Epic Trailer Album: “Magnus” (Audiomachine)

At the rate they generate new material, Audiomachine is, well, practically a machine. Their music is primarily used for advertising and movie trailers, but rumors abound that they have increasingly made more music for the sake of music since the epic trailer genre gained momentum several years ago. Their albums usually have plentiful tracks – which does, of course, mean that some are duds if you look hard enough. However, given the typical price of an album (often under $10 for 60-80 minutes of music), it’s usually worth trying out.

Magnus has a distinctly dark vibe throughout. The percussion is tight, the choral sampling is tasteful, and the countermelodies and general use of counterpoint are delicious (especially on cuts like “Momentum”). Thoughtful quieter moments (the cello solo in “Wars of Faith” and the piano introduction in “The Final Hour”) allow for a little much-needed breathing space. Some songs aren’t memorable on the first listen, but almost everything is likeable on some level. More importantly, it is my belief that every track is eventually useful in some capacity or other.

If you want tense battle music or dramatic but broody fare, this is a fine choice. My only possible complaint is the heavy use of brass and somewhat over-the-top strings in certain spots, which make some tracks feel vaguely like excerpts from a Wagner opera. Luckily, this isn’t a consistent feature from start to finish, so you can avoid the most bombastic moments fairly easily (if you want to).