Star Trek: Discovery came back this January for another spectacular run of episodes, covering the titular’s ship journey into the Mirror Universe for an extended run before heading home in its final two episodes to end the war with the Klingons. It was a dramatic change of pace for this series and that is reflected in the music as much as the show itself.
Following the release of ‘Season one, chapter one’, covering music from the first nine episodes (you can read my review here), Lakeshore Records have now released ‘Season one, chapter two’, covering music from the remaining six episodes.
The album is on general release now.
Just as season one of Star Trek: Discovery took a darker, dramatic turn in the final run of episodes, so does composer Jeff Russo deliver a change of tone in his soundtrack for chapter two of season one. There is a darker, epic, bombastic feel to this album that moves away from the established themes of the series introduced in chapter one to convey the grim horrors of this new universe.
The relentless, epic nature of this score feels in many ways like Hans Zimmer’s take on Star Trek, the action-packed nature of these episodes conveyed superbly by Russo, but there is something also rather insidious in this soundtrack too; there is almost an 80’s sexual thriller vibe to some of the less dramatic tracks that suits the perversion of the mirror universe.
The ominous heavy horns of track one ‘Burnham Take Over’, opens up mirror universe arc leading to the moody, atmospheric ‘ I Can’t Rest Here’ with a mournful string movement, which carries through into ‘Dishonour Yourself’. There is a real sense of darkness, dread and unease, perfectly captured by Russo, which is most evident in the fourth track ‘Tell Me The Truth’. It has an atmospheric, haunting opening and the guttural beats and creepy, strained strings have a delightful horror movie vibe, which is all very unsettling, while that Zimmer influence is keenly felt in the emotional beats.
But it’s not until the epic track five ‘The Rebels Haven’t Completed Their Evacuation’ that Russo really lets loose with piercing sounds and strained string movements, and a solemn percussion beat that builds into a dramatic climax. He really is really having fun with the darker, more flamboyant mirror universe storyline. ‘I’ll take it From Here’ continues with another creepy, atmospheric track full of dread. That rumbling sound and heavy beat are full of darkness, the tinkering percussion beat is sinister and tense with another ballsy climax.
‘Kasseelian Opera’ is another interesting change of pace, full of passionate, amazing vocals and a haunting and beautiful orchestral score that wouldn’t be out of place in a Luc Besson sci-fi; it is very different from the rest of the album. ‘The Lorca I Know’, the eighth track on the album, has a great sense of urgency and passion in the sweeping string movement and synth beat that builds and builds. It is another wonderfully bold, epic and dark piece. Along with ‘212 Days of Torture’ and ‘Biotoxins’ Russo continues to deliver ballsy, dramatic tracks with big horns, relentless beats and rising strings, full of tension and passion.
The pace changes in ‘Come in Discovery’, with a slower gorgeous melancholy string movement, building once more into a bombastic percussion beat and passionate orchestral movement. Then comes my absolute favourite track on the album. ‘Safe to Drop out of Warp’ starts slow with a beautiful, sad and grim, atmospheric opening but soon those familiar dark and grandiose tones take over, with thundering beats and sweeping strings that are thrilling to listen to. It has a great sense of urgency, tension and high drama that builds and builds throughout.
The main Star Trek: Discovery theme finally emerges only when the mirror universe arcs near’s its end, an emotional, gentler, bittersweet version emerging through the epic tones of ‘Lorca in Finished’. It is more prevalent in next track ‘Coming Home’; as the track suggests, it’s an end to the Mirror Universe themes running throughout the album. But Russo doesn’t slow things down; there is a fast-paced relentless energy to the fifteenth track ‘Initiating.’ This features a gorgeous horn mixed with the rising percussion beat and beautiful strings that was evocative in chapter one.
Russo changes style again with the middle eastern vibes of ‘Qo’noS Bar’ and ‘Not A Lot of Humans Here’ before delivering something sad and gentle in ‘I’m No Good’. Track 19, ‘War is Over’ is quite simply beautiful, the melancholy lone brass horn playing out over the orchestra builds gently to the final epic reintroduction of the slowed down theme, which is breathtaking.
And then with the drama over, Russo delivers homages to the familiar Star Trek themes of Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage as the series introduces the audience to the USS Enterprise and ends on a delightful interpretation of the classic 60’s series that will leave a big smile on your face.
I enjoyed the chapter one of the Star Trek: Discovery season one soundtrack but I loved this one. It is bold and ambitious, Russo relishing in the opportunity to develop the mirror universe in his score for the series and a delight to listen to even outside the context of the series.