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Music for Monsters: Track By Track Review of Brian Tyler’s “The Mummy”!

Brian Tyler

UMU reviews Brian Tyler’s “The Mummy” deluxe edition track by track.

“He’s truly out done himself in crafting an entirely new musical experience that’s quite different than his past works. His Mummy also triumphantly stands next to the work of Jerry Goldsmith and even James Dietrich, while quite possibly becoming the best of all of Universal’s Mummy releases.”

Brian TylerThe classic Universal Monsters films are recognizable for so many reasons, one reason being the iconic music featured that gave each monster an unforgettable sound. Despite reservations some fans have had in regards to Universal’s current The Mummy films with Brendan Fraser or even 2010’s The Wolf Man, both films featured superb soundtracks by such legends as Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, Randy Edelman, and Danny Elfman. Interestingly, Danny Elfman has returned to the Universal Monsters by way of composing the opening fanfare for Universal’s “Dark Universe” logo. With Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, we now have Brian Tyler joining the legendary list of film composers. Back Lot Music released Tyler’s The Mummy soundtrack as a deluxe digital release day and date with the film, featuring 36 tracks, and a runtime over 2 hours!

As a major soundtrack enthusiast and fan of Brian Tyler, I was very excited for this release since UMU first reported that Tyler would be scoring The Mummy. It is with great pleasure that I got to listen to this album and review it for you here and over at Soundtrack.net. While the deluxe edition that was released digitally is quite long (it’s 124:25 minutes long!), I will never turn away from the opportunity to spend more time in the composer’s musical world as opposed to spending less time. Brian Tyler’s The Mummy is a true masterwork of a film composer at the top of his creative game and whether or not you enjoyed the film (we loved it!), this soundtrack could easily be enjoyed independently from the Alex Kurtzman film.

What makes Brian Tyler’s The Mummy soundtrack so interesting is that he wrote half an hour’s worth of music for the film well before Alex Kurtzman began principal photography. Brian Tyler was on the film for a year and a half and recorded well over two hours of music (for a film that only runs 107 minutes) with an 84-piece orchestra and 32-voice choir at London’s Abbey Road. While filming took place in London, Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Courtney B. Vance attended one of his concerts. In an interview with Variety, Tyler said:

“There was more music than they could actually put in the theatrical version. I scored extra themes, backstory, mythology, all sorts of things. I don’t recall a time when I had so many completely different melodic themes in one movie, but this really called for it. Traditional themes can clarify the narrative when there are a lot of things going on.”

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Brian Tyler’s The Mummy!

Track 1 – “The Mummy”

Brian Tyler opens The Mummy with a dark, haunting, and mysterious sound that not only begins to introduce us to a new world of gods and monsters, but invites us on a dark journey through Universal’s newest Mummy film. The main theme for the movie – “The Mummy” is a brilliant nod to Bernard Herrmann and sets up several themes that will be heard throughout the 2 hour plus soundtrack. As the soundtrack opener, “The Mummy” also needs to alert the listener that this is a very different universe as opposed to The Mummy films of years past. Brian Tyler does this amazingly well and there is no mistaking that this Mummy is very much its own, while also being the first entry in the Universal Monsters universe of films branded the “Dark Universe.”

Track 2 – “The Secret of the Mummy”

“The Secret of the Mummy” is the first track that brings to mind the work of Jerry Goldsmith, in some areas his work on The Shadow, and also, undoubtedly 1999’s The Mummy. After producing a quality that feels familiar to the original Mummy films of the 30’s, the track picks up an intensity at 1:45 and does not let up.

Track 3 – “Nick’s Theme”

Not more than 15 minutes into the soundtrack, Brian Tyler establishes yet another theme and perhaps one even more iconic than his starter in Track 1. “Nick’s Theme” is heroic, melodic, and is just a good, old-fashioned approach to a traditional theme. His usage of horns give the track an additional weight and maintains a spirit of adventure! “Nick’s Theme” isn’t long, it’s only 2 minutes, but upon one singular listen, it’s hard for the tune to not become your latest ear worm (or ear spider like Ahmanet’s nasty critters!).

Track 4 – “Prodigium”

Setting up yet another theme, Track 4 begins to show off the clarity and vision Brian Tyler had for The Mummy and is a strong example of just why Tyler is one of the most sought after and highly recognized of modern day composers. Track 4 maintains a mystery, but also a whimsical detail that is not only surprising, but also quite welcome. “Prodigium” establishes an exciting sound for an organization and a character that will hopefully be shown sooner rather than later in future installments in the “Dark Universe.”

Track 5 – “Egypt’s Next Great Queen”

After an unrelenting and rousing start, Track 5 – “Egypt’s Next Great Queen” features a quieter and more reflective pace. Brian Tyler gives listeners a hauntingly romantic composition that quietly develops into another theme. Tyler also makes great usage of his choir here.

Track 6 – “Sandstorm”

“Sandstorm” returns the soundtrack to its action filled and intense pace.

Track 7 – “The Call of the Ancients”

“The Call of the Ancients” brings to mind the work of Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky. It’s here that we start to fully realize how much work and time was put into The Mummy, especially on Brian Tyler’s part. More importantly, we see that Tyler’s strength as a composer is his ability to pay tribute to, but not necessarily mimic past composer’s work. Brian Tyler gives audiences and listeners a very specific musical journey to go on – and one that shows just how much he has grown as a composer.

Track 8 – “A Sense of Adventure”

Returning us to “Nick’s Theme”, The Mummy soundtrack by Brian Tyler maintains a strong memory of what’s come before. It’s on this track that we begin to fully see the soundtrack return us to theme’s previously developed earlier on. It’s also one of the most fun of tracks to listen to and the love that went into performing Tyler’s music is evident here.

Track 9 – “Haram”

In The Mummy, Haram turns out to be a place of forbidden truth. A place that Nick Morton and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) venture to after stealing a map given to Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) by Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). It’s this nature of being forbidden that Brian Tyler perfectly accentuates with his score and creates a theme for not just a physical character, but a place. Not many composers are adept at giving characters and landscapes an identity, but Brian Tyler manages this in a wildly effective way.

Track 10 – “A Warning of Monsters”

“A Warning of Monsters” develops an overall sadness that continues through the track and into something much darker as the track reaches its closing moments. It’s also the soundtrack’s second longest track as it runs just over 6 minutes.

Track 11 – “The Lost Tomb of Ahmanet”

Brian Tyler’s The Mummy score plays several homages to countless other film composers in a way that feels reverent and appropriate, as opposed to knock off. Tyler’s strength is in creating music that is identifiable as his own, but with nods to certain other works. “The Lost Tomb of Ahmanet” brings to mind the work of John Williams, in particular his Raiders of the Lost Ark work.

Track 12 – “Providence”

“Providence” is another quieter moment that provides the listener a great moment to breathe in between the adventure and the horror. It offers a sadder sound, much like Track 10.

Track 13 – “The Sand of Wrath”

The sandstorm scene is one of the most exciting of moments in The Mummy and is now nearly a staple in every Universal Pictures Mummy film. As our heroes make their way out of Haram with Ahmanet’s tomb via a helicopter to a plane, a sandstorm begins to envelope around them. It’s an exciting and rousing scene with a magnificent callback to great, Saturday morning matinee action. Brian Tyler develops an exciting number, along with utilizing several Middle Eastern instruments to add to the sense of urgency.

Track 14 – “Enchantments”

“Enchantments” is just over one minute. It’s brief, dream-like and just as the title suggests – enchanting. There are moments that bring to mind Jerry Goldsmith’s “Alien.”

Track 15 – “Concourse of the Undead”

Track 15 – “Concourse of the Undead” is a solid example of showing just how long Brian Tyler had been working on The Mummy. With writing music before and during filming, 1:00 into the track features a few notes that Universal Pictures had used in the very first “trailer tease” for The Mummy back in December 2016. As the track moves on, we get a solid callback to “Nick’s Theme” as the rest of “Concourse of the Undead” moves at a furious pace.

Track 16 – “World of Monsters”

Playing during a major physical confrontation between Nick Morton and Ahmanet in the woods of Surrey, this scene also goes on to reveal more of Dr. Jekyll’s Prodigium. It’s Brian Tyler’s moment here to create a sound for the Universal Monsters as the likes of Gill-Man from “Creature from the Black Lagoon” is introduced, along with a vampire skull that is surely hinting at Dracula.

Track 17 – “She is Risen”

“She is Risen” is an interesting track as it goes in and out of “Nick’s Theme” and Track 1 – “The Mummy.” It’s another dark and haunting offering by Brian Tyler and expertly performed by The Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

Track 18 – “Chaos, Mayhem, Destruction”

While many would expect one of the highlight fight scenes of The Mummy to be between Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), one of the actual scene stealing moments is between Nick and Dr. Jekyll’s more monstrous alter ego, Mr. Hyde (Russel Crowe). Brian Tyler composes the fight scene with a real danger and immediacy and keeps a solidly, quick pace. His usage of employing violins also adds to an unsettling creepiness that only builds to a violent finish that puts the percussions to excellent use.

Track 19 – “Sanction of the Gods”

“Sanction of the Gods” is a good example of Back Lot Music’s all or nothing approach to the deluxe digital release of The Mummy. Whereas the digital version contains additional music featured in the film, along with additional themes scored for the grander “Dark Universe”, track 19 does not appear on the physical CD release and is an otherwise skipable track that does nothing more than add more of a tone to the film.

Track 20 – “Unstoppable”

“Unstoppable” adds a darker texture to Brian Tyler’s The Mummy score and brings to mind Tyler’s work on 2005’s Constantine. It’s a fitting composition for a monster movie and concludes with a nod back to the earlier Mummy theme heard near the start of the album.

Track 21 – “Beyond Evil”

“Beyond Evil” is yet another track that does not appear on Back Lot’s physical CD release. While the general listener may feel nothing is gained with the inclusion of track 21, it’s a rather solid composition that offers another solid tone to Alex Kurtzman’s first entry in the “Dark Universe” of films. It’s final moments are the real highlight.

Track 22 – “Power and Temptation”

“Power and Temptation” is offered on both the CD and digital format. A problem with horror and monster movies could be the overuse of its choir to add a dark and overly demonic tone. However, Brian Tyler expertly uses his choir throughout the whole soundtrack and track 22 is a powerful example of how to effectively use a choir for a monster movie.

Track 23 – “Inquest”

Instrumentally, track 23 is an excellent track as it provides a haunting and unsettling sound for the listener.

Track 24 – “Forward Momentum”

Brian Tyler returns on this track to the work of Bernard Herrmann. It’s a thrilling number that also calls to mind the work of Joe Kraemer on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It’s rousing and entertaining.

Track 25 – “Set”

As expected, track 25 – “Set” is remarkably atmospheric and chilling. Brian Tyler maintains a balance that is broken in the closing minute as it gives way to a much more chaotic and frenetic pacing.

Track 26  – “Pathogen of Evil”

“Pathogen of Evil” is a foreboding track and another that does not appear on the CD release of The Mummy soundtrack.

Track 27 – “Liberators of Precious Antiquities”

“Liberators of Precious Antiquities” is an excellent track and also features elements of “Nick’s Theme.” It’s rousing and it’s themes like these that Brian Tyler truly excels at creating. Track 27 also does not appear on the CD release and is a shame as it is a very good track. All the more reason to purchase and download The Mummy through iTunes.

Track 28 – “Dawn of Evil”

Much of the final tracks on The Mummy soundtrack don’t appear on the CD and while it’s understandable why, tracks like “Dawn of Evil” are great examples of music group Back Lot Music offering a fully comprehensive soundtrack experience listeners and fans.

Track 29 – “Sepulcher”

Brian Tyler’s “Sepulcher” is quite similar to some of Jerry Goldsmith’s compositions for Stephen Sommers’ 1999 version of The Mummy.

Track 30 – “Iniquity”

The Mummy is filled with inquisitive and dark themes. While there isn’t much to say about track 30, it is a solid offering that helps continue to build the overall sound of the world of The Mummy.

Track 31 – “The Calling”

There’s really exceptional instrumentation and planning that can be found and heard in Brian Tyler’s The Mummy. “The Calling” is filled with suspense and is a perfect fit for a spookier take on Universal’s classic monster.

Track 32 – “Possession of the Knight’s Tomb”

“Possession of the Knight’s Tomb,” for the scene it plays in, is unexpected, surprising, and creepy. Standing alone, outside of the film, track 32 is equally surprising and creepy.

Track 33 – “Destiny”

Offering a different take on “Nick’s Theme,” Brian Tyler’s “Destiny” offers a more lonely and darker spin on the character played by Tom Cruise.

Track 34 – “Sentience”

“Sentience” has the importance of being the additional thematic melody to not only further develop the character arc of Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), but also it needs to craft a melody that has to work both tragically and romantically as it sets up a redeveloped Universal Monster. The importance of this task isn’t lost on Brian Tyler and he develops it wonderfully.

Track 35 – “Between Life and Death”

“Between Life and Death” is easily my favorite track on The Mummy. Brian Tyler, in under 3 minutes, not only summarizes the musical journey we went on for 2 hours plus, but also cleverly begins to tease us of the future of Universal Pictures’ “Dark Universe.” At 1:40, Tyler blends “Nick’s Theme” with a strong finish that features a powerful usage of strings. It’s rousing, it’s hopeful, yet dark and it perfectly leaves an exclamation on Tyler’s masterwork that is The Mummy.

Track 36 – “The Mummy End Title Suite”

Brian Tyler has truly out done himself in crafting an entirely new musical experience that’s quite different than his past works. His Mummy also triumphantly stands next to the work of Jerry Goldsmith and even James Dietrich, while quite possibly becoming the best of all of Universal’s Mummy releases.

 

Spending the day with Brian Tyler’s The Mummy soundtrack was extra special as I was privileged enough to chronicle his own journey on this project for Universal Monsters Universe. I’ve always enjoyed the work of Brian Tyler, but The Mummy is an unbelievable entry in his musical library. Tyler has truly outdone himself with The Mummy easily being his best work. While soundtrack experiences are different, Brian Tyler’s The Mummy reminded me very much of Michael Giacchino’s John Carter. Regardless of film experience, or one’s own critiques, musically the film excels and is ushered to another level of brilliance. Giacchino’s John Carter is a masterpiece, one easily up there with cinema’s best soundtrack offerings and there is no doubt in my mind that Brian Tyler’s The Mummy is up there, as well.

UMU gives Brian Tyler’s The Mummy Deluxe Edition soundtrack four out of four stars!

You could follow Brian Tyler on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and BrianTyler.com.

As always, stay tuned to Universal Monsters Universe for the latest on The Mummy and the Universal Monsters Universe of films.

Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman, from a script by Jon Spaihts, Dylan Kussman, and Christopher McQuarrie. The film stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Marwan Kenzari, Courtney B. Vance, Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella. The film is now playing in theaters everywhere.

(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)

About the author

Steven Biscotti

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) He stands 5'7" tall and prides himself on being the same height as Tom Cruise. Steven's favorite monster movie? "The Mummy (1999)."

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