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Soundtrack Review

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Péplum: Muscles, Glaives et Fantasmes
Original Documentary Soundtrack


Composer: Maximilien Mathevon
Label: Plaza Mayor Company Ltd
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 April 2019

Péplum is a French documentary film which explores the Péplum genre, more commonly known as Sword-and-sandal, of epic historical, usually Biblical, films primarily set in the Greco-Roman or medieval period. Extremely popular in the Italian film industry from the late '50s to the mid '60s, The documentary explores the appeal of the genre, from Quo Vadis to Gladiator via Ben Hur and Spartacus...

Considering the epic background of this movie's subject matter, it was refreshing to see that composer Maximilien Mathevon didn't attempt to deliver a score packed full of Péplum cliches.

Mathevon is no stranger to the genre, having composed the original soundtracks for numerous documentaries for French TV channels (CANAL+, ARTE, M6, France Televisions). In the past we've been privileged enough to get the opportunity to review his work for Wild and Terror and Glamour: The Rise and Fall of Hammer Studio as well as his concept albums Fly Away, Outside and Sundown Chronicles.

With Péplum Mathevon delivers a retro sounding electronic score that tries to steer clear of "epic" themes that Hollywood usually deliver in movies of this genre. What we get are 19 tracks (46 min, 02 sec) of atmospheric and attention grabbing pieces designed to highlight the onscreen action, yet still be strong enough to work as a standalone collection of solid themes outside of the film.

It's an interesting score that's well worthy of your time.


Darren Rea

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