The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King – Various Artists

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Album Review by EDF

With the first two soundtrack instalments selling very well, thank you very much, there is no reason at all for THE RETURN OF THE KING soundtrack not to deliver a repeat performance. From the opening A STORM IS COMING which reprises the film’s main theme, there is a sense that this, like the movie itself, will be an epic experience for the ears. With MINAS TRITH emphasising a dark mood, you know that something bad is going to happen. In fact the track sounds like it covers three different emotions, each with its own emotional punch.

THE WHITE TREE: THE STEWARD OF GONDOR is one of the more poignant scenes in the movie. As Billy Boyd’s vocals are attached at the end, to listen to this track before viewing the movie will actually diminish the emotional impact of the scene in question. MINAS MORGUL is a grand epic two-minute piece featuring horns that is just so powerful and strings creep in at the end to level out the intense mood. On the opposite side, the choral arrangements on TWILIGHT AND SHADOW are wonderful, aided by soloist Renée Fleming.

One of the most terrifying scenes in the movie is represented here by SHELOB’S LAIR: ASH AND SMOKE, where the score conveys a predator creeping up and attacking you. THE BLACK GATE OPENS reprises the main theme and so it should as this piece is fit for our heroes who are about to battle against immeasurable odds. The ten-minute THE RETURN OF THE KING again reprises other themes heard throughout the trilogy, aided along with a little help from Sir James Galway, Renée Fleming and Viggo Mortensen. The final track INTO THE WEST, featuring the great Annie Lennox, contains lyrics relating to the movie and should easily be nominated for a few awards.

As with most instrumental movie soundtracks, this does lose some of its emotional punch as some of the tracks featured here would be more appreciated with the appropriate images. Otherwise Howard Shore has produced a mostly enjoyable soundtrack that is as much of an epic as the trilogy itself.

4 stars