Red Army Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Red Army by Christophe Beck & Leo Birenberg.
At a glance:
44 minutes of score
Geek Score: 87
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 22.2
Album Excellence: 50%
Buy or stream? Buy
Red Army is a documentary about the famous Red Army hockey team from Russia from the team captain Slava Fetisov’s point of view. Ice hockey was extremely popular in Russia, the most popular sports for everyone to get involved in and they all wanted to play for the national team. Such pride. For the government, it wasn’t just about being best in the sport though, but it was a weapon used in a proopaganda war against the west and others. The director is Gabe Polsky and the composers are Christophe Beck & Leo Birenberg. The movie looks very interesting and deals with two exciting themes, sports and politics. I’ve also heard good things about the score, so there’s some anticipation here. Beck is of course a well known name in the world of film music, but Leo Birenberg is probably not a name most people know. He’s been working with Beck on a number of films including Frozen, Edge Of Tomorrow and The Hangover: Part III.
What about the music? Well, ‘Red Army’ starts with a plucked string in a up and down fashion. I like the part from 30 seconds in when the heavy bass percussion comes in. The violin comes in at 45 seconds and there’s a motif from 1 minute, a bit sad and downtrodden I would say, but I do feel Russia here which is good. ‘Soviet Russia’ use a balalaika (I think?) for the opening melody. The motif is quite Russian, a bit march-like and the use of accordion and woodwind further strengthens the Russian feel. ‘Tarasov’ must be the theme for the team coach Anatoli Tarasov which is a famous name, even here in Norway. Still playing the same theme as before or a variation of it, but it feels a bit different due to the use of violin. I’m enjoying it so far, but it’s not exactly exciting (yet). ‘The Russian Playing Style’ is a bit more exciting with some lovely percussion in the first minute. The part from 2:15 is great and it plays like an action theme fit for a Marvel movie. I love that percussion, I have to say it again. Also there’s a powerful chant in here which is great. Now this is more like it! The ending is the best. Loving it! ‘Defeat’ is a stark contrast and the music really sounds defeating, like a loss. It’s dark, moody and the cello works perfectly for that purpose. The opening has been good, particularly with ‘The Russian Playing Style’.
Well this is getting very exciting. ‘The Greatest Five Man Unit’ is a heroic action cue. I love that metal percussion at 1:35, it really has an impact. The ending is great with those horn ostinatos. Earlier we heard ‘Tarasov’, but now there’s ‘Anatoly’ which I presume is the same guy, just his first name. Could be wrong though. The cues are very different. ‘Anatoly’ is a more contemporary moderb minimalistic cue, slow and a little bit dreamy. ‘Captain Fetisov’ is a heroic anthem to the national team captain who tells the story. KGB got involved as well and ‘KGB’ is a dark, almost scary cue. ‘Tretiak Retires’ is a hopeful but sad cue. I assume this is when goalie Vladislav Tretiak retires. He was considered to be one of the greatest goaltenders of the game so he was a big loss. The music deals with loss in a good way, long arching strings and the balalaika as a rhythm device. The lure of the NHL became to strong for a few Russian hockey players, but of course in the days of the cold war and before that, the players had to defect and it was considered treason. Alexander Mogilny defected to the USA and the NHL and ‘Mogilny Defects’ is a dramatic cue, because this is a dramatic move in the eyes of the player and the nation as a whole. Well he made it into the NHL and got into the Buffalo Sables. ‘NHL’ is big, bold and American with a little hint of a militaristic rhythm in the background.
The ending is great with the epic ‘Minister Of Defence’ seemingly preparing for war because the music is dramatic, powerful and bold with choir and heavy percussion. Really great music. ‘Forgiveness’ seems to be the conclusion which is great. I’m guessing lot of people’s pride were the biggest victim in the war of propaganda. The music is brilliant though with long and serene synth pads and a lovely motif, kind of hopeful sounding. When the strings come in, it gets even better. Lots of ostinatos and build ups in this cue which is brilliant. For me this is the best cue on the score. Finally ‘End Credits’ is almost a reprise of ‘Red Army’ in the beginning, but with a different percussion set and sounding a lot bigger and bolder. There’s a chant here and strong percussion which makes this a lot more epic. There’s even the horns of doom here. Massive.
Red Army was a positive surprise in the sense that I had some anticipation for it, but it even exceeded that. It deals with Russia in a nice way, incorporating some Russian instruments and sounds. Even some of the motifs sounds Russian. The percussion is sounding great, particularly in the more action-oriented cues. I’d say this is a great listen for the most part and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
4. The Russian Playing Style *
6. The Greatest Five Man Unit
9. Captain Fetisov
15. Minister Of Defence
16. Forgiveness *
17. End Credits