Two Steps From Hell “Archangel” Review

Archangel cover art

Two Steps From Hell is a trailer music company, which saw the light of day in 2006. Behind this enormous company stand the two composers Thomas J. Bergersen and his partner Nick Phoenix. So far, they produced 18 albums for trailer music houses only. But because of the high amount of growing fans, they decided to bring out an official public release, called “Invincible”. That album were on the Top 5 of best-selling classical albums on iTunes for more than 15 months so far. So it was just a matter of time when the two geniuses come up with a new output for their fans.
      Overall, “Archangel” doesn’t reach the quality of the first public release. While “Invincible” was a real Best-Of selection with great highlights like Freedom Fighters, which became enormous popular due to the Star Trek (2009) trailer, Master of Shadows, a very dark and intermittent track by Nick Phoenix and To Glory, which was for that time a little present for their fans, because it wasn’t released to any origin albums so far. To Glory first appeared in their latest album for trailer music houses only, called Nero.  So… then now here is “Archangel”, which can be purchased as simple download or a real CD like “Invincible” also, but there are some lacks of quality, even if some powerful tracks of previous albums were finally chosen like Titan Dune, Norwegian Pirate and What’s Happening To Me, tracks from their in my opinion best album so far, Power of Darkness.

                But what is the problem with “Archangel” now? One of the major problems is the decision to select many works from the album Nero, which was quite disappointed to me. Only a few works of Nero reach the powerful levels of legendary albums like Power of Darkness and Nemesis, but most of them are just a repetitive production without any real variety; sometimes, it seems these tracks were just extended that they don’t seem to short. Therefore, it was not the best choice to choose tracks from it; tracks which should be mentioned due to the repetitive type are The Last Stand, which has an interesting opening and a good uplifting part, but when the track changed in the middle of it, there is no real climax. An exaggerating entry of big orchestra and screaming choir is not the way to do it. The choir in generally didn’t have the same powerful expression like in previous albums. Another track which was in some parts disappointed is Mountains From Water, which has like all tracks an interesting and hopefully beginning, but when the orchestra started to build up, there is also the variety missing – and in this part also the choir, which could be a helpful add.

                But… this does not mean that the whole album is a bad selection. Other tracks, also from Nero, like Strength of a Thousand Men and also Archangel itself, have the potential to reach the high level of Nemesis and Power of Darkness. Also the use of strings and choir does fit there really good, especially in Strength of a Thousand Men, which is my personally favorite along with Norwegian Pirate. Even if Strength of a Thousand Men is comparatively shorter than the other selected tracks, it performs the task of every single trailer music track in an action and dramatic style;  a dramatic and fast building with the right chose of instruments and perfect entry of choir, in this case – and also in the track Archangel – also with an female voice, the hallmark of Thomas Bergersen.
          The function of a review is to present a product with telling the own opinion. But in this case it is not easy to do, because this album is a very special one. It has very different tracks on it, some really powerful and enormous, some calm, other ones just in a repetitive mode, which seems to be that the composers are starting to lose their skills. All in all I can tell, that “Archangel” is not the second “Invincible”, but it is a worthy selection and according to other public releases from other companies, a really good CD for every film music and trailer music fan. But please form your own opinion about it, this one is not the only and real one about it. It also should not alienate you from the album. Check it out, buy it and spread this music with your friends – the whole world.
Composer Thomas Bergersen also published his first own work, called Illusions, about half a year ago. A physical copy of it should be available very soon. While Nick Phoenix doesn’t have his own public release yet, but doesn’t mean that he is less good than his partner. The style of Two Steps From Hell is very varied, and maybe because of this it became one of the most popular and best trailer music companies in this music genre. 

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