UnderworldGrammy-nominated composer Paul Haslinger is no stranger to the Underworld series, having composed the music for the original Underworld film. Haslinger stepped out of the composition role for the sequel (Underworld: Evolution), but now – six years after the original Underworld was released – Haslinger’s score for the third entry in this ever-expanding Vampires vs. Werewolves world is being released by Lakeshore Records. And while Haslinger has been known to create some gems in the horror score world (Turistas, Vacancy), his work on Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is no such gem. In fact, it’s a bit less exciting than his work on the original film in the series – which was none too exciting either.

Midway through the album, in the track “Court Battle Suite” Haslinger pulls together all aspects of this score that help explain why I couldn’t fully get into it. Amid rushing action sequences and eerie ambient sound, Haslinger combines a cacophony of percussion and clanging electronica to create a bit of music that pushes so hard to dramatically underscore the melodrama of the film that it tips over into brazen melodrama itself. The majority of the score is laid out in this fashion. It seems that Haslinger either leans too heavily on creeping, ambient sound – removing almost all instruments in an apparent attempt to create an environment of quietly dark horror drama or he goes too far in the opposite direction, laying down banging percussion that spells out exactly how dire or how “action-packed” his audience should feel that the moment truly is. Listening towards the end of “Sonja’s Trial and Execution” where Haslinger spends around four minutes  creating pulsing ambience, before suddenly pounding out an overwrought dramatic finale that leads into the next track (also filled with pounding percussion) to hear more of this style.

When a score album is only 36 minutes long, the tracks included should be especially memorable, especially moving, or both. The score for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is neither. There are a few good moments: Lucien and Sonja’s Love Theme is a favorable track (though it doesn’t particularly lend itself to being dubbed a “theme”) and a few of the less forced moments in the almost seven-minute “Per Aspera Ad Astra” are relatively inventive – especially a moment where a repetitive drumbeat is allowed a severa-second solo. Overall, this album is instantly forgettable. The kind of music you can expect from a horror franchise more focused on capitalizing on fan-based name recognition rather than on delivering a unique and quality score. For better music, check out the soundtrack for this film, or at least check out my review  of the soundtrack for this film.

Zach says: 3 (out of 10)

To purchase the score for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, visit Amazon

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