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Batman: Assault on Arkham – Music From The DC Universe Animated Movie
Studio: La-La Land Records, WaterTower Music
Release Date: July 29th, 2014 (digital via WaterTower); August 26th, 2014 (compact disc via La-La Land)

Synopsis: La-La Land Records, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics present the original motion picture score to the DC Universe Animated Movie, Batman: Assault on Arkham, directed by Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding. Acclaimed composer Robert J. Kral (Green Lantern: First Flight, The Haunting in Connecticut, Duck Dodgers, Angel) returns again to the DC Universe with a dynamite action/thriller score that is the perfect compliment to this action-packed tale, based on thehit video game series, in which Batman infiltrates The Suicide Squad, who have been tasked with killing The Riddler. Scored like a contemporary, urban crime thriller by way of the Batman universe, this is a great listen! Produced by Robert J. Kral and MV Gerhard and mastered by James Nelson, this is a special limited edition of 1500 Units features four exclusive tracks not available on the digital download version and liner notes from co-director Jay Oliva. Bat-riffic art design is courtesy of Dan Goldwasser.

Batman: Assault on Arkham – Music From The DC Universe Animated Movie
Music By Robert J. Kral
1. Nigma’s Confrontation/It’s Batman 3:11
2. Criminal Montage 3:06
3. Task Force Indoctrination 2:42
4. Dropping Down 2:00
5. Gearing Up/Beer Room Challenge 1:51
6. Welcome Back Cowboy!* 1:05
7. Harley Arrested to Arkham 3:02
8. Infiltrating Arkham & Joker Assault 5:33
9. Killer Frost’s Kiss & Black Spider’s Microwave 2:00
10. Harley Bait & King Shark’s Work 1:28
11. Suicide Squad in the Big House 3:45
12. Batman’s Gotham & Property Room Access 2:59
13. Batman Fights Suicide Squad 2:12
14. Riddler Proposes a Cure* 1:14
15. Joker’s Out/Suicide Squad vs. SCU 3:35
16. Shocking Solution* 2:25
17. Joker Attacks Batman 1:41
18. Prisoners Released 2:46
19. Chopper Fight/Poison Ivy/The Batplane 2:03
20. Chopper Crash 2:25
21. Harley’s Rage* 0:57
22. Final Confrontations 2:08
23. Batman: Assault on Arkham End Credits 3:05

TOTAL ALBUM TIME: 57:58


Batman: Assault on Arkham Soundtrack Review
By James Harvey

The soundtrack to Batman: Assault on Arkham is another example of just how flexible and even daring composer Robert Kral can be when it comes to his work. Vastly different than his work on Green Lantern: First Flight and Superman Doomsday, Kral presents an unexpected yet completely enthralling score for the DC Animated Original Movie heist flick. In fact, it's his best work to date and one of the coolest DC Universe Animated Original Movie scores so far.

Part of the reason why I think this soundtrack is so good is how Kral is able to reign in the chaos. Listening through the soundtrack for the first time, I found it absolutely insane and bizarre. All over the place, really. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it. One track would sound like a traditional superheroic theme, the next would sound like a crazy, amped-up techno rave. But then it all started to gel. Much like the film, which puts the Suicide Squad in the forefront as Batman works behind the scenes, the score does the same thing. The score emphasizes the nuttiness of the main villains, while Batman fights to regain control. Go in with that mindset, and the soundtrack becomes this epic mad trip that is pretty invigorating to listen to.

Plus, Kral's theme for Harley is deliriously loopy. And, I have to admit, there's something so cheesily awesome about Kral's montage theme ("Criminal Montage") for the Suicide Squad.

What really amazes me is how Kral is able to effortlessly flow from style to style without missing a beat. It never feels like he's compromising himself, nor forcing anything. It always feels natural. Even though the soundtrack can feel a bit jarring at times, and it does given the chaotic nature of it, it always feels like Kral has a plan. A plan that we're not privy to, mind you, but a plan. And as the soundtrack unfolds it just clicks. There also seems to be a few homages to Superman Doomsday and Batman: Gotham Knight in here, previous DC Universe Animated Original Movie titles that feature Kral's work. During some of the more traditionally scored moments of the soundtrack, you can hear what sound like direct callbacks to those previous animated features. It's a welcome little reprieve, reminding the viewer that amidst all the chaos, there's still a hero in there fighting the good fight.

If I had to note some stand-out tracks, I'd have to pick tracks like "Yahtzee!," "Infiltrating Arkham & Joker Assault," "Batman Fights Suicide Squad," and maybe "Joker’s Out/Suicide Squad vs. SCU" to give a good idea on how this release really bounces around. Having the disc wrap up with "Batman: Assault on Arkham End Credits" seems to put a nice bow on things thematically while also letting things cool down after that chaotic trip through Arkham.

Overall, I'd say this soundtrack is definitely worth picking up, particularly the complete soundtrack from La-La Land Records (and not the abbreviated WaterTower Music digital download version). It goes down, without question, as Kral's best work on the DC Universe Animated Original Movie titles to date. The best DC Universe Animated Original Movie soundtrack is still Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but this one deserves a high placement, too. Here, not only does he get to cut loose and try new things, but he also refines some of the more familair beats he's brings back from previous soundtracks. His heroic themes seem more on-beat with the story and character, and he knows when to bring it in - for Batman's big moments - and when to let the madness of the Suicide Squad envelope the musical stylings. Kral has really grown from his initial work on these titles, and what he comes up with here for Batman: Assault on Arkham is easily his finest work, and something that I highly recommend folks give a spin.

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