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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies OST'
Artist - Howard Shore

With 'The Battle of the Five Armies' Peter Jackson's trilogy of movies depicting JRR Tolkien's novel comes to an end. Whatever one's opinion of Jackson's treatment, there can be no dispute that the music composed for it by Howard Shore is dramatic and often very beautiful.

Befitting the title, this two CD collection opens with martial and seemingly violent tempos that continue until near the end of the 2nd CD. Inevitably and understandably there are many echoes from the earlier Hobbit films as well as 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy (for all of which Shore was the composer.)

The battle music reaches a climax with "To the Death" and then, appropriately, quieter and more melancholy strains take over for the final four or five tracks. The highlight is Billy Boyd's rendition of 'The Last Goodbye.' Each of the races depicted in the film has its own theme: strong and powerful for the Dwarves, ethereal for the Elves, brutal for the Orcs and Wargs, and comfortably home for the Hobbits.

If you wanted to be brutally honest, 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' actually corrects everything that went astray for the first two installments in Howard's Hobbit trilogy! Utilizing intelligent thematic callbacks to the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, as well as advancing current melodic ideas for 'The Hobbit' alone, this is most certainly the defining chapter in terms of music for this series.

Possessing the grandeur and illustrious instrumentation that Shore composes with at his finest, this is a powerhouse of a score that carries emotional weight for 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Ring' score fans alike, as well as those new to the series.

Indeed, WaterTower Music has also released this soundtrack to 'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' in two configurations: a standard 2 CD set (this one reviewed here today) and a Special Edition set, also with 2 CDs, and featuring extended tracks, bonus tracks, and expanded liner notes. Back on December 9th, 2014 both versions of the soundtrack were made available digitally and on CD, with the 2CD Special Edition made available on the later date of December 16th, 2014.

CD Purchase Link