From the brilliantly epic main themes to the well-crafted orchestral/heavy metal style, Bear McCreary has clearly put a serious amount of effort and enthusiasm into composing Masters Of The Universe: Revelation, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint as a result.
A burst of dramatic percussion opens Masters Of The Universe: Revelation, with aggressive vocals then leading the musical charge for a few seconds before loudly emphatic brass enters the fray, playing the opening notes of McCreary’s new main theme for the show. The motif gets one full rendition here before the brass turns slightly sinister at around the halfway mark, switching up the mood for a few ominous seconds and briefly introducing antagonist Skeletor’s motif before the main theme then comes roaring back into centre stage. Here the orchestra now fully rallies behind He-Man, joining forces with some heroically epic vocals and an electric guitar evoking a heavy metal style to play several fist-pumpingly grandiose renditions of the motif before the two minute title cue then dramatically bows out. Now, props to McCreary here – he has composed one hell of a main theme. It sticks in your head pretty much immediately after hearing it, and certainly fits He-Man as the gallant protagonist. As such, if it wasn’t for a certain action setpiece further on in the score (more on that later), the main title would have easily been the standout cue. Contrastly to the noble main theme, Skeletor: Lord Of Destruction then establishes the motif for the iconic villain of the series (which was briefly introduced during the main title cue), with swirling strings starting things off before vocals turn sinister and brass malevolent as the antagonistic theme gets a full dramatic playthrough. Unlike with He-Man’s however, it unfortunately doesn’t stick around for too long (fading away after just one rendition), but it certainly works as a sinister villain theme opposite the titular character’s heroic one, and has a similar touch of memorability to boot. Hopefully later playthroughs will cement its presence in the score a little more though.
The brief Orko’s Bubble evokes quite a classical musical style in its use of instrumentation, with light string flurries and upbeat brass notes introducing the playful motif for Orko himself, though it sadly doesn’t stick around for long given the cue’s sub-minute runtime. Sorceress Under Siege then slows the music to a gentle crawl, with hopeful strings evoking a sense of wonder before quiet, foreboding brass starts to push its way into the foreground, encouraged a few seconds later by a loud crash of emphatic percussion. From this point the orchestra leaps into action mode, with powerful brass and chanting, malevolent vocals then playing Skeletor’s theme through several loudly villainous renditions. As the track starts to draw to a close the music then calms down a tad, with a mournful He-Man’s motif playing through on quiet brass. This solemnity doesn’t last for long however as He-Man Transforms starts to bring back the hope, opening with his theme on quiet brass before an emphatic electric guitar then turns the tone heavy metal, drowning out the sorrow with epic percussion and fist-pumping vocals as the main theme then comes around again, this time in its most dramatically heroic playthrough yet. This then leads right into standout cue The Power Of Grayskull, a whopping thirteen minute long action cue that quite simply doesn’t hold back. Composer McCreary goes all out with this track, with the unapologetically epic electric guitar leading the orchestra for much of its happily lengthy runtime, weaving He-Man’s theme throughout the increasingly grandiose action for many a breathtakingly heroic appearance, and a few dramatic ones too as Skeletor’s motif also joins the fight and the two themes quite literally do battle, to some truly brilliant-sounding orchestral results. To put it simply, if you’re looking for a good reason to get into this score, then look no further than The Power Of Greyskull.
The Mighty Motherboard Of Tri-Klops opens softly, with gentle, hopeful strings evoking quite a peaceful tone. Electronics then begin to stir in the background, with a rumble of percussion and a swirl of increasingly worrisome strings cementing the switch up into action, followed swiftly by loud brass and the established heavy metal-esque electric guitar which then take centre stage in the cue’s back half. The quiet strings then return in the subsequent As Goes Eternia, this time with a touch of solemnity until dramatic vocals then take the forefront at about ninety seconds in, turning the tone almost ethereal together with the strings for a few wondrous seconds before things then quieten back down, and a rather downtrodden main theme plays through on slow, low-pitched brass. This then continues into Finding Duncan, where pensive orchestral atmosphere sets a moody tone for much of the track’s seven minute runtime. A loudly vocal crescendo is however reached at about five minutes in, with the orchestra then quietening down for a gentle finish as Scare Glow, Lord Of Subternia makes itself known. Low, menacing vocals open this ten minute setpiece, with the orchestra then joining the fray after a few seconds to drive this already very villainous new theme home. Things then slow down for a couple of serene minutes before a loud burst of brass and horror-like strings kick a short action segment into gear, followed by a particularly distressed rendition of the main theme. From here on the orchestra takes quite a rather sinister turn, with tensions kept high through most of the track’s runtime until a loud burst of heroic vocals brings everything to a dramatic crescendo in the final minute. The mood then brightens somewhat at the start of Evil-Lyn Opens Heaven’s Gate, before the evil-sounding Scare Glow-esque vocals rejoin the fray, and the orchestra returns for several emphatic minutes of tense battle that also weaves a new motif for Evil-Lyn throughout, before said orchestra then emerges quite triumphantly for a victorious finish.
Gentle, melancholic vocals open the rather warm Lament For A Friend,then sounding out the opening notes of the main theme for a thoroughly enjoyable though sadly short sub-minute thematic playthrough. Into Preternia then continues the solemnity somewhat, with quiet strings playing the main theme in the first few seconds, and peaceful woodwinds subsequently joining the fray alongside ethereal percussion for a few minutes of swirling, wondrous orchestra. Teela Joins The Wild Hunt then starts to pick up the pace again, with loud, dramatic bursts of brass and chanting vocals taking centre stage together with increasingly tense percussion and woodwinds as they play a dramatic, woodwinds and vocal-based theme for the character. The main theme also appears fragmented in several instances through this, with the orchestra quieting down and returning to the gently optimistic side of the score for the back half of the five minute setpiece. This tranquility doesn’t last for long however as the brass starts to pick up again in Roboto Reforges, with the established percussion and metal-esque electric guitar slowly building in the background until a loudly emphatic crescendo is reached, with a few notes from the main theme sounding through in epic form. To round off the first volume of the score, the eight minute action finale From Man To God then treats us to several brilliantly dramatic renditions of the main and Skeletor themes intertwined in tense battle, all-in sending off the album on a pretty high note (though a curiously villainous one given Skeletor’s thematic prominence as the cue draws to a close).
Overall, Bear McCreary’s Masters Of The Universe: Revelation score is wonderfully, exquisitely composed, and an absolute delight to listen to. I mean, where to begin – the style, the themes, the sheer time, effort and enthusiasm that’s clearly gone into making this – it’s all just amazing, and everything comes together so utterly well. The heroic main theme for He-Man for example (introduced in the main title cue) is instantly memorable and features prominently across the score, with its various standout renditions through gigantic action setpieces The Power Of Grayskull and From Man To God being of particular highlight. Skeletor’s villainous motif, while a bit less prominent than He-Man’s, is also well-crafted and an excellent thematic counterpart to the iconic protagonist’s. Skeletor takes ominous vocals as its stylistic centrepiece opposite He-Man’s electric heavy metal-esque guitar, and speaking of which, it’s here as well that the score deserves even further praise; Masters Of The Universe has some serious style. From the aforementioned loudly epic electric guitar raising the action sequences to near-biblical levels of heroism, to the quietly emotional, gentle sections of the album where woodwinds take the forefront, it all sounds absolutely fantastic. All-in, this is one of McCreary’s best scores yet, and I for one can’t wait to hear what he has in store for us next.
Standout Cue: 6. The Power Of Grayskull
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