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Angel Official Soundtrack - Musicfromthemovies.com Review

By Randall Larson

Sunday 29 May 2005, by Webmaster

Like Christophe Beck’s music for Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and most of Angel’s first season), Robert Kral’s music for television’s Buffy spinoff, Angel - about the vampire with a soul seeking redemption as a demon-fighter in Los Angeles, is rich in orchestral flavorings. Released in England on EMI and in the USA by Rounder, this is a very nice collection of Kral’s underscore for the series, culled from each of the show’s five seasons. Kral’s musical approach perfectly mirrored the show’s mix of personalities, conflict, tragedy, triumph - and lots of cool fight scenes.

The album is very well sequenced, collecting together a healthy 19 tracks of score cues (including one by Christophe Beck from the first episode) before amassing five songs at the end. The album opens with a very nice extended version of the main theme, composed and performed by the alternative/gothic band Darling Violetta, which includes the lyric line, “you’re my sanctuary”. The theme set just the right tone for the show - a gothic cello melody enhanced by a modern urban rock sensibility, and sounds great in a 3:20 min. version here. Kral’s underscore maintains an exceptional blend of lyrical introspection (the opening bars of ‘The End of the World’ from Season 4, for example; the quiet piano, strings, and woodwind in ‘Home’, also from Season 4) and rampant action scoring, well serving the show’s mixture of brooding character interaction and blistering musical action (the explosive track, ‘Massive Assault’, from Season 2, as Angel battles an army of zombies).


Like most American television music, the scores for Angel are a hybrid of electronically sampled orchestral instruments enhanced occasionally by live players (Chris Bleth’s heartfelt performances on winds) and Elin Carlson’s haunting, wordless female vocal take on ‘Doyle’s Theme’ for that character’s denouement in Season 1, echoed poignantly and profoundly by orchestra and Carlson’s equally mesmerizing vocalization on ‘The Birth of Angelus’). Kral achieves an excellent sonic resonance that never betrays its synthesized origins. The musical texture is pleasantly evocative and constantly interesting. The songs - three are performed by cast members (two by Andy Hallett as The Host; one by Christian Kane as Lindsey) - are very likable, both as remembrances of the show (Hallett is unforgettably kitsch in his role as The Host but is a terrific singer, he belts out a magnificent rendition of ‘Lady Marmalade’ that is to die for, so to speak; and his self conscious lounge-singer ballad, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ is quite sublime.

The album is a great compilation of the show’s best musical moments, and remarkably in today’s song-heavy soundtrack environment, EMI has emphasized the show’s underscore. The CD booklet includes excellent track-by-track notes by Kral, which puts each cue into its proper place in the series’ musical continuum, and an introductory appreciation by series creator Joss Whedon.