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The Expendables 3 by Brian Tyler (Review)

posted Oct 7, 2014, 12:51 PM by Leo Mayr   [ updated Oct 9, 2014, 1:04 PM ]


Brian Tyler‘s amazing score for The Expendables 2 actually was the first piece of his music I ever got to hear. By that time I was buying every score that seemed like action, but I immediately noticed Tyler's talent for action scoring. Even though he has composed a lot of new and brilliant scores, The Expendables 2 has always had a special status to me. So I was really looking forward to hearing Tyler's work on the sequel. At first glance, the album seemed like a huge disappointment. Going directly to the action parts, I noticed them being a lot less intense and basically just reused parts from previous Expendables scores. But it‘s the quieter tracks that really matter here.

We start off with “The Drop“, a track that starts with heavy percussion and electronic elements covering the Expendables theme we are used to by now. The track then unfolds into a really nice, more suspenseful piece. “Lament“ then returns to a peaceful, emotional track that uses a lot of guitars and occasional percussion to create one of the best experiences I have ever had while listening to scores. “The Art Of War“ introduces us to a theme for the main villain, a short piano segment that is unfortunately not picked up again for the rest of the score. Another interesting track is “Galgo‘s Grand Entrance“, again relying in guitars to create a short but fun break from all the dark and threatening music. The first proper action track, “Stonebanks Lives“ uses a lot of parts from older Expendables movies but arranges them into something new and even adding a few variations and segments in some places. Unfortunately, that‘s where the intense action stops. Tracks like “Infiltrating The Block“ or “Valet Parking Done Right“ still use action elements, but here they feel weaker and milder compared to the Expendables 2 score.
The final track, “Armored Freaking Transport“ however returns to the intense action, making it one of the best pieces on the album (actually the track is from the opening scene of the movie, I wonder why it slipped all the way to the end of the album). “Look Alive“ marks the return of Tyler‘s amazing percussion segment from “The Gulf Of Aden“ (from the Expendables 1 score), something I absolutely loved. It is weird, however that this short percussion segment gets repeated 3 or 4 times on the actual movie, on the album we only get it one time. In some ways this score feels like an add-on to the Expendables 2 score but it brings enough fresh ideas to be its own independent score.

This score will probably not have a huge impact on you, like The Expendables 2 did, but that does not make it a bad score. Tyler manages to create enough new elements that make this score feel just as genuine as the previous ones while still staying faithful to the thematic material that has made the Expendables series so (musically) interesting. While this is not the best Brian Tyler delivered this year, it still is worth your time as tracks like “Lament“ or “The Art Of War“ really stand out from the rest.