Soundtrack Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Nostalgia is alive and well in the year 2015. There are numerous film franchises from yesteryear getting the reboot/sequel treatment and this year is seeing this “phenomenon” more than ever before. One such franchise that has recently had new life injected into it is the Australian dystopian adventure film Mad Max. The series began in 1979 with a young Mel Gibson in the lead role and there were two sequels (1981 and 1985). These films saw some very gritty and some very raw action storytelling. Director George Miller has now returned 30 years later to continue the story with Mad Max: Fury Road, a high octane, no holds barred thrill ride that not only has great action and direction but a killer musical score courtesy of Mr. Tom Holkenborg (a.k.a.. Junkie XL).

So far, Mad Max: Fury Road is wowing audiences left and right with its intensity and visual fun. The film stars Tom Hardy as rough and tumble cop Max Rockatansky, who links up with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as they evade sadistic cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his bloodthirsty mobile army. The film is a violent adventure and Junkie XL has provided a score that not only highlights the fun but paints a vivid and very interesting picture. JXL is a Dutch composer who has had a number of successes with German mentor Hans Zimmer. Together, these musical masters have provided the scores for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including Man of SteelThe Dark Knight Rises and 300: Rise of an Empire, among others.

The score to Fury Road is a rough around the edges and at times, very harsh album. JXL mirrors Hans Zimmer in almost every cue. Storm is Coming is an epic power anthem which feels utterly heroic. There are moments of tenderness in tracks like We Are Not Things. The track Brothers in Arms is a powerful electronic remix of the action theme, similar to that of another Zimmer-protege, Steve Jablonsky. This piece is ominous and sets a dark mood. The Bog continues this.

Redemption is a brief but effective cue. It is also quite somber and bleeds into Many MothersClaw Trucks is a brisk action-packed track, as is the lengthy Chapter Doof – Extended Version. My Name is Max – Extended Version is a bittersweet piece and Let Them Up is an inspirational finale, very much in the vein of the legendary Greek composer Vangelis.

Obviously JXL knows what he’s doing and Fury Road is solid evidence of that. Zimmer has done a fine job in grooming JXL for the world of film composing. The man experiments with different instruments and audio technology and one can even say he’s the future of film music. He is certainly making a name for himself and with the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the man is truly destined for greatness. While the score to Fury Road might be a little difficult to listen to on its own, it would fit perfectly in one’s iPod during a vigorous workout.

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