Hesham Nazih has delivered an incredible score with Moon Knight; from the dramatically imposing yet also rather heroic main theme for Marc Spector and the counterpointingly malevolent motif for Arthur Harrow, to the brilliantly unique musical blend of traditional orchestra and Egyptian instrumentation and vocals that binds it all together, the composer has pretty much nailed it all.
When Marvel announced that composer Hesham Nazih was going to be scoring Moon Knight, I must say I was intrigued. I’ve always liked it when perhaps lesser-known composers are chosen for these projects, as it allows new ideas and a fresh sound to be added the mix of the now extremely populated superhero soundtrack genre. I must admit I’d not heard any of Nazih’s music prior to his scoring this new Disney+ series, but in a way that was a good thing. It allowed me to go in with a completely open mind, and that combined with the fact that Nazih is actually Egyptian (thereby going hand-in-hand with Moon Knight‘s primarily Egyptian style and setting) made me pay very close attention indeed to the music once the first episode of the show had dropped. Then of course it was the usual fairly agonising wait for the soundtrack release, and oddly Disney really took its time with Moon Knight. Normally with these series, two albums are released; one for the first half of a season and one for the back half, however for this show we seem sadly to be only getting one, which is a bit of a shame. That being said though it is fairly lengthy at ninety minutes long, so without further ado; let’s dive right in.
Main title theme track Moon Knight opens the album, and what an opening it is. Loud, fast-paced strings and dramatic, chanting vocals start things off, with dramatically foreboding brass then bursting into view a few seconds in. This emphatic, orchestral build-up continues for about twenty seconds before the full theme is then unveiled; it’s an eleven note, very in-your-face motif that manages to be both loud and rather ominous (likely hinting toward the Egyptian god Khonshu as portrayed in the show) while also epic and quite heroic, in a darkly dramatic sort of way. The vocals also help to emphasize the show’s heavily Egyptian setting, which together with the increasingly ferocious orchestra and genuinely quite memorable theme (it sticks in your head pretty much immediately after hearing it, which is somewhat of a rarity these days) not only make opening track Moon Knight the standout cue of the album, but a pretty damned solid superhero theme all on its own. A rumble of sinister brass then kicks off the actual score in The Village, with the orchestra briefly hinting toward the main theme before fast-paced, almost frantic strings then take over for a minute of particularly enjoyable action. At said minute mark however things then turn back to sinister as another theme is introduced; a villainous motif for series antagonist Arthur Harrow. This piece acts as quite a well-crafted counterpoint to Moon Knight’s overall, being similarly vocal and brass-based (not to mention quite memorable) but with a much moodier, darker tone.
Harrow’s ominous motif plays briefly toward the end of the subsequent Village Scales, with Moon Knight’s also appearing for another short cameo. Phone And Elevator Blues then leans into a more Egyptian-esque musical style, with some quite Middle Eastern-sounding instrumentation playing a quietly foreboding rendition of Moon Knight’s theme before loud, imposing vocals and crashes of percussion drown it out for a minute of particularly frantic action. Chaos Within then starts off with Harrow’s theme before building dramatically to crescendo with increasingly sinister vocals, leading directly into next track Full Moon Fight where the action really kicks off. Tense strings and now even more foreboding vocals lead the musical charge to start off with, surging emphatically forwards for the first minute and a half before the orchestra then stops, and Moon Knight’s theme steps boldly into the fray for its first full (and rather epic) rendition since the main title track. Storage Locker then briefly heads back into Egyptian territory with Middle Eastern-style instrumentation and vocals before Harrow’s malevolent theme then returns to the stage in What Suit for a much longer, more villainous rendition on loudly ominous orchestra. Moonlight Fight features another main theme highlight, with the motif playing once again in grandiose action mode for three minutes of enjoyably dramatic, vocal-heavy score.
Hopeful, high-pitched strings open Fake Passport, with the main theme playing in an unusually upbeat rendition. Where the main theme plays however Harrow is never far behind, as evidenced in subsequent cue She Is Here where his motif arrives in now typically foreboding form to kick off some rather unusual-sounding but nonetheless highly enjoyable electronic action music. The main theme then takes prominence in the next few cues, with it being played dramatically in The Sky by the orchestra in the first half and the now established Egyptian instrumentation in the second, then in frantic action form throughout the heavily orchestral Take The Body. The theme does quieten down somewhat at the start of Constellation, but this doesn’t last for long as both the orchestra and vocals start to build, becoming louder and more intense over the course of the track’s four minute runtime until a particularly dramatic crescendo is reached just as the cue closes out. Arthur Harrow’s theme then returns once again in action piece No Suit, intertwining with the main Moon Knight theme at several fast-paced intervals throughout the three minute track until the latter motif emerges somewhat victoriously right at the end of it. The Kiss then provides a gentle though sadly short break from the action, with slow, hopeful strings and low-pitched brass taking prominence.
Eye Of Horus as you might expect leans heavily into the Egyptian side of the score, with some very Middle Eastern-style vocals playing emphatically alongside the now breathtakingly powerful orchestra for the entirety of the minute long piece. Weight Of Hearts however then quietens things back down, with the main theme playing on a particularly melancholic, almost mournful organ together with quietly sombre vocals. The Cave then pulls the score down into darker territory still, with low-pitched, worrisome strings and pulsing percussion setting an ominous, almost frightening tone for much of the three minute cue. Quiet solemnity is then the tonal focus of Open The Door, with some rather morose strings taking the musical forefront. This gentleness then turns almost mournful in subsequent cues Give Her A Call and The Inevitable, with the former cue utilising the same strings playing slowly and rather sorrowfully, and the latter starting off in the same manner before then building up into loud, dramatic orchestral villainy in the back half with the occasional rapid, worrisome cameo from the main theme. Humble Disciple then reprises the chanting vocals from earlier in the score in its first few seconds before Harrow’s theme then steps forebodingly onto the stage. With the orchestra starting to descend into tension and villainy, the main Moon Knight theme makes another short, worried appearance before a loudly dramatic crescendo is reached and the track comes to a close.
Morose vocals and a sombre organ take centre stage at the start of Rise And Shine, setting a similarly downtrodden mood to that of earlier cues for the first minute or so. After this however the music slowly starts to change, becoming louder and more intense with the main theme quietly stirring in the background until the motif then practically erupts in the final minute of the track, playing triumphantly for its first full rendition in quite some album time. Six minute action setpiece New Skillsets then continues this, opening with a battle ready rendition of Moon Knight’s theme with Harrow’s motif arriving just a few seconds later. Rapid, ferocious brass and tense strings then form the stylistic backbone for much of the cue, with the main theme rushing through every so often on loudly emphatic vocals and Harrow’s continually rising to meet it. The two motifs musically fight for pretty much the entirety of the happily lengthy action cue, with Moon Knight’s emerging semi-victoriously right as the track comes to an end. The theme then plays almost forebodingly at the start of I’ll Never Stop, with the action fading away in the back half as solemn strings close out the piece. Summon The Suit then reprises the main Moon Knight theme one last time, utilising the established Egyptian instrumentation together with emphatic vocals and the orchestra for its boldest rendition yet, bringing the album full circle and providing a solid conclusion as the score then comes to a close.
Overall, Hesham Nazih’s score for Moon Knight is frankly brilliant. His unique musical style for the series brings a fresh sound to the sonic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with his well-crafted blend of traditional orchestra, Egyptian instrumentation and Middle Eastern-esque vocals being of particular highlight. This style is then utilised to exquisite effect throughout the score, whether it’s through the dramatically imposing yet also rather heroic main theme for Moon Knight/Marc Spector himself (see standout cue Moon Knight), the similarly in-your-face but counterpointingly malevolent motif for the show’s antagonist Arthur Harrow (Humble Disciple), or even just the way the instrumentation overall is weaved throughout the album – whether it be for thunderous, frantic action (Moonlight Fight) or slow, sorrowful melancholy (Weight Of Hearts) Nazih pretty much nails it all. I would have perhaps liked to have heard a few more variations on the main theme, and maybe a motif or two for other characters, but – assuming more seasons are coming anyway – I imagine this will come with time, as this is only the first season of the show. For now, what we have here an extremely solid and highly enjoyable musical foundation for Moon Knight, and for me at least the main theme is up there as one of Marvel’s best.
Standout Cue: 1. Moon Knight
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