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SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

Justice League Dark
Studio: La-La Land Records
Release Date: February 14th, 2017 Music by: Robert J. Kral
Retail Price: $15.98

Details: La-La Land Records, WaterTower Music, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation present acclaimed composer Robert J. Kral's (Batman: Assault on Arkham, Green Lantern: First Flight) original score to the all-new DC Universe Original Movie, Justice League Dark. Composer Kral returns to the DC Universe with a wildly propulsive score that expertly melds psychological drama, horror and action with a knockout emotional punch – the perfect complement to this acclaimed, supernaturally-charged and effectively scary take on DC characters. Produced by Robert J. Kral and mastered by James Nelson, this special, limited edition release of 1500 units features spellbinding art direction by Dan Goldwasser and includes liner note comments from the composer, director and supervising producer.

Tracklist:
Justice League Dark
1. Justice League Dark — Suite 3:17
2. Demon City / Hallucination Murders 4:01
3. Main Title (Justice League Dark) 0:48
4. Constantine and Etrigan Battle the Demons Three 3:37
5. Deadman’s Story 1:07
6. Demon Tornado 1:44
7. Orchid and the House of Mystery 1:26
8. Walk on the Dark Side / Ritchie & Shrouds 2:25
9. Acid Monster Attacks 3:44
10. Cheating the Shrouds 2:00
11. Dreamstone Battle and Soul Merger 4:06
12. The Locating Needle 1:30
13. Swamp Thing 3:19
14. Faust Fights Etrigan 2:24
15. Zatanna Fights for Her Voice 3:12
16. Zatanna Enraged 2:10
17. Orchid and the Fire 2:08
18. Destiny Returns 2:23
19. Protecting Zatanna / City of Nightmares 3:01
20. Etrigan Battles Destiny 1:01
21. Swamp Thing vs. Destiny 3:01
22. Constantine and Deadman vs. Destiny 2:45
23. Returning Home 3:48
Total Album Time: 59:43


Justice League Dark Soundtrack Review
By James Harvey

As soon as the first track, there's just something so cool, so invigorating, something so different than previous DC Animated Original Movie soundtracks that you can't help but take notice. Composer Robert J. Kral definitely does things a little different here with Justice League Dark, and it's immediately noticeable. Whether it's the mystic sounding keys or the dubstep and heavy beats, with all that mixed in with some classic sounding orchestral/chanting work, he produces something so different that it's hard to even classify at times. And without question, it makes for a fascinating listen.

Much like how the feature itself is heavily inspired by horror movies, the same can be said about Kral's work here. Certain tracks come right out with a strong horror-infused beat, while others let the darkness tickle the edge of the score. Things always seem a little ominous and, at times, incredible tense. It's a well constructed piece of work, not only working perfectly in tandem with the actual movie, but creating an overall tone and feel that, even in the film's lighter moments, doesn't let us forget that - first and foremost - this is dark movie with a bit of an added edge to it.

The theme he's created for the movie mixing keyboard notes with some hard beats, ends up being way more effective than I thought possible. It sounds great and is just insanely catchy. In fact, it reminds me heavily of Constantine's opening theme and a little bit of Angel's. The soundtrack's very first track - "Justice League Dark Suite" - perfectly encapsulates what this soundtrack is all about. It jumps through some of the film's major musical beats, such as the movie's excellent theme, some harder material, some more traditional sounding orchestral and sampled moments, all book-ended superbly with the theme. And then, from the first second of track two, the soundtrack makes it perfectly clear we're in for something a little darker, a little more tense, a little more scary.

The Justice League Dark soundtrack is littered with some real stand-out pieces of work. While the entire album is an enjoyable listen, some choice cuts include the etheral "Orchid and the House of Mystery," the pulse-pounding "Acid Monster Attacks," "Dreamstone Battle and Soul Merger," and dreamy/epic "Swamp Thing," "Faust fights Etrigan (possibly the most traditional sounding track on the release)," the rousing "Zatanna Fights for Her Voice" and the slow-burn-then-suddenly explosive "Swamp Thing vs Destiny." The whole album is solid, honestly, but these tracks really help sell the world, the stakes and the action of the movie. Even without the visuals to accompany them, Kral is able to give these tracks distinct personalities, enough that you can almost envision what's happening.

One thing that Kral should be noted on with Justice League Dark is his work on creating consistency between his DC Universe Animated Original Movie projects. His memorable Batman theme (from Batman: Assault on Arkham) is used again to great effect, for example. It's small touches like that that help create a sense of continuity between these animated movies. Even if Batman: Assault on Arkham isn't in the same continuity of Justice League Dark, it does help create an overall connection between the different DC Universe titles. Suffice it to say, while I originally deemed Batman: Assault on Arkham as Kral's best work to day in the direct-to-video line, this title easily eclipses it.

Overall, Kral’s score to Justice League Dark is extremely satisfying and a fantastic listen. It takes more than a few chances that, at first might sound a little strange, but actually ends up working remarkably well (especially the dubstep-ish material that is peppered here and there). More importantly, the tone of the score perfectly complements the movie, helping emphasize the modern setting with some of the more ancient aspects of Justice League Dark’s unfolding story. Kral just manages to nail it, and the result is a supremely satisfying listening experience that listeners should definitely give a spin. Highly Recommended.

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