The Bastard Sword is a 2018 fantasy adventure about three people on a quest to find a legendary sword that is able to control people’s minds. Reviews comment on how a running time in excess of 3 hours detracts from the overall impact of the film but there is praise for the filmmakers movie, produced with a reported budget of £2000 ($2600). The movie features a score from UK composer and filmmaker, Eveshka Ghost, who also served as the movie’s writer and director.

Ghost has composed music that fits well the movie’s genre, creating a fantasy epic orchestral score that draws the listener in so that, by the conclusion of the 130 minute running time, you feel as though you have become the fourth member of the film’s group of travelers. Much of the score feels like a stream of consciousness has issued forth from the composer, where music meanders along creating a musical soundscape of sinuous string passages that feel as though there’s no real goal or purpose to it. This sounds as though it’s a bad thing and, listening to the first 30-40 minutes it is a concern but only because it’s an unexpected path that’s been chosen. As the score progresses however, and the ear becomes accustomed to the composer’s musical choices, you begin to get drawn in, seduced by the music. The score does remind me of Howard Shore’s The Hobbit scores which I found had a vagueness about it in terms of how it seems to meander about in an interesting but unfocused way.

A significant proportion of The Bastard Sword sticks with these meandering string passages but Ghost does inject a good range of other musical ideas into the mix. A choral-like synth effect in tracks such as “The Lady of the Mist” and “Folk Tale” adds an ethereal feel to the music and cues such as “The Enchanted Lake” and “The Quest” provides a sense of the dramatic. By the time some full-on action scoring arrives (with the 15-minute “A False Sword / The Better Man”) well into the running time of the album, it’s much welcomed. The ubiquitous and meandering string writing, with its ethereal quality, is heard to great effect in “Remember You Shall”, an 18-minute track that begins to instill a sense of resolution to the score and at the same time adds a mystical feel which is sustained into the 17-minute “My Time Will Come”. Towards the end of this latter track, the music slowly builds to a celebratory statement that seems to draw the epic journey to a suitably grand conclusion.

The overall pace of the score is quite slow and a number of tracks run to 10-20 minutes long which doesn’t help with the feeling of lethargy that pervades some of the album. Being so long, The Bastard Sword is a significant listening commitment and one that, when I started listening to the score, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish. However, Ghost’s music does draw you in, and I found myself being surprised at just how disappointed I was when the album finished.

The movie’s limited budget does show occasionally, when it’s clear to the ear the artificial nature of the score’s instruments, or when some of the action scoring doesn’t quite have the power you would hope for and it sounds a bit thin. But these are minor quibbles for a score that is somewhat hypnotic in its own way. Eveshka Ghost’s The Bastard Sword is, in the end, an impressive score created with limited resources and is recommended. (Original review by Alan Rogers)

The album can be purchased HERE or at other online stores as a digital download or to stream.

Rating: ****/*****

  1. Opening Fanfare / Fool’s Gold (10:10)
  2. Ancient Relic / Ulysses (6:59)
  3. My House, My Rules (4:16)
  4. A Visitor (1:30)
  5. Lady of the Mist (5:04)
  6. Folk Tale (2:03)
  7. The Enchanted Lake (1:44)
  8. We’ll Share It (5:01)
  9. Demons of the Night (0:38)
  10. The Quest (2:35)
  11. The Grim Forest (6:14)
  12. Digging The Spot (1:16)
  13. Viktor (3:24)
  14. A Quarter of a Third (2:55)
  15. A Real Grande Warrior (14:28)
  16. Temptation of the Sword (1:48)
  17. Clever Tricks (3:39)
  18. Never Leave the Forest (2:36)
  19. A False Sword / The Better Man (15:54)
  20. Remember You Shall (18:15)
  21. My Time Will Come (17:20)
  22. End Titles (2:34)

Running Time: 130:23

Rusalka Records (2019)

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