[Music Review] Invincible – Two Steps From Hell

For those of you who haven’t heard of Two Steps From Hell, they are a group that creates music for movie trailers.  Currently, they only have two albums available on iTunes, Invincible and Archangel.  While I have yet to purchase/download the newer of the two albums (which I wasn’t aware of until today), I just wanted to give my two cents on Invincible.

Both albums are under the classical music genre, but it’s definitely not the typical classical music you’d normally think of.  Keep in mind that these guys make their music for movie trailers, and you might have a better sense of what type of music they actually create.

While I do enjoy this album, I can’t say that I enjoy all of the songs entirely–there’s definitely a dark tone to most of their music, at least in this one anyway; I can’t speak for Archangel just yet, but based on the samples I heard from that album, I don’t imagine it would be too different.

In fact, I found it fascinating at how expressive the music on this album is; I definitely felt emotions related to victory, darkness, and peace, depending on which song I was listening to.  Then again, I have an overactive imagination.  If you do too, then this might just be the album for you (or if you’re nuts about movie trailer music).  If you like to space out and daydream a lot, this would probably be a good album to try.

One thing I really liked about Two Steps From Hell in general, they title their pieces well.  For example on this album, there is a song called “Am I Human?”  When I listened to the song, it definitely captured the feel of the title; I totally pictured a scene from some kind of mecha movie, think of the Japanese animation, Metropolis.

The following are my favorite songs on this album:

  • “Freedom Fighters” – This song reminds me of The Dark Knight.  It also just sounds like a victory song in general.
  • “Master of Shadows” – This actually kind of reminded me of that scene in Mulan (yes, the Disney animation, haha) where Mulan goes to her father’s closet and gets out the armor and chops off her hair.  I don’t know how else to describe the emotion I feel from listening to this song…an almost awakening or coming-of-age type of feeling?
  • “Invincible” – Definitely sounds like something I’d hear in a trailer–some parts I could see being sampled into a fight scene; there is a tiny part though that I could totally see being sampled as part of an opening theme for a TV series.
  • “False King” – I can’t really put a finger on why I like this one, but I just do.  I kind of imagined a funeral at the beginning and then someone just getting some sort of epiphany from that and going on a mission.
  • “Fill My Heart” – If I had to choose one song to be my absolute favorite, it would probably be this one.  One of the happiest-sounding songs on the entire album; I also can’t help but be partially biased because part of it is sampled in the opening theme of one of my favorite programs, Sherlock (BBC).
  • “Infinite Legends” – Oddly enough, this song reminded me of something I’d see in Pirates of the Caribbean or something.

I forget how exactly I stumbled onto this album and the artist.  It was either a recommended artist for me on my iTunes, or I discovered it through the series Sherlock (BBC), because its their opening theme.  I think it might have been the first though, because I remember having a bit of a “small world” moment when I heard “Fill My Heart,” which is the song that is sampled for the opening theme of that show.

Some of the songs are a little too dark/intense for my tastes.  Aside from the ones I have listed above, I don’t particularly listen to any of the other songs over and over, since they don’t appeal strongly to my ears.  However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy the songs that I dislike.  In fact, this album is fairly popular on iTunes and seems to be receiving generally positive reviews.

Anyway, here’s my break-down:

Originality: ***
Sound: ****
Quality of Music: ***
CD Cover Art: ***
Re-playability of Songs: **

OVERALL GRADE: B-

It’s not a 100% perfect album, but it’s also not average.  Invincible loses points in the song replay category for me; as I’ve mentioned before I don’t enjoy listening to more than a handful of songs off this album repeatedly.  However, the sound quality is fantastic, and their songs seem to have a fair amount of originality.  This album is overall slightly above average.  I do encourage that you check it out.

If you try it and like it, be sure to give their other album, Archangel a chance.  Oh, and good news for diehard fans, seems like they might be coming out with yet another release soon, if I’m understanding what’s written on their website correctly.

Until next time!

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