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End Game (Full Tilt)

November 30, 2013

Cover_endgamefulltiltEND GAME

Full Tilt, 2013, Warner/Chappell Production Music
15 tracks, 32.55

With trailer music ever growing in popularity, we see ever more public releases. One of the latest is “End Game”, Full Tilt’s short but epic offering to the general public.

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

“End Game” was released to the industry some time in 2012 and tracks from the album have since been used in trailers for films such as “Oz, the Great and Powerful” and “Ender’s Game”. All tracks were written by Kaveh Cohen and Michael Nielsen, who have now left Full Tilt behind leaving it in the capable hands of Non-Stop Trailers. The two composers have moved on as Ninja Tracks and have been working on new material under this new name. Late 2013 saw their last Full Tilt album “End Game” being released to the general public. If I understand correctly, the selection of tracks is based on fans’ requests and suggestions.

What does it sound like?

Let’s be honest – what would you expect from a trailer music album? Staccato strings? Check. Thunderous drums? Chanting choirs? Both checked. There is nothing groundbreaking here – groundshaking maybe – but it is all very well done.

In fact, opening cue “Outlander” takes us straight into familiar territory with arpeggiated strings, brass stabs, choir and percussion. “Rebirth” offers a nice descending theme for strings and choir, somewhat reminiscent of Craig Armstrong. All the while strings are pulsating in the background; and they continue to do so in a similar pattern in “Call to Arms”, which is otherwise marked by its syncopated rhythm.

“Ascendance” unexpectedly uses a ghostly synth sound for its beautiful main theme (I suspect the roots of the sound lie with a piano). Choir, strings and powerful percussion soon join. Easily the highlight of the album; and one that easily competes with the big boys. True to its name “Grinder House” utilises granular sounds alongside electric guitar, metallic percussion and chanting choir to create an intimidating atmosphere. It makes “Rapture” sound squeaky clean with its angelic choir and choppy strings. There is little particularly memorable about this cue or the next, “Mark and Execute”, though both are expertly executed (pardon the pun). “Risen” opens with strumming acoustic guitar accompanied by jittery electronic percussion, before it turns into a hard rock cue with chanting choir. A great track; and in comparison “Melting Point” is a bit meek, though well done.

“September” is a highlight combining heavenly choir with soft strings. For a moment it seems to build towards a big crescendo, but it deliberately holds back. Filtered piano opens “The Game”, setting an eerie atmosphere. Choir and tremolo strings add to this. Dark brassy stabs and big percussion make up the middle section, before eerie sound effects close the cue.

“Flashpoint” shows off a nervous-sounding string pattern, combined with percussion, choir and a siren-like noise. “Heroes Will Rise” lives up to its name with lively percussion and a rising theme for horns. “Eclipse” mixes familiar chanting choir with techno drums and synths. It’s reasonably original, but doesn’t quite work in this instance. I think the techno element is a little to dry and fails to come alive. The album closes with “The Bridge”, a sinister sounding cue courtesy of its spooky piano theme and ghostly choir, before staccato strings and percussion take over. Some typical noisy stabs are scattered throughout.

Is it any good?

“End Game” is a slick little album that delivers what it says on the tin. It’s trailer music including the arpeggio strings, thunderous percussion and chanting choir. The mixing is crisp and clear and allows you to hear what’s going on, even with the volume cranked up to 11; though I do find it a little dry in just a few places. (One of my initial reactions was that it doesn’t sound as rich as 2SFH, for example. Having said that, it’s also less exhausting than 2SFH!) There are a couple of occasions where synthesizers take the lead and, in doing so, offer a nice contrast to that now very familiar trailer sound. There are also several quieter tracks balancing out the album really nicely. I’d hazard a guess and say that fans of Audiomachine’s “Tree of Life” would enjoy Full Tilt’s last album as it too knows the power of restraint.  It may sound odd, but with this type of (often loud) music I find the relatively short runtime of around 32 minutes to be a bonus! “End Game” doesn’t mess about. It’s not the most original album, really, but I can’t help enjoying the hell out of it.

Rating [3,5/5]

Tracklisting

1. Outlander (1.51)
2. Rebirth (2.22)
3. Call To Arms (1.48)
4. Ascendance (3.06)
5. Grinder House (1.51)
6. Rapture (2.40)
7. Mark And Execute (1.52)
8. Risen (1.47)
9. Melting Point (2.14)
10. September (2.10)
11. The Game (2.45)
12. Flashpoint (1.38)
13. Heroes Will Rise (2.01)
14. Eclipse (2.44)
15. The Bridge (2.06)

Available
Digitally on iTunes and Amazon

Related links
Read more about it on Soundtracks and Trailer Music.

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