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Conan the Barbarian
Album Cover Art
Co-Composed and Produced by:
Tyler Bates

Co-Composed and Co-Orchestrated by:
Tim Williams

Co-Composed by:
Dieter Hartmann

Conducted by:
Jan Chalupecky

Co-Orchestrated by:
Drew Krassowski
Susie Seiter

Performed by:
Czech National Symphony
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Warner Brothers Records
(August 16th, 2011)
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Regular U.S. release.
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Decorative Nonsense
(inverts site colors)

   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're anxious to punish yourself with massively obnoxious symphonic, choral, and synthetic sound design for over an hour that will stunt your development as a human being of higher intelligence.

Avoid it... if you expect Tyler Bates' score to reference anything heard in the classic Basil Poledouris music for the franchise or, for that matter, to compete with its superior predecessor on any remote level.
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WRITTEN 8/1/11
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Conan the Barbarian: (Tyler Bates/Various) Enter a franchise undreamed of, one of studio wrangling for decades and the torture of Robert E. Howard's original concept until, alas, a 2011 reboot shames the Hyborian Age with all the promise of a made-for-television production. Despite the hideousness of the 1984 sequel to John Milus' 1982 classic, Conan the Barbarian, efforts had been made ever since then to resurrect the franchise. Even Milius himself toiled with plans to continue the series, though any hopes of returning Arnold Schwarzenegger to the big screen as an aged King Conan were dashed upon the actor's bizarre transition into California politics. Throughout the rest of the 2000's, the rights of the concept have been in flux, several productions with multiple studios initiated but all running into a variety of problems. By the time it ultimately experienced its last script re-writes and a final director was chosen, the intent was to reboot the franchise completely and more closely follow the original Howard stories. In the fresh 2011 vision of Conan the Barbarian, the famed swordsman of the Hyborian Age is still shown undertaking roughly the same career path witnessed previously on the big screen. His family killed and village destroyed, he grows up in adverse conditions as a physical specimen and general troublemaker before settling on his goal to kill the evil warlord responsible for his village's demise. Along the way, he slays nasty monsters, battles powerful witches, fends off the mercenary armies of the villain, and, of course, takes women in ways that fulfilled Howard's personal perversions. If only he knocks out a llama with his fist someplace in the resurrection of this franchise, the cycle will be complete. Expectations for this new Conan the Barbarian are understandably low, especially for film score fans. While Basil Poledouris' music for Conan the Destroyer was a tremendous disappointment for a variety of reasons outside of the composer's control, his score for the original Conan the Barbarian remains an unquestioned classic. Its immensity is equaled by its lyricism, a highly engaging work that is, most importantly, timeless in its raw expression of romantic brutality to match the tough allure of Aquilonia. A popular re-recording of Poledouris' entire score for CD release in 2010 reignited interest in this triumph of Hollywood's age of sword and sorcery, reaffirming it as likely the composer's most notable career achievement.

Ratings Icon
Average: 1.66 Stars
***** 57 5 Stars
**** 23 4 Stars
*** 44 3 Stars
** 122 2 Stars
* 512 1 Stars
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Basil Poledouris is the best composer of Conan!   Expand >>
Isaac - August 20, 2011, at 1:41 p.m.
3 comments  (3282 views)
Newest: September 3, 2011, at 10:09 a.m. by
Alternative review at
Southall - August 20, 2011, at 12:41 p.m.
1 comment  (1318 views)
The Reviews Agree
orion_mk3 - August 19, 2011, at 1:18 p.m.
1 comment  (884 views)
Great Album Stupid Reviewer   Expand >>
Tod Wilkins - August 13, 2011, at 10:56 a.m.
16 comments  (6937 views)
Newest: September 12, 2011, at 12:38 a.m. by
A bunch of easily forgettable clichés...
A true Filmscoring Fan - August 12, 2011, at 11:02 a.m.
1 comment  (911 views)
He's not a Hack   Expand >>
Pablo - August 9, 2011, at 6:51 a.m.
23 comments  (8920 views)
Newest: August 13, 2011, at 12:28 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 70:42
• 1. Prologue (2:08)
• 2. His Name is Conan (3:35)
• 3. Egg Race* (2:52)
• 4. Fire and Ice* (3:15)
• 5. Cimmerian Battle* (3:19)
• 6. The Mill* (1:55)
• 7. The Mask/12 Years Later (3:06)
• 8. Freeing Slaves (2:38)
• 9. Prison Interrogation** (3:35)
• 10. Monastery Approach* (1:44)
• 11. Off With Their Heads** (1:09)
• 12. Horse Chase* (3:11)
• 13. Death of a Priest** (2:48)
• 14. One Way Ride** (2:35)
• 15. Outpost (7:57)
• 16. Fever* (4:47)
• 17. Victory* (0:36)
• 18. A Kiss* (2:41)
• 19. The Temple (1:55)
• 20. Oceans of Blood** (2:41)
• 21. The Dweller** (2:36)
• 22. Skull Mountain** (1:21)
• 23. Wheel of Torture** (2:07)
• 24. Zym's Demise** (2:30)
• 25. Conan Returns Home* (3:42)
* co-written with Tim Williams
** co-written with Dieter Hartmann

Notes Icon
The insert includes the following note from Bates:

    "It wasn't easy working out themes for Conan knowing the sacred stature that fans give the original Conan the Barbarian, and its exceptional music composed by Basil Poledouris. Like many of the classic titles I have worked on, I respectfully opted to ignore the legend this one holds with its fans, and within the realm of genre films altogether. My aim was to tell this musical story in a language disparate from its predecessors, in an effort to invoke the tone of this particular film, and also to create a new experience for the hardcore Conan audience. Like Conan himself, who gave us the awesome quote, "I live I love I slay and I am content," his music embodies determination and valor imbued with a heavy heart that echoes the loss of his family and his village as a young Barbarian. But when Conan engages in battle, subtlety is dispatched entirely, and the music quickly transforms into the Barbarian's fight song for vengeance and kicking ass!

    The story behind this music is the incredible team of people who helped me create it and deliver it in its full glory. In addition to the challenge of writing and producing one hundred minutes of epic battle music in a relatively short period of time, films of this ilk have many moving parts, which render the one-man band a few hands shy at the eleventh hour. To this I owe tremendous gratitude to my good friends Tim Williams and Dieter Hartmann, for their tireless commitment to staying the course with me to make this music as potent as Conan's mighty battle sword. Each person credited on this album played a significant role in the creative or technical aspect of bringing the new Conan music to life, but it would be criminal not to mention Brian Cachia, aka "The Criminal," whose contribution to this soundtrack has taken skin-bashing in sword and sandals flicks to new heights. For twenty-four consecutive days and nights, Brian pounded out the complex tapestry of punishing percussion that drives this music to its earth shattering "stampede of rhinos" level of intensity. Not bad for an Aussie!

    As I write this I am listening to the CD reference master that was delivered this morning. It was a long haul and required plenty of heavy lifting to get this in the can, but I have to say, it was really fun writing this music and working with everyone involved. I hope you dig it!"
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