A big improvement over the previous movie’s soundtrack, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers uses a wider range of world influences for its music. This time around, everyone’s at war in the movie, and the music reflects that. There are sweeping “Oh, the battle is on, the battle is on!” saga, “We’re losing!” lament, “We’re winning!” uplifting epic anthems, and “We’re dying heroically, doesn’t that inspire you?” tracks filled with ethereal choruses and some lady doing an operatic lament.
It’s a nice listening experience. Howard Shore uses more vocals this time around too in his tracks. Evenstar is probably the only track that sounds better without having seen the movie, because then Liz Tyler’s lifeless attempt at speaking Elven won’t intrude on Isabel Bayrakdarian’s ethereal vocals. Seriously, it’s a lush, romantic overblown piece, and I mean that in a good way. Sheila Chandra also does a great job in Breath of Life, infusing this track with a meditative calm-like aura that will appeal to those looking for nice soothing music for a relaxation moment. Ben Del Maestro and the Chorus of Wailing Lament (okay, that’s what I call them) perform an appropriately haunting and inspiring threnody in Forth Eorlingas – it’s war people, waaaar! Ben Del Maestro and Elizabeth Fraser collaborate to pull all stops in Isengard Unleashed to remind people that war isn’t just all about the glory, it’s also about the tragedy and loss. And when you’re all worn up weeping over the Death of that Sour-Faced Elf Who Isn’t Leggy Legolas, Mr Shore sweeps you back to more tranquil moments with the lovely contemplative Samwise the Brave. If you’ve seen the movie, this is the Sam and Frodo love theme, and it’s appropriately so romantic. I have a tear in my eye as I listen to this one. Hobbit love, awww.
Emiliana Torrini does a scary take on Björk on Gollum’s Song, another appropriately matched track, as this song’s high-pitched plaintive schizophrenic mood in both words and melody matches poor Gollum’s personality in the movie.
All in all, a great soundtrack that captures the essence of the movie splendidly. And it’s great music to play in the background when one is in need of some classical cred when the more snobby guests come to visit too.