Blake Neely returns for the third season of the DC comics TV show Arrow, having scored both previous seasons. If you know any of Neely's previous work on the show, you'll instantly know what you're getting into. The same themes, style and instrumentation may start to get a little repetetive, but Neely manages to squeeze in a few interesting tracks.
The score feels a lot like the previous seasons, a dark and dangerous atmosphere with intense action and stunning emotional passages.
Right from the start you'll notice the main theme, while remaining the same theme oh so many times now, has a slight twist for the Ra's al Ghul plot. Thus giving the season its own identity. Besides that, Neely reuses the established themes from the previous seasons and does a great job at telling the characters' tales. The emotional scenes are handled exceptionally, with a lot of beautiful themes that give nuanced levels of resonance in different areas. The score consists of orchestral music with a lot of electronics and even a few vocals, creating an interesting atmosphere.
While the majority of music feels very similar to the first scores, the action is what I noticed standing out from the rest. Sometimes TV shows have a few select action tracks that are cut and variated throughout the season. A lot of action scenes are way shorter in TV shows than in actual movies, so as a listening experience those scores would only be able to present suites instead of the actual music from the show. This score on the other hand has a surprising amount of different action pieces spread throughout. The action relies heavily on electronics to support the orchestral themes, feeling a bit repetitive in places but compared to previous seasons it is a huge improvement. With the inclusion of the Ra's al Ghul influences, the varity is increased even more.
The score presents fun superhero action and some outstanding emotional themes but is held back by a large amount of similar suspenseful tracks. In the end, the 2 disc release is still worth it, considering the amount of music actually composed for the season. The album does a great job at representing the third season and despite feeling a little too long in some places is definitely worth a listen if you enjoyed the show or Neely's previous work.
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