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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the opening track, "A Storm Is Coming" it is apparent that this is no ordinary soundtrack.
I don't go to many movies, after all I am legally blind so if I want to `hear' a movie, I usually wait for the DVD release. But after the Aurora shootings, I don't know. I think I wanted to reaffirm my right to go freely, anywhere in this country, and not fear for my life or safety. So, I made it a point to take a cab and walk into that theater in Lake Oswego. It felt...
Published 23 months ago by Robert Carraher

versus
142 of 157 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Audiophile & HZ Fans: Please Read! - Needs a double disc release & remastering!!
Let me begin by stating, I'm a massive Zimmer fan, and he composed fantastic music for TDKR! The music is great! - That's not the problem... The problem is a lot of music is missing (especially long major action cues) which Zimmer himself has confirmed were not on this CD (only for download, and some only on an Iphone) + this CD doesn't have the same rich sound...
Published 23 months ago by Sebastian Moon


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142 of 157 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Audiophile & HZ Fans: Please Read! - Needs a double disc release & remastering!!, July 23, 2012
By 
Sebastian Moon (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
Let me begin by stating, I'm a massive Zimmer fan, and he composed fantastic music for TDKR! The music is great! - That's not the problem... The problem is a lot of music is missing (especially long major action cues) which Zimmer himself has confirmed were not on this CD (only for download, and some only on an Iphone) + this CD doesn't have the same rich sound mix/production that The Dark Knight on CD presented.

This CD doesn't present the music nowhere near as good as it should - TDK is far superior in the arrangement and editing of tracks, mixing and producing etc... HZ has confirmed in an LA Times article (see below) that there are 4 suites totalling 21 tracks available for download, but only onto an IPHONE or IPAD, this is not acceptable!

I had to return this CD as it was that bad, I really wanted to switch it off mid way (the music was fine, but it was the presentation... and sound mix... that absoutely killed it for me)

This music HZ speaks of is confirmed by him stating - "This shows more of the process," Zimmer said. "I wanted to divide the two worlds up. It's a bad paradigm, but the suites are like the novel of this thing. The CD is like the screenplay. The CD follows the screenplay precisely. The suites are so much more based on all the more detailed conversations Chris and I were having."

[...]

LETS DEMAND THESE 4 SUITES 21 tracks and all the other DOWNLOADABLE music gets released on CD!

This is a shocking way to finish a classic trilogy like this! Zimmer's music is fine, but it's very obvious that the studio rushed to get this CD out. No care has been taken as how the music was arranged on the CD, it feels like it's been slapped together. As another reviewer stated, there are also excessive gain levels, compression and a loss of dynamics... on many tracks, especially 'Imagine the Fire' and 'Rise' etc... - The richness and depth (especially in the mid range are completely lacking. It sounds CHEAP!.... the sound mix is how they would treat a POP/DANCE album poorly!... - Just like a cheap MP3 compressed download! Yuck!

The FACTS are - they need to start from scratch and release a double disc edition - with a whole new mastering and sound mix on CD!! - This whole download trend is embarrasing! - Serious audiophile and music lovers have sound equipment that is very expensive and which most can only play CD or VINYL, not a USB stick!...

The record company released this CD just for kids... or the masses, basically for people who don't have a refined ear for good quality sounding music. The TDK soundtrack was the exact opposite!! - Audiophiles - compare the two and you'll notice a *massive* difference!

Please let me know your thoughts - We need Watertower Records and HZ to know that his fans and music lovers are not happy!
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157 of 176 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CD was mastered with excessive gain levels, July 22, 2012
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This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I love Hans Zimmer's work and although the music itself, in this album, is not his best, in my opinion, it's still enjoyable - at least in those tracks where the recordings were not mastered with excessive volume levels.

Unfortunately, several tracks suffer severe clipping - where the maximum possible gain (volume) that can be recorded in a 16-bit file is reached, causing a severe loss of detail and an overall loss of dynamics throughout the entire track.

The following tracks were mastered with excessive gain: 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15.

That's 9 out of 15, or nearly two thirds of the CD, ruined by poor mastering.

So now we have to wait a couple of years (if ever) for someone to come along and remaster these recordings with reasonable gain levels.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the opening track, "A Storm Is Coming" it is apparent that this is no ordinary soundtrack., August 19, 2012
This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I don't go to many movies, after all I am legally blind so if I want to `hear' a movie, I usually wait for the DVD release. But after the Aurora shootings, I don't know. I think I wanted to reaffirm my right to go freely, anywhere in this country, and not fear for my life or safety. So, I made it a point to take a cab and walk into that theater in Lake Oswego. It felt good, and I actually got a seat about five rows back from the screen, so I could actually see most of the film. I also felt somehow proud to, at least in my mind, confront the stigma this film had and has for a lot of people all because of one deranged monster in Aurora. Another good thing that came out of this is I was reviewing a catalog of books being offered for review and one of those books was published by The University Of Colorado Press, so I made it a point to write the editor and offer to review the book (you'll have to wait for the book review) and it was good to talk to someone who could still keep the beautiful things in the front of their mind after the tragic event.

First thing that I noticed, almost naturally given my limited vision and my back ground as a musician and eclectic fan of many forms and genre of music was the sweep and drama in the sound track. Like the previous Dark Knight film, this one was scored by the Academy- Award® winning composer Hans Zimmer. He teamed writer/director Christopher Nolan to create the music for the final installment of his Dark Knight Trilogy.

From the opening track, "A Storm Is Coming" it is apparent that this is no ordinary soundtrack. This isn't just pretty, sanitized sound to fill in the silent or transitory spaces in the action. As a musician, I could hear that Zimmer wasn't playing it safe. The music was daring and at the same time beautiful and masterfully composed as a "whole and necessary" part of the film. Nolan had this lesson he says he learned from working with Zimmer, "the real risk is in playing it safe," and that is the beauty to be found in this album.

Besides some breath taking music, and to aurally remember this fantastic film, I think owning this sound track is an effective way to honor the victims and survivors of the murders that happened in Aurora. A way stand up to the fear that monsters like this generate. By overcoming that fear, we defeat the monsters and display the hero in all of us.

The Dirty Lowdown
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42 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hans Zimmer at his Epic Best!, July 11, 2012
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**Updated** I want to bring to everyone's attention that in order to get all the bonus tracks you must buy the soundtrack TWICE: once here and once on itunes. I bought the itunes version to get two extra tracks and I highly recommend them both. I almost lowered my score to 4 stars given you are not purchasing the complete soundtrack on Amazon or itunes. There is even a track that you can ONLY get by purchasing your movie tickets at movietickets.com which I have not done. This trend, which began with DLC for video games, is not befitting the consumer and I am a bit annoyed. That being said, I added my thoughts on four of the five bonus tracks below.

Quite by accident, I noticed that the entire soundtrack was available for streaming on Empire Online legally, a week before it comes out officially. I have been looping the soundtrack since and it is epic. Hans Zimmer is by far my favorite composer alive trumping even John Williams in my mind. Zimmer is responsible for my favorite themes and soundtracks scoring everything from the Lion King to Call of Duty. His work with James Newton Howard on the first two movies was sensational, but this is the first time going it alone in a Batman movie.

Zimmer admitted that he had no problem working on the "Batman" half of the scores, but relied on Newton Howard for the "Bruce Wayne" aspect. This dynamic is reflected in this soundtrack as the love themes are notably absent. This is clearly a dark movie. In its place are the haunting chants and melancholy strings which provide volume to the entire score.

Many of the recognizable themes from the original two movies make a reappearance in this score but not in an bad way. The old is mixed with the new and Zimmer often reinterprets his old themes to give them new life.

"The Storm is Coming" is clearly an introduction. It is a short track that is about half a minute and probably is played with the corporate logo as the film begins.

"On Thin Ice" seems to convey an emotion of looking back at the previous films and the devastation Gotham has endured. It is filled with sad strings and a hint of the looming terror. We are introduced to the final theme played throughout the soundtrack. It is quiet but reminds me of "528491" from inception which preceded the great "Mombasa" action track.

"Gotham's Reckoning" is clearly the first set piece of the movie. I remember hearing it when I saw the first six minutes of the film in IMAX in December. I am not going to spoil what happens, but suffice it to say it is the first time we meet Bane and he makes quite an entrance. The track uses entirely new music. On my first play-through it was unremarkable, but put it on a good car audio system and the layers pop out. The bass on this track is taken from Zimmer's inception playbook. The tone is foreboding and terrifying but beautiful. It is almost all electronics and drums while introducing us to Bane's theme (the chants).

"Mind if I cut in" is my least favorite track. I agree with the other reviewer that this is an example of where Newton Howard would have filled this void. This is a slow track with piano and violin. It reminds me of a detective track where a character is looking t uncover some mystery. My guess is this is when we are introduced to Selena Kyle.

"Underground Army" is another quiet track with lots of electronics. It has a menacing tone as if evil plans that are being made by Bane and his henchman. It introduces a few new melodies but seems like an average track at best.

"Born in Darkness" looks back at Batman's past by echoing themes from the "Batman Begins" but appears as another quiet filler track.

"The Fire Rises" is the second major action music which introduces some new themes and horror elements with minor notes, strings and drums. The track seems to depict (and this is just a guess) Batman's first encounter with Bane. There are lulls in the action which build to intense loud action queues. This track must be listened to on a great audio system to reveal its layers. I find this track to get better with repeated listenings. Zimmer certainly uses his inception style in this track with the heavy electronics towards the end.

"Nothing Out There" sounds like its straight out of the "Dark Knight." It quietly repeats the piano (love?) theme from the previous movies but never utilizes the full orchestra. It is another filler track.

"Despair" is filled with new and old music blended together. He reinterprets his "Dark Knight" music from "Why So Serious" by throwing in a long cello build-up with the famous two note themes. The second half of the track is a reinterpretation of the end of "I'm not a Hero" from the previous soundtrack as well. While it repeats alot from past soundtracks it remains fresh and exciting.

"Fear will Find You" seems to be another action sequence against Bane. Zimmer uses the chants for the first time alongside intense drums and electronics mixed with the old themes and the new theme from this movie. The two are seamlessly integrated. You will think you know the track straight out of "The Dark Knight" and then it will take a new and unique turn. It could be construed as a remix, but I think of it as a fresh take.

"Why do We Fall" is one of Zimmer's finest as it builds to a swelling climax with strings and drums. Batman is clearly defeated in spirit but is convinced to try one last time. (This is another guess). It builds to epic levels before breaking out in the Batman drum and string theme.

"Death By Exile" is a filler track that offers little to nothing but an additional track listing. At 23 seconds it should have been combined with the next track.

"Imagine the Fire" is the most epic track and contains many new action queues coupled with old familar themes. It reminded me of "Mombasa" from his Inception score and "The Chase" from Batman Begins. This track has everything from old themes to electronics to strings and drums. This track completes the soundtrack and demonstrates Zimmer's abilities to orchestrate a climactic final encounter with Bane (another guess?).

"Necessary Evil" clearly depicts the aftermath of the final battle. I feel as though there are hints as to the outcome but no certainties. It is a suspenseful track as the movie has not yet been released. It quietly references the Batman theme introduced in this movie.

"Rise" This is Zimmer's playground to end the film on an epic note. It is very much like "A Dark Knight" from the last soundtrack but is a slower (and more epic) version of the final track soundtrack which sends chills down your spine. The swelling strings and slow pace allow the orchestra to really shine. This track again hints at the outcome of the movie without being definitive. Clearly it depicts loss, but on what scale? I love this track, but it is not long enough. It is the final Batman track we will hear from Zimmer, so I wished it would be more like the 17 minutes of the last finale.

**Update**
"No Stone Unturned" is a bonus track that I just downloaded. Essentially, there is nothing specifically new here but it remixes the themes from all the movies as an action piece. It is absolutely a must have for any fan of the soundtrack. Its an exciting track that adds to the intensity of the overall score. At 7 minutes, it is an impressive piece.

"Risen from the Darkness" is another bonus track which is similar in principle to the first one. It again remixes old themes with the new and adds one more action track to this terrific soundtrack. Again it's nothing groundbreaking or new, but gets the action music swelling in new ways.

"Bombers of Ibiza" is the final bonus track and is clearly has the touch of a different composer. It's all synthesizers here and clearly what you think of with normal remixes. This track I could do without. It almost feels like club dance music. It's not bad but also not memorable. There is even a little dubstep mixed into the track.

With the new tracks, the first two listed are clearly the work of Zimmer working in the studio to put together old familiar themes to make them into exciting yet generic action tracks. These first two do feel like they could be played somewhere in the movie and could have been added to the original soundtrack. The final track is a standard third party remix which has some nice rhythm but comes across as dance music.

**NEW UPDATE** These are my thoughts on the itunes bonus tracks.

"The Shadows Betray You" is a track you get from the itunes version and I feel disappointed it was not included in the original soundtrack. It is a very dark track with synthesizers featuring the new themes. It almost sounds muffled, (perhaps a reference to Bane's mask)but in an intentional awesome way. I recommend finding this track.

"The End" is another itunes track clearly the credits and all I have to say is WOW! I feel upset that this track was not included in the soundtrack as well. I love this track. It is slow and brooding and is very unlike the other tracks. It is ominous and intense and features the familiar themes but with a Darth Vaderesqe breathing in the background. This is a very dark ending. I hope they release a more complete soundtrack or where you can pick these songs up individually.

**End of Update**

Obviously the movie has yet to be released and will likely enhance the listening experience of the entire soundtrack, but it doesn't need a movie to be considered a spectacular accomplishment. Unfortunately I don't have the musical training to properly convey my emotions regarding this soundtrack, but hopefully the tone of the review demonstrates my enjoyment of this score.

Everyone expects the best from a Hans Zimmer score as they do with Chris Nolan and Zimmer does not disappoint. I will be looping this soundtrack for weeks to come no doubt. Words fail to describe how much I love all of Hans Zimmer's work and must be experienced rather than listened to. Together the three Nolan-Batman soundtracks rank up there with Lord of the Rings and the original Star Wars as the best trilogy scores of all time. Listen to this soundtrack often and on a great audio system with strong bass. Your ears will thank you for it and your neighbors will forgive you (I hope) for the vibrations.

**NOTE**
I also saw that there are additional tracks that come with the physical CD, so I preordered it as opposed to the MP3 option. Ill add my thoughts once the CD comes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Holy rotten record, Batman!, August 21, 2013
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The 1 star rating is a reflection of the quality of the vinyl pressing, not the score itself! I would rate Zimmer's score a 4.
This pressing has major pops and ticks on side A. Side B suffers the same defects, but not as numerous as the first. Side A is nearly intolerable to listen to. Track 3 actually skips. I've purchased used vinyl 20+ years old that is better sounding. I also purchased Man of Steel on vinyl, I'm afraid to put it on the turntable!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars He Rises, August 27, 2012
By 
Jon Broxton (Thousand Oaks, CA) - See all my reviews
The Dark Knight Rises is director Christopher Nolan's eagerly-awaited final installment in the Batman trilogy he initiated with Batman Begins in 2005, and continued with The Dark Knight in 2008. Set seven years after the conclusion of the second film, The Dark Knight Rises finds the billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living in seclusion, having allowed his crime-fighting alter-ego Batman to take the blame for the crimes committed by the former DA Harvey Dent, including the murder of Wayne's soul-mate, Rachel. However, Wayne's self-imposed isolation is threatened by two very different interlopers into Gotham City: the formidable masked terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy), who seems to be masterminding a plan to undermine the very fabric of contemporary society, and sophisticated cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), who breaks into Wayne Manor to steal a necklace, but comes away with much more. To combat the rising threat, Wayne is forced to become Batman once more, but is he strong enough - mentally, and physically - to face the challenge? The film has an all-star supporting cast, including Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard, and has become one of the most popular and successful box-office hits of 2012, ending Nolan's vision on an undisputed high note, but cleverly paving the way for future installments by different directors.

Returning for the third time is composer Hans Zimmer, now having firmly supplanted David Julyan as Nolan's composer-of-choice. James Newton Howard is no longer credited as co-composer, but there is additional music by Lorne Balfe, Tom Holkenborg, Andrew Kawczynski, Jasha Klebe, Steve Mazzaro and Ramin Djawadi, as well as a whole cadre of conductors and orchestrators that take the numbers in the creative team to well over a dozen. I have been pretty tough on Zimmer of late, giving fairly short shrift to his work on the last Batman film, as well as the most recent entries into the Sherlock Holmes and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises. I'm not going to launch into a diatribe about Zimmer and what he and his multitude of underlings have done to the film music industry, because it's all been said before, and I'd be as guilty of repeating myself as Zimmer seems to be these days. Zimmer is Zimmer and he's never going to be anything else, and there's enough astonishingly good film music being written for smaller independent projects that it's just about possible to overlook his almost total dominance of the mainstream. However, the thing a lot of people tend to forget - and I have been guilty of this myself - is that Zimmer is more than capable of writing truly terrific music, and it is with that in mind that I find myself somewhat shocked to be writing the following statement: parts of The Dark Knight Rises are actually pretty darn good.

Of course, it follows the style and tone of the previous two films, restating the now-familiar two-note Batman motif, as well as several of the familiar action motifs heard throughout this film's predecessors. The orchestral makeup of the score barely deviates from the pattern, with the endless churning cello ostinati, thunderous percussion hits, low-register brass calls, and multitude of industrial-sounding electronic textures overlaying everything, as we have come to expect. Where The Dark Knight Rises surprises is in its intelligence in the application of its thematic elements, which add an unexpectedly fulfilling layer of sophisticated subtext to Nolan's already intellectually murky world.

Zimmer's main new element is what is popularly known as `Bane's Chant', an unpolished male voice choir intoning the words "deshi basara" over an unusually-metered percussion loop. The chant, which translates from the original Moroccan Arabic as "he rises", is an amalgamation of many different voices which were recorded by members of the public and sent to Zimmer over the internet, and forms the cornerstone of many cues, ranging from the portentous "Gotham's Reckoning", parts of "The Fire Rises", the middle section of the wonderfully chaotic "Fear Will Find You", and during the dramatic and relentless "Imagine the Fire". At first, the theme clearly appears to be a recurring leitmotif for Bane; however (and here be spoilers), the application of the theme is actually much cleverer than that. Yes, the theme regularly accompanies Bane and his dastardly antics, and it provides a menacing herald for his appearances on-screen. However, the theme also plays when Wayne - cast down into a prison of despair in a remote part of India - makes his dangerous ascent out of the "pit", conquering both the physical and mental barriers facing him. Later, it plays against scenes featuring the child of Batman's nemesis Ra's Al Ghul, who was forced to make a similar climb to freedom, and during the conclusive battle between Batman and Bane, it underscores their flying fists of fury. Considering the previous scenes it played against, you are never quite sure whose side it's on during this conclusive mano-a-mano. Ultimately, the theme doesn't really herald one particular character - instead, it's an all encompassing theme for people who have overcome massive adversity, who have `risen up' both figuratively and literally, as Wayne, Bane, the child of Ra's Al Ghul all had to do. Although their life trajectories ultimately diverged greatly, they all had to conquer enormous obstacles to get to where they were.

The other major new thematic element is the theme for Selina Kyle, a sly, mysterious, slightly mischievous tinkling piano motif that, more often than not, is accompanied by the sound of a gently rattling metal chain in the percussion section. Following its initial, forthright appearance in "Mind If I Cut In?", the theme takes a back seat for most of the rest of the score, only making fleeting guest appearances thereafter. In "Nothing Out There", for example, the chain sound appears both on its own, and as a prelude to a restatement of the piano motif, and the same chain effect can be heard towards the end of the bonus track `All Out War". Actually, Selina's theme is much more prominent in the film mix than it is on the soundtrack album, and one can only surmise that the CD producers took an editorial decision to limit its appearances here. Selina's theme, while perfectly serviceable, doesn't quite have the same instant memorability as Bane's Chant, and it is in these quieter moments that James Newton Howard's creative touch is missed the most; the alluring, slightly twisted sexual chemistry between Wayne and Kyle is prime real estate for a composer of Howard's deftness, and could have been something great as opposed to something just `OK'.

The rest of the score, where these new elements are not present, follows the formula set down in previous Batman films, almost to the point where it seems that certain cues have been lifted wholesale from earlier Batman scores. The large-scale action sequences, of which there are many, repeat almost verbatim the thrusting, propulsive Batman action motifs from the earlier scores, with large sections of cues such as "The Fire Rises", "Fear Will Find You" and "Imagine the Fire" mirroring the likes of "Molossus" and "Like a Dog Chasing Cars" almost perfectly. "Despair" contains the score's most front-and-center performance of the 2-note Batman theme, accompanied by the now-familiar synthesized `wing-flapping" effect. Both the introspective "Born in Darkness" and the score's emotional finale in "Rise" reprise the grandiose string performances first heard in the "Macrotus" and "Corynorhinus" cues from the original Batman Begins, the latter augmented by a boy soprano solo, consolidating the theme as a pseudo-love theme for the Wayne family, Bruce's relationship with Alfred, and the memory of his parents.

These cues are certainly appealing enough in context, are undeniably imposing, and they do give the trilogy of scores a pleasing continuity, but it would have been nice to hear Zimmer step up with a new action riff here and there, rather than simply making his cellists churn their arms off for the 20th time. Really, the only new twist in the tale is the unusual ethereal synth performance of the 2-note Batman theme in "On Thin Ice", but this is one of the few moments where Zimmer actually plays around with variations on his original thematic core. This is the same problem Zimmer faced on the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, where he seemed content simply to restate note-for-note whole chunks of score from previous films, and he has fallen into the same disappointing trap here too.

The five bonus cues can be found via various different sources, either via the physical CD, by purchasing them online separately, or by downloading it from a special website on movietickets.com. Although it's a pain to have to go to multiple sources to gain access to the full scope of the score (much like the Tron Legacy situation the other year), it's worth tracking them all down as, in sum, they do give a much more comprehensive overview of everything the score has to offer. Cues such as "No Stone Unturned" and "The Shadows Betray You", for example, contain several exciting variations on Bane's Chant (the latter containing an especially dark, unrelenting electronic pulse and a brooding flipped variation on the 2-note Batman motif), while "Risen From Darkness" has a very cool moment where Batman's heroic action theme and Bane's Chant play in powerful counterpoint to one another.

In many ways, The Dark Knight Rises showcases both the best and the worst of Hans Zimmer's musical personality in one all-encompassing score. On the one hand, the intellectual design and intelligent use of Bane's Chant shows Zimmer at his creative best, taking a simple idea and working it around to suggest complex concepts and subtle changes in context. The three or four recurring themes from across the entire trilogy give the Batman persona a definitive musical identity, and it's impossible to deny the sheer emotional thrill of feeling your seat rumble and your hair vibrate to this music when the theme kicks in during the film itself. On the other hand, you have the same old arguments: the Zimmer sound permeating the Hollywood mainstream to such a degree that composers as talented as Alan Silvestri and Patrick Doyle are being asked to ape the style; the fact that Zimmer himself seems to be stuck in a rut, writing what in effect are little more than variations of the same score on almost every action film he tackles; the over-reliance on electronic enhancements, ghostwriters, arrangers, and so on and so on. The bottom line is this: fans of the Zimmer style will love it, fans and of the current Batman style will love it, whereas anyone whose musical tastes tend to veer towards the predominantly orchestral will find a great deal of it boring, or unpalatable, or both. The exception to that rule, of course, is me: having been thoroughly underwhelmed with The Dark Knight, I fully expected to thoroughly hate The Dark Knight Rises, and I am as surprised as anyone to find that - despite the caveats and asterisks - I enjoy it as much as I do.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EPIC Score by Zimmer, but a few things..., July 21, 2012
By 
S. Griffin (Doylestown PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I was extremely excited for this score, and - in short - it's passed my high expectations and manages to ramp up the "epicness" even more than the Dark Knight's score, which I doubted was possible until hearing this! Zimmer manages to bring old sounds back from the first two scores, which tie things together well (almost too well at times, some parts are copy/paste jobs from previous scores) but he almost always incorporates something to freshen things up!

That being said there were a few things I wasn't crazy about on this score. The first and most glaring was the way the chant was mixed into things. I was expecting the chant to be a very prominent part of this score, with variable performances (maybe even some that would border on screaming the chant). Unfortunately not only does the chant get mixed relatively into the background in the tracks it appears, but there's nothing in the way it sounds to even suggest it's any different than the recording we got in the trailers, back before Zimmer's big "record your own chant!" promotion. That's not to say I don't still LOVE the sounds of the chant and they really add an interesting flair when it appears (not to mention the novelty of the 5/4 time in Bane's music, which is unique and refreshing amongst a lot of current scores).

I was also dissappointed by the new themes included. The "Catwoman" theme, if you want to call it that (they never specifically call her "Catwoman" in the movie) is interesting and the echoey piano is a nice change from the dark strings, but ultimately the theme doesn't go very far - only appearing on the album once (though the cymbal sounds backing it crop up subtly a few times), and in the film twice. I would have liked to hear a bit more of it, perhaps vary the instrumentation a bit. Finally, the chromatic lines are reminescent of Zimmer's Sherlock scores, not a bad thing but worth noting.

While working on The Dark Knight, Zimmer had made a promise that the Batman "theme" would be expanded upon to it's fullest variation in this final score. He claimed that what we hear in Dark Knight was "just a small taste" of the grand theme he had in store. However as far as I can tell this expansion is not found anywhere in the score, for any of the major themes for batman (the two note "heroic fanfare", the Da Vinci Code-esque "emotional theme", and the darker batman theme heard on low basses/cellos). So I was dissappointed by this lack of expansion. The most we get is the two note horn fanfare gains a few extra notes in "Imagine the Fire" which is a fantastic track.

There is one moment of EXCELLENT thematic development in the score that is only heard on the bonus track "No Stone Unturned" which can be found with the physical CD as a download. In the last minute of this track we hear the two note horn fanfare changed into a two note cello ostinato, which shifts keys and eventually settles into F major, which is simply fantastic if you're musical enough to notice and appreciate the variation presented there. It can be heard in the beginning of the film when Gordon goes to give his speech about Harvey Dent, and it's wonderful sounding :)

----

All in all this is a GREAT score by Zimmer, and easily the best of the three Batman Scores. Unlike the Dark Knight which felt like it was missing music in the initial release, if one is able to collect the four bonus tracks available online for this score you really have a fairly complete collection of the music in the film (except perhaps a few tracks for more intimate scenes). Having seen the film and heard the music in it I can say confidently that all major parts of the score are well represented. Also, unlike The Dark Knight this score also has most of the tracks in chronological ordering (with a few exceptions, however some tracks are repeated in the film in a few places) and the way many tracks flow into the next is nice and makes for an enjoyable experience.

GET THIS SOUNDTRACK if you enjoy Hans Zimmer's music for the Batman series. If you need to own only one score, get this one over The Dark Knight or Batman Begins, for it's by far the most epic and intense of the three, and just well done all around.

If you can manage to collect all of the bonus tracks available, personally I've found this to be a good track listing that puts the tracks in mostly the right order and maintains connected tracks/makes a good listening experience. Feel free to comment if you have other track orderings you like:

1. A Storm Is Coming
2. On Thin Ice
3. Gotham's Reckoning
4. Mind If I Cut In?
5. Underground Army
6. Born In Darkness
7. The Fire Rises
8. Nothing Out There
9. All Out War (Bonus Track from ticket sale)
10. Despair
11. Fear Will Find You
12. Why Do We Fall?
13. Death By Exile
14. The Shadows Betray You (Mp3 Bonus Track)
15. Risen From Darkness (CD Bonus Track)
16. Imagine The Fire
17. No Stone Unturned (CD Bonus Track)
18. Necessary Evil
19. The End (Mp3 Bonus Track)
20. Rise

My final note...the remix tracks at the ends of Zimmer's scores need to stop...nobody's buying this score for a random [not even that good] dubstep song where more score could have been put in. It's not TERRIBLE...but even so...
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Wish James were here", July 18, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I had heard through other reviews, that James Newton Howard did NOT return for this score--one of the FEW albums I've been greatly anticipating this year--and after listening to the whole thing, I can't help but wonder. Why would he bail before the final act? How much better could this album be if he had contributed? Furthermore, how much of his influence went into making "The Dark Knight" score so awesome?

I used to give Hans Zimmer so much credit for "The Dark Knight" album, simply because his name came first in the credits. But after listening to the follow-up, I'm starting to think I gave the credit to the wrong man.

To make a long story short, this album reuses so much of the "Dark Knight" soundtrack throughout (mostly in the second half), that it feels like I paid more money for the same content; just blended in with some weaker, new material. This certainly doesn't feel like a successor to it's predecessor... yet. In fact, it REUSES so much from it's predecessor, that I start to become annoyed by all the repetition of material I've already heard. I didn't buy this album to hear "The Dark Knight" score all over again. I already own that CD after all, and played it to death.

What isn't rehashed from the last album isn't very memorable... yet. Maybe I'll feel differently after I see the film with the music attached. Until then, I'm going to keep listening and hoping it grows on me. Oh, wait... half of it already did! Four years ago!

Kidding aside, I wish James had returned for this follow-up. I hate wondering what could have been in any case, but this is "The Dark Knight" finale. Or, at least, it was SUPPOSED to be. But how can you have a complete finale when one half of the team drops out before it's complete? I give Hans Zimmer credit for trying, especially considering the fact that I've never scored a damn thing in my life. I'm just not feeling this effort. Not yet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent soundtrack, below average vinyl., December 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was very disappointed with the quality of this vinyl. I was really hoping to hear a very crisp and clear rendition of Han Zimmer on vinyl, instead the mix was very flat and distortion of highs. I hate to say that I prefer the CD version. And you know they could have done a much better job.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as Dynamic as The Dark Knight, but Energetic and Dark, September 21, 2012
By 
L. Edwards (S Carolina / USA) - See all my reviews
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I enjoy this soundtrack for a different reason than the Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises continues with many of the themes found in the other Zimmer-based Batman soundtracks and focuses more on the darker side of the music, probably to focus on the thematic elements in the movie. The album is filled with some of the recurring Batman themes driven by your strings (bass, cello) and heavy percussion, typical of Zimmer-style music. He throws in some of the chanting elements from the movie as well as use of electronics, which adds to the raciness of the music and I love it.

I would agree with other commenters that the music does not seem to have the same level of mastering and hence the music quality suffers a bit. My only other quibble with the soundtrack is that it doesn't explore as many themes as the Dark Knight does, especially like the last minute of "Harvey Two-Face" with a beautiful, but powerful ending.

Overall, I enjoy the soundtrack, but I am a fan of Zimmer's work, so anyone looking for music with heavy percussive tones with a focus on dark, thematic elements with some electronics will surely enjoy the music.
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