate Records, housed in a digipak case with some appropriately epic artwork, some words from Yoav Goren, and an exhaustive list of composing and performing credits. While this isn’t E.S. Posthumus, it’s certainly similar in style, and you may find that you enjoy it just as much.

What do you think of this developing genre of “trailer music?” Are there other artists out there like Immediate and E.S. Posthumus that you think we should be looking into?

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