Into the Storm marks one of three August releases by the unfathomably prolific Brian Tyler, a composer whom I'm beginning to suspect is not one but multiple people. Without losing steam after a string of tremendous successes in 2013, Tyler also tackles The Expendables 3 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this month, lest anyone think to accuse him of underachieving. Undoubtedly, Into the Storm may seem like the underdog of these efforts, but it's still a score worthy of some attention. Reuniting with director Steven Quayle for the first time since Final Destination 5, Tyler lends Into the Storm all his expected muscle, with a heavier than usual dose of melancholic introspection.
As befits a Brian Tyler score, Into the Storm opens with a titular suite that introduces the main thematic idea, a simple, solemn melody over a bed of racing strings. It is not the most memorable theme of Tyler's career, nor is it the most complex, but he infuses it with sufficient gravitas that it works well enough at drumming up momentous drama when needed. In fact, I'd say it definitely grows on you as the score progresses and he explores more and more iterations of it. "Atonement" builds a great swirling momentum before things settle in "Fate", a cue seemingly modeled on the dramatic build of Hans Zimmer's "Time". The excitement returns in the raucous "Titus Versus the Volcano", which displays some energetic brass and percussive work. We then again return to a cue of solemn introspection in "Humanity Arising", continuing the score's basic pattern of alternating between deftly constructed action and pretty standard Remote Control drama.
"Culmination" boasts a rousing performance of the main theme, leading into a quieter, fragmented exploration of it in the tense "Prelude to Phenomenon". We get more melancholic string builds in "Providence", before "The Fire Tornado" heats things up again with a return to thrilling action. "Evacuation and Interception" is a determined piece that transitions to a performance of the main theme over propulsive strings and, then, the reserved "Last Words". The melancholic strings return in the somber "We Stand Together", this time joined by a rendition of the main theme on ethereal piano, before Tyler throws a complete curveball with "The Titus", a very "old-school" march based on an idea hinted at in "Evacuation and Interception". It's easily the odd-man-out of the score, but also proves a pretty fun highlight in which the composer shows off some of his Goldsmithian influences. Following this, a brief moment of brawny action highlights "Multiple Vortices", more weighty somberness fills "Remembrance and Regret", and the determined "Ready for Incoming Strong" features some of the more forward electronic elements of the score. Then comes "The Power of Nature", a brief but harrowing cue with a very satisfying, momentous crescendo. The dust settles in "Aurora", the album's cathartic, concluding cue , which features some of Tyler's trademark guitar work (Bubba Ho-Tep, anyone?).
Into the Storm's greatest asset is Tyler's action writing, which is in top form here. There is some sense of a concept behind the score as well, as the music frequently seems to mimic the deep rumblings, sudden bursts, and unstoppable rotations of the film's tornados. This doesn't always lead to the strongest narrative flow, nor does the presence of just one frequently recurring theme, but it makes for a solidly entertaining listen from start to finish. And at roughly 30 minutes shorter than Brian Tyler's typical album releases, Into the Storm proves a manageable length for what it is: a fun and superbly orchestrated roller-coaster ride of a score.
A Few Recommended Tracks: "Into the Storm", "Atonement", "Fate", "Titus Versus the Volcano","The Fire Tornado", "The Titus", "Aurora"
Label: Varese Sarabande
Availability: 18 track edition