Zombie music scores big

By By Jesse Peterson

By Jesse Peterson

300: Original Motion Picture SoundtrackMusic by Tyler BatesWarner Bros. RecordsThree out of five stars

Is it any coincidence that zombie-maker Zack Snyder would pair up with Tyler Bates, a man whose scores infiltrate such recent movies as “Slither,” “The Devil’s Rejects,” “Dawn of the Dead” (2004, Snyder’s own) and “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous”? No, but with such domineering experience in zombie flicks — Sandra Bullock’s movie was by far the scariest — Bates’ credentials might make one worry.

Is Bates’ 300: Soundtrack fitting for an action epic? Does its music match the stunning visuals-so gorgeous that movie lovers have to curb all desires to lick and caress the movie screen? Yes? generally.

Bates infuses 300: Soundtrack with an assortment of musical instruments, some of which most people have never heard of before: the daf, doumbek, taiko drums, kaval, xaphoon or guitarviol. These, paired with strings, vocal choruses and a lot of electronics, create an aural mood made for this type of film — traditional and cutting-edge (literally — ow! It’s sharp. Stop that, Leonidas).

Nevertheless, no musical themes stand out. Bates’ score could easily have been fitting for just about any other movie of this genre without much adaptation. Through the music, it’s hard to find location, culture and humanity. What the listener gets is mainly aggression. Percussion drives the score with intermittent, and very welcome, digressions into something less than emasculating testosterone.

Even though 300: Soundtrack might not completely match the eye-gasm on-screen, its auditory machinations satisfy. It’s a soundtrack that makes one want to rock out, but not be able to, as it is entirely too militaristic (I suppose one could march to it, but hey, who wants to do that?marching bands?).

Plus, when taken into consideration, “300” really is a zombie movie in disguise — a million mindless “Persians” against three hundred of-course-we’ll-outwit-them-but-there-are-too-many-of-them-for-us-to-conquer heroes. Hey, maybe Tyler Bates’ previous work wasn’t a detriment at all.

I can’t wait to hear what his upcoming scores for “Day of the Dead” and “Resident Evil: Extinction and Halloween” will sound like.

Now, is it just me, or is this obsessive?