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by Hans Zimmer

If you want some loud, bombastic action music, look no further than "The Peacemaker."  Hans Zimmer uses a 104-piece orchestra, a huge choir, and a battery of synth effects.  What makes me enjoy this more than a lot of other Zimmer scores is a lack of the obnoxious electric guitar.  What you do get, though, is a booming orchestral score with driving synth percussion. (In some sections, the powerful bass is enough to make a house shake!)  The downside to this is that the action sometimes dissolves into dissonant, foreboding noise (for example, see sections of track 4.)  Another minus is the fact that Zimmer edits his music into long suites, the longest of which is 17 minutes.  This presents a problem when one is trying to find a specific section. (Not to mention that it makes the CD as hard as *#$% to review.)

Track by Track Analysis:
1. Trains (13:51)
Zimmer opens with an oppressive string motif.  This continues to build, is joined by synths, and eventually explodes into a full orchestral tutti.  After a few seconds of ambiance, he introduces one of the principal themes, a militaristic march backed by synth bursts.  It exhausts itself, and the massive choir enters singing a mournful anthem.  Zimmer expands on the opening motif, and this is followed by a few minutes of building synth rhythms.  The choir sings a few measures, then a section of the main action motif (to be fully stated in Track 4) appears.  An interesting technique he does here is interpolate a section of the ethnic "Sarajevo" motif in the background.  A few minutes of expansion upon the action motif follows, including more "Sarajevo."  Near the end of the track, the choir reappears, singing hints of their main motif (reminiscent of the Lion King score.)  More expansion upon the main action motif rounds out the track.  Overall, this is one of the more generic tracks album.
2. Devoe's Revenge (5:14) by Gavin Greenway
For this track, Greenway introduces several of Zimmer's main action motifs to be heard later.  I usually skip it, simply because the themes are heard more fully in other tracks (i.e. Enough is enough!)
3. Sarajevo (8:40)
Zimmer departs from his usual style and gives us a break from the action with this intensely moving suite.  After a statement of the introduction of track 4, the choir introduces the complete version of their theme from track 1.  For the next few minutes, the composer gives some ambient rumblings, with the theme stated occasionally.  Eventually an alternate of the choir's theme plays, this time by the orchestra.  At the 5 minute mark, he introduces the Sarajevo theme, the high point of the score.  Even more enjoyable is when he introduces a desolate solo soprano backed by the entire choir.  For the last minute, a mandolin backed by choir plays the Sarajevo theme again.
4. Chase (17:04)
Although it sometimes becomes wearing, "Chase" is the best action cue on the album.  Zimmer begins with a suspense-building string motif ending on a strong brass cadence.  After a short section reminiscent of the previous track, he extends the action theme from track 1 into a exciting, testosterone-charged monstrosity.  The opening string motif restates, and the action theme plays again in all its glory.  After some dissonant suspense music and a huge cadence, the choir gives a short break, and the climax of the action theme returns.  This time, however, it continues to build, and the choral motif plays on top of it.  Finally, when it seems it can't go anywhere else, Zimmer has the choir sing its entire theme over the frenetic action motif.  Nondescript variations on the various musical ideas comprise the next few minutes.  There are several good variations on the choral motif.  The track ends with a final statement of the climax of the action motif.
5. Peacemaker (9:47)
For the final suite on the album, Zimmer successfully blends the mysterious, moving style from track 3 with the bombastic action bits from tracks 1 & 4.  It begins with a full statement of the choral theme followed by several minutes of permutations on that pesky action theme from "Trains."  A powerful statement of the choral theme ends the sometimes-mindless action, however, and the rest of the disc is based upon it.  The mandolin comes in with a restatement of the Sarajevo theme, and that beautiful soprano voice from track 3 returns backed by full choir.  Obviously one of the high points of the album, and even more moving than the end of track 3 IMHO.  The score ends with a final statement of the Sarajevo theme on the mandolin.

Overall, if you want just one loud Zimmer action score, I can heartily recommend this.   There are very few annoying synth noises, and the Sarajevo theme is almost worth the price of the album.  The action music tends to get out of hand sometimes, but overall, this is a good score.  However, the length category gets several points deducted because of the troublesomely long tracks.
The Peacemaker: The Final Score
Music Rating 7/10
Packaging/Liner Notes N/A
Orchestral Performance 9/10
Sound Quality 8/10
Length 4/10
Overall 28/40

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The Peacemaker is Copyright 1997 by Dreamworks Records.  Its appearance on this site is for informational, non-profit use only.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  Opinions expressed are not those of Tripod.