CD: Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack



Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Soundtrack

English CD Title

Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Bear McCreary
WaterTower Music
March 2019
66:22 / 31:11 (2 discs)

Based On:

Godzilla: King of the Monsters



By: Anthony Romero

Our belated soundtrack review for Bear McCreary's Godzilla: King of the Monsters score. Released in 2019, this two disc set features over 90 minutes of music, encompassing most of the film score as opposed to the more limited single disc soundtrack given for Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017). McCreary's work here is a welcome addition to the franchise, bringing solid new themes to the series while also evoking two classic motifs from the Japanese movies. Despite the positive qualities, though, the score does get a little heavy handed with chanting in a lot of the themes.

Diving in, an aspect that is admirable about McCreary's approach here is building out prominent themes for the four major monsters of the movie: Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Rodan. These themes drive the soundtrack, as it often switches between them, while McCreary does a good job of avoiding the score being repetitive.

As a result of this approach, we'll tackle those themes first. Starting off is the King of the Monsters himself, who has a new motif and also a triumphant return of Akira Ifukube's Godzilla theme. The new motif, heard on tracks like "Memories of San Francisco" and "King of the Monsters", is chant heavy with deep drum work. It conveys a great sense of scale, fitting well with the titular monster. This chanting is also often mixed with Ifukube's classic theme, giving something both new and old that is heard in tracks like "Old Rivals", "Rebirth", "Battle in Boston" and "Godzilla Main Title". ...however, the chanting detracts from the theme. More is not always better, and mixing Ifukube's theme with the very loud chanting drowns out the orchestration at times and it just would have been better keeping the two motifs separate.

Moving on we hit Mothra's theme, or themes. The new theme, heard in tracks like "The Larva", is a great foreboding track that mixes a heavy dose of action when the larva goes on the attack. As the beast is subdued toward the end of the track we hear the other Mothra theme, a reimagining of Yuji Koseki's Mothra Song from Mothra (1961). This updated version is heard again in the tracks "Queen of the Monsters" and in "Mothra's Song", which played during the credits. The latter, featuring drum and flute work, is the most overt in adapting Koseki's work and my favorite track off the entire set. The updated version is both majestic with a sense of power, befitting the character.

In terms of King Ghidorah's new theme... it's okay. It's about as common as Godzilla's new motif in the score, appearing on tracks like "Outpost 32", "Rise of Ghidorah", "A Mass Awakening", "The One Who is Many" and "Fog Over Fenway". The potential for the track is actually amazing, as it's a nice action cue after a rather ominous opening with deep brass. The problem is the chanting. It drowns out a lot of the great orchestration and doesn't really work as a stand alone experience outside the film. Creepy? Sure a little, but more in an "ancient evil" sense rather than a "space demon" sense and just doesn't really gel with the three-headed monster. It tends to work better in smaller doses, like on "The One Who is Many" which only briefly uses the theme. I'd personally love an alternate take without the chanting for pretty much all of the cues around the creature. As a side note, the chanting aspect definitely brings in a similarity to Woo's (aka the giant gorilla) theme from the old video game King of the Monsters. Probably coincidence, despite title similarities.

Finally we reach Rodan's theme, whose motif is literally called "Rodan". There is a lot going on in this theme, as it starts with a frantic pace before giving away to slower and ominous drum work. It's a solid theme, but does also dip into chanting a bit at around the 4 minute mark, sounding similar to the chanting heard in the "Godzilla Main Title".

As for the few remaining tracks that don't evoke one of the monster's themes, there are some nice action motifs here and in general fit with the score's more frantic pace such as the action oriented "Ice Breaker" and the great "Stealing the Orca" theme. A favorite is the very brassy theme for MONARCH, heard on "Welcome to Monarch". It sounds similar to some of the music heard on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is fitting given the SHIELD like direction the movie takes MONARCH. While the soundtrack is generally frantic, there are a few slower paced themes here such as "For Andrew", which is just okay, and "The Key to Coexistence", which is a great string heavy track. The most memorable of these slow paced themes, though, is the choir lead "Goodbye Old Friend", a send off for Serizawa.

Closing out, the set has one song on it: "Godzilla" performed by Serj Tankian. This is an update to the 1977 Blue Oyster Cult song of the same name. It mixes some of the chanting motif of the new Godzilla theme to better effect than the score as the chanting doesn't compete with the vocals but waits for pauses. The track is a little cheesy, but so is the original and this is overall a nice update of the song.

Overall... I've read numerous other reviews for this soundtrack, and I feel like I'm one of the few not giving it glowing praise. It's a good score, one that leaves more of a lasting impression than the Godzilla (2014) soundtrack. However, I can't help but feel it went overboard with the chanting that misses the mark on one too many tracks and this keeps it from the greatness it could have otherwise achieved.

As a side note, the tracks are ordered differently on the digital release versus the physical CD release. "Godzilla", performed by Serj Tankian, and "Godzilla Main Title" appear as the first two tracks rather than toward the end. The rest of the contents are ordered mostly the same, although the "Ghidorah Theme" and "Mothra's Song" have their order flipped.

Rating: Star Rating


    Disc 1
  1. Memories of San Francisco
  2. The Larva
  3. Welcome to Monarch
  4. Outpost 32
  5. Ice Breaker
  6. Rise of Ghidorah
  7. Old Rivals
  8. The First Gods
  9. Rodan
  10. A Mass Awakening
  11. The One Who is Many
  12. Queen of the Monsters
  13. For Andrew
  14. Stealing the Orca
  15. The Hollow Earth
  16. The Key to Coexistence
  17. Goodbye Old Friend

    Disc 2
  1. Rebirth
  2. Fog Over Fenway
  3. Battle in Boston
  4. Redemption
  5. King of the Monsters
  6. Godzilla
    By: Serj Tankian
  7. Mothra's Song
  8. Ghidorah Theme
  9. Godzilla Main Title