Highlander Endgame


GNP Crescendo Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Although I've never been a fan of either the movies or the television series, it seems like Highlander is a storyline which finds the present constantly clashing with the past, and one group's constant battle to reconcile the two through immortality... and its loss.

So the music for Highlander Endgame probably makes a lot of sense to anyone who has followed this series since the first film hit the screens in 1986. The clash between modern-day neo-classical (with just a touch of electric guitar at times) with its deep-rooted Scottish lamentations makes for a confusing, yet enjoyable, listen for the mere mortal. Everyone else, of course, will probably think this music is a hoot, and will scoff at the newbie's views. T'sokay, I'm used to that.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This particular soundtrack can be broken up into two distinct halves. The first eight songs make up one half, which were composed by Stephen Graziano. These seem to be the more moody, suspenseful pieces - too bad the music occasionally drags during these. Oh, sure, Graziano captures the Scottish essence well, especially on his arrangement of "Bonny Portmore," but when it gets to pieces lke "Opening Titles" and "There Can Be Only One! (Killing Kell)", there should be few, if any, noticeable lags in the musical action. It's on the shorter pieces like "Driving To Loft/Getting Duncan/Ride To The Grave" and "Heather Cuts Her Hair" (the latter co-written by second composer Nick Glennie-Smith) that Graziano is able to sustain the energy.

In a sense, Glennie-Smith has a similar problem on his one epic selection, "The Legend Of The Immortals" - the track which marks the second distinct half of Highlander Endgame. Glennie-Smith focuses in more on shorter, to-the-point pieces (three of which clock in at less than 90 seconds), but this strategy works well for him, and the music is captivating. Even on the "longer" pieces (at least, longer in comparison), such as "Killing An Old Friend," "Attack At The Loft" and "In Memory Of Connor," Glennie-Smith is able to cut to the heart of the musical theme, and he does it well.

The one drawback, namely to Graziano's compositions, is that he tries to jump from a more organic Celtic influence to modern-day cacaphony, and this mixture doesn't always seem to work the best. Glennie-Smith's works, in contrast, have more of a natural feel to them, as if you were listening to a soundtrack from the Golden Era of movie music, an era which people like John Williams have made a living keeping alive in the eyes of moviegoers. I don't think that Graziano was wrong in his approach, but he might have wanted more of a smoother transition in styles.

Highlander Endgame, to be honest, is the kind of disc whose appeal may be limited to those who have followed this movie series from the beginning. If this is the case, they have themselves a nice treasure, albeit one which occasionally seems difficult to open.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of GNP Crescendo Records, and is used for informational purposes only.